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Who, What, When…

ARENA Timeline

Bios of Founders

Andrew Gipson


(Oklahoma City, OK) Andrew became an escape game enthusiast while living in Melbourne, Australia in ’12. Upon moving back to the states, he formed The Escape OKC at the tender age of 25 and became a Midwest trailblazer in the industry opening the flagship location in Oklahoma City in June ’14, followed by a location in Tulsa in February ’15, then Omaha in June ’15, then Branson in December ’15 and finally Little Rock in June ’16. While he was at it, he built two mobile units branded as The Escape at Work. Astonishingly, all of that growth was accomplished with only starting funds and operational profits—Andrew and his partners have never taken any outside money. With an international flare to his personality, Andrew has played escape games in London, Belfast, Dublin and Budapest. At home in Oklahoma City, Andrew is a member of the tony Young Entrepreneurs Club.

Mike Gipson

Vice President, Treasurer

(Oklahoma City, OK) Mike is CEO of United Construction and Restoration, which he founded in ’00. Mike is Andrew Gipson’s father and one of the partners of The Escape OKC. Mike’s carpentry and financial backgrounds have been key drivers in The Escape OKC’s success. From a construction standpoint, Mike’s skills are second to none; and thanks to his years of owning his own construction company, he knows how to run a tight financial ship. In fact, in many ways, ARENA’s formation was spawned by Mike’s desire to fight the insurance industry for financial reasons. Using his years of experience in dealing with higher risk trades (contractors) and seeing how much insurance cost them, he was stunned to see how much insurance costs were for escape rooms. Mike began the insurance rating dispute by himself in ’15 and later contacted Daryl Davis to help fix it.

Daryl Davis


(Dallas, TX) Daryl is a risk management professional who, as of September ’17, has never actually played an escape game—ever! Daryl does have a sophisticated approach to insurance and has been part of numerous trade associations. With these skill sets and his peculiar commitment to being an industry outsider, Daryl has worked successfully with escape game owners across the country without the everpresent paranoia felt amongst insiders. It is Daryl’s sales commitment that has led to ARENA’s prolific beginning and aggressive membership campaign. Even without playing escape games, Daryl has a great and intuitive appreciation for the team building aspects of these games. As such, “Daryl the Outsider” has been a leader in creating visibility for the escape game industry in national associations such as the Society for Human Resource Management—a natural progression for a commercial insurance guy.