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Biz 100

Meet Biz 417's 2022 Biz 100

Meet the 2022 Biz 100. You already know these names. They’re the people shaping southwest Missouri’s future. This list gets to the heart of why they’re essential to our economy and culture.

by Lucie Amberg. Photos by Brandon Alms and courtesy of Biz 100 honorees

Nov 2022

Methodology

The Biz 100 is selected by Biz 417’s editors, publisher, founders and advisory board members. We evaluate current and prospective nominees based on their individual business success, their impact on the local business community and their community involvement this year. Current honorees are eligible to appear again, but as people retire, leave the area or otherwise take a step back, they may be taken off the list. Generally speaking, leaders who are new to their roles don’t make the list in their first year, but when someone dives in and has an immediate effect, we make an exception. List-makers can come from any industry and hold any title; we’re looking for people whose hard work and vision make tangible differences in 417-land. Some leaders on this list might prefer to avoid the limelight, but we’ve chosen to brag about them anyway. For more information or to tell us who we missed, visit biz417.com/nominate.

Hal Higdon

Biz 417’s Person of the Year: Dr. Hal Higdon

Now in his 17th year as Chancellor, Dr. Hal Higdon has built the future of Ozarks Technical Community College inch by inch. Read about why he is Biz 417's Person of the Year for 2022.

ARCHITECTURE

Rita Baron

Rita Baron

Principal, Baron Design & Associates, LLC
B.Arch., Drury University
Returning, Fifth Year

The Essential: Since opening her own firm in 2003, Rita Baron has built a reputation for her expertise in new construction as well as historic, adaptive re-use and acquisition/rehabilitation projects.
Big in 2022: Baron is Chair of Drury University’s Board of Trustees. “It keeps me very busy and engaged, but as an alum, it is something I am very passionate about,” she says.

Brad Erwin

Brad Erwin

President, Paragon Architecture
M.Arch., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Returning, Seventh Year

The Essential: Brad Erwin founded Paragon Architecture in 2010. The firm is known for its focus on the sustainable architectural design of education, civic, public safety and healthcare facilities.
Big in 2022: Erwin is on the OTC Foundation Board of Directors. He’s also working on several 417-land economic development activities, including the Springfield Business Development Corporation, the advisory team for Forward SGF and the Growth and Development Advisory Council. 

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Beth Domann

Beth Domann

Executive Director, Springfield Little Theatre
B.F.A., Stephens College
Returning, Seventh Year

The Essential: Springfield Little Theatre (SLT) is a favorite destination for 417-landers and a critical piece of downtown Springfield’s cultural fabric. In her role as Executive Director, Beth Domann has grown SLT’s education programs and community outreach. 

Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson

POWER PLAY

Museum Director, Springfield Art Museum
M.F.A., Georgia Southern University; B.F.A., Georgia Southwestern State University 
New
The Essential: Under Nick Nelson’s leadership, the Springfield Art Museum has established a broad range of education and public engagement programs and attained accreditation with the American Alliance of Museums.
Why We Selected Him as a Power Play: Nelson says the museum is on track to complete its ambitious master plan by 2028, its centennial year. In March, the museum announced the largest gift in its history, $5 million from Sunderland Foundation. Nelson says, “You’ll probably notice all the work being done on our grounds, including the naturalization of Fassnight Creek, improvements to parking and better access between the museum and Phelps Grove Park.”

AUTOMOBILES AND TRANSPORTATION

Rick Hughlett

Rick Hughlett

Founder, Rick’s Automotive
Returning, Sixth Year
The Essential: Since Rick and Karen Hughlett opened Rick’s Automotive in 1980, its clean waiting areas and warm service have made it a destination for 417-land car care. The company is also known for philanthropic activities, including a six-figure donation from Rick’s Automotive to OTC’s Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing.
Big in 2022: The leadership at Rick’s Automotive is transitioning to a new generation: the Hughletts’ daughter and son-in-law, Kala and Travis Comfort.

Robert Low

Robert Low

President/Founder Prime Inc.
University of Missouri
Returning, 
Seventh Year
The Essential: Robert Low founded Prime, Inc. in 1970. Ten years later, Springfield became the company’s headquarters. Today, Prime Inc. is recognized as an international leader in transportation of refrigerated and flatbed operations.

Mark Walker

Mark Walker

Chairman/CEO, TransLand
B.A., Drury University
Returning, Sixth Year

The Essential: Mark Walker became CEO of TransLand in 2013. The company serves customers throughout the U.S. with transportation needs like dry van and flatbed trucking.
Big in 2022: This spring, Walker was chosen to lead a statewide Teacher Recruitment and Retention Blue Ribbon Commission.

Brian Weiler

Brian Weiler

Director of Aviation, Springfield-Branson National Airport
M.S., University of Central Missouri; B.S., Embry-Riddle University
Returning, Fifth Year

The Essential: Brian Weiler says that Springfield-Branson National Airport’s “passenger numbers are back to pre-pandemic levels, and we’ve seen strong growth in general aviation and cargo activity.”
Big in 2022: Ozarks Technical Community College is in the process of bringing an aircraft maintenance training program to the Springfield-Branson National Airport. 

BUSINESS CONSULTING AND EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

Paul Adams

Paula Adams

President, Penmac Staffing Services, Inc.
B.S., University of Missouri
Returning, Seventh Year

The Essential: In 1995, Paula Adams joined her family’s company, Penmac Staffing. She learned the ins and outs of the business in a variety of roles and became president in 2006.
Big in 2022: Penmac is in the process of its biggest software update since 2011. Adams says it “will help with sales, recruiting, onboarding, and time and attendance.”

Rachel Anderson

Rachel Anderson

Director, efactory at Missouri State University 
B.G.S., University of Missouri
New 
The Essential: As the director of Missouri State University’s efactory, Rachel Anderson manages a range of programs and services that support business development, training and entrepreneurship in 417-land. 
Big in 2022: The efactory announced big developments, like the Southern Missouri Innovation Network to spur workforce and economic development across 47 counties.

