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2015 40 Under 40 Honoree: Ryan DeBoef

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Access to Missouri State University President Clif Smart goes through Ryan DeBoef.

As MSU chief of staff, DeBoef is Smart’s right-hand man tasked with managing the president’s schedule and coordinating projects as he assigns. Last summer, when Smart was searching for a successor to longtime Chief of Staff Paul Kincaid, he called DeBoef’s name.

“I serve as an adviser to the president of the university, handle a portion of executive communications, manage many internal and external relationships that are important to the university, and handle special projects and initiatives,” says DeBoef, who was promoted from the position of MSU’s legal counsel.

DeBoef sits in on all cabinet-level meetings, paying attention to key inquiries or concerns raised. He is then responsible to form work groups and gather satisfactory answers.

He also runs governmental relations activities for the school, and DeBoef says he’s updated MSU’s strategy by incorporating more personal relationships with legislators and centralizing legislative tracking and fiscal note responses.

“In this role, I coordinate the university’s legislative goals,” he says, “and I establish and maintain relationships with legislators, the governor’s office and a variety of administrative agencies.”

Both Smart and DeBoef have legal backgrounds and share a law school accomplishment: a grade point average of 3.95 or better. Smart was a high honors graduate from the University of Arkansas in 1986, and DeBoef was first in his class at University of Missouri in 2005.

A member of the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association, DeBoef also serves on the federal bench and bar committee and the nonpartisan court plan committee.

He’s tuned in to legislative actions and helps set priorities for the school and the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I currently chair the chamber’s government relations committee, which is the chamber’s largest committee and requires an intensive time commitment,” says DeBoef, who also served as chairman of the chamber’s Next Generation Task Force in 2010.

A rural Iowa native, DeBoef graduated from Evangel University in 2002 and returned to Springfield with his MU law degree in hand. After working three years as a law clerk for federal Judge Richard Dorr and as a senior associate attorney for Husch Blackwell LLP, he settled in at MSU as its legal counsel in September 2011.

DeBoef’s work impacts the school’s bottom line. For instance, he served on the team that negotiated a new health plan that saves MSU about $2.6 million a year.

“He is typically the youngest member of such groups yet is able to lead them effectively because of his knowledge and the leadership skills he has developed,” Smart says of DeBoef. “I chose him … because of the strong leadership and organizational abilities that he possesses.”[[In-content Ad]]

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