Springfield, MO

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Newsmakers: Nov. 5-11, 2018

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Wa Gao
of Abacus CPAs LLC earned her certified internal auditor designation. Gao, a member of the audit team, started at the firm in January 2016.

Banking and Finance
Central Bank of the Ozarks promoted Samantha Wheeler and Jo Haas to retail officers and banking center managers, and added Nicole Downey as human resources talent acquisition representative. Wheeler has 11 years of banking experience, most recently as assistant branch manager on South National Avenue. Haas has 16 years of experience, most recently as teller supervisor and customer service representative at the Hammons Tower branch. Downey has 10 years of experience in office management and administrative support.

was named the Gene Speichinger Community of the Year by Missouri Community Betterment. Selected among 19 communities, Buffalo was recognized for its strong base of volunteers, including youth and governing officials.

Chris Templeton
, assistant superintendent of the Willard Public Schools, was appointed to Western Governors University’s Teachers College P-12 Advisory Council. She is one of 10 education leaders nationwide giving guidance on all P-12 academic programs offered by WGU’s Teachers College. Templeton has 25 years of experience in education, most recently as professional learning coordinator for the Greater Ozarks Cooperating School Districts, which represents 59 districts across southwest Missouri.

Springfield Public Schools inducted Kim Crosby and Tom Prater, as well as Homer Boyd, posthumously, to the SPS Hall of Fame. Boyd, a Lincoln High School graduate, was a member of the Philharmonics and an advocate for preservation of the history of Springfield’s African-American community. He died in 2016 at the age of 83. Crosby, a Kickapoo High School graduate, starred in several Broadway productions, including “Into the Woods” and currently volunteers at Glendale High School. Prater, a Glendale High School graduate, was student body president, has served on the SPS Board of Education and is currently Springfield’s Zone 2 councilman.

Missouri State University selected Matt Blunt for the Bronze Bear Award to be given in December. As governor of Missouri in 2005, Blunt signed Senate Bill 98 to drop Southwest from the school’s name, and MSU officials say he fought for an operating budget increase that helped start its engineering partnership with Missouri University of Science and Technology. He is currently the president of the American Automotive Policy Council.

MSU awarded Sen. Jay Wasson the 2018 Governmental Excellence Award. He was selected by the MSU Board of Governors for his efforts to modify tuition restrictions and champion legislation which removed limitations on MSU’s ability to offer professional and doctorate degrees.

Missouri Lawyers Weekly selected three local professionals among its 45 up-and-coming attorneys: Austin Fax of Lowther Johnson Attorneys at Law LLC, Jarica Oeltjen of BKD LLP and formerly of Kutak Rock LLP and Lathrop Gage LLP, and Scott Pierson of Law Offices of Dee Wampler and Joseph Passanise PC.


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