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2016 Men of the Year Honoree: Jerry Harmison Jr.

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When Jerry Harmison Jr. commits to an organization, expect a leader who believes in action.

“It is my firm belief that leaders should be all in as demonstrated by their attendance, their relationship with peers and their willingness to achieve the stated purpose and goals of the organization,” says Harmison, who practices at Harmison & Pearman PC, founded in 2003 with a specialty in workers’ compensation defense.

When Harmison was 27, he was the youngest charter member of Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise and has maintained perfect attendance since. And as a member of the Springfield school board 2000–06, which met at least twice a month, he missed only one meeting. He was out of town.

“I have similar attendance with all organizations I have made a commitment to support,” Harmison says. “Not only do I attend, I take an active role in encouraging my peers to join me using a team approach to accomplish the goals of the organization.”

As a result of his commitment, Harmison frequently has been asked to lead organizations. He says he’s fortunate to have volunteered for many organizations that have experienced success. The school board on which Harmison sat was successful in convincing residents to vote for the first tax levy approved in more than 20 years.

“With support from other new members, a cooperative board culture was created, and the board has continued to address issues in a businesslike fashion,” Harmison says. “Within approximately two years, our school board was named the best school board in the state of Missouri.”

He tackled his position on the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s board with similar zeal.

“When I was the chairman of the board, we had a membership recruitment activity over a period of three days and hundreds of new members joined the chamber,” Harmison says. “This was the largest recruiting effort in the United States to that date. My term ended in 2011, and within six months we were named the best chamber of commerce in the United States.”

When the Springfield Police-Fire Pension Fund was struggling in 2009, Harmison was part of the group that worked to address the shortfall.

“I was the vice chairman of a task force that developed and executed a plan to save the pension fund,” he says. “Our citizens passed the recommendation at the polls, and now the fund is solvent.”

Harmison also is a charter board member for Care to Learn, the nonprofit that addresses the health, hunger and hygiene needs of schoolchildren.

“The organization has now grown beyond Springfield and has approximately 20 chapters throughout the state of Missouri,” Harmison says. “By helping children address immediate needs, it keeps students in the classroom so they may learn and become productive citizens. It has truly been my pleasure to work with many local volunteers to influence the civic affairs of the Springfield community.”

When he’s not practicing law, serving on a nonprofit board, running a marathon or enjoying his private pilot license, Harmison is the co-owner of Float Trip Pickles LLC, a tasty venture launched with law partner Greg Pearman with three products in 65 Missouri stores that also ship to more than 20 states.

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