EDITOR’S NOTE: The honorees of this year’s Economic Impact Awards embody what’s possible when talented people come together with innovative ideas to spur growth for our region. The 2019 companies receiving top honors are a boutique hotel in downtown Springfield, a company focused on renewable energy, a preschool and early education provider, and a longtime health care system. Special thanks to this year’s judges who carefully scored each nominee and a round of applause to this year’s outstanding class of honorees. And thanks to you, our readers, for supporting Springfield Business Journal as we head into our 40th year of business.
—Christine Temple, Features Editor
Here’s the Economic Impact Awards selection process from start to finish:
1. Nominations are submitted from across the community.
2. Nominees are notified and given questionnaires to fill out for judges’ consideration.
3. SBJ selects an independent panel of judges to evaluate each submitted questionnaire, along with a resume and letter of recommendation for individual nominees.
4. Judges individually score each applicant based on their financial performance, community involvement and overall impact on the Ozarks region.
5. Judges are asked to recuse themselves from scoring any nominee who would be considered a conflict of interest.
6. SBJ tallies all judges’ scores to determine the top company, or companies, in each category. In each of the four categories honoring businesses based on years of service, a top honor is given based on judges’ scores.
7. SBJ announces the honorees and reveals the year’s judges.
Cuban cuisine arrived on C-Street with the opening of La Habana Vieja; independent brokerage Gateway Real Estate opened its first office; and a veteran of the restaurant industry invested in her first food truck.
Barak Hill gives advice based on what he learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affected his business. He says we should all have a backup plan ready to use.
Sandy Higgins, owner of the Crackerjack Shack, recommends the book "The E-Myth Mastery" by Michael E Gerber. She says it changed the course of how she runs her business.
Aaron York describes the work culture he tries to foster at Donco3 and why he attributes to it a part of Donco3's success. Rachel York is a co-owner of Donco3 and Aaron is the General Superintendent.
Hollie Elliott, executive director of the Dallas County Economic Development Group, explains how local schools factor into business decisions and affect a local community.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, says an important lesson she learned was not to over-expand and to do her research before hand. She gives examples from her experience as a startup business owner.
Jim and Debbie Meinsen own TCI Graphics, and are now celebrating 50 years of business. Jim Meinsen takes some time to explain his philosophy on debt, and how to stay out of it.
Caleb Scott, owner and coach of Queen City Insane Asylum semi-professional football, says the early grind was hard, but it was worth it. The team is in their second season carrying a national ranking of number 2 in the NFA IDFL.
Barak Hill, local musician and entrepreneur, tells about his switch to livestreaming in 2020. He says it was a necessary move, but also not an easy one.
Jessica Burkland, a SCORE mentor and an instructor at the MSU Department of Management, gives us a rundown of the non-profit organization SCORE. SCORE stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives and offers free consultation and advice to business owners.
Hollie Elliott, the executive director of the Dallas County Economic Development Group, discusses some of the ways helping small town businesses is different than in larger cities. The Dallas County Economic Development Group is a 501(c)(3) non-profit aimed at helping local existing and new businesses in the county.