CONSTRUCTION

Dusty Emmert

Dusty Emmert 

President, Snyder Construction Group 
B.S., Pittsburg State University 
New
The Essential: Snyder Construction group was founded by Dusty Emmert’s father-in-law, Larry Snyder, in 1978. Emmert has served as the company’s president since 2012.
Big in 2022: Some of the company’s biggest projects include: the new AgAcademy, Hill City Church, North Point Church in Nixa and Moon City Lofts.

John Oke-Thomas

John Oke-Thomas

President/CEO, Oke-Thomas + Associates, Inc.
B.Arch., Drury University; Dip.Arch., Polytechnic of Northern London
Returning, Sixth Year

The Essential: Since founding his company in 1996, John Oke-Thomas has built a solid client base that includes the U.S. General Services Administration, the State of Missouri, the City of Kansas City, the City of St. Louis, Drury University and the University of Central Missouri.
Big in 2022: Oke-Thomas is the Chairman of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

EDUCATION

J. TIMOTHY CLOYD, PHD

J. Timothy Cloyd, PHD

President/Professor of Management and Leadership/Professor of Political Science, Drury University
Ph.D. and M.A., University of Massachusetts Amherst; B.A., Emory and Henry
Returning, Sixth Year

The Essential: J. Timothy Cloyd’s sixth year as Drury University’s president was a big year for the institution. The university announced a $1 million pledge from James and Patricia Spangler in January and welcomed the largest freshman class in its history this fall.

Dana Ford

Dana Ford

Men’s Head Basketball Coach, Missouri State University
B.S., Illinois State University
Returning, Fourth Year

The Essential: Dana Ford became the Missouri State Bears’ 18th head coach in 2018. He and his wife, Christina, are known for their nonprofit organization, The Rebound Foundation, which seeks to restore women who’ve experienced domestic abuse and break the generational cycle of abuse. They’re also the proud parents of five children. 

Dr. Grenita Lathan

Dr. Grenita Lathan

Superintendent of Schools, Springfield Public Schools
Ph.D., Southern Illinois University; M.S., University of North Carolina; B.S., North Carolina A&T State University
Returning, Second Year

The Essential: Dr. Grenita Lathan leads the largest school district in Missouri. She says, “At my very core, I am a teacher.”
Big in 2022: Springfield Public Schools opened its newest magnet program, AgAcademy, at Missouri State University’s Darr College of Agriculture. “Choice programs like this one allow students to immerse themselves in a particular area of interest where passion and inquiry guide their learning,” Lathan says. 

“I have lived and worked in a number of metropolitan areas that can tap into the resources of major corporations and large nonprofit organizations. None have demonstrated the spirit of generosity and collaboration that I have experienced since moving to Springfield. Each and every day, representatives from government, community and business entities work together by sharing time, talent and resources to make Springfield the best that it can be.”
— Dr. Grenita Lathan

Bobby Petrino

Bobby Petrino

Head Football Coach, Missouri State University
Returning, Second Year

The Essential: When Missouri State University hired Bobby Petrino in 2020, it marked a turning point for Bears Football. Since then, the Bears have racked up honors, including two appearances in the NCAA FCS playoffs and a conference championship.

Dr. Mike Rakes

Dr. Mike Rakes 

President, Evangel University 
Doctor of Management Studies, Biola University; M.A., AGTS/Reformed Theological Seminary/Biola University; M.Div. Biola University
New

The Essential: In Dr. Mike Rakes’s second year as Evangel’s leader, the university announced the largest gift in its 67-year history. The Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby and Mardel, donated $10 million to Evangel. The funds will support construction and renovation of various residential, athletic and community facilities around campus.

Clif Smart

Clif Smart

President, Missouri State University
J.D., University of Arkansas
Returning, Seventh Year

The Essential: In Clif Smart’s 12th year as president, Missouri State secured $50 million in federal funding and $30 million in state funding for renovations to science facilities. Its comprehensive funding campaign is on track to rase more than $250 million, and the university has been recognized as a doctoral-granting institution.
Big in 2022: Two new leaders on Missouri State’s administrative team: Executive Vice President Zora Mulligan and Interim Provost John Jasinksi. 

FINANCE & BANKING

Joselyn Baldner

Joselyn Baldner

President/CEO, Central Bank
Returning, Second Year

The Essential: In 2021, Joselyn Baldner made history as the first woman to hold the position of president and CEO of Central Bank.
Big in 2022: Baldner is the current Chair-Elect of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. She’ll serve as Chairman next year.

Paul Dougherty

Paula Dougherty

Owner/Private Wealth Advisor/Investor in People, Achieve Private Wealth/Ameriprise Financial
M.B.A., Missouri State University; B.S., Missouri State University; B.S. Missouri State University (Certified Financial Planner, Accredited Portfolio Management Advisor, Behavioral Financial Advisor
Returning, Third Year

The Essential: In more than 25 years with Ameriprise, Paula Dougherty has built a reputation for her attentive, client-centered approach to financial management.
Big in 2022: Dougherty named on Forbes list of Best-In-State Women Wealth Advisors for Missouri.

Mark Harrington

Mark Harrington 

President/CEO, Old Missouri Bank 
B.S., Missouri State University
New 
The Essential: Mark Harrington founded Old Missouri Bank in 1999. It now has locations across 417-land. 
Big in 2022: “We’ve had our best-ever year of growth,” Harrington says. “It’s evidence of the strength of our team and our communities and makes us really optimistic about the future.”

Bob Hammerschmidt

Bob Hammerschmidt 

Chairman, Commerce Trust Company 
Southwestern Graduate School of Banking, Southern Methodist University; B.S.B.A., Arkansas Tech University 
Returning, Fifth Year
The Essential: Commerce Trust’s Bob Hammerschmidt is known for community engagement. “My company will do no better than the community we serve,” he says. “So it is imperative that each of our associates get involved to make our community a better place.” 

