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2012 40 Under 40 Honoree: Brent Kembell

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Banker Brent Kembell is a builder of sorts, serving in leadership roles that help grow his company, improve his community and enhance his professional development.

Kembell is a vice president in the commercial banking division of UMB Bank, which he joined in 2007.

However, Kembell started his career in accounting as an instructor at Missouri State University’s branch campus in Dalian, China.

The certified public accounted returned to Springfield to join Kirkpatrick, Phillips & Miller, CPAs PC, and later became a founding board member of Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s International Business Council.

 “I have heard people refer to accounting as a foreign language,” Kembell says. “When I was an instructor in China, I was teaching accounting in English to students for whom English was not their first language.”

Kembell says his proudest professional achievement was being able to use his educational and accounting background to transition to a career in commercial banking.

The move seems to have been a good one: In 2008, Kembell picked up not only the bankwide UMB Rookie of the Year Award, but also the UMB Regional Relationship of the Year Award. He also scored a spot on the 2009 Chairman’s Trip, which he says is the highest honor UMB bestows on its sales associates.

In 2011, he was recognized as the UMB Greater Missouri Commercial Metro Top Performer, and he was part of a team that won the regional One UMB Award, namely for work with a global humanitarian and disaster-response not-for profit organization.

Kembell now mentors younger team members at UMB, letting them take the lead on sales calls and tutoring them on reading and understanding financial statements.

“I know from experience how helpful it is to have a mentor when you are learning a new position, or in my case, learning an entirely new field,” Kembell says.    

Kembell is particularly passionate about his local and national level involvement with the Institute of Management Accountants, sitting on the regional board and serving as president of the Greater Ozarks Chapter 2009–11. “I am currently on the planning board for the annual IMA regional two-day continuing education seminar in Springfield,” he says.

A volunteer coach for Branson High School boys’ tennis, Kembell also is an instructor at Ozarks Regional YMCA.

 “My identical twin brother and I have led an advanced cross-training conditioning class at the YMCA for the past five years,” he adds.

The class has grown to nearly 50 and now sells T-shirts as a fundraiser for the YMCA Strong Kids Foundation, raising more than $3,000 to date.

Click here for full coverage of the 2012 40 Under 40.

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