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W. Curtis Strube Award ...Butler Rosenbury receives top small business honors

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A local architecture firm was recognized with the

W. Curtis Strube Small Business of the Year Award

by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Butler, Rosenbury & Partners is the recipient of the 1998 W. Curtis Strube Small Business of the Year Award. Ann Marie Baker, chair of the Chamber's luncheon committee, presented the honor to Geoffrey Butler of Butler, Rosenbury & Partners at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce's June 4 luncheon.

Nine Springfield area small businesses were finalists for the seventh annual contest. The companies were judged on staying power, response to adversity, innovative products or services, business management philosophy and community contribution.

Geoffrey Butler, the son of a Springfield architect,

returned to his hometown from Lawrence, Kan., in 1978 to begin the architectural firm.

Now in its 20th year, the company's focus is on the total project.

"We assume the risk for our clients. We control the cost for them and control the time it takes to complete a project. We can manage a project from start to finish," Butler said.

The firm became the first architectural company in Springfield to have a computer and later installed its first CAD station in 1984. Tim Rosenbury joined the company in 1984, becoming a partner in 1986, and partners have continued to accrue, making the company seven partners strong now.

Bill Bergmann and Douglas Jackson became partners in 1990, while Bruce Adibyazdi, Mike Harned, and David Hess became partners in 1997.

For the past few years, the company has concentrated both on increasing its staff and clients, and on becoming more efficient, Butler said. Simple adjustments like making each individual responsible for his or her correspondence and written materials has made the office run more efficiently.

"We don't have individual secretaries. If you need a letter written, you write it yourself. That is just one of the measures that has made us a lean and mean operation," Butler said.

In 1987, Bill Bergmann, a structural engineer, joined the company. The addition of a structural engineer enhanced the company's service to its clients, Butler said.

"It gives us the ability to work front through back. It helps us analyze the most cost-effective way to develop a plan," Butler said.

Though the firm's focus has always been on project management, it is now becoming more focused on planning. This year, the firm hired David Knight as a planner. Knight had formerly worked as economic development coordinator for the city of Springfield.

The company has had an average sales increase of 22 percent over the past five years. Some of the local projects it has designed include First Card, St. John's Fitness Center, Springfield's U.S. Courthouse, and Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts.

The annual award is given by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, which also oversees the selection process. The selection is made by a panel of five judges.

This year's judges included Dr. Jim Murrow, Roy Strickland, Dr. Ron Bottin, Scott Opfer and Dianne Elizabeth. The latter two were the past two years' award recipients, said Bill Fashing, vice president of economic development for the chamber.

The chamber starts soliciting nominations in February and selects the finalists in April. The award consists of a plaque in the recipient's honor, coverage in the chamber publication, the Springfield Spirit, and media coverage, Fashing said.

This year's luncheon, held at noon at the Clarion in Springfield, also included a Power Point presentation that highlighted the finalists.

Small businesses that may be considered are chamber members with fewer than 100 employees, Fashing said. A committee of nine people planned this year's luncheon, said Baker, chair of that committee.

This year's luncheon was slated for attendance by between 200 and 250 people, making it the largest so far, Fashing said.

The first year for the award was in 1992; it was renamed for W. Curtis Strube, the late Drury College professor, in 1997.

"The award is a way to recognize the significant efforts of small business in our community, and the way it contributes to our economy," Fashing said.

INSET CAPTION:

This is the seventh year for the Small Business of the Year Award, which was renamed for Dr. Curtis Strube in 1997.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Tim Rosenbury, Geoffrey Butler and Douglas Jackson react to receiving the W. Curtis Strube Small Business of the Year Award at the June 4 luncheon. See story, page 10.[[In-content Ad]]

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