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CREAM OF THE CROP

DOWNTOWN APPLIANCE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS IN BUSINESS PAGE 23

GOLd RUSH

STUDY TOUTS THE MULTIMILLIONDOLLAR IMPACT OF MIZZOU SPORTS ON THE LOCAL ECONOMY PAGE 29

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www.ColumbiaCEO.com

CARFAX DRIVES TO THE TOP SPOT PAGE 50


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CONTENTs

Inside Columbia’s CEO • www.ColumbiaCEO.com • Volume 3, Issue 1

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Opening Bell: The Buzz On Biz

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The Columbia/Boone County Economic Index

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Pictures From The Past: 47 E. Broadway

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Downtown Appliance Celebrates 50 Years In Business

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Gold Rush: The Impact of Mizzou Sports On The Local Economy

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Sweat Equity: Columbia Strength & Conditioning

P.38 meet me In Como

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Regional Roundup

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The Best Places To Work In Columbia

P.42 the eVent planner’s to-do lIst

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Game Day Garb

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Networking

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Publisher’s Note

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Closing Quotes

speCIal adVertIsIng seCtIon

MEEtinG PLannERs GUiDE

P.46 mobIle apps For meetIng

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INsIdE COLuMBIa’s CEO

sTaff Publisher Fred Parry fred@insidecolumbia.net Associate Publisher Melody Parry melody@insidecolumbia.net

MEET OUR EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD

Editor-in-Chief Sandy Selby sandy@insidecolumbia.net Copy Editor Kathy Casteel kathy@insidecolumbia.net Editorial Assistant Haley Adams haley@insidecolumbia.net Photo Editor l.g. Patterson Design Consultant Katie S. Brooks

RANDY COIL President, Coil Construction

TOM ATKINS Chairman and CEO, Atkins Companies

GARY DREWING President, Joe Machens dealerships

BOB GERDING Partner, gerding, Korte & Chitwood CPAs

Creative Director Carolyn Preul design@insidecolumbia.net Graphic Designer Casey loring casey@insidecolumbia.net Graphic Designer Aaron Channon aaron@insidecolumbia.net Digital and New Media Projects Designer Jill Hamilton jill@insidecolumbia.net

PAUL LAND Principal/Owner Plaza Commercial Realty

DIANNE LYNCH President, Stephens College

GEORGE PFENENGER President & CEO, Socket

Director of Marketing & Business Development Bill Bales bill@insidecolumbia.net Director of Sales linda Cleveland linda@insidecolumbia.net Marketing Representative Ken Brodersen ken@insidecolumbia.net

BOB PUGH CEO, MBS Textbook Exchange

MIKE STALOCH Vice President of Operations, State Farm Insurance

GREG STEINHOFF President of Strategic Operations, VA Mortgage Center

JERRY TAYLOR President, MFA Oil Co.

Marketing Representative Kyle gross kyle@insidecolumbia.net Marketing Representative Kara Kinkead kara@insidecolumbia.net Special Projects Manager Tiffany Schlarman tiffany@insidecolumbia.net

Please Recycle This Magazine.

Inside Columbia’s CEO magazine 301 W. Broadway • Columbia, MO 65203 • Office: 573-442-1430 • Web: www.ColumbiaCEO.com Inside Columbia’s CEO is published quarterly by OutFront Communications llC, 301 W. Broadway, Columbia, Mo. 65203, 573-442-1430. Copyright OutFront Communications, 2011. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of any editorial or graphic content without the express written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Postage paid at Columbia, Mo. The annual subscription rate is $19.95 for four issues. 10

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Business Development Specialist Quinn leon quinn@insidecolumbia.net Office Manager Brenda Brooks brenda@insidecolumbia.net Distribution Manager John lapsley Contributing Writers Anita Neal Harrison, Jessica Perkins, Ed Robb Contributing Photographer dan Brenner


