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President and chief executive officer, Metropolitan National Bank, a $220 million bank with six locations, two in Springfield, two in Marshfield, one in Nixa and one in Ozark. Citizens State Bank was formed in 1934 while Metropolitan National Bank began in 1983. The banks merged Dec. 5, 1997. The bank is the oldest and largest 100 percent locally owned independent bank in the area. Ward began with Citizens State Bank in April 1994 as president, CEO and board member. He served as president and CEO of both banks from April 2, 1997, until they were merged Dec. 5, 1997. Ward is a member of the board of directors of Metropolitan National Bank, is on the board of directors of the Marshfield Chamber of Commerce, is on the board of directors for the Springfield Finance and Development Corporation and is a member and past president of the Marshfield Optimist Club.

Age: 53.

No. of years in Springfield/area: Moved to Marshfield in 1995; previously lived in Springfield from 1982.

Education: Graduated from Crane High School. Received a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Southwest Missouri State University in 1972 and an MBA from Drury College in 1987.

Early career: His first job was raising chickens and turkeys on a farm in Crane. Ward raised everything from hogs, chickens, turkeys and cattle to Shetland ponies. He also had a hay-hauling and fescue seed business. Ward later worked for an oil company and as a carpenter's helper. He worked in Chicago for Taft Contracting as an apprentice machinist, and, while he was there, installed the printing press that is still being used at the Springfield News-Leader. Ward also worked for E.A. Martin Machinery in the parts department, and it was then that he finished his undergraduate degree at SMSU and began attending night school at Drury. In 1973, Ward went to work as a bank examiner for the Missouri Division of Finance, and when he left there in 1982, he was supervisor of the Kansas City North Region. From there he continued his career in banking, joining Boatmen's Union National Bank in Springfield as a vice president and working there until 1988, when he took a position as a senior vice president with First City National Bank. He worked with First City until he joined Citizens State Bank in 1994 as president and CEO. "I appreciate the experience of working at several different jobs during my youth. I believe it provides insight and a better understanding of the needs and wants of our customers. We strive to provide the best service possible with capable and motivated staff," Ward said.

Current projects: Refining retail sales and delivery systems, developing a formal human resources and training department, and implementing a recently completed technology plan.

Management philosophy: "Identify then build your organization around capable and committed employees, giving them the responsibility and authority to achieve your goals. We have a great staff that is very capable. They continually impress me with their intellect, drive and commitment. I try to provide a vision for the bank and to prioritize and manage objectives. We strive for an open form of management, and listen to ideas and opinions from the employees that actually perform the tasks."

Spare-time pursuits: "Most of our spare time the past several years has been devoted to our kids' athletic activities. They started in the first grade and have been involved in everything from swimming to basketball and everything in between." Ward also enjoys history, travel and NASCAR stock car racing, and is a "big Mark Martin fan," he said.

Family data: Married to Deborah since 1976. Three children: Dean Peters, who lives in Oregon and works for Timberline Lodge; Aaron, a senior, and Kara, a freshman, both at Marshfield High School.

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