Springfield, MO

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2016 40 Under 40 Yearbook: Debbie Shantz Hart, 52

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Then: Vice president and general counsel, John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts
Now: Co-founder and principal, Housing Plus LLC

Whether building a house or a dream, Debbie Shantz Hart knows both start with a solid foundation.

She served as vice president and general counsel at John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts for 13 years before jumping headlong into affordable housing development in 2008. Since that time, the co-founder and principal of Housing Plus LLC hasn’t looked back.

“Our first development was a little bit different from what the Missouri Housing Development Commission is used to funding,” Hart says. “We do financial literacy classes, parenting classes, after-school tutoring – all kinds of community-building activities.”

To date, Housing Plus has completed seven affordable housing projects comprising roughly 250 units.

In January, Hart was appointed chairwoman of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Her mission is to continue the chamber’s initiative of developing the local workforce and economy while strengthening its value to member businesses.

“The chamber wears a lot of hats,” she says. “I think it’s sometimes difficult for people to really know all the roles it plays in the community.”

Hart married husband Bill, a retired Husch Blackwell LLP attorney who sits on the Drury University Board of Trustees, in 2006. Her oldest son Ben is a second-year law student and youngest, Riley, plays football for the Missouri State University Bears.


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