OPENING BELL

the buzz on biz

Tigers In Residence

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he Missouri Tigers have staked out some new territory in Springfield, Mo., with the naming of the Dickerson Park Zoo’s tiger habitat on Aug. 24. The Mizzou Tiger Reserve houses a pair of Malayan tigers named Jalil and Petra. The University of Missouri began Mizzou Tigers for Tigers back in 1998. That program was the first mascot conservation program in the United States, and student leaders have worked diligently ever since to raise awareness about tiger preservation. The tiger habitat in Springfield will enhance the organization’s education mission. “Big cats are among the most popular animals with our guests,” says Mike Crocker, zoo superintendent at the Dickerson Park Zoo. “The Mizzou Tiger Reserve will help us care for our tigers at the zoo, allow us to expand our conservation support for tigers in Southeast Asia and continue our in-park education efforts.” In addition to the Missouri Students Association (MSA), supporters include the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; University Bookstore; Mizzou Online; Intercollegiate Athletics; University Affairs and the Mizzou Alumni Association. “Students at the University of Missouri are very excited to partner with various campus departments to support the tiger habitat at the Dickerson Park Zoo,” says MSA President Eric Woods. “We are proud to be playing a part in the zoo’s conservation efforts and helping to care for and ensure the future of our beloved mascot. I am confident that this will be a very fruitful partnership.” Mizzou Tigers for Tigers seeks to become a national leader for tiger education, research on tiger ecology and biology, and preservation of the last remaining wild tigers. More information can be found at tigers.missouri.edu.

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Mizzou Tigers for Tigers began in 1998.


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OPENING BELL

LIKE MIssOurI?

Something New On Tap

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.H. Scheppers Distributing Co. is now the exclusive local distributor for the beers of Griesedieck Brothers Brewing and Morgan Street Brewing, both of St. Louis. The Original Griesedieck Brothers was created as a response to the increasing popularity of conglomerates in the early 1900s and soon after, the Griesedieck Brothers grew sales to become the best-selling beer in the St. Louis market. Griesedieck Brothers Brewery was revived in 1992, and the original beer re-entered the market in 2002. Ownership of the Griesedieck Brothers beer trademark belongs to Raymond A. Griesedieck, whose father was Henry A. Griesedieck — the same Henry who was the last president of the original Griesedieck Brothers. Today’s version of Griesedieck Brothers beer is far more robust than its 1950s counterpart. Stylized after a German pilsner, Griesedieck Brothers beer is now available throughout the area in various bars, restaurants, grocery stores and liquor stores. Morgan Street Brewery opened in September 1995 on Laclede’s Landing

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in St. Louis. The brewery is operated by the husbandand-wife team of Steve and The Association Vicki Owings. The Owings of Brewers co-own the named Marc establishment gottfried the with Dennis youngest Harper of brewmaster Columbia. Marc ever to win a Gottfried, global award Morgan Street’s after his World brewmaster, has Beer Cup win in acquired several New York City. awards from the industry including a bronze in the World Beer Cup, and a gold and a silver in the Greater Saint Louis Beer Festival; his brewery was named “Best in St. Louis” by St. Louis magazine. The Association of Brewers named Gottfried the youngest brewmaster ever to win a global award after his World Beer Cup win in New York City. N.H. Scheppers Distributing will be carrying draught offerings from Morgan Street Brewing.

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f you are not a fan of VisitMO on Facebook, it’s time to update your status. The Missouri division of Tourism recently launched a campaign to draw attention to its new Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/ VisitMO. The campaign “What’s Not to like About Missouri?” uses tongue-incheek slogans such as “We have zero recorded freshwater shark attacks” and “We are the only state shaped like Missouri” to connect with users and to encourage sharing. VisitMO fans can post the reasons they like Missouri and spread the campaign to friends using the page’s built-in sharing options. In the first seven days of the promotion, the page received more than 2,000 new page “likes” and hundreds of “likes” on posts and photos. The campaign landing tab includes a list of “What’s Not to like About Missouri?” slogans and provides a space for users to add their own ideas, all of which can be instantly shared on their personal walls. Each week, usergenerated slogans will be selected for review with the potential for publishing as a poster in the campaign “The promotion is fun and connects with Facebook users in a personal way,” says Katie Steele danner, director of the Missouri division of Tourism. “We hope that people will come to view VisitMO on Facebook as a page with personality and view Missouri not only as a vacation destination, but develop a personal connection to it.”


