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The COMO 100 Story by Kathy Love & Andrea Waner Photos by L.G. Patterson

They are the movers, the shakers and the change-makers of our city. Meet the visionary men and women who make things happen and get things done here in Columbia. Our inaugural COMO 100 list includes artists and creators, entrepreneurs and managers, physicians, attorneys, philanthropists, educators. They are dreamers. They are doers. They never, ever quit. This list wasn’t created in haste. In fact, it was an effort that took many months of careful research and consideration, and it all began with hundreds of nominations from Inside Columbia readers. From there, we turned the selection over to a prestigious panel of community leaders who evaluated each nominee and narrowed down the list to those whose intelligence, talent and drive have propelled them to the forefront of their respective fields, and whose passion for their community motivates them even in their scarce leisure time. Why is Columbia such an extraordinary place? There are lots of reasons — actually 106. Indeed, in the final tally, more than the original goal were worthy of inclusion. We think you’ll agree.



Arts & Culture

David Spear Whether you’re grabbing a bite at Addison’s or Sophia’s, waiting for a bus at Wabash Station or walking past the utility box at Ninth and Broadway, you’ll encounter the uniquely recognizable work of artist David Spear. Spear, a University of Missouri graduate, has spent years learning the variety of techniques, mediums and concepts he incorporates in his distinctive art. His passion for history informs his creations as he seeks out ways to weave together the realistic and the abstract. Currently Spear works at the Missouri Department of Conservation as an exhibition editor and designer as well as continuing to work as a freelance artist. This creative thinker is a boon to the local organizations he has served, including Tigers on the Prowl, Columbia Art League, Rainbow House and Fun City Youth Academy.

David Wilson & Paul Sturtz

Joel Sager Missouri native Joel Sager understands both the art of business and the business of art. He is a contemporary American artist, lauded for his landscapes, still lifes and portraits, and is the curator and co-owner of Sager-Braudis Gallery. After developing his talents as artist-in-residence for the former PS: Gallery, Sager became the face of the gallery when its previous owners departed. Although he changed the gallery’s name to reflect his new ownership, Sager maintained the gallery’s longstanding artist- and community-driven focus, providing opportunities for emerging artists to share wall space with mid-century pros. Sager’s own work draws on the meaning and context found in rural life and through ordinary objects, people, places and things. Selections from his portfolio of work have been shown internationally, in both private and corporate collections.



A chance encounter following an underground music show at the now shuttered Shattered nightclub led to Paul Sturtz and David Wilson hatching the Ragtag Film Society, a film series housed at the Blue Note. As the seats filled up, the weekly series grew into a new space and a new name: the Ragtag Cinema. Before long, the scope of the WilsonSturtz dream of introducing Columbia residents to independent theater evolved into something even bigger. The True/ False Film Festival made its debut in February 2004 and has grown into a world-renowned nonfiction festival, ushering in tens of thousands of festivalgoers each year. The two men, along with their True/False team, have worked to transform ordinary indoor and outdoor Columbia spaces into magical, temporary movie venues that showcase downtown Columbia, contribute to the local economy and inspire appreciation for documentary films.

photo courtesy of Ken Logston

Nola Ruth

Jon W. Poses

Kenny Greene

Columbia should sit down and write Nola Ruth a thank-you note. Her drive and passion for the arts inspired the former manager of local community radio station KOPN 89.5 to put together the Arts Resource Council, which later evolved into Columbia’s Office of Cultural Affairs. Ruth served as executive director of the Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies, a statewide service organization, and chaired the Missouri Arts Council until early 2017. She remains a member of the Missouri Arts Council and serves on the board of the National Assembly of State Art Agencies. Columbians are grateful for Ruth’s work with the Office of Cultural Affairs, but she will be the first to remind them that the contribution to the greater mission is really what matters.

Jon W. Poses loves jazz so much, he just can’t keep it to himself. That’s good news for Columbia, because his “We Always Swing” Jazz Series has been bringing nationally recognized jazz talent to town since 1995. Poses’ ability to advance the hometown jazz series has positioned Columbia as a destination for fans who enjoy the evolution of modern jazz. Poses connects his audiences with a wide spectrum of styles, preserving jazz’s long-standing heritage while inspiring budding fans through a variety of educational programs. No one has done more to increase Columbia’s awareness of and respect for jazz music. When he’s not immersed in music, Poses enjoys America’s other pastime: baseball.

Beauty is in the details for Kenny Greene, who designs and restores intricate pieces of jewelry while also finding time to teach the ancient art of tai chi. Greene discovered his talent for jewelry work in the late 1970s, and underwent an intense apprenticeship in Seattle before returning to the Midwest. Not long after graduating from Columbia College with a degree in jewelry and a minor in painting, he opened Monarch Jewelry and began designing custom pieces for all occasions. Beyond creating unique jewelry and restoring cherished old pieces for customers, Greene teaches jewelry-making at his alma mater, and leads classes in tai chi at the Armory Sports Center. Greene received the Columbia Daily Tribune Hero Award for Outstanding Volunteer in Arts and Humanities in 2017.



Arts & Culture

Richard King

Paul Jackson

Lisa Bartlett

Long before Columbia was known as a music destination with first-class festivals, Richard King was struggling to get a little-known venue, the Blue Note, up and running. King watched his business grow over the years, from its start on the Business Loop in 1980 to its current home on Ninth Street, from booking obscure bands that he and his co-founder loved, to securing talent with broad national recognition. His passion for event promotion led to the creation of the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival in 2007, which was started as a free concert to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Central Bank of Boone County. In 2015, King sold both the Blue Note and Mojo’s (now Rose Music Hall) after 34 years of making memories and sharing music.

Paul Jackson is a modern-day Renaissance man. As an artist, he is a master watercolorist, but he has taken on other challenges as an author, a judge, an instructor, a speaker and a filmmaker. The list of accolades and honors, both nationally and internationally, for Jackson and his art, is long and impressive. His work in watercolor has been displayed in the Missouri State Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion and the Missouri Supreme Court. Additionally, Jackson’s creativity has earned him invitations to craft designs for the White House Easter Egg Roll, and to create public art murals and glass mosaics throughout the nation. His keen eye for visual representations of landscapes, portraits and cityscapes has elevated him in the art world, but Jackson keeps his feet firmly planted on CoMo ground.

Adding to the cultural footprint of Columbia is Lisa Bartlett’s mission and has been for the better part of 40 years. Bartlett began her career as a graphic designer for KOMU-TV. When her time at the local station ended after a decade, she found the next phase of her journey as an antiques dealer and owner of The Vintage Shop. The call to create was strong, and the next step in her career was to set up a fine arts studio. Along with several other artists and partners, she opened Spare Parts Gallery and now is the owner of Artlandish Gallery. This active, community-minded artist has been integral to the evolution of the North Village Arts District, bringing cultural diversity and a flourishing art scene to the Columbia community.



Karen Mareck Grundy

Hugo Vianello

Las Vegas is a fitting hometown for a born entertainer like Karen Mareck Grundy. She was raised in Vegas, where she honed her skills as a professional dancer for more than 11 years, appearing in elaborate productions and with dance companies. In 2000, she found herself in the middle of the Midwest to teach at the Columbia Performing Arts Centre. After spending a few years in her newfound hometown, she realized there was great potential for a professional dance company, thanks in part to Columbia’s progressive arts community. With the help of community members, Grundy formed the Missouri Contemporary Ballet in 2006. She also contributes to the Columbia community through various outreach programs such as DanceAbility, a program providing dancers with special needs an opportunity to learn and explore the world of dance. She continues to serve at the helm of Missouri Contemporary Ballet as the artistic/executive director.

Hugo Vianello has spent nearly five decades making Columbia a more musical place. He and his wife, Lucy, founded the Missouri Symphony Society in 1970. The organization purchased the Missouri Theatre in 1987, saving it from conversion into a modern cinema complex or parking lot to have a venue for its practices and performances. Through the years, the Missouri Symphony Society, under the masterful direction of Maestro Vianello, invested in the historic theater’s maintenance and preservation. Vianello stood at the conductor’s podium for 28 years and currently holds the honorable title of conductor laureate for the organization. He also served 12 years as music director and conductor at Stephens College and for three years at the University of Missouri. This talented man is a conductor, composer, woodworker and dreamer, and he’s looking forward to the production of his opera “An Antique Carol” at Talking Horse Productions this December.



Business & Industry Mark Fenner Mark Fenner, CEO of MFA Oil Co., went to work for Farmland Industries in 1986, fresh out of Mizzou with a degree in agricultural economics. He joined MFA in 2012 as chief operating officer and rose to the top two years later. He says his biggest professional obstacle is when people don’t share his passion for the company’s success. He believes his influence has polished the image and customer service of Break Time convenience stores, attributing restructured business operations for improving the company’s ability to be profitable in good times and bad. He describes himself as “uber-competitive” but feels like things always work out for the best. “No matter how much you want to control your life and career, things won’t always go according to plan,” he says. “But chill out, as God has a plan for your life.” Fenner plans to visit Normandy, France, and to continue pursuing life’s little pleasures such as sports, hunting, fishing and golf.



