If you were at Oasis Hotel and Convention Center last night, or even within a few blocks of it, you know how grand this year’s 40 Under 40 event was.
Here were some of my favorite moments from the celebration of the 2019 class, which boasted record attendance of 520 people to celebrate our community’s top young professionals.
These 40 Under 40 honorees don’t rest much. That’s likely how they’ve racked up an impressive list of accomplishments in relatively short careers.
Cameron LaBarr, who directs choral studies at Missouri State University, had a gig the night of the event on campus. We skipped the A-Z award order to allow LaBarr to accept first and head out for the 7:30 p.m. concert.
But before he could leave, he ran into a tenant that lives in one of the 50 properties in his real estate portfolio: Lauren Barnas, one of the night’s emcees and host of KOLR10’s morning show.
A lot of laughs came from the crowd when Barnas sent LaBarr off the stage with, “I think you’re my landlord.”
Another favorite moment also included Barnas.
She announced the award for Nichole Lemmon, the director of blended learning for Springfield Public Schools. But before that role, Lemmon was a teacher at Central High School. Barnas, a 2012 grad, was one of her students.
It was a beautiful student-teacher moment caught on stage between the two women who have achieved success in their careers. SBJ photographer Wes Hamilton overheard Lemmon say “congratulations” back to Barnas as the two exchanged a hug.
Three honorees shared with me that this award came unexpectedly for them. They initially considered not submitting their 40 Under 40 questionnaire after being nominated. They were so sure they would not be selected.
One of those humble honorees was James Wilson, the general manager of NewStream Enterprises LLC.
Before the event, he said he struggled to brag on himself when answering questions on the questionnaire like, “Give at least three examples of how you have shown leadership professionally.”
He took the packet to his team and asked for their feedback to craft his response. What a rare opportunity to learn from employees on the traits they appreciate in their leader. I hope other honorees took the same chance to gather feedback on what makes them stand out.
The last to accept his honor, Wilson’s friends, family and co-workers did the wave as he took the stage. That might have been a first.
The honorees selected by the judges for this 40 Under 40 class are not just good at their jobs. That’s truly the baseline. These 40 young professionals go above and beyond, and a lot of that is captured in their volunteer service outside of the office.
That was on display when Discovery Center Executive Director Rob Blevins announced the 2019 Class of Honorees raised $16,734 for STEM education at the center. Discovery Center was this year’s 40 Under 40 charity partner, and each honoree was given the opportunity to raise money for the nonprofit as one way to celebrate their honor.
Ryan Sivill of BKD LLP deserves a round of applause for personally fundraising over $6,000 to lead the pack. What a guy.
I hope each honoree left the event last night with a renewed sense of purpose. It’s important to acknowledge the people who make our community great, and these 40 individuals are the best of the best.
The first of SBJ's forums detailing Economic Growth Survey results is held.
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.
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Danny Collins, 37 North founder and guide, took his experience as an expedition manager for National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World in Ecuador to start his Ozarks based outdoor activity company. Since launching the company, he has relied on post-trip evaluations and prospective customer input to guide the course.
Jennifer Rothschild, author and speaker, says, "With the blessing of the success that we've experienced came something I did not expect, which was the need to lead. And, I am a reluctant leader." She realized that her ministry was managed very well, but the ministry's most valuable asset, the people, were not being led well. She gives you three choices she had to make as a reluctant leader. Jennifer Rothschild was one of nine leaders who presented at the 2018 Springfield Business Journal's 90 Ideas in 90 Minutes.
Miles Boyer, Office Manager for the Southern Region of the Builders’ Association, recognizes they are competing for their members' time. That means doing new and different thing are of value to guarantee that their members will participate in classes and events.
Ömer Önder, owner of Springfield Diner, learns the results of a customer survey conducted by Longitude LLC. Dustin Myers and Jeremy Wells, owners of the branding agency, inform Ömer that his customers are looking for a shift in his menu offerings. Made to Order is an ongoing sbjLive documentary series in collaboration with Springfield Business Journal tracking the rebranding of a local restaurant. See ongoing coverage at: sbj.net/madetoorder