OPENING BELL

The Inside Columbia’s CEO

Economic Index Boone County/Columbia Business Conditions Second Quarter 2011 108 —

109.5

110 —

106 —

101.8

100.4 2 0 1 0 Q 3

101.0

100.4 2 0 1 0 Q 2

96.0

96.0

95.6

96.1

94 —

97.8

97.8

96 —

96.7

100.0

99.3

98 —

101.2

99.7

-

100.9

100 —

101.7

102 —

102.9

103.5

-

104.5

105.4

104 —

92 — 90 — 2 0 0 6 Q 1

2 0 0 6 Q 3

2 0 0 6 Q 2

2 0 0 6 Q 4

2 0 0 7 Q 1

2 0 0 7 Q 2

2 0 0 7 Q 3

2 0 0 7 Q 4

2 0 0 8 Q 1

2 0 0 8 Q 2

2 0 0 8 Q 3

2 0 0 8 Q 4

2 0 0 9 Q 1

2 0 0 9 Q 2

2 0 0 9 Q 3

2 0 0 9 Q 4

2 0 1 0 Q 1

2 0 1 0 Q 4

2 0 1 1 Q 1

DATE

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nside Columbia’s CEO Economic Index is a quarterly snapshot of how Columbia’s economy is doing compared to where it was five years ago. Edward H. Robb and Associates, an economic and governmental consulting firm, prepared this index for Columbia and Boone County by collecting data from the past 18 years for 10 key economic indicators: hotel taxes; deplanements at the Columbia Regional Airport; Boone County total sales tax receipts; Columbia total sales tax receipts; Boone County sales tax receipts

excluding Columbia; total Boone County building permits; total Boone County single-unit building permits; total Boone County employment; total Columbia employment; and Boone County employment excluding Columbia. After analyzing the data, Robb went a step further and seasonally adjusted the figures to create the most accurate index possible. The result is a single number that indicates how robust our Columbia/Boone County economy was for a given quarter.

Prepared By E.H. Robb & Associates *The base year for all of the indices is 2000. All indices will average 100 for the 12 months of 2000. **Based on one month of analysis

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2 0 1 1 Q 2 **


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OPENING BELL

47 E. BrOadWay

Back in the 1940s, if you wanted to get behind the wheel in your merry Oldsmobile, you’d go to Merkle Motors at 47 E. Broadway. Since then, the building has been home to nightclubs and restaurants and, most recently, the grindstone Brewing Co. In October, the building will return to its art deco roots and begin a new life as the headquarters for the Inside Columbia family of magazines and the new Culinary Adventures center. Coil Construction is the general contractor on the project. Financing was provided by UMB Bank.

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pictures from the past


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ENTrEPrENEurIaL sPIrIT

Cream Of The Crop downtown Appliance Celebrates 50 Years in Business by KATHY CASTEEL photos by L.G. PATTERSON

d

on Helmreich can always tell when visitors are in town. They bustle into his store, wearing a look of happy anticipation. But the eagerness soon turns to bewilderment as they survey the sparkling inventory in the vast showroom of Downtown Appliance. They back out in confusion, many looking up again at the terra cotta façade before they turn away in disappointment. Helmreich takes the rejection in stride. “They’re looking for ice cream,” he says with a chuckle. “They see ‘Central Dairy’ up on the building and they think it’s still an ice cream parlor.”

downtown appliance is celebrating its golden anniversary as one of the oldest family businesses in Columbia.

don Helmreich

The ice cream dippers stopped scooping up frosty treats in this historic building in 1959, when the dairy changed hands and operations were consolidated in Jefferson City. The building sat empty for two years, until Don’s father Herb Helmreich and partner Dave Haun launched their business selling new and used appliances in 1961. Fifty years later, Downtown Appliance is celebrating its golden anniversary as one of the oldest family businesses in Columbia, still operating out of the Central Dairy building at 1104 E. Broadway. Now in its second generation of management, the store has weathered the challenges of chain-store competition, a building restoration, economic recession FALL 2011

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entrepreneurial spirit and personal tragedy. The secret to Downtown Appliance’s longevity is fairly simple, Don Helmreich says. “We’ve always run the business the same way — the customer comes first,” he says. “And we’ve always stayed in one place. We’re lucky that Columbia has such a vibrant downtown.” Helmreich grew up in the family business. Two bad years on the farm

