A saying that has adorned Harold Bengsch’s office door throughout his career serves as his guide in life and business: “There is no limit as to what can be accomplished when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.”
That motto is evident throughout Bengsch’s 45 years in public health and 14 years as an elected official. He’s currently a Greene County commissioner.
Bengsch’s leadership helped establish the Jordan Valley Community Health Center, the Child Advocacy Center and the joining of the county and city health departments.
He says he serves on no less than 26 state and community boards and committees at any given time. And the 83-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down. He is one of the founding members of the Community Mental Health Alliance which debuted in May.
After serving two decades as the director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, Bengsch filed for a seat on the county commission two days after retiring in 2004. He’s now serving his fourth term in office.
During his decades long tenure at the health department, he says his greatest accomplishment was establishing the Jordan Valley clinic. But, true to his motto, he says he didn’t do it alone, citing a partnership between the medical and business communities.
Bengsch says “the critical nature of what was at stake in the form of acute community need” and the “unbelievable, intense community collaboration, without which the project would have never occurred” are the factors that make this his proudest accomplishment.
According to those who know him, it’s rare to hear Bengsch boast about his accomplishments.
“That’s Harold – quietly and humbly making Springfield better for many, many decades,” says Brian Fogle, president of Community Foundation of the Ozarks.
Bengsch grew up on a grain and dairy farm in Christian County. He began his education at a one-room schoolhouse and went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in agricultural science from Missouri State University and a master’s in public health science from University of Missouri.
Bengsch has chaired the Missouri State Board of Health and served as president of the Missouri Milk, Food and Environmental Health Association, as well as the International Association for Food Protection. In 2001, he received the Missourian Award, and in 2004, he was honored by MSU with an honorary doctorate of public affairs.
“Wherever there is a positive change and advancement, especially on public health issues, Harold’s fingerprints are there,” Fogle adds.
He cites Bengsch’s leadership in the 1980s during the AIDS epidemic as an example of his servant leadership. “Before we understood the cause and cost of AIDS, there was a stigma associated with the disease,” he says. “As the director of our Health Department, Harold may have been the only person in our community who could address such a controversial topic for what it was: a public health issue.”
Bengsch says “influencing and helping others to achieve their capacity of personal attainment and success is the highest level of satisfaction one can enjoy.”
Local developer plans renovations after investing $5 million in foreclosed property acquisitions.
As employees are more mobile and have a desire to work from home, Haden Long owner of Ellecor, explains office spaces are trending towards a more home-like feel. Things like shared work spaces, office pets, and cozy furnishings allow employees to be selective about where they work and become more effective as a result.
Every industry has to navigate trend shifts, but Scott Shotts of Missouri Spirits describes the changes in beverage industry as anarchy. Tried-and-true spirits rules are being ignored. Learn how the local distillery balances following the trends for product development with taking risks.
Kevin Wyas, founder of ECRI, started his first business at the age of 19, ran the business for 16 years before selling it. He recognizes the benefits of starting a business so young when he had relatively little to lose. "The stress and the uncertainty of this would be crippling," he says for somebody accustomed to a regular paycheck.
ighty percent of questions are common across industries, so you don't need industry-specific experience to do effective market research according to Debra Kassarjian, independent consultant and owner of DKInsights. As a matter of fact, she thinks there is a great deal to be gained from exchanging ideas outside of your industry.
Danny Collins, 37 North founder and guide, says the biggest leap they took in the first year was to purchase a vehicle. That major financial investment, however, allowed them to provide their outdoor guide services at a price point they felt was more appropriate.
Springfield Diner owner Ömer Önder sits down with a restaurant consultant who starts challenging the menu offerings."No bashful food." The blunt conversation is the launching off point to determine how the Mediterranean influence will affect the young restaurant's offerings in the future. Made to Order is an ongoing sbjLive documentary series in collaboration with Springfield Business Journal tracking the rebranding of a local restaurant.
Haden Long, owner of Ellecor, opened a retail home decor business five years ago in a traditional retail space. When the interior design side of the business took off, she decided to renovate a 100-year old bungalow to better show off product samples and installations.
Scott Shotts, partner with Missouri Spirits, says when they started in 2011 there were approximately 300 distilleries in the U.S. and now there are more than 3,000 so competition has grown significantly. Diversification of their business model has helped them succeed.
Matthew Blystone of Theta Float Spa had the financial means to start the unique business, but used crowdsourcing for pre-orders to determine market interest in addition to gathering a nice cash reserve before opening.
Avery Parrish with the Springfield Regional Arts Council explains how businesses can display local art in their spaces for a fraction of the price of investing in a permanent collection. The corporate partnership program allows a business to select from a customized portfolio of local artists' work curated based on the company's mission and aesthetic that can be switched out every six or 12 months.