What a year it’s been. I’m a little lost for words.
I know Merriam Webster’s word of the year was pandemic and rightly so. But the word I’m stuck on is change.
With so many changes around us, one thing has not changed: our commitment to the 12 People You Need to Know editorial series. It’s back for a 14th year.
Sure, there’s been changes in the format – from a live interview over breakfast to livestreaming over Zoom and Facebook. We quickly made the change to a virtual event with the March 2020 interview with Toni Robinson of NAACP Springfield. A handful of us met in Springfield Business Journal’s office to put on the event for the virtual viewing audience. I’ll never forget that interview. Just me and Toni in front of a camera phone – run by SBJ Features Editor Christine Temple – instead of being in front of a live audience upwards of 100 people. It was monumental. SBJ leadership, along with those at annual event sponsor Arvest Bank, made the move days before stay-at-home orders were enacted in the city.
The very next month, we shifted to the Zoom/Facebook Live interview format with state Sen. Lincoln Hough – and haven’t looked back.
Naturally, the COVID-19 pandemic influenced our editors’ selections for the 2021 interview series.
Three are directly connected to COVID-19 work as leaders in health care and public health. And a fourth, Dr. Garima Singh, is in mental health, which emerged to no longer be a taboo topic – one of the positive outcomes of 2020.
Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goddard has been front and center with information, and sometimes pleas, to steer the community in directions best for all. It’s safe to say he’s shouldered the stress of an entire city and county – in an utmost professional way.
Goddard told us in an interview just a few months before we came to know this coronavirus that a good day in public health is when nothing happens. Those have been scarce, yet Goddard was the right person for the job.
CoxHealth infectious disease specialist Dr. Robin Trotman became a trusted name as he worked on Gov. Mike Parson’s COVID-19 advisory panel. And think about this: Craig McCoy of Mercy moves to a new city to head the 9,200-employee health system just six weeks before Springfield’s stay-at-home orders. Talk about no time to adjust.
I look forward to hearing the stories of how they pushed through and what they’re dealing with throughout the year.
Also health related is John Lopez and his medical marijuana businesses. He won the race to become the first dispensary open in Springfield but also created niche businesses in cannabis security and to market the legalized weed statewide.
How about Betsy Fogle making waves to become only the second Democrat currently representing southwest Missouri? And she did it in recount fashion.
Then there’s commercial real estate broker Tom Rankin snagging Amazon for a distribution center in Republic. Might be the biggest business news of the year.
These 12 People have stories worth telling. I’ll leave the rest to your reading in these pages and tuning in to the livestreams.
But who knows, there may be more change in 2021 – like returning to in-person interviews over breakfast.
Springfield Business Journal Editorial Director Eric Olson can be reached at email@example.com.
Revival 98 opened a dispensary; the 101st store for Andy’s Frozen Custard Inc. debuted; and Collectomaniacs card shop consolidated two stores in a move.
Oftentimes it takes a while before your sidegig starts rolling. Barak Hill gives his experience slowly seeing his business improve, and how he used his connections and reputation to gain more clients. Barak Hill is a local professional musician.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares helpful tools and resources to use for the customer discovery phase of launching a new tech business. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Jared Rasmussen, Office Leader for Springfield and Joplin with the engineering firm Olsson, explains the vision of the Renew Jordan Creek Project. He says the city's investment demonstrates it's commitment to the community.
Both Jeramey and Julia Henson talk about their experience in PDR (paintless dent repair), and elaborate on the need for efficient time management. Sometimes you need to know when to move on to the next project. Jeramey and Julia Henson are co-owners of the HM Dentworks Academy with Chris McWhirter.
Jessica Oliva, owner of Pickles and Buns food truck and co-owner of Tinga Tacos, says not to assume you know everything. She says her time in the industry has taught her that she always has more to learn.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, explains what entrepreneurs should know about starting the customer discovery phase for launching your great tech business idea. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliot describes the trends she sees in small towns after the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. She says that people see opportunity in these rural places they might not have seen before. Elliott is the Executive Director of the Dallas County Economic Development Group.
Sean Thouvenot, vice president of Branco Enterprises, gives an overview of what the process looks like once you have decided to invest in a new building. This video is sponsored by Branco Enterprises.
Caleb Scott, owner and coach for Queen City Insane Asylum semi-professional football team, talks about team cohesion. He says that despite the fact he may not look the part of a coach, the men look past it to see how they can work together.
Barak Hill, a professional musician living in the Springfield area, recounts when he first realized he could take his music career seriously. He recounts his journey to the point when he realized his passion could do more than pay for itself.