If the idiom is true that variety is the spice of life, then this 2019 class has some kick to it.
Among the 12 People You Need to Know is a U.S. attorney, an NCAA Division I basketball coach, a farmer/agritourism entrepreneur, a city manager, a social entrepreneur and a historian of local African-American culture. And that’s just half of the bunch.
This is a milestone year for the editorial series that’s capped off by monthly live interviews over breakfast. It’s our 12th year highlighting the 12 People. The objective is to tell the stories of those doing important work in our community and to make connections with top-level businesspeople that otherwise might not be possible. We provide the context for a handshake, and you can take it from there.
Our first year was in 2008. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and look at some of those interview selections. I’ll update you on where they are now.
Mark McFatridge had just moved to Springfield for the top local post for Regions Bank. He’s now out of banking, living in Arkansas and bringing a Hurts Donut Co. franchise to Little Rock.
Sarah Kerner was the legal counsel for Springfield-Branson National Airport. She remains in a city role but now as economic development director.
Josh Nixon surprised me by accepting our invitation when he was a special agent for the FBI. I found him on LinkedIn, now working as director of global investigative governance for Walmart Inc.
Still in the president’s seat for Convoy of Hope, Hal Donaldson is leading the humanitarian nonprofit into its 25th year in 2019. And Steve Childers remains at the helm of the city of Ozark, which is nearing 20,000 residents.
Jerry Henry was corporate director of research for Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. He now co-owns a company, H2R Market Research, and Herschend Family Entertainment is a client.
See the full list of 12 People from past years here.
What I appreciate about this series is that, in a moment in time, we make connections for businesspeople that change the future.
Can’t help but wonder where Jody Dow, a social entrepreneur through the Springfield Dream Center, will be in the next decade. Or the condition of the city of Springfield under the direction of new City Manager Jason Gage. Or how many businesses (and business partners) serial entrepreneur Josh Widner will have amassed through his bar and restaurant concepts; he had four at last count with more in the pipeline.
But first, 2019.
Arvest Bank is back as annual sponsor of the series – where it’s been since the first year. We’ll be back at Hilton Garden Inn for the breakfast events – the third Tuesday of every month.
I’ll see you there.
Springfield Business Journal Editorial Director can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bike enthusiast Cody Stringer is betting his bike share nonprofit will lead to a more bike-friendly city.
As employees are more mobile and have a desire to work from home, Haden Long owner of Ellecor, explains office spaces are trending towards a more home-like feel. Things like shared work spaces, office pets, and cozy furnishings allow employees to be selective about where they work and become more effective as a result.
Every industry has to navigate trend shifts, but Scott Shotts of Missouri Spirits describes the changes in beverage industry as anarchy. Tried-and-true spirits rules are being ignored. Learn how the local distillery balances following the trends for product development with taking risks.
Kevin Wyas, founder of ECRI, started his first business at the age of 19, ran the business for 16 years before selling it. He recognizes the benefits of starting a business so young when he had relatively little to lose. "The stress and the uncertainty of this would be crippling," he says for somebody accustomed to a regular paycheck.
ighty percent of questions are common across industries, so you don't need industry-specific experience to do effective market research according to Debra Kassarjian, independent consultant and owner of DKInsights. As a matter of fact, she thinks there is a great deal to be gained from exchanging ideas outside of your industry.
Danny Collins, 37 North founder and guide, says the biggest leap they took in the first year was to purchase a vehicle. That major financial investment, however, allowed them to provide their outdoor guide services at a price point they felt was more appropriate.
Springfield Diner owner Ömer Önder sits down with a restaurant consultant who starts challenging the menu offerings."No bashful food." The blunt conversation is the launching off point to determine how the Mediterranean influence will affect the young restaurant's offerings in the future. Made to Order is an ongoing sbjLive documentary series in collaboration with Springfield Business Journal tracking the rebranding of a local restaurant.
Haden Long, owner of Ellecor, opened a retail home decor business five years ago in a traditional retail space. When the interior design side of the business took off, she decided to renovate a 100-year old bungalow to better show off product samples and installations.
Scott Shotts, partner with Missouri Spirits, says when they started in 2011 there were approximately 300 distilleries in the U.S. and now there are more than 3,000 so competition has grown significantly. Diversification of their business model has helped them succeed.
Matthew Blystone of Theta Float Spa had the financial means to start the unique business, but used crowdsourcing for pre-orders to determine market interest in addition to gathering a nice cash reserve before opening.
Avery Parrish with the Springfield Regional Arts Council explains how businesses can display local art in their spaces for a fraction of the price of investing in a permanent collection. The corporate partnership program allows a business to select from a customized portfolio of local artists' work curated based on the company's mission and aesthetic that can be switched out every six or 12 months.