Doug Neff

Doug Neff

Chairman/CEO, Commerce Bank Southwest Missouri
Graduate School of Banking, University of Wisconsin; B.S., University of Missouri
Returning, Sixth Year
The Essential: Doug Neff recently celebrated his 30th anniversary at Commerce Bank, where he’s worked with every aspect of the industry, including commercial banking, credit and wealth management.
The Insight: When asked about the biggest barriers 417-land needs to overcome, Neff says, “We must become a more diverse and inclusive community to reach our potential.”
The Advice He’d Give Himself: “Be open-minded and willing to take on challenges that take you out of your comfort zone.”
Bet You Didn’t Know: Neff describes himself as “a farm kid from western Kansas.” He graduated from high school with just 10 other classmates.

Gary Schafer

Gary Schafer II

POWER PLAY

FORVIS Managing Partner–Southern Missouri; B.S., Missouri State University
Returning, Fourth Year
The Essential: Gary W. Schafer II leads the 417-land operations of our region’s largest accounting firm.
Why We Selected Him as a Power Play: “BKD CPAs and Advisors became FORVIS on June 1 but continues our 100-year legacy of service to our clients and our community in southern Missouri,” Schafer says. The change was the result of a merger with Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP and appeared to happen with little difficulty or fuss. The FORVIS name looks right at home on the corner of John Q. Hammons Parkway and East St. Louis Street.”

Joe Turner

Joseph W. Turner

President/CEO, Great Southern Bank
J.D., University of Missouri; B.S., Drake University
Returning, Seventh Year

The Essential: After a career in law, Joseph W. Turner joined Great Southern Bank in 1991. He has served as CEO since 1999.
Big in 2022: In March, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce named Turner the 2022 Springfieldian.

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Shawn Askinosie

Shawn Askinosie

CEO/Founder, Askinosie Chocolate
J.D. and B.S., University of Missouri
Returning, Seventh Year

The Essential: Lawyer-turned-chocolatier Shawn Askinosie is known for making chocolate that tastes great and feels just as good because the profits get shared with smallholder farmers who produce the cocoa.
Big in 2022: In July, Askinosie Chocolate celebrated a sweet milestone—the company’s 15th anniversary.” 

Lyle Foster

Lyle Foster

CEO, Big Momma’s Coffee and Espresso
Ph.D., University of Missouri; M.A., Brown University; M.A., Yale University
Returning, Seventh Year

The Essential: It’s been a big year for Lyle Foster. Big Momma’s Coffee and Espresso celebrated its 15th anniversary by announcing a new location near Boonville and Division. In addition to Big Momma’s brews, the new location will offer food from Queen City Soul Kitchen, the restaurant Foster co-owns with fellow Biz 100 honoree Francine M. Pratt.
Big in 2022: Foster served as the grant administrator for Greene County’s $57 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding.

Sam Hamra

Sam Hamra

Founder/Chairman, Hamra Enterprises
B.S./B.A., University of Missouri
Returning, Seventh Year

The Essential: Sam F. Hamra, along with his family, founded Hamra Enterprises in 1975. The company owns and operates restaurants, including dozens of Wendy’s and Panera Bread locations. Around 417-land, Hamra is as known for his philanthropy as his business success. He’s given to The Kitchen, the Springfield Art Museum, multiple colleges and universities and many other entities. 

Sally Hargis

Sally Hargis

Vice President/Chairman, Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Co.
B.S., University of Missouri
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: The enterprise that was started by Edwin C. “Cookie” Rice Sr. and a few other family members is now a major force in 417-land manufacturing. It’s currently run by his granddaughter, Sally Hargis, and her father, Edwin C. Rice Jr. 

Andy Kuntz

Andy Kuntz

President/CEO, Andy’s Frozen Custard
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: Andy Kuntz leads Andy’s Frozen Custard, the company his parents founded more than three decades ago in Osage Beach.
Big in 2022: 417-landers felt all the feelings when Andy’s opened store no. 119 on National Avenue in Springfield. The site paid tribute to the location’s previous occupant, longtime local favorite National Art Shop.

Teresa McGeehan

Teresa McGeehan

Owner Operator, Class Act Management/McDonald’s
Returning, Second Year

The Essential: From a job at the McDonald’s counter when she was 16 years old, McGeehan worked her way up through the ranks. She now owns and operates 19 restaurants.
Big in 2022: McGeehan served as executive producer of the exhibit “Standing Together,” which raises awareness of domestic abuse. Harmony House debuted the exhibit in Springfield last year and is now taking it to other cities around the state.”

“417-land is not only a great spot for families to enjoy but a place for one and all to unwind, go on an adventure and bask in this beautiful area. Rolling hills, beautiful lakes and streams, exquisite local cuisine and the nicest folks you will ever meet. Our communities stay hungry for new businesses to call 417-land ‘home.’ Did I mention the people?”
— Teresa McGeehan

Jeff Schrag

Jeff Schrag

Owner/Founder, Mother’s Brewing Co.; Publisher, The Daily Events
B.S., Kansas State University
Returning, Seventh Year

The Essential: A “dedicated Downtowner,” Jeff Schrag says he “tries not to drive south of Sunshine unless I have to.” And since he owns 417-land staple Mother’s Brewing Co., he rarely has to—eventually, everyone comes to him.

Paul Sundy

Paul Sundy 

Co-owner/operator, Big Whiskey’s American Restaurant and bar 
B.B.A., Evangel University; A.A., Ozarks Technical Community College
Returning, Third Year 
The Essential: Paul Sundy not only made Big Whiskey’s a fixture in the local restaurant scene, he’s taken it to new markets in Arkansas, Alabama and Oklahoma. 
Big in 2022: Sundy serves as Chair of OTC’s Board of Trustees.