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had forced his parents, Herb and Wilma Lou, to move to Boonville in the 1950s, where Herb found work with Dave Haun’s Edsel dealership. When the Ford Motor Co. dropped Edsel, Haun sued Ford and the Helmreichs moved on to Columbia, where Herb took a job with Woodward Appliance on Broadway (now occupied by Dungarees). Owner John Woodward ran the International Harvester dealership

on Garth Avenue as well, and when he decided to sell his downtown appliance business, Herb saw an opportunity. He and Haun joined in 1961 to open Downtown Appliance in the empty Central Dairy building. Don Helmreich was 8 years old. There was sweet serendipity to the new store’s location, Helmreich says. “Dad used to sell milk to Central Dairy back when he had the farm.” Earl Smarr was Downtown Appliance’s first customer. He bought a 13-cubic-foot Frigidaire refrigerator for $420. Don Helmreich still has the framed receipt in his office. “In 1996, that same refrigerator sold for $399,” he says. Six years later, Herb bought out his partner and purchased the Central Dairy building. The original store, which featured 1,000 square feet of showroom, shared space with three doctors who rented office space in the building. As the doctors retired or moved on, the business expanded into the space, and expanded its inventory. Big-ticket items gradually claimed a larger proportion of the store’s merchandise offerings, Helmreich says. “When my dad opened the store, we sold all kinds of small appliances — door bells, light bulbs, electric toothbrushes, sunlamps,” he says. “We were the biggest Hoover vacuum dealer around. But since the big box stores opened here, we’ve culled our carry-out business and concentrated on merchandise we can deliver and install. You have to sell what the people want.” As the inventory evolved, so did Downtown Appliance’s management. Helmreich and his best friend, John Graves, worked in the store as teenagers. Through Graves, Helmreich met the love of his life, John’s sister Carla. Married in 1981, Don and Carla partnered with John to buy the business from the elder Helmreich in 1992. The second generation of family business has worked out pretty well, Graves says. “Donnie is the eternal optimist and I’m the eternal pessimist. We balance each other,” he says with a laugh. “Carla was somewhere in the middle.”


The business is now focused on merchandise to be delivered and installed. The trio divided up duties to run the business from their strengths, Helmreich says. Don handled service and installations, John focused on sales and Carla kept the books and payroll. Other family members joined the staff — John and Carla’s sister Glenda Munson, who joined the business in 1991, oversees parts and service, and John’s wife Linda, brought on board in 2001, handles a variety of administrative duties; several other family members work in sales and service. “You know, it started out a Helmreich store,” muses Don, “but now I’ve got more in-laws working here.” Graves laughs. “We’ve taken over.” In 2006, the partners embarked on a massive renovation and restoration of the building, which was built in 1927 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. “First we tore out the back two-thirds of the building and redid it, so everything was crammed up front,” Helmreich says. “Then we moved everything to the back and worked on the front. That was trickier, because of the historic designation. Then we moved our offices back downstairs and put in five brandnew apartments upstairs.” After a year of living with construction chaos, the partners celebrated the completion of the $2 million project with a grand reopening in September 2007. Today’s Downtown Appliance boasts a 5,300-square-foot showroom offering 19 brands of major appliances. Thousands of models are available: ranges and cooktops, ovens, microwaves, ventilation hoods, grills, dishwashers, washers, dryers, refrigerators and freezers, even specialty items for wine storage and FALL 2011