Ann Covington Ann Covington veered from her path toward a doctorate in English literature to enroll in the law school at MU, and the rest is history. Yes, really! Covington made history as the first female judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals in 1987, and 14 months later as the first female judge on the Missouri Supreme Court, where she also served as chief justice. Her biggest challenge, she says, was the inevitable work/family balance. She grew up in Fairmont, West Virginia, but counts Columbia as her adopted hometown. She has served on the University of Missouri board of curators and is involved in other university-related functions. She is an active member of the Missouri United Methodist Church and enjoys “talking law with colleagues.” Now retired, she has traveled internationally but considers her favorite destination a beach town in New Jersey where she gathers with family from around the country.

Dave Griggs

Jeff Echelmeier

Dave Griggs attended a one-room school in Boone County. He had the same teacher for eight years and for four of those years, he was the only student in his grade. When it was time for college, the Vietnam War loomed. His “education” was the construction industry in which he’d grown up. He started his business, Dave Griggs Flooring America, in 1975. In 1988, Griggs became the first Republican in Boone County history to be elected as northern county commissioner. He was president of the Chamber of Commerce and served two terms as chair of Regional Economic Development Inc., drafting incentive policies that help Columbia compete in luring investments and jobs. Griggs says success is based on building good relationships and establishing trust. When not working at his store or on attracting business and industry to Columbia, Griggs can be found at the Lake of the Ozarks or puttering on his farm.

Jeff Echelmeier began working as a seasonal tax preparer when he was a graduate student at MU in 1990. Now he is chairman of the accounting firm of Williams Keepers LLC. He says his biggest challenge has been prioritizing his time and keeping a healthy balance between work and family. He’s very involved with his children’s activities, including coaching a Little League team in 2006 that went all the way to the Little League World Series. Albert Pujols helped the team celebrate by giving them a personal tour of the St. Louis Cardinals clubhouse. An avid golfer, Echelmeier has made pilgrimages to the Pebble Beach course in California and St. Andrews in Scotland. Attending The Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club is on his bucket list. He says helping people be successful and navigate financial challenges is his greatest success. His advice to his younger self? “Just keep doing the right things for the right reasons and things will work out fine.”



Business & Industry


Bob Pugh

Henry J. (Hank) Waters III

Rick L. Means

Most people don’t know Bob Pugh as a high-jumper, except perhaps for his meteoric career in business, but in fact he was an athlete who once jumped 6 feet, 6 inches. That was a few years back. Pugh, now retired, put his University of Missouri degree in accounting to its first use in the Army in the 1960s. Then he applied it to the Missouri Store Co., which he helped transform into MBS Textbook and Exchange, buying the company with a partner and serving as its CEO from 1985 to 2017. This year, the partners sold the company, Columbia’s ninthlargest employer with a workforce of 850, to Barnes & Noble for nearly $175 million. Pugh served as mayor of Columbia from 1975-77. He maintains that a bad golf swing was the biggest impediment to his career, and breaking 100 on an 18-hole course remains at the top of his bucket list. Known to be colorful and outspoken, Pugh says his favorite activities are fishing in exotic locales and badmouthing politicians.

Hank Waters began his media career as a newspaper carrier in 1941. He started selling advertising for the Columbia Daily Tribune in 1951 and rose to advertising manager in 1959. By 1966 he had become publisher and began writing the daily commentary that became a staple of news analysis and opinion for well-read Columbians. He has been involved in many aspects of civic life, leading initiatives to improve downtown Columbia, promote economic development, and support culture, education and the arts. He retired in 2016, selling the newspaper to a larger corporation but continuing to contribute to editorial content. The impact of the internet on newspapers is the biggest challenge Waters faced in his career, but he followed his own advice to “do your best and just keep plugging.” He has traveled internationally, sailing and power boating over many miles of ocean.

Rick L. Means rose steadily in the ranks of Shelter Insurance, from claims adjuster in 1977 to president and CEO in 2012. He applied his degree in business from MU to grow the company, establishing offices in 20 states and doing business in 60 countries. He counts his most notable achievement, though, as Shelter’s involvement in the Columbia community. He encouraged agents and other employees to donate to and volunteer with United Way, Boys & Girls Club, Job Point, The Food Bank, the Chamber of Commerce and REDI. He is motivated by his desire to make Columbia better, but his biggest challenge, he says, is learning to be more patient. His advice to his younger self ? “Deal with problems head on — do not let them fester and grow. Also, lead by example. Work hard and do your best … realize you will make a few mistakes but learn from those mistakes.”




Business & Industry


Gary R. Drewing

Richard Mendenhall

Gary R. Drewing might well be called the car king of central Missouri. A graduate of St. Louis University with a master’s degree in business, Drewing rose through the car industry ranks starting in 1971 with the Ford Motor Co. district sales office. He sold cars in Illinois and Jefferson City before arriving on the Columbia car scene in 1983 as general manager and co-owner of Joe Machens Ford, which he grew to include 16 franchises. He sold eight of the 10 stores in 2015 and now owns and manages Mercedes-Benz and BMW dealerships. He is proud of his companies’ impact on Columbia as one of the county’s top 10 employers, with charitable contributions amounting to $15 million over the years. People may not know that this high-powered CEO enjoys spending time on his farm and watching his grandchildren’s sporting events. His advice to his younger self is always to do what is right and strive to help others be successful. His biggest challenge? “Finding and hiring enough good people.”

Richard Mendenhall launched his business, philanthropic and leadership trajectory as an Eagle Scout. He says scouting fueled his passion for nature and the outdoors. Mendenhall inherited a real estate agency with a handful of agents from his parents in 1974, and grew RE/MAX Boone Realty into the area’s largest real estate operation with 120 agents in Columbia, and 70 agents in Jefferson City. He helped found Regional Economic Development Inc., Women’s Network (one of the largest branches of the Chamber of Commerce), the University of Missouri Flagship Council and the Boone County Legacy Project, which recognizes the Missouri River and other natural regional features. As a former president in the National Association of Realtors, the nation’s largest trade organization, he helped influence regulations in the real estate industry. He expressed his respect for natural resources by donating part of the land he developed as the Forum Shopping Center to become a buffer for the MKT Trail. Mendenhall served as a Green Beret in Vietnam from 1967-1968 in a top secret six-person unit.




Business & Industry

Teresa Maledy

Bo Fraser

Tom Atkins

Teresa Maledy prepared for a career in banking with a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Webster University. She advanced her expertise with courses at Duke University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Bloch School of Business. She is the CEO/ chairman of Commerce Bank, Central and Eastern Missouri Region and in 2002 became the first female bank president of the Commerce Bankshares organization, a $25 billion bank holding company with more than 330 locations in the central United States. She is responsible for all facets of the bank’s retail and commercial operations in central Missouri. She is a fixture in community organizations, boosting their bottom lines, advising on philanthropic opportunities and serving as a mentor for women and entrepreneurs in the community. In 2014, she was named Woman of the Year by the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation. Her focus on mentoring and education also led to her participation with the Community Foundation of Central Missouri, the Missouri Partnership board, the Stephens College board of trustees, the Stephens College Endowment Foundation board and the Alliance for Childhood Education and Cradle to Career council.

Bo Fraser spent 11 years as a bank examiner for FDIC, 11 years in lending with Central Trust in Jefferson City, and 22 years with Boone County National Bank (now called Central Bank of Boone County) as chairman, president and CEO. He says his leadership at BCNB was made possible by a team of individuals committed to taking care of customers and making Columbia a better community. He is known as one of Columbia’s “quintessential gentlemen” and acknowledges that the biggest obstacle he has had to overcome is saying “no.” “Never mastered that one,” Fraser says. After retirement from his fast-paced banking career, Fraser explored his love for speed by driving racecars on tracks around the country, but mostly in the Midwest. He enjoys tennis, golf, shooting sports and a nice glass of Bordeaux, and he hopes one day to take a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. His advice to his younger self is direct: Work hard but keep an appropriate balance of work, family and self.

Tom Atkins got his start in management in high school: He was in charge of the school’s popcorn machine. “I just did what I could,” he says. Turned out he could do quite a lot. He joined his aunt and uncle’s firm, Atkins-McCauley Chemical Co., as head of sales in 1961. He bought out their share and went on to build a succession of businesses culminating in Atkins’ Building Services and Products in 1979. Today the business employs about 500 people in Columbia, Jefferson City and surrounding towns. Atkins’ civic engagement matches his management prowess. Atkins served on the Columbia College board for 25 years and the board of curators at the University of Missouri for six. He served as president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1977-78 and received that organization’s Outstanding Citizen Award in 1988. He sums up his leadership style by saying, “I never ask anyone to do anything I haven’t done myself.”



Stanley Kroenke

Greg Steinhoff

Jerry Taylor

Greg Steinhoff was a pharmacist who became a small businessman. With degrees from Westminster College and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy, he jumped into business feet first. “I made a lot of mistakes but I managed to grow the business,” Steinhoff says. He sold the health care company he started, then went to work for a succession of national and local businesses. He was appointed to lead the Missouri Department of Economic Development by Gov. Matt Blunt in 2004. He currently is vice president of industry and regulatory relations for Veterans United Home Loans. Steinhoff led efforts to build the Activity & Recreation Center, Columbia Independent School and Welcome Home. He is active in economic development efforts including the Missouri Partnership and Columbia Regional airport expansion. He says he hopes his greatest impact on Columbia has been the ability to identify opportunities and work with others to accomplish them. His advice to his younger self? “Be humble. Don’t look ahead but be passionate about what is in front of you — work, family and faith.”