James Tillman

James Tillman

Managing Member, First Watch
Returning, Third Year Year
The Essential: When James Tillman brought the First Watch concept to Springfield in 2017, 417-landers fell in love with its health-oriented breakfast, brunch and lunch options. Tillman soon opened a second Springfield location; he’s now the managing member of seven First Watch restaurants. He also owns several other businesses, including Complete Electrical Solutions, and has multiple real estate ventures. 

Joshua Widner

Joshua Widner

Founder/Owner, Good spirits & Co.
New 

The Essential: Joshua Widner is known for intentional destinations with a local focus, including 417-land favorites Cherry Picker Package x Fare, Golden Girl Rum Club, Best of Luck Beer Hall and Sweet Boy’s Neighborhood Bar.

HEALTHCARE

Max Buetow

Max Buetow 

President/CEO, CoxHealth 
New 
The Essential: Max Buetow became CoxHealth’s president and CEO in June. Prior to this role, he served as CoxHealth’s executive vice president and COO. When his appointment was announced, Board of Directors Chair Rob Fulp said: “In Max Buetow, we found the right person to continue CoxHealth’s high-level focus on patient care. He has demonstrated his passion for this organization, for our patients and for our 12,500 CoxHealth team members.”

Teresa Coyan

Teresa Coyan

Vice President of Public Affairs, CoxHealth
M.B.A., Webster University; B.S., Missouri State University
Returning, Fifth Year
The Essential: As CoxHealth’s Vice President of Public Affairs, Teresa Coyan calls on her enthusiasm for connecting people with state and local issues.
Bet You Didn’t Know: She tells us she used to be uncomfortable speaking publicly. “I pushed myself till it became easier and easier,” she says. “I'm still sometimes shocked that I work in a role that is in constant communication and made for an extrovert.” And she’s proud that those days of shyness are in her rear-view mirror. “It helps me remember that if you work hard at something and are determined enough, anyone can achieve their goals,” she says. 

C.J. Davis

C.J. Davis

POWER PLAY

President/CEO, Burrell Behavioral Health
Psy.D., Forest Institute of Professional Psychology; M.S., University of Central Missouri; B.S., Culver-Stockton College
Returning, Fourth Year

The Essential: C.J. Davis came to his role as Brightli’s CEO with more than 25 years of experience in the industry as both an executive and a clinical psychologist.
Why We Selected Him as a Power Play: Early this year, Burrell merged with Comprehensive Mental Health Services, which is based in Independence. This move established Burell/Brightli’s presence in the Kansas City mental health market. Burrell also continued its efforts to raise mental health awareness through events like The Art of Being ME, a multimedia collaboration between the Burrell Foundation and Artist Randy Bacon.  

INSURANCE

Trevor Crist

Trevor Crist

CEO, Nixon & Lindstrom Insurance
B.S., Missouri State University
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: Trevor Crist joined the team at Nixon & Lindstrom Insurance in 2002—the result of a cold call he made to President/Owner Luke Nixon. He was named the company’s CEO in 2013.

Gordon Kinne

Gordon Kinne

President, Med-Pay, Inc.
B.S., Missouri State University
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: Gordon Kinne founded Med-Pay, Inc. in 1984. The company has since grown into one of the largest third-party administrators in Missouri’s insurance market.

Richard Ollis

Richard Ollis

CEO, Ollis/Akers/Arney
B.S., Missouri State University
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: Richard Ollis helped steer the company his great-grandfather founded through its transition to an entirely employee-owned model.
Big in 2022: Ollis says, “Being on the Springfield City Council has brought opportunities to grow and develop.” He’s looking forward to some big projects, including Grant Avenue Parkway, the daylighting of Jordan Valley Creek and new avenues for sports tourism. 

“Springfield is the ‘basecamp’ of the Ozarks and a well-kept secret. We have so much to offer—higher education (40,000 college students), healthcare (two top-50 hospital systems), a diverse business community, cool neighborhoods and many outdoor activities in the heart of the Ozarks hills.”
— Richard Ollis

LAW

David Agee

David Agee

Partner, Husch Blackwell , LLP
J.D., University of Missouri, Order of the Coif; B.S., Missouri State University
Returning, Seventh Year

The Essential: David Agee specializes in commercial airline and business aviation industry matters. Over the course of his career, he’s traveled all over the world, working on aircraft acquisition as well as airport-related issues and property taxation. 

Crista Hogan

Crista Hogan

Executive Director, Springfield Metropolitan Bar
J.D., University of Tulsa School of Law; B.BA., George Washington University 
Returning, Sixth Year
The Essential: As the leader of the Springfield Bar Association, Hogan feels proud of the organization’s work to help people attain education, housing and employment opportunities.
Big in 2022: In March, Hogan accepted the 2022 ATHENA Award from the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

Randell Wallace

Randell Wallace

Partner, Kutak Rock, LLP
J.D., Vanderbilt University Law School; B.A., Drury University
Returning, Sixth Year
The Essential: Randell Wallace tells us that he’s now in the busiest phase of his career. “Our firm’s little three-person mergers and acquisitions group here in Springfield has originated and closed almost $500 million in the last year and a half,” he says. 

MANUFACTURING

Bobby Allison

Bobby Allison

Editor's Note

Bobby Allison has been part of the Biz 100 list since its inception. He never answered our questions, except to request that we list his job title as “Flunky.” We’re going to miss that.

417-landers will always remember his contributions to kids’ enrichment, mental health programs, domestic violence prevention and other causes.

Allison was selected for the 2022 Biz 100 before his death in September. We hold this place in his honor.

Jerry Cook

Jerry Cook

CEO, Loren Cook Company
Returning, Second Year
The Essential: Loren Cook Company, which was founded by current CEO Jerry Cook’s father is known as one of the most important manufacturing employers in 417-land. It specializes in a range of air-moving products. 

