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Springfield Underground leader earns top chamber award

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Longtime Springfield Underground leader Louis Griesemer tonight received the annual Springfieldian Award.

Griesemer was surprised with the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce award at the close of the organization’s annual meeting, attended by more than 1,000 people at University Plaza Convention Center. The award, which last year went to Med-Pay Inc. founder Gordon Kinne, honors individuals who have demonstrated excellence in their field and have worked to improve Springfield’s quality of life, according to a news release.

“Louis is the kind of leader that exemplifies this award,” said David O’Reilly, a friend of Griesemer and board chairman for O’Reilly Automotive Inc. (Nasdaq: ORLY), in the release. “He always approaches whatever he’s doing in a very informed way.”

Griesemer retired from Springfield Underground at the end of 2017, after starting at Griesemer Stone Co. in the late 1970s and serving as president since 1994. His nephew John F. Griesemer took over the top role at the beginning of 2018, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

Louis Griesemer remains board chairman for Erlen Group, the parent company of Springfield Underground that was formed in 2018. Springfield Underground, which manages more than 3 million square feet of leasable space 100 feet below ground in northeast Springfield, is among six business units under the Erlen Group umbrella, according to past reporting.

Griesemer also has been active with Springfield Catholic Schools, the city of Springfield and Boy Scouts of America, and he was in the inaugural class of Leadership Springfield, according to the release. In 2016, he was selected by SBJ editorial staff for the 12 People You Need to Know live interview series.

Past Springfieldian Award recipients include Patti Penny, Jim Anderson, William Darr, Roseann Bentley and John Q. Hammons. The first recipient was Durward G. Hall in 1957, according to the chamber’s website.

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