Jerry Taylor began working for MFA Oil as a consultant in 1982 and joined the company as marketing director in 1988. Over the years, his career trajectory carried him from vice president of sales to vice president of supply and distribution, to vice president of retail, to senior vice president of retail and supply, and in 2003, he was named president of the company. He retired in 2014. MFA Oil was created in 1929 by MFA Inc., which began 15 years earlier as a way for farmers to pool their resources to increase their purchasing power. Under Taylor’s leadership, MFA Oil grew to yearly sales of more than $1.5 billion. It is the seventh-largest propane company in the country, the 18th largest cooperative and also operates Break Time convenience stores, Jiffy Lube and Big O Tires. Currently, Taylor is an executive at Veterans United. Taylor serves on the boards of Landmark Bank and Veterans United Home Loans, and he participated in the mayor’s task force on crime. Taylor has been recognized by the White House as one of 10 people in the U.S. designated as a Champion of Change in Renewable Fuels.

Enos Stanley Kroenke was named for St. Louis Cardinals greats Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter. His namesakes may have influenced his enthusiasm for acquiring sports teams, but it was his wife, Walmart heiress Ann Walton, and an entrepreneurial spirit that has helped him amass a fortune worth more than $7 billion. Kroenke embarked on his first business venture as an undergraduate at MU in 1970 when he partnered with Bob Roper to buy a clothing store in Columbia. After marrying Ann Walton in 1974, he set out to learn as much as he could from his in-laws and hunting partners, Sam and Bud Walton, cofounders of Walmart. An early venture with St. Louis developer THF Realty resulted in 20 retail malls around the Midwest, many of them anchored by Walmart. Kroenke’s empire has grown to include sports teams, stadiums, vineyards, cattle ranches and more. “Deals are like driving fence posts,” Kroenke says. “You have to hit the post over and over. The key is to stay with it every day.”

John Ott John Ott pursued his interest in historic preservation to redevelop northeast downtown Columbia into an arts district that has quickly become a magnet for residents, artists and businesses. Ott used his MU journalism degree for a 20-year career in the broadcast and marketing business. He and his wife, Vicki, bought a rundown schoolhouse in Rocheport and developed it into one of the growing area’s first bed-andbreakfasts, attracting thousands of visitors to the community from the Katy Trail. In 2004, he began to transform Alley A, the North Village Arts District and storefronts on Ninth Street and Broadway. His biggest career obstacle has been managing his time. “Sometimes when time is managed it takes all the fun out of the task,” he said. But if he can manage it, he wants to find the time to add welding to his skill set. DECEMBER 2017 INSIDE COLUMBIA


Business & Industry

Beau Aero

Elizabeth Mendenhall

Billy Sapp

President and founder of GME Supply Co., Beau Aero moved his company’s headquarters from New York to Columbia in 2010. The company is a distributor of fall protection, safety equipment and gear for at-height workers, industry and construction. In 2014, GME Supply was named Exporter of the Year by the Small Business Administration, Safety Distributor of the Year in 2016 by Affiliated Distributors and a 2017 “One to Watch” by Industrial Distribution magazine. The company sells its products in all 50 states and more than 30 countries. Stagnation, Aero says, has been the most difficult obstacle to overcome and helped motivate him to move his company to midMissouri to more efficiently serve his customers. He believes his greatest impact on Columbia is the creation of the Columbia Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “inspiring lifelong giving and connecting people, places and organizations to worthy causes, now and into the future.”

Elizabeth Mendenhall remembers tagging along to open houses and helping at her father’s real estate company, RE/MAX Boone Realty, when she was a little girl. She went to work there full time as an administrative assistant when she was 22. Now she is CEO, a sixth generation Mendenhall to oversee the business that started in 1894. Her father, Richard Mendenhall, formed the current iteration of the company in 1991 to specialize in commercial and residential real estate. Elizabeth works with the company’s more than 100 agents and has served as president of the Missouri Board of Realtors. She was installed as the 2018 president of the National Association of REALTORS in November. She was an assistant manager at Boone Tavern for five years but says she couldn’t imagine having a career in anything but real estate. “The real estate business is about helping families, and my family certainly has been doing this for a long time, so I think it is a nice fit,” she says.

Billy Sapp followed in his father Emery Sapp’s footsteps in the construction business. Emery Sapp & Sons Inc. started out as a small construction company in 1974. During the past 40 years, Billy Sapp and his brother, Elvin, expanded the business. The company, which specializes in excavation, now has offices in Kansas City and Springfield and employs more than 600. Among the company’s recent, high-profile projects were the demolition and lot excavation of the old Shakespeare’s Pizza building. Other projects include work on the Columbia Regional Airport, an expansion of East Broadway and the development of the land  Aspen Heights  now sits on. One of Sapp’s biggest marks on Columbia is the residential development of  Old Hawthorne; the 600-acre private community opened in 2007. Sapp is chair of the Central Missouri Development Council, a group that represents the interests of developers, and facilitates communication among residents, planners and government entities.



photo provided

Larry Potterfield

Randy Coil

Al Price

Randy Coil started a home remodeling company in 1975 to help demonstrate his commitment to building a better community. “I am proud that I have been involved in the growth of the community, not just the building of buildings, but being a thought leader and a part of organizations that care about the environment, veterans, children, health care and education.” The success of Coil Construction grew to encompass construction of the Budweiser Clydesdale breeding facility Warm Springs Ranch, and Boone Hospital Nifong Medical Plaza — not a bad record for the self-described “shy kid” who didn’t know what to do with his life. Coil has logged more than 3,000 hours as a pilot and his most exciting experience was flying over the tallest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls in Venezuela, in an old DC-3. Coil enjoys hiking with his wife, Cydney, and creating a habitat at their Missouri River farm.

Al Price likes to dive deep: few people know that he is a scuba diver. He used his analytical education in chemical engineering from MU and banking from Harvard University and the University of Wisconsin to dive deeply into his family’s bank, Boone County National Bank (now called Central Bank of Boone County) in order to “bring it into the 21st century.” Price’s great grandfather, R.B. Price, became the bank’s second president in 1871 and Al Price was the third generation of Prices to lead the institution. Al and his wife, Marjo, are committed to a host of community organizations and were selected by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce to receive its Outstanding Citizen Award in 2011. Always looking for new ways to engage with their community, the couple started a monthly gourmet dinner club called the Chit/Chat Club, modeled after a 100-year-old group in Boston that features in-depth discussions of current topics led by a member of the group.

Larry Potterfield shot his first duck at age 9 and received his first gun — a hand-medown 16-gauge single shot — as a Christmas present at age 13. Now he is the founder and CEO of MidwayUSA, an internet retailer of shooting, hunting and outdoor products. He and his wife, Brenda, have been honored by many conservation and shooting sports organizations, including the National Rifle Association, Boy Scouts of America, Safari Club International and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. MidwayUSA received the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award in 2009 and 2015, honoring that company’s performance excellence. Potterfield is developing Cartwright Business and Technology Park near the airport with two “spec” buildings, roads and other infrastructure amounting to about $25 million. The Potterfields established the MidwayUSA Foundation to help youth shooting sports teams. The foundation has $130 million in assets, has paid $17.8 million in grants and assisted 2,641 teams. By asking customers to “round up” their order totals, MidwayUSA has collected more than $14.2 million for the NRA.

Jeffrey E. Smith Jeffrey Smith began his real estate career by rehabilitating single-family homes. He used the federal Farmers Home program to expand into multifamily and senior apartments. In 1986, the Tax Reform Act shifted his focus to participation in the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program. In 1990, he was instrumental in crafting the legislation for the Missouri Low Income Housing Tax Credit and later, the Missouri Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program. With JES Holdings, he has become one of the most active developers for affordable, tax-subsidized housing for families and seniors in the state. Smith and his wife, Jill, are education philanthropists. They funded the Jeffrey E. Smith School of Real Estate at the business school at MU and numerous scholarships. The couple maintains homes in Columbia and California. DECEMBER 2017 INSIDE COLUMBIA


Business & Industry


Charles Gibbens

Paul Land

Charles Gibbens looks back on a successful career in business as owner of Credit Bureau of Columbia, which he sold to Equifax in 1997. He still owns AMS, a collection agency, but believes serving as former president of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and devoting volunteer time to Columbia Public Schools and Boone Hospital Center have had the most impact on the community. A sports lover, one of Gibbens’ fondest memories is being the first driver of the MU “helmet car” at home games and at the Liberty Bowl. He counts a trip to Kenya with the Touring Tigers as one of his greatest life adventures, but on Sept. 11, 2001, he and his wife, Jean, were in China. “Oh, it was terrible to have our country attacked and be so far from our loved ones,” Gibbens says. When he isn’t attending a sporting event or grandkids’ track meet, he finds time to read, exercise, dance, go to movies and dine out.