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entrepreneurial spirit outdoor kitchens. A “dream kitchen” and interactive displays command customer attention. Everything was looking up that fall — and then recession struck. Although the official timeframe of the Great Recession is December 2007 to June 2009, Helmreich says the economy did not impact Downtown Appliance until early 2009. The store’s sales makeup went from 60 percent new construction and 40 percent retail in 2006 to 80 percent retail and 20 percent new construction in 2009. As new home construction and remodeling has slowly rebounded, so has that sector of the business; Helmreich estimates this year that 25 to 30 percent of sales will be in new home construction with retail making up the rest. “We have a big customer base,” he says. “Retail is what’s kept us going. We probably didn’t hire as many college students to fill in on the staff as we used to, but we didn’t lay off anyone either.” A commitment to service has shored up customer loyalty. “That’s where we shine,” Helmreich says. “Each service technician has a personality, and they all have fans.” Helmreich says his business can offer a personal touch with service that the competition just can’t match. He recalls a freezer his father kept plugged in on the showroom floor because he was always storing someone’s food in it as a favor. “The customer comes first,” he repeats. “Someone’s getting ready to go on vacation and their washer goes out — we’ll get them one delivered that day. Another customer had a fridge go out on them, but the color they wanted wasn’t available for a month or two; we loaned them a refrigerator.” He proudly tells the story of a woman who was frustrated because she couldn’t get an installation of the dishwasher she wanted at a chain store. “She bought one here and it was installed in an hour,” Helmreich says. “Six months later, she built a new kitchen and we got her business.” Helmreich takes service emergencies in stride. A 6:30 a.m. phone call to his unlisted number didn’t even faze him one Sunday morning. A customer needed a 26

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freezer right then. He opened the store, sold the freezer, installed it and got it cold enough to start storing food, “and I still made it to Sunday School on time,” he says. Helmreich and Graves expanded their business interests in June 2009 when they opened an America’s Mattress outlet in the Broadway Shops with Gene Lavely, a Downtown Appliance salesman. Merchandise features Serta products and related bedroom furnishings. Graves focuses more on the mattress store than does Helmreich, and both emphasize the two stores are separate businesses. The partnership suffered a tragic blow when Carla died of a massive brain hemorrhage on Jan. 18, 2010, at the age of 57. “We had been married 28 years,” Helmreich says quietly. Within a month, daughter Lauren Helmreich had left her job at Boone County Family Resources, an agency that provides services for the developmentally disabled, to take over her mother’s duties at Downtown Appliance. Her brother, Andrew, a Columbia College student, helps out as well. A year and a half later, “it’s not any easier yet,” she says. Although social work is her passion, Lauren discounts any assumptions that she is only working at the store temporarily. This is, after all, the family business and she and her brother are the third generation at Downtown Appliance. “Family is really important to me,” she says. “This is what I need to do. I think I’m going to be here awhile.” Family ties are strong at Downtown Appliance, a strength the business partners can point to as part of their formula for success. “The ‘secret’ we’ve learned as family members is how to treat each other as business owners,” Graves says. “There’s a fine line … you’ve just got to know where that line is.” Downtown Appliance is celebrating a half-century of successfully walking that line. The store has scheduled sales and specials to run throughout its jubilee year until June 2012. It’s a dandy time to pick up a new freezer, but fair warning to CoMo newbies: ice cream is not included. FALL 2011

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THE BOTTOM LINE

GOLD RUSH

Study Touts The Multimillion-Dollar Impact Of Mizzou Sports On The Local Economy by KATHY CASTEEL photos by L.G. PATTERSON

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recent study of the impact University of Missouri athletic events wield on the Columbia economy should have local businesses cheering “Mizzou-rah!” Events hosted by the Mizzou Athletics Department and its facilities accounted for about $118.7 million in additional spending within Columbia during the 2009-2010 fiscal year. The findings are part of an economic impact study commissioned by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. A group of graduate students at MU’s Trulaske College of Business analyzed data from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010, for the study under the supervision of Gregg Martin, an associate teaching professor of management. “Mizzou Athletics is a significant economic driver in this town,” says Zack Odem, an accountant with the university’s sponsored program administration and a member of the study group. “Now we know just how significant. There’s a ripple effect when fans come to Columbia and local businesses share in that prosperity.”

The study group chose the 2009-2010 year because that was the most recent year for complete data when the study began in January. It was a pretty good year for Mizzou sports: coming off a couple of years seen as some of MU’s best in recent memory, fans flocked to see the football Tigers march to a New Year’s Eve berth in the Texas Bowl and the men’s basketball team play its way to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament; women’s soccer claimed its second consecutive Big 12 conference championship, the softball team went to the Women’s College World Series, gymnastics advanced to the NCAA semifinal with All-American Sarah Shire, and wrestler Max Askren was crowned a national champion. The positive exposure from Mizzou athletic successes has been credited with increasing interest among potential MU students and the subsequent record enrollments of the past few years, swelling the school-year population of the city. FALL 2011

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THE BOTTOM LINE “It was a good year,” MU Athletic Director Mike Alden says. “But I don’t think it was an anomaly. The study took a reasonable approach, and now that we have the matrix, we can plug in numbers for data points and continue to track it.” Alden adds that the statistics are defendable and provide a good foundation for working with the community in planning future events, such as NCAA softball regionals and Big 12 golf and wrestling championships. “The numbers can be documented,” he says, “We don’t want to overpromise and under-deliver.”

