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2011 40 Under 40 Honoree: Billy Kimmons

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Architect Billy Kimmons believes that rather than taking charge and staying busy, he leads by setting an example for others and inspiring people to do their best. He challenges himself regularly to consider how what he does – either at work or in the community – is making a positive impact.

“I love to see lives changed for the better,” says Kimmons, who launched BK Architects LLC in 2008. “The thing I am most proud of right now is my architecture firm. I am still in business after two and a half years, and this affords me the ability to impact this change in my projects and for my family.”

Among his notable projects are Vineyard Church, Parkview High School, a campus ministry center at College of the Ozarks and an Embassy Suites in St. Charles.

Kimmons says his leadership philosophy is shaped by a speech he heard by businessman Jack Shewmaker, who said true leadership comes by setting up others to succeed.

“As I approach leadership in my activities and civic involvement, I am constantly reminded of (his) advice, and I challenge myself to equip those who I lead with the tools necessary to succeed. In the end, everyone wins,” Kimmons says. “In all that I do, leadership is demonstrated in the way that I encourage those on my team.”

Kimmons, a Drury University graduate, is an active community volunteer, because when he sees a need, he is confident that he can help make a difference.

A recent example is when Urban Districts Alliance asked the local architecture community to build a sculpture out of cans to promote the First Night celebration on New Year’s eve and highlight the food drive to be held that evening. Kimmons seized the opportunity, putting together a team of creative volunteers.

“The result drew people together to work collectively and helped promote humanitarian services in our community,” he says. “It truly embodied the theme for the night, which was ‘One Night! One City! One World!’”

Kimmons is chairman of the The Summit Preparatory School Advisory Board. He served on the steering committees of The Network – a young professionals organization started by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce – and Springfield Symphony’s Crescendo. Kimmons says his goal, however, isn’t to garner praise for himself.

“I have attended events before and listened to people talk about how to successfully market yourself and become a better networker (in an effort to) broaden your influence,” he says. “The one thing that gets left out, however, is where I think it should begin. If your motive is not genuine and you do not truly care about someone and whether they succeed, then all your charisma and charm is nothing but self-serving. It is not always easy to put others first, but I have found that when I do, I am giving them the opportunity to succeed.”

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