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McKenzie Robinson | SBJ

2021 Men of the Year: David Hall

Missouri State University

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In his role as director of university safety at Missouri State University, David Hall found his leadership skills tested like never before amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A four-year MSU staff member, Hall coordinated the university’s pandemic response, which involved swift execution of emergency planning. That included serving as incident commander and implementing strategies for work groups in areas such as academics, business operations, events and travel.

“Having a long history in the community serving as fire chief, I was fortunate to have established credibility within the university,” he says, referring to his nearly 30-year career with the Springfield Fire Department, including seven years in its top position.

Hall exited the Fire Department in 2017 for MSU, where he previously earned a bachelor’s degree in administrative management and an MBA.

To address the pandemic, Hall says MSU began testing hundreds of students weekly for COVID-19 and followed a Springfield-Greene County Health Department request to contact trace its student body, faculty and staff. He also worked with the Health Department in April to host an on-campus mass vaccination clinic at Hammons Student Center.

“We ended up vaccinating 6,131 individuals in two days,” he says. “The second day holds the record for the largest single-day vaccination clinic in the state of Missouri.”

The pandemic even temporarily halted statewide firefighter training last year. Hall, who says he’s among three in the state approved to teach the National Fire Academy Leadership courses, decided to take action.

“Even though I was extremely busy with work due to COVID, I signed up to teach the courses to assist the students, so they were not further delayed in their career path,” he says, noting he gave up six vacation days in the process.

Community service has been a constant for Hall throughout his professional career. He previously served on the advisory board of Greene County 911 for seven years, including six years as its chair. Hall also is a past chair of the Leadership Springfield Board of Directors and previously served on the EMT program advisory board at Ozarks Technical Community College. At MSU, he’s been on the Master of Public Administration Advisory Committee for the past seven years.  

But it’s Hall’s service in 2018 on a community task force with Springfield Public Schools in which he takes particular pride. He co-chaired the task force, which was created after a failed school bond proposal in 2017. The group’s work led to Proposition S, a $168 million bond issue approved by voters in 2019. The issue’s passage greenlit nearly 40 renovation and construction projects for the school district, such as the $41.5 million new Jarrett Middle School, the largest Prop S-funded project.

“Virtually all of the projects were on the north side of Springfield, impacting those that are most disadvantaged,” he says. “These projects will have more impact on the Springfield community over the long run over anything else I have done.”

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