JENA HOLTBERG-BENGE

Jena Holtberg-Benge

General Manager, John Deere Reman
M.I.M., Thunderbird School of Global Management; B.A., Vassar College
Returning, Second Year
The Essential: Holtberg-Benge tells us that in the last year, John Deere Reman has “integrated 23 new production lines and hired about 130 new people to support the integration of our drivetrain and hydraulic business. Although we are still in ramp-up mode, this is a significant accomplishment.”
Big in 2022: Holtberg-Benge co-chaired the United Way of the Ozarks campaign and also served as the chairperson of the Deere Employees Credit Union. She also sits on the board of the Springfield Business Development Corporation as the immediate past president and is part of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s legislative policy committee.

David Moore

David Moore

President/CEO, Paul Mueller Co.
M.B.A., University of Chicago; B.A., Middlebury College
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: David Moore leads the company his grandfather founded. Paul Mueller Co. now has locations all over the world, including Iowa, the Netherlands and Vietnam.

Joe Reynolds

Joe Reynolds

President, Central States Industrial (CSI)
B.S., Missouri State University
Returning, FourthYear
The Essential: Joe Reynolds has served as president of Central States Industrial since 2015. He also serves on the City Utilities Citizens’ Advisory Council, Ozark Technical Community College’s Corporate Advisory Board and in various roles in his church.

Jack Stack

Jack Stack

President/CEO, SRC Holdings Corp.
B.S., Elmhurst College
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: Many 417-land business leaders consider Jack Stack an inspiration or mentor. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Stack and his partners earned their credibility by transforming a failing business into a thriving one. They did it with an open-book management style that became the basis of his bestselling book, The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Business.

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS

Brett Curry

Brett Curry

CEO, OMG Commerce 
B.S., Missouri State University 
New
The Essential: Brett Curry founded OMG Commerce in 2010. It’s since grown to more than 50 employees with more than 100 clients worldwide. Curry says, “While I love our business, our team and our work, I’m more passionate about my family. I have eight amazing kids and a superhero wife.” He also loves the mission and impact of local nonprofit I Pour Life. 
Big in 2022: OMG Commerce earned the No. 1 spot in Biz 417’s Best Places to Work list—for the second year in a row.

NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS

Rob Blevins

Rob Blevins

Executive Director, Discovery Center of Springfield Inc.
B.S., Missouri State University
Returning, Third Year
The Essential: During his tenure as the leader of the Discovery Center, Blevins has expanded programs, founded the Discovery School and brought home the $1 million STOP Award, which was presented by the Center for Education Reform and Forbes.
Big in 2022: Blevins says this year has been about “taking on the hard stuff that got set aside during the pandemic,” and a renewed focus on serving low-income kids.

Erin Danastasio

Erin Danastasio

Executive Director, Hatch Foundation
B.S., University of Missouri
Returning, Second Year
The Essential: As the Executive Director of the Hatch Foundation, Erin Danastasio is known for supporting grass-roots and community-focused efforts, such as the Lake Springfield redevelopment project.
Big in 2022: Danastasio and other 417-land leaders to create the community event Celebrate Springfield, “designed to highlight the best that Springfield has to offer while removing barriers that prevent members of our community from experiencing it,” she says.

Hal Donaldson

Hal Donaldson

President/CEO, Convoy of Hope
B.A., Bethany University; B.A., San Jose University
Returning, Sixth Year
The Essential: Everyone in 417-land knows the nonprofit Hal Donaldson founded. For 20 years, Convoy of Hope has maintained the top rating from Charity Navigator. It’s ranked No. 48 on Forbes’s list of “America’s Top Charities.”
Big in 2022: Convoy of Hope has played a leadership role in providing aid to refugees from the war in Ukraine. In May, Convoy pledged to distribute more than 50 million meals to refugees from the war. 

Brian Fogle

Brian Fogle

President, Community Foundation of the Ozarks
M.B.A. and B.B.A., University of Mississippi
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: In addition to leading the Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO), Brian Fogle currently serves on the Good Community Committee, the Healthy Living Alliance, the Downtown Council of Champions, the Missouri Scholarship and Loan Foundation, the Missouri College Access Network and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.
Big in 2022: Fogle reports that this was CFO’s second-best year in terms of gifts and contributions, bringing in more than $72 million. “Our staff and donors brought a lot of help in a time of helplessness,” he says.

Brandy Harris

Brandy Harris

Chief Executive Officer, Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield
M.A., Missouri State University; B.A., Drury University
Returning, Third Year
The Essential: As a kid, Brandy Harris attended 13 different schools before moving to Springfield and joining Reed Academy. This life experience infuses her leadership of Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield with depth and compassion.
Big in 2022: Harris says, “The impact COVID-19 has had on our community’s youth is immeasurable, and we must work together to support them the way they need to be supported. 

“This place literally saved my life. Many of the people who live in 417-land care deeply about this community and understand the importance of civic engagement.”
— Brandy Harris

Mary Kromrey

Mary Kromrey

Executive Director, Ozark Greenways
M.S., Missouri State University; B.S., Arkansas State University
Returning, Third Year
The Essential: Any time you hit the trails that connect local neighborhoods and landmarks, you’re enjoying Mary Kromrey’s work.
Big in 2022: 417-landers are excited about the changes and upgrades coming to Fellows Lake.

Francine Pratt

Francine M. Pratt

Executive Director, Missouri College Access Network and Prosper Springfield, Co-owner, Queen City Soul Kitchen
B.S., University of Phoenix
Returning, Sixth Year
The Essential: Prosper Springfield, the organization Francine M. Pratt leads, grew out of a focused study of poverty’s causes and effects in this community. This year, after demonstrating progress on initial, five-year goals to reduce poverty in Springfield, Prosper Springfield outlined new recommendations to achieve further reductions in poverty by 2030.
Big in 2022: “It has been an honor serving the Springfield community,” Pratt says. “As I move into semi-retirement, I am enjoying passing the torch to our young professionals.” 

PUBLIC AND ELECTED OFFICIALS

Roy Blunt

Roy Blunt

U.S. Senator for Missouri
M.A., Missouri State University; B.A., Southwest Baptist University
Returning, Fifth Year
The Essential: Building on his background in public service and education, Roy Blunt was elected to the United States Senate in 2010. He has served as the chairman and now top Republican on the subcommittee that funds health programs. In that role, he has secured a total funding increase of more than 50% for the National Institutes of Health, providing significant increases for cancer and Alzheimer’s research. He’s also led efforts to increase access to mental health and addiction treatment.
Big in 2022: Blunt worked with Senator Debbie Stabenow to get the Excellence in Mental Health program, which has been underway in Missouri since 2016, expanded nationwide. He also successfully worked to secure $50 million for the new Ozarks Health and Life Science Center at Missouri State University’s Temple Hall.

David Cameron

David Cameron

City Administrator, City of Republic
B.S., John Brown University
Returning, Second Year
The Essential: As City Administrator, David Cameron plays a crucial role in Republic’s remarkable  growth. Since taking on the role in 2016, Cameron has helped the city execute nearly two million square feet and $300 million in development, along with $250 million in upgrades to the city’s infrastructure.

Gary Gibson

Gary Gibson

President/CEO, City Utilities of Springfield
B.S., Missouri S&T
Returning, Third Year
The Essential: As the leader of City Utilities, Gary Gibson shoulders the responsibility for keeping 320 square miles supplied with electricity, natural gas, water, broadband and public transportation services.
Big in 2022: Gibson is the co-chair of the 2022 United Way campaign and the Chair of the Boys & Girls Clubs safety committee.

Lincoln Hough

Lincoln P. Hough

Missouri State Senator, District 30
B.S., Missouri State University
Returning, Sixth Year
The Essential: Lincoln P. Hough has represented the 30th District since 2018. Prior to joining the Missouri Senate, he served as a Greene County commissioner and in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Big in 2022: “Exciting things are happening in our education fields, whether it’s K-12, higher education or the technical trainings,” Hough says. “They’re all working very hard to help the next generations be prepared for life.”

Ken McClure

Ken McClure

Mayor, City of Springfield
M.A., University of Missouri; B.A., Missouri State University
Returning, Sixth Year
The Essential: Ken McClure has served as Springfield’s mayor since 2017. His previous  experiences include serving as chief of staff and transition director for Gov. Matt Blunt and associate general manager-administration for City Utilities of Springfield. He was appointed by Gov. John Ashcroft as a member, and later chairman, of the Missouri Public Service Commission.
Big in 2022: McClure says he’s never felt his calling for public service more strongly than “during the past 12 months as I have had the privilege of witnessing countless individuals and organizations... selflessly giving of themselves to make our community better.”  

Matt Morrow

Matt Morrow

President/CEO, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce
M.B.A. and B.S., Southwest Baptist University
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: Matt Morrow became president and CEO of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce in 2014. He draws on his experience, including leadership of home builders associations in Springfield and Birmingham, Alabama. He also served as Missouri press secretary and district director for then-U.S. Senator John Ashcroft.

Michael Parson

Michael Parson

Governor, State of Missouri
Returning, Fifth Year
The Essential: The 57th Governor of Missouri, Michael Parson has given significant focus to issues like infrastructure and workforce development. His career in public service began in the early 1990s when he was elected Polk County sheriff.

Crystal Quade

Crystal Quade

District 132 Representative, Missouri House of Representatives; House Minority Floor Leader, 101st General Assembly
B.S.W., Missouri State University
Returning, Fifth Year
The Essential: Crystal Quade was first elected to represent parts of central and north Springfield in 2016.

Paul F. Williams

Paul F. Williams

Chief of Police, City of Springfield
M.S., Northeastern State University; B.S., Northern Michigan University
Returning, Second Year
The Essential: Paul F. Williams was sworn in as Springfield’s Chief of Police in 2010. He also serves on the boards of directors for Community Partnership of the Ozarks and Burrell Center for Behavioral Health and is engaged with a number of other community groups and councils.

REAL ESTATE
(RESIDENTIAL/COMMERCIAL/DEVELOPMET)

Michelle Cantrell

Michelle Cantrell

Owner/Broker, Cantrell Real Estate 
Returning, Second Year
The Essential: After many years in real estate, Cantrell launched her own company in 2021 with sales of more than $150 million. 
Big in 2022: Cantrell started a donation closet at Alternative Opportunities/Carol Jones Recovery Center for addiction treatment—part of her commitment to supporting 417-landers on the road to recovery. 

Jeff Childs

Jeff Childs

Senior Advisor, SVN/RANKIN Company
New
The Essential: Jeff Childs now has almost three decades of experience as a nationally recognized SVN commercial realtor. Around 417-land, he’s known for his depth and expertise in retail, office and industrial properties.

Sam M. Coryell

Sam M. Coryell 

President, Coryell Collaborative Group 
B.S., Missouri State University
New
The Essential: Coryell Collaborative Group has ownership/management of assets in five cities and four states—a total of 4,476 units. 
Big in 2022: The company broke ground on four developments, including the Heritage project in Springfield and properties in Joplin, Wichita, Kansas,  and Rogers, Arkansas.

Marco Denis

Marco Denis 

President, Springfield Property LLC and Plaza Towers
Returning, Second Year 
The Essential: Developer Marco Denis sparked a lot of excitement when he purchased the Plaza Towers building at the corner of Glenstone and Sunshine. It should be in good hands; Denis has restored more than 250 homes in Springfield.
Big in 2022: 417-landers loved it when Denis revealed a new LED billboard on the top of Plaza Towers—just one sign of the property’s revitalization.

