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2015 Men of the Year Honoree: Tom Fowler III

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When Tom Fowler III began working for his father, Tom Fowler Jr., at the bank he started – State Bank of Southwest Missouri – in 1999, he found his true calling.

“Although I did not understand it when it first began, my true business passion is working for my father,” said Fowler, senior vice president at State Bank.

Fowler’s professional career began eight years prior in radio sales, production and broadcasting with stations including KWTO and KTXR while still an undergraduate at Drury University. While obtaining his juris doctorate from the University of Tulsa, Fowler worked as a student lawyer for the college’s department of legal aid and as a graduate assistant coach for the women’s basketball team. He returned to Springfield and continued his law career with Fitzsimmons, Schroeder & Nelson PC and Evans & Green LLP before joining the bank.

Fowler not only followed his father into banking but also into politics. Aside from assisting Fowler Jr. while serving as chairman of the Missouri Republican Party in the 1980s and 1990s, the younger Fowler served as campaign chairman and treasurer for multiple candidates including state senators and representatives, Greene County judges and officials as well as local school board members. He also served as campaign treasurer for Sen. Jay Wasson and Springfield City Councilwoman Kristi Fulnecky.

“I eagerly provide support to friends,” Fowler said. “I strongly believe that by being involved in local politics we can influence the type of community in which we live and work.”

In 2011, Fowler founded event management business Christian Media Ministries Inc. Last year the nonprofit company hosted a Christian rock concert, The Battle of the Bands, at First & Calvary Presbyterian Church in Springfield. Fowler said the company partnered with Springfield-based booking event service Gig Salad to fill 11 slots for the show with musical acts.

“We showcase, educate and encourage individuals to use their God-given gifts,” he says. “After the show, one of the band members hugged me and started crying. I was very touching to hear the money from the winner’s purse was an answer to a prayer and that the show was a life changing event.”

As board member of the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Foundation, which supports the park by buying land around the battlefield to create a buffer zone, Fowler satisfies his love of military history. While thinking out the box for an event to inspire the community, the group decided to host a long distance run. This year, Fowler serves as race director of the nonprofit group’s Bloody Hill 8K run fundraiser.

“The race was certified and we partnered with Bass Pro Shops as an outdoor initiative race,” he says.

Athletics also is one of Fowler’s passions. Fowler, along with Springfield City Attorney Dan Wichmer, helped found the Springfield Soccer Club’s girl’s soccer academy. He has served as director and coach of the Greenwood Laboratory School Futbol Club and as coach of Hickory Hills Middle School’s soccer team.

 A Parkview High School graduate, Fowler helped create and organize the Hall of Fame Classic Basketball Tournament. Fowler also founded and coached the Blue Angels girls’ basketball club at the Fieldhouse Sportscenter.

“I was elated when Evangel University three-time All-American Ashlee Luko agreed to coach the girls,” Fowler said. “In my opinion, with girls of this age, a female role model is a better influence than a dad.”


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