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Newsmakers: May 6-12, 2019

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Banking and Finance
Ozark Bank hired Tim Austin as senior vice president and commercial lender at its Nixa branch. With a background in agricultural lending and 30 years of banking experience, he most recently worked at Legacy Bank & Trust Co. in Sparta. Austin is responsible for the cultivation of new business relationships, loan portfolio management and community involvement.

Commerce Bank was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the World’s Best Banks for 2019 and ranked second among Missouri-based banks. Out of 415 banks in 23 countries on the list, Commerce Bank ranked 41st in the nation. Forbes surveyed more than 40,000 customers and evaluated banks on trust, customer service, digital services, terms and conditions, and financial advice.

Greg DeLong, senior vice president and financial adviser at Morgan Stanley’s Springfield Wealth Management office, was named to Forbes Magazine’s 2019 list of America’s Best-in-State Wealth Advisors, ranking No. 36 in Missouri.

Construction
Branco Enterprises Inc. earned a second-place finish for safety excellence in the General Contractor Division during the Midwest Construction Safety Conference & Expo in Blue Springs. Branco was selected by a panel of five independent judges during the 12th annual program.

Education
The Missouri Association of School Administrators selected Springfield Public Schools Superintendent John Jungmann for the 2019 Robert L. Pierce Award. A committee of peers selected him from nominees in each of the eight MASA districts. Jungmann, who joined SPS in 2014, was noted as students in learning through project-based environments and developing the Envisioning Excellence process to involve community members.

Nixa Public Schools selected David Kelly as head principal for Nixa High School, Josh Bennett as assistant principal for High Pointe Elementary and Emily Myers as assistant principal at John Thomas School of Discovery and Inman Intermediate. Kelly succeeds Mark McGehee, who was promoted to executive director of human resources. Bennett follows Mandy Beckler, who was hired as principal of Logan-Rogersville’s primary school. Myers succeeds Garrett Lowder, who was hired as director of academic services for the Marshfield school district.

Hospitality
TripAdvisor recognized the Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks as a Top 25 Small Hotel in the U.S. in its 2019 Travelers’ Choice Awards. Winners in eight categories were determined by millions of reviews and opinions from travelers around the globe.

The Keeter Center’s Dobyns Dining Room was named Best Branson-Area Restaurant by 417 Magazine. It also took second place for Best Place for Brunch and Best Restaurant Service in the Best of 417 2019: Food & Drink.

TripAdvisor named Branson to its top U.S. destinations for 2019, the eighth time the city has been on the list. Branson ranked 19th, ahead of Seattle, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. New York City ranked first, followed by Maui and Oahu in Hawaii.

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Medical District received the InterContinental Hotels Group 2018 Torchbearer Award. It’s one of 216 American hotels chosen out of 5,300 IHG properties systemwide, based on guest experiences and customer satisfaction ratings. 

Human Resources
HR Advantage LLC hired Elizabeth Hurst as business development manager to cultivate relationships with employers to assess their human resource needs. She served the past five years as development manager for the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.

Labor
The Western Missouri and Kansas Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust named Laura Wagner as director. She serves as a liaison between the Laborer’s International Union of North America and signatory companies in collective bargaining agreements. Wagner has 20 years of experience in marketing, public relations and business development.

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