Springfield, MO

2017 40 Under 40 Honoree: Derek Smith, 37

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Derek Smith is known to don the form-fitting suit and cape of one of the most famous super heroes in comic book and film history. Known as Springfield Batman, Smith is the founder of Project Bat, an organization that collects toys for children at local hospitals. He shows up in costume to drive the effect home. Smith can relate to the children, having been born half deaf and suffering chronic migraines growing up. “Childhood is a time for being carefree, exploring the world and playing, but unfortunately for some children, childhood also is a time of hurt, illness and disease,” he says. “The opportunity to meet Batman is a highlight in the hospital stay for most of the children.” By day, Smith is community director at Farmers Park, where he turned a 70 percent residential occupancy rate into 100 percent in three months. He brings with him three years of experience as community director of Blue Block Lofts, where he maintained 100 percent occupancy of five properties for three straight years.

What was your first job? Bass Pro Shops

What is your theme song? “Batman,” the 1989 version by Danny Elfman

What was your professional “aha” moment?
Dec. 12 I received the key to the city. That day is now known as Springfield Batman Day.

What is your most treasured possession? Creativity is my most treasured possession.

Top secret alias if you worked for the CIA? Bruce Wayne, duh


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