Jerry Parnell joined A Plus Payroll as director of business development. With 10 years of sales and marketing experience, Parnell sells human resources and labor management services.

Thane Kifer, CEO and chairman of the board of Farmers State Bank in Bolivar, was appointed to the board of directors at South Padre Bank in Padre Island, Texas. Kifer, a Farmers Bank employee since 2007, has nearly 30 years of banking experience.

Douglas Burnett was named president of First Community Bank of the Ozarks in Branson and a member of the board of directors. Burnett has 25 years of experience with banking in southern Missouri.

First Community Bank of the Ozarks promoted Craig Combs to senior vice president and senior lender and as an advisory director to the board. Combs is a five-year bank employee in Branson.

Ozark Bank filled three positions. Scott Franklin joined the bank as a commercial loan officer. He received his bachelor’s in finance and banking from the University of Arkansas. Kyle Purdome joined the bank as a credit analyst and loan review officer. He earned his bachelor’s in general business with an emphasis on bank management and financial analysis from Missouri State University. Ryan Sutherland joined Ozark Bank as vice president. Sutherland, who received his bachelor’s in business administration from College of the Ozarks, is responsible for business development and lending at the bank’s Nixa branch.

Kendal Dingus was promoted to banking center manager and retail officer of Empire Bank’s Ozark South facility. Dingus, who holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from MSU, is responsible for managing bank operations and business development.

The U.S. Department of Education renewed MSU’s Upward Bound Federal Grant through 2017. The grant serves high school students from low-income families and from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree.