It’s difficult to imagine the Springfield business landscape without the influence of John Q. Hammons. Whether by word of mouth or the myriad buildings showcasing his name, including the tallest structure in Springfield and JQH Arena, Hammons’ legacy has been evident for decades. Hammons, who got his start in the hotel business in the 1950s with 10 Holiday Inn franchises, groomed his craft into John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, which today owns 78 hotels in 24 states, franchising with the likes of Hilton Worldwide, InterContinental Hotels Group and Marriott International. In 1994, Hammons took his business public, selling 6 million shares for more than $100 million. After more than a decade in the public sector, JQH Hotels returned to a privately owned business model. Though no longer active day-to-day due to health reasons, his company claims to be the largest private, independent owner and manager of hotels in the U.S.One of SBJ's 31 Game Changers in conjunction with Springfield Business Journal's 31st anniversary.