Springfield, MO

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2014 Men of the Year Honoree: Gary Schafer

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Gary Schafer can talk about several career high points, but the one that sticks out is achieving partner at BKD LLP in 2007.

“Any individual who becomes a partner in a professional organization has reason to be proud,” he says. “I feel especially fortunate to have had the opportunity to do so at BKD, which is truly a remarkable firm to be a part of and one that is committed to play a continuing role in the fabric of our community.”

Schafer graduated in 1996 from Missouri State University and is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Institute of Certified Management Accountants. He is a leader of the commercial audit practice for BKD’s southern Missouri offices and is a partner in BKD National Manufacturing & Distribution Group.

“This involves leading sales efforts, collaborating with other leaders on the team to ensure our manufacturing clients are getting the highest level of service and organizing training and specialized skill development opportunities for team members,” Schafer says.

With more than 17 years of experience providing audit and advisory services to manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, Schafer works with private equity-owned businesses, publicly traded companies and largely privately held enterprises. He coordinates the implementation of new tools and services to ensure the best value for clients, and is one of three practice partners appointed to BKD’s firmwide accounting and auditing committee, one of the firm’s highest technical steering committees.

As a partner at BKD, Schafer is charged with mentoring younger staff.

“It is my privilege to help the incredibly talented young professionals that I work alongside (to) develop and achieve their professional goals,” he says. “One way I can do this is by creating opportunities for them to step up and take on additional responsibilities and leadership roles.”

Schafer helped develop The Network, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s group for young professionals ages 21 to 39, and served as the first board chairman. In conjunction, he was appointed to serve one term on the chamber’s board of directors.

Schafer is a charter member of the board of directors for the Springfield Metro Rotary Club and led strategic planning when the organization was starting out.

He also has experience serving the board for the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks, and he has helped with several faith-based projects at his church.

For the past nine years, Schafer has served in several capacities on the board of the Southern Missouri Region of the American Red Cross. During his tenure, the area served by the Springfield-based organization has more than doubled to cover the southern half of the state, and the regional chapter has received national recognition for excellence. Schafer counts his time on the board during the 2011 Joplin tornado as especially rewarding.

“It was utterly humbling to see the lifesaving and life-changing work the volunteers ... did in the minutes, hours, days and weeks following (the tornado),” he says. “It is incredibly gratifying to be a small part of the very large and capable team that works hard every day to enable the Red Cross to be ready to respond to disasters.”[[In-content Ad]]


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