Paul Land was named the 2017 Outstanding Citizen by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. He is principal/owner of Plaza Commercial Realty, a commercial real estate brokerage service, and has more than 39 years of experience in real estate. He is an active member of national, state and local realty boards and is a past recipient of the Realtor of the Year award from the Columbia Board of Realtors. Land is a founding member of the Central Missouri Development Council. He is active in community organizations and has served on the boards of Regional Economic Development Inc., Kiwanis Club, Junior Achievement, Central Missouri Community Foundation, Downtown Community Improvement District, Central Bank of Boone County, the Business Loop Community Improvement District, Columbia Soccer Club and Salvation Army. His company produces an annual report that tracks various economic indicators to gauge the value of commercial real estate development.



Jim Ritter Problems are no problem for Jim Ritter, who isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves, open a conversation and work toward a solution. Ritter spent 45 years in public education, 34 with Columbia Public Schools, most recently as the district’s interim superintendent. He retired in 2009. The district benefitted from Ritter’s leadership during every step of his career journey, first as a teacher, then guidance director, Hickman associate principal, transportation director, assistant superintendent, associate superintendent and finally superintendent. He championed fiscal responsibility and community trust, and took pride in establishing, and later restoring, trust in the school district, all while maintaining his integrity and his sense of humor.





Russell Thompson

Peter Stiepleman

Gary Ward

Russell Thompson has been a friend of public education for more than 50 years. He began his career as a teacher at Hickman High School and ascended the administrative ladder with Columbia Public Schools in roles that included principal, director of secondary education, assistant superintendent, and ultimately superintendent. Thompson held the position of superintendent for 18 years, the longest tenure in district history. It was during his watch that Columbia Public Schools was named one of 16 model school districts by the National Governor’s Conference. Thompson has dedicated his career to the advancement of public education and contributed to the success of the educational system in roles at the local, state and federal levels. He is known in the community, and to his peers, as an innovative thinker whose life’s work revolved around student achievement and development.

As superintendent of Columbia Public Schools, Peter Stiepleman helps students and their families navigate the actual and metaphorical hallways of public education. Stiepleman’s vision for Columbia Public Schools is one where the focus is on lifting one another up, redefining what community means in a school setting, and seeking out creative solutions to ensure the success of every child. He has long been an advocate for learning, taking opportunities to educate the public on tax levies and bond issues, but also participating in professional development himself. During Stiepelman’s three years as superintendent, faculty and staff at Columbia Public schools have gone through equity training to help improve educational oppertunities and build bridges with children and their families.

University of Missouri Vice Chancellor for Operations and Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Gary Ward is tasked with overseeing a diverse assortment of activities associated with the university. From the MU Police Department and the Missouri Theatre to campus activites and the student engagement responsibilities, Ward’s responsibilities cover the gamut. With the missions of the university as his guiding principles, Ward works to ensure public dollars are spent effectively and efficiently. Prior to his appointment to his current position, he oversaw the completion of multimillion dollar campus construction projects, as well as the formation of the MU Sustainability Office. More recently, Ward sought out creative ways be an effective steward of university finances by opening up unoccupied residence halls for rental during football weekends. He considers it a blessing to work with faculty and staff to prepare Mizzou students for their next chapter of life.


Gerald Brouder

Jan Mees

Eryca Neville

Nurse, educator, administrator and community leader — Gerald Brouder has done it all. He began his career as an operating room tech in the military, subsequently pursuing a career in nursing and becoming the first male teacher at the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing. Brouder filled many roles in the MU system, including interim chancellor and provost, eventually leaving to begin his tenure as the president of Columbia College where he served for nearly 18 years. During that time, the Columbia College endowment grew by more than $97 million. He is widely respected in academic circles and in the Columbia community for his integrity, honesty, fairness and compassion. Since retiring, Brouder enjoys golf, tennis and a good scotch.

Here’s a lesson in commitment: Jan Mees has served as an advocate for students and families in Columbia for more than 25 years. She began her career as a volunteer in an elementary school before becoming a library media clerk at Fairview Elementary School. She then settled into her role as a media specialist at the elementary, middle and senior high levels for 17 years. When she retired, Mees began her tenure as an elected official on the Columbia School Board. She freely shares her time and talents in the service of her fellow citizens as a volunteer with the Stand by Me program, Boy Scouts of America, Assistance League of MidMissouri and more. Mees recently was elected president of the Missouri School Boards’ Association and is known for her fierce devotion to public education.

From newborns to adults, Eryca Neville has taught them all. Beginning as a paraprofessional at Rock Bridge High School, Neville has worked in education for her entire career. She can take pride in her job as principal of Frederick Douglass High School, and feels she truly is able to see and understand the students in her care. With her personal mission to engage students at risk of dropping out, and encourage successful completion of high school with a postgraduation plan, Neville is known for her tenacity and love for the Douglass students. She often advises that the race is not given to the swift or to the strong, but to those who endure until the end. Her ability to teach cultural proficiency and alternative education has provided many opportunities for students to get involved in and out of the classroom.





Kee Groshong

Sara Harper

Like the campus trees he loves, Kee Groshong is firmly rooted in Columbia. The former University of Missouri vice chancellor of administrative affairs has held many positions in the mid-Missouri community including leadership roles with Regional Economic Development Inc., the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Daniel Boone Regional Library Foundation, Missouri Credit Union, Job Point, Community Foundation of Central Missouri and the City of Columbia railroad advisory board. Groshong served as vice chancellor for the last 15 of his 37 years before retiring in 2002. He took a keen interest in the beautification of the University of Missouri, which resulted in the campus becoming a botanical garden. In retirement, Groshong enjoys snow skiing, collecting and restoring antique farm tractors and a good Scotch whiskey.

Ask Sara Harper what she’s grateful for and she’ll tell you about the joys of working with so many terrific people in the 39 years she’s called Columbia home. She’s done everything from spending a decade teaching preschool, kindergarten and first grade, to selling real estate. Harper even made a stop at local textbook distributor MBS, and also owned University of Missouri game day staple Harpo’s with her husband, Dennis. Her commitment to the Columbia community, and her reputation as a forward thinker, positioned her to co-found and become a trustee for Columbia Independent School, a private PreK-12 preparatory school. When not assisting at CIS or helping families find their dream home, Harper enjoys a “Bob McCosh Special” — a cocktail of Tito’s vodka, soda, cranberry and a few lemon wedges.


Elaine Hassemer

Terry Smith

Brady Deaton

Whether it was teaching a lesson to President Ronald Reagan during his visit to Fairview Elementary School in 1987, or influencing educators, parents and children, Elaine Hassemer spent her 32 years with Columbia Public Schools and five years with Our Lady of Lourdes Interparish School making an immeasurable difference. Hassemer began her career as a sixth grade teacher at Fairview Elementary School before becoming the school’s assistant principal, and later principal. After her time at Fairview, she served for 12 years as the first principal at Paxton Keeley Elementary School. As a board member for Big Brothers Big Sister, Hassemer was able to witness firsthand the giving spirit of her Columbia neighbors. Her zeal is as strong as ever, and today she continues as principal of Our Lady of Lourdes Interparish School and is excited about the expansion of their facilities.

Terry Smith is proud of the part he played in making Columbia College a successful and respected institution of higher education. Smith spent nearly 19 years in administration at the college before returning to the classroom as a professor of political science and director of the Columbia College Honors Program. In addition to his time in front of students who yearn to learn more about American politics, Smith serves as a radio and television contributor during election cycles and a regular political commentator, providing nonpartisan analysis of local and national politics. Outside of the classroom, he is active in the Columbia community through community and professional organizations. Smith enjoys spending time with family, including wife, Jane. He’s on a mission to seek out the perfect local IPA and to grow a truly great tomato.

Where do you start with Brady Deaton? Do you begin with the years he spent teaching vocational agriculture with the Peace Corps in Thailand? Do you jump past the years he spent in the classroom and around the globe, and go straight to his role as chancellor of the University of Missouri? Deaton has been a champion of higher education for decades. As a strong proponent of the University of Missouri in a global setting, he played a pivotal role as sponsor of the Big 12 provosts’ delegation to the European Union, as well as in Mizzou’s move to the SEC. Deaton could fill an entire section of the library with the articles, presentations, book chapters and complete books he has written during his career. He received national recognition for his work on agriculture, global trade and higher education. Deaton and his wife currently head up the Brady and Anne Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development.




Brant and Brock Bukowsky It’s hard to overemphasize the important role Brant and Brock Bukowsky have played in mid-Missouri, and in the lives of service men and women across the nation. The Bukowsky brothers founded Veteran United Home Loans, one of the most successful, fastest growing organizations in the country, to help members of the military navigate the VA home loan process. Since its founding in 2002, Veterans United has employed thousands of Columbians in jobs that give them the satisfaction of helping veterans, while working in a fun environment that rewards passion and integrity. In 2017, Veterans United was named one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work for its employees and culture they have created.