Hey, Big Spender The study looked at the financial effects of direct, indirect and induced revenue from tourism expenditures. Direct revenue includes corporate spending (in-stadium/ arena advertising, conference proceeds, Tiger Scholarship Fund and camps) plus venue revenue (ticket sales, concessions, parking and team store purchases) and

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“Sporting events not only generate local expenditures, but also create new jobs and economic opportunities throughout the city of Columbia.” non-venue spending at local restaurants and hotels. Indirect revenue refers to subsequent re-spending of direct sales in company purchases, hiring and payroll; induced revenue is later household spending made possible through indirect revenue expenditures. The study group calculated indirect and induced costs using a multiplier from

the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’ Regional Input-Output Modeling System. It found that for every dollar spent on direct revenue for sporting events, concerts and other ticketed occasions, $1.64 recirculates in the Columbia economy. The $72 million in direct revenue during the 2009-2010 year grew to exert an eventual impact of more than


event category

Revenue

Venue Football Revenue Out-of-town Residents

$7,110,223

Venue Football Revenue In-town Residents

$1,624,077

Venue Men’s Basketball Revenue Out-of-town Residents

$1,866,517

Venue Men’s Basketball Revenue In-town Residents

$799,622

Venue Women’s Basketball/Other Revenue Out-of-town Residents

$492,126

Venue Women’s Basketball/Other Revenue In-town Residents

$10,497

Venue Non-Program Specific Revenue Out-oftown Residents

$1,968,945

Venue Non-Program Specific Revenue In-town Residents

$449,735

Corporate Revenue

$35,194,838

Non-venue Football Revenue Out-of-town Residents

$9,820,603

Non-venue Football Revenue In-town Residents

$5,154,606

Non-venue Men’s Basketball Revenue Outof-town Residents

$1,541,642

Non-venue Men’s Basketball Revenue Intown Residents

$1,247,812

Non-venue Women’s Basketball/Other Revenue Out-of-town Residents

$2,416,290

Non-venue Women’s Basketball/Other Revenue In-town Residents

$97,435

Non-venue Non-program Specific Revenue Out-of town Residents

$1,705,024

Non-venue Non-program Specific Revenue In-town Residents

$736,236

Total Direct

$72,236,227

BEA RIMS II Multiplier

1.6432

Grand Total

$118,698,568

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THE BOTTOM LINE $118 million on the local economy, moving an additional $46 million throughout the city that would not have been created were it not for the lure of Mizzou sporting events. “This number represents additional local expenditures that would not have existed otherwise, including salaries, purchases from local businesses and student tuition,” the study authors wrote. “This shows that sporting events not only generate local expenditures, but also create new jobs and economic opportunities throughout the city of Columbia.” A substantial portion of that money recirculating here originated outside of Columbia’s metropolitan statistical area of Boone and Howard counties. Fans from out-of-town purchased 47 percent of football tickets in the 2009 season, compared to 53 percent by locals. For men’s basketball, 32 percent of ticket sales were to out-of-towners with 68 percent going to locals. Women’s basketball

and other sports attracted most of their audience — 90 percent — from the local area; just 10 percent of ticket purchases were from out of town. Tickets for concerts and other events at MU facilities are on par with the fan distribution for football games. Out-of-town fans are a prized commodity in this economy: they spend more than twice as much money on the game-day experience here as locals do. The study found that out-oftown football fans spend, on average, $54.68 per person during each visit to Columbia; local football fans spend $25.13 each. For all other campus-based events — men’s and women’s basketball, other sports and “non-program-specific” events — out-of-towners spend an average of $23.95 each; local fans shell out $9.05 each. Only 20 percent of local fan spending is considered “new money” introduced into the local economy while all of the out-of-town revenue is new money.

