Springfield, MO

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2013 Men of the Year Honoree: Tom Kissee

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Land is Tom Kissee’s lifeblood.

After graduating with a degree in animal science from Oklahoma State University, Kissee started ranching land that stretched back to his great-grandfather and had been in the family for more than a century.

Having never worked for anyone but himself, Kissee quickly learned leaders embrace change. For him, that meant developing a strategic vision to move business forward while honoring his family’s long legacy. So when Kissee saw Springfield’s boundaries spreading through South Creek Development Corp he turned his family’s land on the city’s southwest side into the large development of Marlborough Manor.

“For 28 years, I have provided leadership by helping thousands of people enjoy the American dream of home ownership,” he says, adding South Creek has developed more than 750 homes thus far.  “In establishing and leading South Creek Development, I have clearly shown foresight and creativity, turning raw ranch land into a beautiful subdivision with all of its amenities.”

Kissee also owns Tom Kissee Real Estate Co., which recorded more than $13 million in sales last year.

“My proudest accomplishment to date has been my ability to carry on the heritage and tradition of my seven-generation Springfieldian family,” he says. “My dedication to the farming and ranching industry is a direct reflection of my family’s vocational heritage.”

Kissee owns more than 750 acres of ranchland in Lawrence County and employs three people to raise more than 300 head of cattle a year. And as co-owner and operator of the Springfield Livestock Marketing Center, Kissee is the fourth generation involved in the business. He was instrumental in modernizing the operation when the downtown stockyards were nearing closure after 100 years in operation.

“I initiated the relocation, design and construction of southwest Missouri’s newest and most state-of-the-art livestock merchandising facility, which pumps more than $140 million into the local economy every year,” he says. “I am particularly proud to be a co-owner alongside my father, who has been in the business for more than 50 years.”

Kissee aims to be a servant leader.

“In both real estate and ranching, there are no set hours. I make myself available constantly to those who need help and encourage my employees to do the same, constantly going beyond the call of duty to see others succeed,” he explains. “Success is never without hardship, sacrifice and risk. I have proven this time and again, weathering trends, recessions and hard times. As a result, I’ve reveled in the sweet joy of sharing success with those I love, only after experiencing the challenges of getting there. I consistently strive to surround myself with quality, dedicated people to help and advise me and have been blessed with a very large ‘family’ willing to sacrifice for success.”

Kissee’s off-hour pursuits include agriculture as well, having moved from a youth participant in the Ozark Empire Fair to volunteering for the Ozark Empire Fair Foundation. He is a founding member and past president of the foundation and helped start the annual Gold Buckle Gala fundraiser. He’s in his third term as board president for the fair.

“My civic involvement makes clear where my heart lies – the heritage and tradition of my family, this area and the field of ranching agriculture.”[[In-content Ad]]


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