Bill Turpin

Bruce Walker

Bill Turpin turns dreamers into doers by mentoring up-and-coming businessowners through the Missouri Innovation Center. With his 30-plus years of experience as an entrepreneur, Turpin knows what it takes to launch and run a successful company. He is president and CEO at the Missouri Innovation Center, a nonprofit organization that nurtures highgrowth business ventures that improve human life and sustainability. His experience in high-tech enables him to anticipate foundational shifts as technology evolves, and he’s been an angel investor and mentor to Silicon Valley startups. But his heart is here in mid-Missouri, where he is guiding entrepreneurs as they commercialize pioneering products and technologies. Turpin was also a pioneer as in the 1995 Netscape IPO that started the internet explosion.

Bruce Walker is a change maker. During his 20 years as dean of the University of Missouri business school, Walker led the development of a comprehensive strategic plan, engaged alumni in education initiatives and helped raise more than $100 million for scholarships, faculty positions, development programs and the construction of Cornell Hall. Walker’s contributions to Columbia extend beyond the university. He has served on a variety of regional boards, including those for Central Bank of Boone County, Walsworth Publishing Co., the Missouri Innovation Center, and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Walker serves as president of Centennial Investors, an angel investing organization in midMissouri that provides risk capital to start-ups. He and his wife, Pam, also assist with the Hagan Scholarship program.





Bob Gerding

Tyson Hunt

Bob Gerding has become Columbia’s go-to guy for business expertise. Founder and partner at Gerding, Korte & Chitwood CPA firm, he has offered sound accounting advice to clients and maneuvered through ever-changing tax regulations for 35 years. But beyond the ins and outs of complicated tax law, he is an expert on all things Columbia and has shared his time to help numerous civic, business and community organizations, including Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Missouri, the Central Bank of Boone County, Central Trust and Investments, Columbia Insurance Group, Community Foundation of Central Missouri, the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and Missouri CORE Partnership. Gerding also was a catalyst for business development in the Flat Branch district. He retired in 2017 from Gerding, Korte and Chitwood.

Tyson Hunt knows how to command attention, whether it’s in front of a classroom of special education students or by creating a loyal following of beer aficionados with the opening of Logboat Brewing Co. As an avid hobbyist homebrewer, Hunt saw a need in the Columbia market for more local craft beer and teamed up with friends to co-found Logboat. Since its inception, Logboat has become a regional favorite, complete with an outdoor area ripe for conversation and community connection. Hunt made it a priority for Logboat to use its status in the community to provide support to local nonprofits and charitable organizations through donations, sponsorships, events and more. When not planning the next adventure for Logboat, Hunt enjoys all things outdoors — camping, fishing, boating, hunting, golfing, biking, hiking and exploring with his wife and daughters.


Josh Kayser Josh Kayser saw a need and he found a way to fill it: The idea behind his award-winning business is as simple and as brilliant as that. He knew businesses needed surety bonds and decided to make the process easier and more efficient. Kayser and his team opted to jump in on a virtually untapped market, focusing solely on providing surety bonds. Since 2009, Kayser’s business, Suretybonds.com, has grown exponentially, helping thousands of businesses every year with everything from license and permit bonds to commercial and court bonds. His desire to provide efficient, innovative and informed surety bond solutions nationwide has created local jobs and earned acclaim from the Columbia Chamber of Commerce when his company took the prize for 2015 Small Business of the Year.

Dan Schuppan

Tom Smith Tom Smith likes to keep life interesting. Columbia’s relatively low cost of living in 1986 combined with Smith’s knack for computer science were a recipe for success when he co-founded Datastorm Technologies, a successful computer software company. For nearly 10 years, Smith and his cohorts published software in the ever-evolving and profitable tech market before moving on to other ventures. Smith’s hobby of homebrewing and love for craft beer thrust him into his next adventure: the opening of Flat Branch Pub & Brewing. For the past 32 years, Smith has employed scores of Columbians and supported a wide range of community programs, all while growing his business portfolio, even bringing the unique dining experience of HuHot Mongolian Grill to Columbia. When not enjoying a good IPA, Smith finds pleasure in boating on the Missouri River, restoring rural properties and listening to live music.

Long before MBS Textbook Exchange made headlines when Barnes & Noble snapped it up for a cool $174.2 million, it was a company looking to find the best way to sell new and used textbooks to a town full of college students. Dan Schuppan, a native Columbian and former University of Missouri defensive end, teamed up with longtime friend and MBS CEO Bob Pugh to put their strategic thinking and professional knowhow to work. Schuppan and company came up with innovative ways to improve product handling and shipping efficiency in the wholesale textbook industry. With Schuppan’s guidance, MBS grew to revolutionize its industry and provide employment for thousands in the region.

George Pfenenger George Pfenenger’s dream to connect mid-Missouri residents with the world quickly grew into Missouri’s largest local internet provider. With help from a friend and business partner, Pfenenger created Socket, a company that landed three times on Inc. Magazine’s list of America’s Top 500 fastest growing privately held companies. Pfenenger guided Socket through its expansion into business telephone and networking services, leading to rapid company growth and job creation. In recent years, Socket has made fiber-optic technology available to more than 30,000 Missouri homes and businesess.





Health Care & Medicine

Jonathan Curtright For more than 20 years, Jonathan Curtright has been a health care industry leader. In February 2016, he brought his talents to MU Health Care as chief operating officer, subsequently serving as interim chief executive officer before being tapped as CEO in June 2017. He has experience with teaching hospitals, including Indiana University Health and University of Kentucky HealthCare, and led departments at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Curtright holds degrees in economics, finance, health administration and business administration, all from MU. He believes access to high-quality, affordable health care should be a priority in mid-Missouri and beyond, and keeps up on alternate models of care that could help achieve that aim. He is playing a crucial role in the collaboration between Boone Hospital and Univeristy of Missouri Healthcare. DECEMBER 2017 INSIDE COLUMBIA


Health Care & Medicine


Randy Morrow

Ted Groshong

Joseph Muscato

For 38 years, Randy Morrow served as vice president and chief operating officer of Boone Hospital Center. His dedication to the Boone Hospital system allowed him to bound up the career ladder, from accounting manager in 1975, to controller, assistant vice president and CFO, interim president and then finally vice president and COO. Morrow retired in 2014, but his devotion to the hospital didn’t diminish. In 2017, he successfully ran for a five-year term on the Boone Hospital Center board of trustees. Throughout the community he is known as someone who is capable, honest and guided by integrity. His knowledge of the health care system and dedication to employee satisfaction and the prioritization of patient needs has made him a standout in the health field. Prior to his retirement, Morrow was honored with the first ever Boone Hospital Center Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Ted Groshong has been mentoring medical professionals in the Columbia community for more than five decades. After attending medical school and completing a pediatrics residency and nephrology fellowship, all at the University of Missouri, Groshong enlisted in the United States Navy before returning to the University of Missouri as a member of the pediatrics faculty. His ascended to the position of associate dean for medical education, where he served for 10 years, then chair of pediatrics and medical director for MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital for another 10 years. His ability to be guided by exciting new opportunities, rather than narrow professional goals, made him ideal for the position of senior associate dean for alumni at MU, where he remained until August 2017. In his leisure time, Groshong enjoys travel, biking and reading.

In 1982, Dr. Joseph Muscato couldn’t secure funding to start a new oncology practice in Columbia. He was turned down multiple times by those who didn’t believe there was a need, but that did not stop Muscato from building up a practice he believed was essential to the Columbia community. Now, more than 30 years later, Muscato and his team at Missouri Cancer Associates have cared for tens of thousands of patients and their families. His team has grown to include 20 physicians in three specialty areas, offering some of the highest quality cancer care in the region. In 2014, Muscoto was named medical director of the newly established Stewart Cancer Center at Boone Hospital. When not providing state-ofthe-art care to patients, Muscato enjoys traveling and skiing with his wife, Dr. Mary Muscato, and serving as an amateur ham radio operator.


Mark Adams

Lenard Politte

Rosemary Porter

For the last 27 years, Dr. Mark Adams has served as an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician for Columbia Orthopaedic Group, helping to build on the group’s 50plus years of excellence in midMissouri. Currently, Adams is a team physician for the University of Missouri Athletics Department, and was a member of the United States Olympics team as a physician during the 1996 Atlanta games and the 2000 Sydney games. Ever the optimist, he looks for the win-win outcome in every situation, and strives for that perfect balance between work, play, family and patient obligations. When not helping out as a team physician for local colleges and high schools, Adams enjoys golf, hunting, scuba diving and travel with his wife, Carole.

When Dr. Lenard Politte returned to Columbia from his military tenure in Vietnam, he was the town’s first cardiologist in private practice. His distinguished career included chief of staff at Boone Hospital, a founding member of Boone Clinic, Regional Hospital, Missouri Cardiovascular Group and the Missouri Heart Institute. Politte has dedicated his professional life to the health of the mid-Missouri community. He’s been an important part of the team as Boone Hospital and University of Missouri Health Care progress to become premier health centers, providing quality care to all who enter their facilities. Politte passes along his knowledge of cardiology to University of Missouri School of Medicine physicians in training as a professor of clinical medicine. He has also been active in numerous university and community activities. He enjoys international travel, woodworking and spending time with his wife of 61 years, Mary Lu.

