Springfield, MO

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Opinion: Ozarks full of a few good men

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It’s an impressive title: Men of the Year.

Each year since 2011, Springfield Business Journal has honored 20 men with that designation. It’s a sign of a successful career, sure. But what it really stands for is something more.

It means in some way, these men have made a difference in their communities. They volunteered their time to serve on not-for-profit boards. The work of those boards is what keeps our region healthy – everything from overseeing government, health care, transportation and the arts, to many other things that impact our daily lives.

They built a business. Perhaps they are entrepreneurs, like honorees Bob Noble or Howard Fisk. They are innovators, such as my fellow 2014 classmate Mike Woody or public figures like Steve Grant. They are great leaders, such as Robert Spence and Mike Williamson. All of the men have moved business and industry forward in some way, creating and keeping jobs, finding solutions to local problems, and doing it with the best interests of the Ozarks in mind.

They are what we used to call “good men.” That’s not a moral judgment; it’s an observation that the sum of their work has been worthy of mention.

Good men and good women are the foundation of a community. SBJ also has honored women for many years with their Most Influential Women designation. These two groups are a pretty good list of the people in the Springfield area who contribute ideas, knowledge, finances and time in order to make our world a better place. Without their invested equity, ideas would stagnate and progress would stall.

 I well remember when I received a nomination and immediately felt humbled and dismayed at the same time. Joining men who stand for something, men who care, men who put themselves out there in order to make a difference, well, it just felt like I hadn’t done enough. What it’s meant to me is to renew my efforts to contribute, to mentor, to look ahead and see the bigger picture.

This year, the list grows with another 20 men – all of whom are being recognized for past actions, yet I suspect all will take the occasion to reflect and figure out what they can do next. They may now be Men of the Year, but these are not the type of people who collect awards and accolades lightly. Their work isn’t finished, and our communities still need them and more like them.

Paul Logsdon can be reached at


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