Springfield, MO

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Newsmakers: Oct. 12-18, 2020

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BKD LLP promoted four staff members in its Springfield office. Jessica Cullen and Nathan Fitzgerald were promoted to director positions, and Leia Huffman and Angela Yarbrough were named senior managers. A member of the BKD National Health Care Group, Cullen provides audits and consulting services to long-term care facilities, and prepares real estate filings for entities that receive financing through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She has a bachelor’s in accounting and a master’s in accountancy from the University of Missouri-Columbia. As a private client services adviser, Fitzgerald is a member of the BKD National Manufacturing and Distribution Group, as well as the Springfield office’s retail and business services team. He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Drury University. Huffman is a member of BKD Wealth Advisors LLC and has a bachelor’s in finance from Missouri State University. Yarbrough consults long-term care providers on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and requirements. She has a bachelor’s in accounting from MSU.

Gov. Mike Parson appointed Susan Chapman, of Branson, as Taney County assessor, after she won the August primary election. She had served as interim assessor. Chapman previously worked as a real estate broker and owner of Twenty First Century Investment LLC.

The Chronicle for Higher Education named College of the Ozarks one of the 2020 Great Colleges to Work For, based on questionnaires on institutional characteristics and faculty/staff evaluations, as well as analyses of demographic data and workplace policies. The Great Colleges program factored responses from 40,000 employees at 221 colleges, and College of the Ozarks was one of three Missouri colleges recognized, and one of two in the compensation and benefits category.

Drury University educators David Mercer and Joel Thomas were recognized for excellence in the evening and online program, called Drury GO, for teaching and mentoring. Mercer received the 2020 Steve Hynds Online Educator of the Year Award. His day job is as the first assistant federal public defender and supervisor of the Springfield branch office of the federal public defender for the Western District of Missouri. Thomas was named the Drury GO 2019-20 Sue Collins Educator of the Year, an award given for “bringing a subject to life in an engaging, relevant and challenging way.” Thomas works as senior manager of special projects at Jack Henry & Associates Inc. Both awards are nominated by students.

MSU received $960,000 in Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities grant funding. MSU was one of three Missouri entities to share in $3.53 million awarded through the federal program started in 2018 by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, the current chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.

Health Care
Donna Gloe, of Marshfield, was appointed to the nine-member Missouri State Board of Nursing that regulates nursing education, licensure and practice. Currently a substitute preschool teacher, she’s worked as a clinical instructor for the Mercy College of Nursing at Southwest Baptist University and as director of MSU’s Simulation Center for Interdisciplinary Clinical Education.

Springfield Business Journal hired 
Linda Leslie as a sales account executive and Christine Morton as a news reporter. Leslie previously worked as owner/director of sales and marketing of Simply Social Group. She also has experience in account management at Alexander Open Systems and Windstream. Morton was most recently a reporter for KY3 and has a master’s in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University.


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