For Rosemary Porter, being a female leader during a time when leadership in higher education was dominated by men was an obstacle worth overcoming. Porter advanced through positions at the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing from faculty member to area director, level coordinator, undergraduate director, associate dean of student affairs, to dean and then her current role as dean emerita. She helped forge the partnership between Americare, the State of Missouri and the University of Missouri to build TigerPlace, an alternative housing program for elderly in the community, to ensure that seniors have the option to age with dignity. Since retiring from the Sinclair School of Nursing, Porter enjoys traveling, spending time with her grandchildren and reading in her treehouse.



Health Care & Medicine Garth Russell Dr. Garth Russell has got Columbia’s back. This physician, who specializes in diseases of the spine, began his medical career at the University of Kansas. He moved to Columbia to complete his general surgery and orthopedic residencies at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, and that’s where he met the two physicians who would become his partners when they founded Columbia Orthopaedic Group. He is a gifted healer, but also a teacher who has trained students at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, and shared his expertise on boards that include the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and Columbia Regional Hospital.


Barbara Weaver

Jerry Kennett

Barbara Weaver is at her best when she is taking care of others. From her days as a nurse at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, to her tenure as the first woman elected to the Boone Hospital Center board of trustees, Weaver made it her goal to position Boone Hospital to continue providing exceptional care through staff, facilities and technology. After 35 years, she stepped down from the hospital board and currently is chair emeritus. Weaver was instrumental in advancing the technology available to Boone Hospital patients, including the purchase of the first MRI scanner in a county hospital setting. Her dream of providing a space for staff and patients where they could take a moment for reflection and restoration became a lovely reality, as the Barbara A. Weaver Healing Garden was dedicated in her honor in 2016.

Dr. Jerry Kennett started his Columbia practice in 1979 and is one of the founders of Missouri Cardiovascular Specialists. Kennett is a nationally recognized interventional cardiologist and was honored four years as the Master of the American College of Cardiology, an honor bestowed upon no more than four physicians each year and fewer than 120 cardiologists across the nation since its inception. Kennett’s work has contributed to making Columbia an important hub for cardiovascular care in the state. In addition to starting the interventional cardiology program at Boone Hospital, he performed the first balloon angioplasty in central Missouri in 1981. Kennett is a past president of the Missouri State Medical Association and has served on a fiveyear term on the board of trustees of the American College of Cardiology. Kennett served five years as vice president and chief medical officer at Boone Hospital Center. He left that position to run for the Boone Hospital Board of Trustees, where he is currently serving his first term.


Robert Harris Dr. Robert Harris is one of the lucky few who discovered his life’s passion early on. He felt called to the medical profession and followed through on that vision with a distinguished career. Harris often describes practicing general pediatrics as a blessing and a love of his life, one he has enjoyed for more than 50 years. He has spent his career caring for mid-Missouri’s children, often looking for avenues beyond the exam room where he could contribute to their success. He has written children’s books, traveled to rural and underserved areas to provide medical care for children, and served as a member of the Columbia Board of Education. His hard work over the decades has earned him a relaxing retirement, but Harris says his genuine love of the job is why he isn’t ready to call it quits.

Phillip Smith

Karen Edison

Peter Buchert

Putting competition and differences aside, Phillip Smith recognized the benefit to teaming up with other area physical therapists to open Peak Sport and Spine in mid-Missouri. His devotion to providing quality and easily accessible rehabilitative care in central Missouri has provided help in healing, not to mention employment opportunities, at 50 clinics in eight states. Besides providing excellent care for patients, Smith and his team are committed to community involvement as a way to support and give back. For several years, Smith has sponsored local golf tournaments, participated in Columbia Chamber of Commerce and served as a partner in education with Columbia Public Schools. He plans to expand his business even more, hiring additional staff to ensure that those who seek rehabilitative services will have the best care available.

Dr. Karen Edison has spent the better part of 30 years working to ensure the health and well-being of Columbia residents. As a University of Missouri School of Medicine graduate, Edison has served on the dermatology faculty since 1993, leaving only briefly for a two-year stint as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow in the U.S. Senate. She assisted in the creation of the University of Missouri School of Medicine Center for Health Policy, and currently sits as its director. She works with institutions regionally and nationally to improve health literacy, access to healthy food and health equity, which contributes to her status as a leader and mentor. In addition to her health policy work, Edison chairs the MU Department of Dermatology and serves in leadership capacities for the Missouri Telehealth Network and the Missouri Health Connection. Edison takes every opportunity to remind people that there is no such thing as a safe tan.

For Dr. Peter Buchert, the paths of right and easy have not always led in the same direction. He started his education with an eye on the liberal arts and a degree in philosophy, but changed course and earned a medical degree. From then until today, his sincere interest in helping others has guided every step of his career. He has spent 32 years practicing orthopedics in Columbia at Columbia Orthopaedic Group, and as a volunteer team physician for Hickman High School football. Buchert enjoys donating his time to local charities, seeking out ways to help as many people as he can.



Nonprofit & Social Services

Peggy Kirkpatrick Peggy Kirkpatrick prayed for an answer to the ongoing hunger and poverty she saw in her community. So how could she say no when she was called to become the executive director of the Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri? Her peers note that her passion for feeding the hungry led to the restoration of the food bank, helping it grow from the verge of closure to one of the best in the nation. Kirkpatrick did not shy away from the collaborations that allowed for the growth of the food bank, including a multimillion dollar fundraising partnership with the University of Missouri Athletics Department. She blazed a new trail for food banks across the nation by providing food free of charge to all the client agencies the food bank serves. Kirkpatrick retired in 2014, after 22 years on the job, to return to a ministerial role.



Adam Beckett

Pam Ingram

Jen Wheeler

The Hippocratic Oath proclaims “May I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help,” a creed that Dr. Adam Beckett embodies on a daily basis. Beckett, a lifelong Columbia resident, is a University of Missouri graduate and served as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. After completing his service, he attended medical school and became an emergency medicine physician at University Health Care. His desire to help others led him to found Global First Responder, an organization with a mission to improve the lives of people across the globe through health care education, health care delivery and improvements in community infrastructure. His passion for health and helping has inspired many in the mid-Missouri area and beyond to take up the mantle of global humanitarian care.

Here in Columbia, Pam Ingram is known simply as “Granny Pam.” Ingram’s concern for children in her community laid the foundation for Granny’s House in 2001, after she had spent nearly a decade reaching out to families in public housing and low income neighborhoods. Her vision for Granny’s House created a space for children to meet after school to receive physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment. Granny’s House purchased its first home on E. Worley in 2017. Ingram worked with her husband, Dr. Ellis Ingram, to establish the CALEB science project, an initiative that seeks to develop a culture of academic and leadership excellence among the children. The Ingrams were honored by the city of Columbia with the Columbia Values Diversity Award in 2012.

Jen Wheeler feels right at home in Columbia, but she knows that for a newly arriving refugee, Columbia can feel like a strange and complicated world. In the 22 years she has lived here, Wheeler has helped nearly a thousand refugees relocate to Columbia. Her creation of City of Refuge, a nonprofit that assists refugees and immigrants become successful, contributing members of the community, has opened the eyes of many to the needs of the local refugee population. Wheeler didn’t stop there. Now she is working on making quality health care affordable and accessible for Columbia and Missouri residents by creating direct primary care clinics. She enjoys running marathons, participating in her children’s school activities and proudly wearing the title of “crazy soccer mom,” preferably with a Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper in hand.



photo provided

Nonprofit & Social Services


Cindy Mustard

Steve Paulsell

Jimi Cook

Cindy Mustard has been setting a leadership example in mid-Missouri for more than 25 years. Dozens of organizations have benefitted from her cheerful enthusiasm and keen insights, including the Voluntary Action Center, Boys and Girls Club, Columbia Values Diversity Celebration Committee, Columbia Downtown Rotary, Community Foundation of Central Missouri Board of Directiors, Mizzou Botanic Gardens Board of Directors, Columbia Public School Foundation and King’s Daughters. Despite formally retiring as executive director of the Voluntary Action Center in 2011, Mustard remains dedicated to community service. She spends many hours in volunteer pursuits and especially enjoys her time with the Columbia Cemetery, where she shares Columbia’s rich history through stories of those who have gone before. She hopes to be involved with the activities that will happen with Columbia’s 200th birthday celebration in 2021.

It could be Steve Paulsell’s motto: Leave organizations better than you found them. When he joined the Boone County Fire Protection District (BCFPD) as a volunteer firefighter in 1970, he was acting on a desire to help others in their greatest time of need. He became the fire district’s first full-time employee in 1972 and was appointed fire chief in 1977, at the tender age of 26. Paulsell led BCFPD and Missouri Task Force 1 for 31 years. In 2009, he retired to co-found Central Missouri Honor Flight, where he serves as the volunteer flight director. With Paulsell at the helm, both the BCFPD and Central Missouri Honor Flight have grown to represent innovation, vision and a willingness to serve both locally and nationally. Paulsell rides his Harley with the Patriot Guard Riders and cherishes time with family.

