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2016 40 Under 40 Yearbook: Aaron Buerge, 41

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Then: Senior vice president, First National Bank of Clinton
Now: Vice chairman of the board of directors, First National Bank of Clinton

A lot has happened in Aaron Buerge’s life since he was named to Springfield Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 class 14 years ago.

He had a brush with fame later in 2002 as “the bachelor” in ABC’s second season of the hit reality television showby the same name. At the time of his SBJ recognition, Buerge was picked for his promising career as a 27-year-old executive of his famiy’s bank. Buerge’s reality-show relationship fizzled by early 2003, and he’s largely avoided the limelight since.

“ABC is always calling and wanting to do a reunion show. I’m very flattered by that. They’re always wanting to fly me out there and be with the group, and that’s very kind. It’s just not important to me. I always just decline,” he says, adding he’s more absorbed in his family life these days.

That’s right. He’s a bachelor no more. Buerge married in 2009, has a step-daughter and two daughters through the marriage, ages 6 and 3.

The times haven’t always been easy. Buerge filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in 2011 citing complications from a lawsuit involving Kansas City-based Prime Lending II, which purchased the $3.6 million note for Buerge’s Trolley’s restaurants after lender Columbian Bank failed in August 2008.

But business is going well these days, he says. Buerge is happy and transitioning into the CEO role, which he expects to take on this summer.

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