Bryan Magers

Bryan Magers 

Owner/President, Bryan Properties Management 
University of Missouri 
New
The Essential: It’s been one of Bryan Properties’ biggest years ever. Bryan Magers’s company currently has projects in various phases of construction across 417-land, as well as in Rogers, Arkansas, Fort Smith, Arkansas, and in the Waco, Texas, metropolitan area. These projects include luxury apartments, unique hotel concepts and student housing.

Matt Miller

Matt Miller 

Owner, Miller Commerce
Returning, Second Year
The Essential: Matt Miller launched Miller Commerce in 2002. The company has since become known for bringing new concepts to the Springfield market, particularly ones targeted to residents over 50.

Patrick Murney

Patrick Murney 

Owner, Murney Associates, Realtors 
B.S., Missouri State University 
Returning, Seventh Year 
The Essential: Murney leads the largest brokerage in 417-land, something he says still takes him by surprise. “We simply wanted to provide a level of service that exceeded our clients’ expectations, and I think we’ve done that,” he says. 
Big in 2022: It’s the 25th anniversary for Murney Associates, and Murney says, “If I had the chance to do it all over again, I absolutely would.”

“As someone who started their own company 25 years ago (this year!), I don’t think I could have picked a better community to invest in. When you have something valuable to offer that improves someone’s life, the people will welcome you with open arms. This has been the case for us over the years, and if I had the chance to do it all over again, I absolutely would.”
— Patrick Murney

Ross Murray

Ross Murray 

President, R.B. Murray Company
New
The Essential: At R.B. Murray Company, Ross Murray has built a reputation for working on big transactions like the Town and County Shopping Plaza, the French Quarter Plaza and the Super Center Plaza Shopping Center.

Ryan Murray

Ryan Murray 

CEO, R.B. Murray Company 
New
The Essential: Ryan Murray oversees R.B. Murray Company’s property management and receivership divisions. He specializes in the sale and leasing of office, retail and industrial properties. Murray serves as a director on the OTC Foundation Board and the Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast Board.

Debbie Shantz Hart

Debbie Shantz Hart 

Principal, DHTC Development, LLC/Housing Plus, LLC/HP Construction 
J.D., University of Missouri; B.S., Missouri State University 
Returning, Sixth Year 
The Essential: Following a career in real estate law, Debbie Shantz Hart founded Housing Plus, LLC and DHTC Development, LLC. She says the COVID-19 era has created unique challenges for construction, especially for companies that focus on developing affordable housing. “It has been very challenging this year to complete projects within budget,” she says. “The strain is real, and it must change.” 

Tom Rankin

Tom Rankin

Owner, Rankin Development 
B.S., Missouri State University
Returning, Seventh Year 
The Essential: Tom Rankin founded his own real estate brokerage in 1990, and in 2006, the company affiliated with SVN. He’s become known as one of 417-land’s most prolific developers.

Stephanie Stenger

Stephanie Stenger 

CEO, Springfield Land LP
J.D., University of Southern California; B.S., University of Missouri
Returning, Sixth Year 
The Essential: Stephanie Stenger is passionate about developing 417-land. She’s had an up-close perspective on the community since the 1990s, when she began working for her father’s businesses. She now operates one of those businesses, Springfield Land LP, with her brother. She’s also part owner of The Farmer’s Wife, a medical marijuana dispensary.

DUAL POWER PLAY

John Griesemer

John Griesemer   

President/CEO, Erlen Group 
B.S. Purdue University
Returning, Seventh Year

Christina Angle

Christina Angle  

CFO/Vice President of Group Services, Erlen Group
B.S., Washington and Lee University
Returning, Third Year

The Essential: John Griesemer and Christina Angle are leading their family’s business, Erlen Group, into the future. 
Why We Selected Them as a Power Play: Erlen Group supplied part of the match that helped Springfield secure $1.5 million in federal funding for improvements to LeCompte Road.

RETAIL

Audrey Garard

Audrey Garard

Owner, Grooms Office Environments
B.S., Missouri State University
Returning, Third Year

The Essential: Garard says that Grooms continues to expand its offerings and services. Because it’s a small business, she says it’s able to pivot with nimbleness. With many clients, she says, “We have moved from a vendor relationship to more of a partnership.”
Big in 2022: Garard serves on the Foster Adopt Connect Board and the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools and volunteers at Safe to Sleep. 

Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson

CEO/Co-president, O’Reilly Auto Parts
B.S., Tennessee Tech University
Returning, Third Year
The Essential: Greg Johnson considers his move to Springfield “a leap of faith” and “the best decision of my career.” In his leadership role at O’Reilly Auto Parts, he loves coaching and mentoring employees.

Johnny Morris

Johnny Morris

POWER PLAY

CEO/Founder, Bass Pro Shops
B.A., Drury University
Returning, Seventh Year

Why We Selected Him as a Power Play: Bass Pro Founder Johnny Morris opened a new attraction at his Big Cedar Lodge resort. Thunder Ridge Nature Arena is a 20,000-seat amphitheater. In September, Thunder Ridge kicked off its performance schedule with a Garth Brooks concert.

Abigail Pinegar-Rose

Abigail Pinegar-Rose

Entrepreneur, Pinegar Chevrolet Buick GMC–Branson; Pinegar Chevrolet–Republic; Pinegar Land & Cattle, CATAA Properties; Wildwood Plaza
B.S., Missouri State University
Returning, Second Year

The Essential: Abbi Pinegar-Rose’s diverse set of business interests includes the Pinegar auto dealerships as well as commercial and mixed-use real estate developments across 417-land. She’s also a member of the Missouri Lottery Commission, which performs supervisory duties for the state lottery.
Big in 2022: Pinegar-Rose broke ground on Highroad Storage, a new gated project in Branson that will feature drive-through units and ones that can accommodate RVs and boats. She’s also in the planning stages for a new development in Republic.