The study authors compared their findings with fan spending in another college town — Lincoln, Neb. Columbia came out well in the comparison, raking in 1.1165 times the revenue that Lincoln collects.

Winners Columbia’s hotels and restaurants are the big winners in the effort to grab a piece of the athletic revenue pie. Outof-town football fans spend an average of $32.18 per person on food while in Columbia, and $22.50 each on lodging. Locals spend $25.13 for food. Non-football events bring in an average of $16.51 per person for food and $7.44 for lodging. Locals attending those events spend $9.05 each on food. The numbers could be higher, Odem concedes, but cautions against speculation the study did not document. The study only calculated spending in the hospitality industry; retail spending during event dates was not incorporated into the analysis. There are also events and venues that are difficult to gauge, Alden adds. “How do you enumerate the indirect revenue from the Show-Me State Games or Fire In The Sky?” he asks. “These are non-ticketed events. How do you measure the impact of Ninth Street, Cosmo Park or the Katy Trail?” The report’s authors also recommend the use of surveys of hotels, restaurants and fans in future studies.

MO Money Efforts to increase the revenue stream into Columbia through the lure of athletics could have a substantial effect on the economy. The authors estimate a mere $1 increase in food and lodging expenditures per person would increase the total economic impact of Mizzou Athletics by another $1.4 million. And although it may not be documented as a direct correlation, Alden does know that positive publicity burnishes the Mizzou brand — the uptick from the Women’s College World Series, for example, “increased the value of the team,” he says. Negative publicity can have an impact, too, he notes, such as the controversies that have swirled 32

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around the men’s basketball program twice in the past five years and the onagain-off-again stability of the Big 12 Conference. The Athletic Department has not formulated a response yet to the question of whether this study will be taken into account in scheduling the location of the Border War game between the Missouri Tigers and the Kansas Jayhawks. The MU-KU football rivalry game, which used to alternate between Columbia and Lawrence, Kan., has been played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City since 2007. That agreement runs through 2012. The economic impact study was written by James Baskett, Sean Flynn, Zack Odem, Tyler Sparks and Matt Wagener.

Counting Cougars

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cross town from the Tigers’ lair, another big cat is flexing its athletic muscles. Beginning in the fall of 2012, Columbia College will double the number of sports teams it fields, adding women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, and men’s and women’s golf. These teams will take their places on the Cougar roster with men’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, and women’s softball and volleyball teams. Women’s soccer and the crosscountry teams will compete in the fall; the golf teams will play in the spring, offering the first men’s spring sport at Columbia College. The college is currently filling coaching positions and plans to aggressively recruit student-athletes throughout this year. Columbia College is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the American Midwest Conference. In the past 18 years, the Cougars have been to 55 NAIA national championship tournaments, winning three national titles and placing in the top five 16 times.

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open for business

Sweat Equity Columbia Strength & Conditioning Is In Good Shape For Success by JESSICA PERKINS photo by L.G. PATTERSON

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uch like the men and women they train, Columbia Strength & Conditioning owners Nate Kesterson, Scott Schutte and Josh Amelunke seem prepared to put in the hard work, dedication, and yes, even sweat, required to reach their goals. The three friends worked as trainers at other local fitness centers before opening their own one-on-one facility on Fay Street last March. The space is tidy, if a little sparse, with concrete floors, workout equipment and whiteboards hanging on the walls. It’s the owners’ first business venture, and as such posed plenty of initial challenges: filling out legal documents, seeking accounting services, forming a limited liability company. Although Schutte holds a bachelor’s degree in business and finance, he says, “You can take as many business classes as you want in college, but when you’re out on your own, that’s how you really learn.” The trio hopes to expand on its 50 clients, all of whom work with their trainer individually to carry out a personalized workout and nutrition plan. “People want to throw a blanket over everyone — everyone needs to go lowcarb, for example — but that doesn’t work for everybody,” Schutte says. Kesterson, Schutte and Amelunke follow many of the principles set forth by Charles Poliquin, a famous Canadian strength trainer whose program relies in part upon regulating the body’s hormones, inflammation and acids through diet to prevent storage of excess fat. The instructors also emphasize the importance of using free weights and achieving “structural balance”; in other words, not favoring one’s stronger side, which can increase the risk of injury. Their extra income goes toward educating 34

