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2019 Men of the Year: Abe McGull

U.S. Attorney’s Office

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Last edited 2:11 p.m., Aug. 14, 2019

With decades of legal and military experience under his belt, Abe McGull has built his professional career on public service.

Even as he served 21 years in the U.S. Navy, for which he retired as a commander in 2012, McGull has continued to wear multiple hats in the workforce. Since 1999, he’s been a part of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he now serves as an assistant attorney in the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Missouri. He’s also been a lecturer and instructor at Missouri State University on criminal law and the courts since 2016 and was elected in April to Springfield City Council.

The political arena is nothing new for McGull, who is a former mayor and councilman in the Kansas City suburb of Pleasant Valley, where he served 1995-99.

He notes that during that time, the threatened veto of a city budget represents one of his proudest civic accomplishments.

“In a mayor-run city, I had the power of the veto,” he says, adding Pleasant Hope City Hall was not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is today, in part, because of his stance. “The City Council was wavering on my proposal for a new City Hall that would have been accessible to all of our citizens. I threatened to veto any budget that did not include finances for an ADA-accessible City Hall.”

His military work included a stint in Baghdad, Iraq, where he served in 2008 as chief of media operations. It was there he led a team of military, civilian and Iraqi personnel to combat terrorism fiction by providing facts to media outlets.

“In conflict, the toughest battles are not always on the battlefield but in the minds and hearts of the local population and those back home,” he says, adding terrorists would often report false atrocities by coalition forces. At the U.S. attorney’s office, McGull serves as prosecutor for southwest Missouri’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. It’s part of a legal career that has contributed to him becoming a person of influence and respect.

“A person of influence is not someone who pats themselves on the back and acts like butter will not melt in their mouth,” he says. “I have always sought understanding first and listening to the concerns of others before speaking.”

Part of that search for understanding means taking time to mentor others, he says, adding it has always been part of his DNA.

“I look back on my life and think about those that influenced my limited success and what I remembered most is the wisdom that they bestowed on me,” he says. “I jokingly tell my students at MSU, ‘I have a vested interest in your success because my Social Security depends on you.’”

His civic involvement includes mentoring and volunteering for the Bridge Springfield: Brother 2 Brother program, led locally by Francine Pratt. He also serves as chairman of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and is a past presenter for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Minorities in Business organizations.

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