Many in Columbia know Jimi Cook for his work through the Mizzou BioJoint Center, where his research was pivotal in the development of innovative solutions to orthopedic problems. One of those developments, a new tissue preservation system for donor cartilage, greatly increases the amount of time tissue can be used for transplantation as part of restoration surgeries. His background in veterinary sciences also opened up an opportunity for him to perform life-saving knee surgery on a young snow leopard for the Brookfield Zoo. But for Cook, his most notable achievement is the foundation of Be The Change Volunteers (BTCV), a nonprofit organization geared toward improving and enhancing education in developing countries. BTCV has partnered with communities in 17 countries to build and renovate schools for more than 7,000 students. But Cook’s work is nowhere close to being done; topping his bucket list is a goal to build at least 100 schools in deserving communities around the world.


Jane Williams

Larry McDaniel

Genie Rogers

Jane Williams has dedicated her life to helping those who need it most. Two decades ago, she began reaching out into the community through her role as Christian Fellowship benevolence director. Subsequently she helped start three local nonprofits, including Love INC of Columbia, where she has served as program director for nearly 10 years. Williams and Love INC have partnered with local churches and volunteers to assist more than 7,000 families with relationship-based programs, and provided home furnishings through The Love Seat furniture bank. Williams is committed to addressing the complex issues that keep people in poverty by connecting like-minded individuals to work together. After losing her eyesight five years ago, Williams spends a lot of her time listening. She loves people’s stories, podcasts and audiobooks.

During the years he spent caring for children in the foster care system, Larry McDaniel came to know that there were far more children who needed love and support than he could care for on his own. He created Coyote Hill Christian Children’s Home so many of the children he encountered previously, as well as those he had yet to meet, would have a safe place to be a child. McDaniel’s hope of giving childhood back to those in foster care has driven the growth of Coyote Hill, allowing children to break the cycle of abuse and learn to live full and complete lives. The organization has grown from the early stages when Coyote Hill required McDaniel to be a man wearing many hats. Today he serves as executive director and is grateful for the team of committed people who are as dedicated as he is to improving the lives of at-risk youth in mid-Missouri.

Genie Rogers has spent the past 35 years doing good deeds, and Columbia is better for it. She has spent nearly three decades on the board for the Columbia Housing Authority and worked to organize and restore the organization. Her hard work with the Housing Authority has elevated the agency to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s list of high-performers. Rogers co-founded Friends of the Columbia Cemetary and has spent time working with the Central Missouri Humane Society, Lenoir Retirement Center, the Columbia Cemetery Association, the Boone County Community Services Advisory Commission and the Boone County Board of Jail Visitors. She was the 2015 recipient of the Howard B. Lang, Jr., Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service to the City of Columbia.






The Employees of Veterans United Employees of Veterans United Home Loans live by a set of values: Be passionate and have fun; deliver results with integrity; and enhance lives every day. Founded in 2011, the Veterans United Foundation, an employee-funded, philanthropic division of the company, is fueled by the passion of the employees of Veterans United. The foundation is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of veterans and service members, employees and their families and in local communities served by the VA. Locally, it has supported charitable causes such as Granny’s House, Coyote Hill Christian Children’s Home, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri, Rainbow House and provide a place for homeless veterans to call home through a multimillion dollar contribution to Welcome Home and Patriot Place.

The Crossing

Marjo Price Aside from raising three boys, Marjo Price is most proud of the work she and her husband Al did founding and serving the Columbia Independent School. Originally from Oregon, Marjo came to Columbia to attain an associate’s degree from Stephens College and went on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University. She worked in San Francisco before returning to Columbia to go to work for Stephens; she has called Columbia her home ever since. Marjo and Al are committed to a host of community organizations and were selected by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce to receive its Outstanding Citizen Award in 2011. The couple looks forward to the completion of the State Historical Society of Missouri’s new Center for Missouri Studies on Elm Street as an anchor to a downtown museum district. Marjo enjoys going to the family farm on Cedar Creek and spending time with family and friends from near and far.

Members of The Crossing church are guided by their faith to help others. Their involvement in a variety of philanthropic efforts locally, nationally and internationally demonstrates a growing level of congregational generosity. The Crossing has partnered with ministry projects such as in2Action, an organization that provides transitional support to people recently released from prison. In 2015, total giving topped $1 million, growing the total contribution of The Crossing to local, national and global ministries to $5.38 million in 15 years. The Crossing continues to expand their community involvement through their support of diverse, community-building projects that include the True/False Film Festival, The Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition, COR and Love INC. DECEMBER 2017 INSIDE COLUMBIA



photo provided

Ed Scott


Scotty Cox

Richard Miller

Scotty Cox is tuned in to his community, even as his community tunes in to him. From his professional role at Zimmer Radio Group to his personal ventures, he demonstrates a commitment to making the world a better place. Cox uses the power of his radio platform to become a conduit between causes that need help and those who can provide it. He has a knack for telling compelling stories about organizations, families and charity events that garner public support and raise awareness. This community-minded man turns up the volume on humanitarian efforts such as the MU Children’s Hospital radiothon, the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri holiday food drive and the Central Missouri Honor Flight radiothon.

Richard Miller is in the memory business. As CEO of Miller’s Professional Imaging and Mpix, the largest professional photo lab in the United States, he has helped professional photographers and families capture special moments for decades. He is a University of Missouri graduate who has dedicated his philanthropic efforts to the advancement of his alma mater through support of the Sinclair School of Nursing, the College of Arts and Science, the College of Education, Mizzou Athletics and the Robert J. Trulaske Sr. College of Business. He is a director for the University of Missouri Flagship Council and tri-chair for both the the MU National Capital Campaign and the Missouri 100, a group of successful leaders charged with advising and assisting in the advancement of the University of Missouri system.


Ed Scott’s success through his work as a real estate developer has allowed him and his wife, Mary, to continually give back to the community they love. Over the years, volunteering in the midMissouri area has been a priority, taking opportunities to serve at the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, Loaves and Fishes, and within their home congregation at the Crossing before becoming a cornerstone for the Columbia Boys & Girls Club. Each summer, the Scott family opens up their family farm to all 300 plus children in the Boys & Girls Club to learn about life on the farm. In an effort to further support the club, Scott assisted with two capital campaigns and donated several hundred thousand dollars toward a facility expansion that allowed the club to double their space and serve thousands of kids each year.

Bill and Nancy Laurie Bill and Nancy Laurie are no strangers to the spotlight. The two have spent the last several decades providing generous financial support for their community. Their $25 million donation to the University of Missouri helped build Mizzou Arena, and their philanthropic efforts certainly don’t stop there. The Lauries have made gifts to endow the College of Veterinary Medicine, and they support other noble causes such as cancer research and medical care for children. Their passion for the arts led them to start the Columbia Performing Arts Centre in Columbia. The Lauries also founded The Nancy Walton Laurie Leadership Institute of Chi Omega, which prepares women to lead in their communities, workplaces and homes.

Political & Elected Officials

Chris Kelly Chris Kelly jokes that he is a recovering former member of the Missouri legislature. After spending nearly five decades serving mid-Missouri, he hasn’t lost his passion for hands-on democracy or his respect for those willing to serve in public office. In between his terms as a legislator, Kelly served as a judge for the 13th Circuit Court of Missouri. While in office, he handled legislation that extended and expanded the federal reimbursement allowance for medical care, funded a new engineering school, and helped to establish the Katy Trail. One of the things he is most proud of is working to improve safety for victims of domestic violence. In 2013, Kelly announced that he would not seek reelection to public office and instead began spending more time with family and exploring the state of Missouri.

Kenny Hulshof

Darwin Hindman The voters said it again and again: Darwin Hindman was one of Columbia’s most loved mayors. He spent five terms (15 years) in office, advocating for environmental and recreational issues, and working on behalf of all the city’s residents. During his time in office, he was known for championing a walkable and bikeable community by promoting the development of parks and trails. Hindman was integral to the creation of the cross-state Katy Trail State Park, helped secure more than $22 million in federal grants to make Columbia more bike- and pedestrian-friendly, and laid the groundwork for the city’s Activity & Recreation Center. The Darwin and Axie Hindman Discovery Garden was unveiled in 2012 at Stephens Lake Park to honor the commitment of Columbia’s longest serving mayor.

For Kenny Hulshof, public service is a way of life. For 12 years, he represented Missouri’s 9th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. During his time in Congress, Hulshof served on the prestigious House Ways and Means Committee and advocated for his constituents with programs such as telemedicine initiatives, education savings accounts and biofuels incentives. Early in his career, he gained a broad perspective on law and order with jobs as a public defender and prosecuting attorney, and went on to serve as a special prosecutor for the Missouri Attorney General’s office. Currently he is vice chairman of a St. Louisbased business development and government affairs firm. Hulshof is also a musician, an avid cyclist, a wine collector and a Missouri Tiger season ticket holder. DECEMBER 2017 INSIDE COLUMBIA


Political & Elected Officials

Roger Wilson

Joe Moseley

Ray Beck

Throughout his political career, Roger Wilson championed the “Four E’s.” Economic development, education, efficiency in government and the elderly. He began his career in public service as a school teacher in Columbia, then moved to the political arena as Boone County collector, Missouri state senator and lieutenant governor. When Gov. Mel Carnahan perished in a plane crash, Wilson became governor of Missouri. As a state senator, he sponsored the Excellence in Education Act and the Gifted Education Bill, and introduced legislation to make elderly abuse a specific crime with tougher penalties. The Roger B. Wilson Boone County Government Center located on Walnut Street in downtown Columbia was named in recognition of his myriad accomplishments.

