Editor’s Note: The honorees of this year’s Economic Impact Awards are healers, innovators and givers. They embody what’s possible when talented, hard-working men and women come together to meet business and civic needs. The 2018 companies receiving top honors are a health care and hospice provider, a chiropractic clinic and a nonprofit that ministers to people who are homeless. I give a round of applause to the judges who took their time to read and score the nominations, a standing ovation to the 2018 winners and a heartfelt thanks to you, our readers, for supporting Springfield Business Journal for the past 38 years.
—Christine Temple, Features Editor
The Economic Impact Awards recognize businesses for their financial performance, growth, community involvement and overall impact on the Ozarks community. Economic Impact honors are awarded in four categories based on years in business, with a top honor based on judges’ scores. The winners are announced during an awards ceremony.
Judges took into account company revenues and answers to essay questions.
In addition, three individuals and three businesses are recognized for their contributions to business and the nonprofit community.
Economic Impact Awards Past Honorees
The local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness moved; the newest clinic for Burrell Behavioral Health opened; and Prickly Cactus Coffee relocated.
Marc Thornsberry, a Senior Engineer at CJW, says he joined the company after working in the public sphere. He says CJW had a ton of experience working with the community, and putting their customer's and clients.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares helpful advice and cautionary tips about the importance of tracking cash flow for new or established businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Michael Smith and Chris Sawyer, COO and CEO of Next Level Solutions respectively, discuss how they keep their remote teams and offices in and out of country on the same page. Next Level Solutions was ranked #1 in the Springfield Business Journal's 2021 Dynamic Dozen.
John Oke-Thomas, architect and co-founder of minorities in business, responds to the accusation that minority businesses are only successful because of the priority they have received in lending. He says that if a business uses a loan well, it shows their worth.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares tips for entrepreneurs who are ready to seek funding. Some of her tips apply broadly; some target technology industry businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups, and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliott discusses common misconceptions about locating your business in a small town. She says that there are a lot of benefits that people may not consider.
Drawing on his own experience dynamically evolving his company and business model, Jim Meinsen discusses when and how you might need to draw on new technology. Jim and Debbie Meinsen are co-owners of TCI Graphics in Springfield.
John Oke-Thomas, longtime Springfield architect, discusses his philosophy on architecture. He says that future historians will be focused on the sustainability of our contemporary architecture.
Erin Hedlun, director of marketing and communications at Evangel University, says compassion is an important job skill. Hedlun says it is a component of what makes a leader.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, talks about the concepting that went behind the aesthetic of the business.