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Business moves mirror strategic chess game

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With the 2000 launch of Springfield Business Journal’s Economic Impact Awards, the SBJ team has focused the annual awards on the companies that push forward the Ozarks business community.

In 2010, coinciding with SBJ’s 30th anniversary, we set aside industry-specific categories and recognized businesses’ economic endeavors with Decade Awards, categorizing companies by the length of time they’d been in business.

Initially, the plan was to use the Decade Awards as an anniversary-year special, but as it turns out, the team has decided to stick with the years-in-business model, this year changing category names.

All of our finalists and honorees are chosen by an independent panel of judges, featured on Page 5. This year, in addition to our Lifetime Achievement in Business, Business Advocate and Philanthropic Business of the Year honors, four categories are making their debut:
  • Rooks, for those companies in business one to five years;
  • Bishops, for those companies in business six to 10 years;
  • Knights, for those companies in business 16 to 29 years; and
  • Kings, for those companies in business 30 or more years.
Our rationale is simple. Though there are definite signs of improvement, few would argue that businesses have faced uphill battles in recent years. Instead of limiting Economic Impact Award honors to companies in just a few sectors – past categories have been banking, real estate, health care and construction – why not create a platform on which businesses of all types and sizes can compete and shed light on the ways they propel the local economy?

It just makes sense, and based on the buzz that’s come since we first announced our finalists, it seems like the business community is ready to focus on brighter days ahead.

Initially, the chess theme emerged as a simple, but classic way to categorize companies, and those at the July 25 event will see elements of a chess theme during the evening. But given that chess is a game of strategy, it makes perfect sense to use it as a thematic element for SBJ’s Economic Impact Awards.

As you read about the companies featured in this booklet, you will see that their leaders haven’t achieved growth and longevity by accident.

By looking critically at the market, identifying needs and orchestrating expansion and new services carefully, they’ve set down footprints that could impact the Ozarks business scene for years to come, providing jobs that result in dollars beyond measure for the local economy.

These companies also have made it a priority to think beyond dollars and cents, and it is both humbling and refreshing to note that their impact also is felt through charitable donations and volunteerism, meeting key needs and improving the quality of life we’ve come to expect in southwest Missouri.

Some of these business leaders, including 2011 Lifetime Achievement in Business honoree William H. Darr, are pretty quiet about all that they’ve accomplished, but as you read, you’ll see that the stories of their journeys speak loudly.

Please join me and the entire Springfield Business Journal staff in celebrating the accomplishments of the 2011 Economic Impact Award honorees.

From the 2011 Economic Impact Awards publication
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