When did you first hear Joe Moseley’s name? Was it during his time as Boone County prosecuting attorney or while he was state senator? Could it be from his tenure with Shelter Insurance Companies? Perhaps from his service on a long list of boards and commissions in mid-Missouri, including Woodhaven Learning Center, Columbia Area United Way, Rainbow House and Regional Economic Development Inc.? Wherever you encountered Moseley, you can be sure he was working hard on behalf of his community. He has called Columbia home for more than 60 years, and has dedicated his time to making Boone County the best it can be. In retirement, Moseley enjoys biking, softball, travel and a good beer.

Ray Beck’s career with the City of Columbia lasted more than 45 years. He served as director of the Columbia Public Works Department for two decades before settling in as city manager for 25 years. Columbia and the state of Missouri reaped the rewards of his knowledge. He assisted in the creation of the city’s first bus system, the development of Columbia Regional Airport, the institution of the first storm water and solid waste utilities, and the establishment of the Percent for Art Program, which designates 1 percent of the cost of new city construction or renovation projects to be used for sitespecific public art. Beck retired from public service in 2006 to spend more time with his family. He continues to play a role in the Columbia community through his volunteer efforts.



Bill Watkins It’s safe to say that Bill Watkins knows his way around both the public and private sector. He began his 35 years in public service as a lifeguard at Hickman pool in the 1970s. Many years later, Watkins took the plunge as Columbia’s city manager, a job he held for five years. His knowledge and firsthand experience navigating the business environment has proven invaluable to a variety of local boards and commissions. Now a salesman at Maly Commercial Realty, he offers his expertise as a board member for Regional Economic Development Inc., where he served as its first director in 1988; the University of Missouri’s Truman School of Public Affairs; and the Boone County Fire District, among other organizations. He is best known for his ability to manage a wide variety of resources, both fiscal and personnel, and for building relationships that led to the community’s visioning process.

Wendy Noren Wendy Noren saw her name on the ballot for Boone County Clerk nine times — once for her initial term and eight more times for reelection. Her knowledge of the intricacies of the election process made her one of the nation’s leading experts. Noren served as a representative on an advisory board to guide the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, further solidifying her as a dedicated champion for voter integrity. By embracing new technologies, Noren was an innovative force in Boone County, improving the efficiency of elections on every level. Her commitment to adopting better, more effective ways to conduct elections has aided jurisdictions outside of Boone County, too. She helped draft Missouri election law reforms and assisted in the formation of the Help America Vote Act.

Bob McDavid Dr. Bob McDavid delivered thousands of Boone babies during his medical career. That alone would be an impressive feat, but his accomplishments did not end in the delivery room. He served as chairman of the Boone Hospital Center board of trustees, where he led a $125 million Boone Hospital expansion project. He served two terms as mayor of the City of Columbia where he oversaw projects that boosted employment and economic opportunity in the community and initiated a deal with American Airlines that brought service to the Columbia Regional Airport. McDavid never viewed himself as a politician, but ran for mayor as a way to give back to the community he has called home for the last several decades. He emphasizes transparency, engagement and fiscal responsibility in all he does in service to his community.



Sports & Leisure

Carl Edwards It is no surprise that hometown hero Carl Edwards finds himself included in this list. He was born to lead, and that’s exactly what he did in race after race. In more than 13 years as a professional stock car driver, Edwards participated in 445 races. He drove for 13 seasons in the Cup Series, posting 28 wins and earning more than $80 million. His success in NASCAR racing shone a spotlight on mid-Missouri. Edwards has called Columbia home his entire life. He grew up obsessively studying racing, and his passion carried him to auto racing superstardom before his retirement from the sport early this year. His trademark celebratory backflip, down-home charm and commitment to the Columbia community — and let’s not forget about Carl pulling cars out of the ditch with his tractor during the 2016 ice storm! — have all but guaranteed his presence on every Best of Columbia list for many years to come.



Mike Alden

Michael Porter Jr.

Alan Marshall

Mike Alden believes his most notable achievement was being a servant leader at the University of Missouri. Alden was appointed director of athletics for the then-Big 12 school in 1999 and navigated the twists and turns of the demanding job until he retired in 2015. By then, he had helped guide the University of Missouri’s move to the Southeastern Conference and grown the annual budget by more than $70 million. Currently, Alden is a faculty member in the College of Education and assists with service learning initiatives in Vietnam as a global service specialist for the college. In his off-campus hours, Alden enjoys working on his family farm, reading and traveling — and recently trekked 335 miles on the Appalachian Trail.

Few basketball players arrive on campus with more hype than Michael Porter Jr., and deservedly so. Porter joined the University of Missouri basketball team after putting up impressive numbers at Columbia’s Fr. Tolton Catholic High School and Nathan Hale High School in Seattle. His innate ball-handling and shooting skills set him up to be a five-star draft pick for 2017, and Mizzou was lucky to snag him. His commitment to Mizzou brought attention to the program and other skilled athletes followed Porter’s lead. Porter is expected to be a top pick in the NBA’s 2018 draft, but first things first: He wants to earn his legacy with the Mizzou sports program. During his debut, Porter put up a team-high 21 points in a hurricane relief exhibition game versus Mizzou’s old arch-rivals the University of Kansas.

Alan Marshall spends his professional time leading a team of information technology professionals at the University of Missouri, and his personal time teaching lessons in sports and sportsmanship to children in the community. In the 53 years Marshall has lived in Columbia, he has spent 31 of them with the University of Missouri in information technology. He remembers working in the IT industry just as personal computers were becoming popular, and is constantly navigating the rapidly changing technology landscape. But staying up-to-the-minute on tech topics is just one of Marshall’s missions, because he has spent the last 17 years working with Columbia’s youth through the Upward Basketball program at Calvary Baptist Church. His dedication to the growth of the children in the Upward Basketball program led to his recognition as the 2016 Columbia Tribune Hero Awards Individual Volunteer of the Year.



Sports & Leisure Dick Green For 29 years, Dick Green served Columbia as the director of the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department. During his tenure, the number of parks in the city doubled. The department’s achievements didn’t escape the notice of the National Recreation and Park Association, which awarded Columbia with its Gold Medal Award for Excellence in recognition of the town’s long-range planning, resource management and innovative approaches. Green advocated for parks at the legislative level, too, pushing for the passage of a sales tax option to improve local parks and recreation. In recognition of his accomplishments, Green was inducted into the Missouri Park and Recreation Hall of Fame in 2010.

Mike Griggs

Norm Stewart Norm Stewart’s name has become synonymous with Mizzou basketball. From 1967 until 1999, Stewart led the University of Missouri Men’s Basketball team to 634 wins, eight Big Eight Conference regular season championships, six Big Eight Tournament titles and 16 NCAA tournament appearances. In honor of his dedication to collegiate sports, Stewart was named UPI Coach of the year, Associated Press Coach of the Year and inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. In November 2017, Stewart was honored when the University of Missouri unveiled a statue of him in front of Mizzou Arena. Off the court, Stewart has become a champion for cancer research through his Coaches vs. Cancer program, which has raised more than $110 million to support the American Cancer Society.



For Mike Griggs, a day at the office is a walk in the park. That’s because he directs Columbia’s awardwinning Parks and Recreation Department. Since his selection for the job in 2013, Griggs has nurtured strong community support for parks and worked for passage of a renewed a 1/8-cent park sales tax, a funding stream critical to the maintenance and development of the local park system. Griggs prides himself on partnering with other agencies to benefit the community. He’s cultivated alliances with the Audubon Society, Columbia Public Schools, the 100 businesses that sponsor the C.A.R.E. Program and dozens more area partners. He takes his work home with him, too, because on his days off he is often found frequenting local parks for sporting events, fishing and hiking.

Bob Burchard

Chris Gervino

Bob Burchard took a small college basketball team in the middle of a big university town and created a powerhouse. In his 30 years at the helm of the Columbia College athletic program, he has racked up an impressive winning record. Burchard’s leadership of the Cougars basketball team has etched his name into the history books with the most wins in the program’s history. His success bolstered the Columbia College athletic program, which has expanded with additional sports. Burchard’s devotion to his program isn’t limited to those enrolled at the school, as the reach of the Columbia College summer basketball camp has touched generations of Columbiaarea youth. In 2016, Columbia College honored Burchard with the unveiling of Bob Burchard Court in the Southwell Complex.

Chris Gervino has become the most recognizable voice in mid-Missouri sports. For years he provided TV play-by-play for Mizzou basketball broadcasts and, now, will provide radio color analysis across the state. For more than 17 years, he has served as the sports director for KOMU-TV, delivering the station’s sportscasts, plus he takes his place in the middle of the action for Tiger Radio Network sideline reports during Mizzou football season. Gervino, a proud graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, is still in the game in a career that has included stints at KMIZ-TV, KFRU and serving as the radio play-by-play voice for the Kansas City Brigade of the Arena Football League from 2006 to 2008.





Profile for Inside Columbia Magazine

Inside Columbia's Magazine COMO 100  

Inside Columbia's Magazine COMO 100