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Joplin Tri-State Business Journal names director of operations

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Dianne Elizabeth Osis, publisher of Springfield Business Journal and sister publication Joplin Tri-State Business Journal, and Jennifer Jackson, associate publisher and chief operations officer, have hired Mark Williams, Joplin, to serve as director of operations for JTBJ.

Williams' new position was official Dec. 1.

In his position as director of operations, Williams will manage the Joplin office with an emphasis on increasing advertising revenue and cultivating business partnerships throughout the tri-state region.

"People will see me in focus groups, collaborative sessions, roundtables and personal meetings to try to discover how (JTBJ) can help them reach their goals, whether through marketing, branding or advertising," Williams said. "This business journal is invaluable to a metro area like Joplin and to help the people here to know what's going on, to be inspired and to network.

"Other entities looking at Joplin to expand or invest - if (JTBJ) didn't exist, it would be a tough search to find an equivalent source of information to get a read on what's going on with the economy of Joplin."

Williams has spent the last year investing his time in current and future development projects throughout downtown Joplin.

He has been running his own business since 2002. Most recently he opened the Hive on Joplin's Main Street - a business center that houses 13 small businesses in a centralized downtown location.

Prior to that, Williams worked as vice president of sales for Sign Designs, and from 2002-2008 he was vice president of advancement at Ozark Christian College.

Williams also has worked as a minister of outreach and events for a mega-church in Phoenix, Ariz., and as an assistant minister in Omaha, Neb. He graduated from OCC in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in Biblical literature.

Over the past year, Williams has accomplished a number of personal milestones, he said. More than 90 percent of the properties that his company owns or manages are currently occupied - more than 100 individual units throughout downtown Joplin. The Hive also celebrated its one-year anniversary in November, while the Main Street Lofts and Orpheum Professional Center have both become 100 percent leased to residential and commercial tenants, respectively.

His company also recently completed renovations on its final loft apartment at 611 S. Main St. in the former Ernie Williamson music store - a project that has been ongoing for two years.

"About five years ago we began collecting properties for future projects," Williams said. "When the Federal regulators started to rein in the banks, we had already been able to purchase all of our properties in a unique window, and then finish those projects in spite of the current economy. We did that because we saw Joplin growing and rental properties being strong."

Williams said his company has become well established and is managed by employees with little oversight on his part. He said the itch to continue to push for economic development throughout the area is what eventually led him to JTBJ.

"When I found out that (JTBJ) wanted to grow and expand, I thought: 'You know, that's a place I'd like to work some day. I'd love to work with a team like that. I've always gotten a thrill from entrepreneurship, and I've always been hungry to get the Journal when it comes out and devour it," he said.

Jackson said conversations with Williams over the past month eventually led she and Osis to the conclusion that the timing was right to hire someone for this position. She said the experience and connections Williams brings to the table made the decision to hire him easy.

"As Joplin Tri-State Business Journal enters its fifth year of publication, the timing is right for strategic expansion in reach, content and marketing," Jackson said. "Having already established a solid track record of community involvement and entrepreneurial success in the tri-state area, Mark Williams is a perfect fit to take JTBJ to the next level. We are very proud to associate with Mark and strive to enhance our role in the business community under his leadership."

Williams said one of his first goals is to set up meetings with business leaders throughout the community to get a feel for what they want from JTBJ. He also will oversee the hiring of a new advertising associate and a new reporter for the editorial department, with the potential for a third part-time employee that will serve as an assistant to the advertising and events departments.[[In-content Ad]]

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