Jeffrey Russell

Jeffrey W. Russell

President/CEO, Russell Cellular, Inc.
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: Since transitioning from turkey farming to selling Alltel wireless phones, Jeffrey W. Russell and his wife Kym have grown Russell Cellular into an organization with more than 750 locations across 43 states.
Big in 2022: Russell’s son, Jeven Russell, was recently promoted to co-president. Father and son will share responsibilities in managing and leading the company into the future. 

TECHNOLOGY

Thomas Douglas

Thomas H. Douglas

POWER PLAY

CEO, JMARK Business Solutions, Inc.; Author, Adapt or Die
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: Thomas H. Douglas worked his way up the JMARK ranks. He purchased the company in 2001.
Why We Selected Him as a Power Play: Douglas published Adapt or Die, which became an Amazon bestseller in seven categories. He also launched Own the Journey on YouTube. It features interviews with 417-land leaders, including Biz 100 honorees Brad Erwin and Jack Stack.

David Foss

David Foss

Board Chair/President/CEO, Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.
B.S., Minnesota State University
Returning, Fifth Year
The Essential: David Foss joined Jack Henry in 1999. He came to the company with many decades of experience in financial services. Foss assumed the role of president in 2014 and was named CEO in 2016.  

Doug Pitt

Doug Pitt

POWER PLAY

Founder/Co-owner, Pitt Technology Group; Owner/Developer, Pitt Development Group LLD; Founder, Care to Learn
B.S., Missouri State University
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: In 2008, Tech CEO Doug Pitt founded Care to Learn to support kids who were struggling with hunger and poverty.
Why We Selected Him as a Power Play: This year, Care to Learn marked 2 million needs met. “Care to Learn wasn’t something that I set out to do,” Pitt says. “It was something that I knew was going to happen as soon as I heard the stories about children in my hometown who were suffering. I heard about how simple the fixes were, and I knew I could be a part of the solution."

TRAVEL & TOURISM

Jack Herschend

Jack Herschend

Co-founder/Co-owner, Herschend Enterprises
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: Jack Herschend founded Herschend Enterprises with his brother, Peter. For the first 50 years of the company’s history, he served as the company’s chairman, president and CEO. 

Peter Herschend

Peter Herschend

Co-founder/Co-owner, Herschend Enterprises
B.S., University of Missouri
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: Peter Herschend co-founded Herschend Enterprises with his brother, Jack, and served as its executive vice president of marketing and as vice-chairman. In 2018, he was inducted into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame.
Big in 2022: In February, Herschend delighted the crowd at Biz 417’s Think Summit when, despite being snowed in, he Zoomed in to address the conference.

Mary Kellogg-Joslyn

Mary Kellogg-Joslyn

President/COO/Co-owner, Titanic Museum Attractions
Returning, Sixth Year
The Essential: Mary Kellogg-Joslyn spent 10 years at CBS and 20 years at Walt Disney Co. before founding Titanic Museum Attractions. Her TV know-how helps make the immersive Titanic experience a huge draw for 417-land tourists. “The concept is the same,” she says. “When you do a television show it has to be perfect for your viewers, and when you open your doors at a museum, it has to be perfect for your guests.”

John McQueary

John McQueary

Co-developer/Co-owner, Hotel Vandivort; Founder, Springfield Identity Project 
B.S., Missouri S&T
Returning, Seventh Year
The Essential: John McQueary’s Hotel Vandivort is known for wowing guests.  Since opening in 2015, it’s become a centerpiece of downtown Springfield.
Big in 2022: McQueary played a leadership role in the efforts to adopt the new Springfield flag. After nearly five years, the flag became official in March.

Karen McQueary

Karen McQueary

Co-owner, Hotel Vandivort
B.A., Missouri State University
Returning, 
Fifth Year
The Essential: Karen McQueary’s vision and design skills are central to the welcoming, boutique atmosphere that 417-landers love at the Hotel Vandivort.
Big in 2022: McQueary serves on the board of the historic Gillioz Theatre. 

Dan Reiter

Dan Reiter

Vice President/General Manager, Springfield Cardinals
B.S., University of Missouri
Returning, Second Year
The Essential: It’s been a great year at Hammons Field with new promotions like “Thirsty Thursdays” drink specials for Thursday night home games. “Our suite and all-inclusive sales are the highest since 2008,” Reiter says.
Big in 2022: Reiter’s enjoying serving as head coach of his son’s baseball team.

Megan Stack

Megan Stack

POWER PLAY

Foundation & Philanthropy Advisor, Bass Pro Shops
M.A., University of Washington Evans School; B.A., University of Colorado
Returning, Fourth Year
The Essential: Megan Stack continues to develop showstopping retail and hospitality destinations.
Why We Selected Her as a Power Play: Stack is making Finley Farms into a one-of-a-kind experience for leisure and fun. With a calendar full of workshops and outdoor activities, plus the opening of the new speakeasy-themed The Garrison, Stack keeps 417-landers coming back to Finley Farms for more.

Brad Thomas

Brad Thomas

President, Silver Dollar City Attractions
M.B.A. and B.S., Missouri State University
Returning, Sixth Year
The Essential: Brad Thomas has spent more than three decades with one of 417-land’s favorite destinations: Silver Dollar City. He describes our region as “a great place to do life. We have the benefits of city life, but are also able to live an work in a region filled with scenic beauty, plenty of activities and lots of great ways and places to serve others.”

Craig Wescott

Craig Wescott

President, The Track Family Fun Parks
M.B.A. and B.B.A., Baylor University
Returning, Fourth Year
The Essential: “Our company has a strong two-generation culture and a long legacy of over 40 years in Branson,” says Craig Wescott. “We are now the legacy company of Five Star Parks and Attractions, which has grown from three parks in Branson to 17 parks in nine states.” 

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