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Meet this year’s class of Trusted Advisers

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Every business owner and executive has a team of professionals who help make the organization a success. They are accountants, bankers, lawyers, insurance agents and wealth managers. These individuals are behind the scenes, offering their expertise as trusted advisers.

For the fifth year, Springfield Business Journal is recognizing these professionals. The 2018 Trusted Adviser Awards honors 19 businesspeople, including up-and-comers for those with fewer than five years of experience and the Legacy Adviser pinnacle award, given to a 20-year veteran. Chosen by an independent panel of judges, the honorees by category and in alphabetical order are:

• Legacy Adviser: Virginia Fry, a partner at Husch Blackwell LLP.

• Accountant: Kim Hamm, BKD LLP; William Miller, Miller & Associates CPAs and Advisors LLC; and Christopher Myers, Elliott Robinson & Co.

• Banker: Justin Hickey, BancorpSouth; Gary Plemones, Simmons Bank; and Ashlee Radford, Guaranty Bank.

• Insurance Agent: John Akers, Ollis/Akers/Arney; Leah Callahan, Insurance Group of the Ozarks; and Trevor Croley, Croley Insurance & Financial Inc.

•  Lawyer: James Meadows, Lathrop Gage LLP/Kutak Rock LLP; Nancy Price, Nancy Price Law PC; and Richard Schnake, Neale & Newman LLP.

• Wealth Manager: Gretchen Cliburn, BKD Wealth Advisors LLC; Tyler James, James Financial Partners LLC; and Dan Malachowski, Baron Financial Group LLC.

• Up-and-Comer: Matthew Suarez, Central Trust Co.; Michelle Vespa, KPM CPAs PC; and Mia Young, Elliott Robinson & Co.

The Trusted Advisers is Sept. 14 at DoubleTree. Tickets are $35 apiece and available at


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