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From left, Josh Amelunke, Nate Kesterson and Scott Schutte

“There’s a sincere desire for you to succeed.” — Client Joni Pfenenger themselves and purchasing the best equipment possible, they say, and they’re just as comfortable training a professional athlete as a soon-to-be-reformed couch potato. “Some people are just killing themselves on their treadmills,” Kesterson says. “They’ve been trying something else and it hasn’t been working, so they’re willing to give us a listen.” This is the case for clients such as Ashley Mayer. The 28-year-old professional dancer and owner of Studio B Dance Center has always been naturally slender, but she feared her career would

be cut short by a painful knee condition called chondromalacia patella. After seeing an orthopedic physician and months of physical therapy, Mayer wasn’t seeing any improvement. “It wasn’t relieving the pain, and I wasn’t building up the muscles the doctor told me I needed to be building up,” she says. She feared the next step would be a career-ending surgery. Her boyfriend, who worked out with Schutte, suggested she meet with a trainer at Columbia Strength & Conditioning. Mayer had her doubts when she first met Kesterson. “I’m very skeptical,


especially when it comes to my knees,” she says. “I really didn’t believe them and just kind of rolled my eyes.” But Kesterson helped Mayer strengthen her legs and laid out a meal plan intended to reduce inflammation. “I’m a believer now,” she says. “I’ve noticed tremendous improvements in the strength of my leg, especially the muscle groups I needed to strengthen for my knee.” Mayer, who has now begun full-body training, credits Columbia Strength & Conditioning for helping her avoid knee surgery. “I’m so happy with them,” she says. Another client, Joni Pfenenger, says it was important to her to improve her health so she could enjoy her five kids and future grandchildren. In February, she began meeting with Schutte to lay out a nutrition and supplement plan. When she began making significant changes to her diet, Pfenenger says Schutte sent her the occasional text message to ask how she was doing. “I had excellent results,” she says. “I lost weight, lost inches, felt better.” In June, Pfenenger also began exercising with CSC trainers. “There’s a sincere desire for you to succeed, and it’s not like they want you to be the skinniest, most cut, highest-performing athlete, but they care about your longterm health,” she says. “Everybody’s really nice there.” Stories like Mayer’s and Pfenenger’s are rewarding for their trainers, Schutte says. “People are coming back and saying their blood pressure is better, or they’re dating again, and they’re comfortable and happy with the way they look,” he says. The next big goal for the gym’s owners is to move their business. Kesterson says they’ll look for a new space when their lease ends in October 2012, and their wish list includes more room, more equipment, improved office privacy, nicer locker rooms and, of course, an increase in clientele. “We’re in a business that’s basically word of mouth,” Schutte says. “We take care of our people, they talk, and hopefully we’ll grow.” FALL 2011

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rEGIONaL rOuNduP

Mu HEaLTH CarE NaMEd a 2011 MOsT WIrEd HOsPITaL

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niversity of Missouri Health Care has been recognized as one of the nation’s “Most Wired” hospitals according to the 2011 Most Wired Survey released in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine. The survey recognizes the top 100 hospitals in the country that are making progress in the adoption of health information technology. University of Missouri Health Care is the only health care organization in mid-Missouri and one of only five hospitals in the state to receive the Most Wired distinction. “The Most Wired award validates our commitment to patient safety and the delivery of high-quality care to our patients,” says Jim Ross, chief executive officer of MU Health Care. “This award recognizes our belief that information technology is vital to improving the health care needs of our patients.” The Most Wired award follows MU Health Care’s recognition for achieving Stage 6 of the Electronic Medical

Record (EMR) Adoption Model. In May, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics, a national company that evaluates hospitals’ progress in implementing electronic medical records, announced that MU Health Care had reached the Stage 6 milestone on a scale of 0 to 7 in its transition from all-paper to all-electronic patient records. “Our recent recognitions as a Most Wired health care organization and as reaching Stage 6 of the HIMSS EMR Adoption Model lets our patients know that they are receiving care at one of the most technologically advanced hospitals in the country,” says Joanne Burns, chief information officer at MU Health Care.

JONES NAMEd CEO AT MOBERLY REGiONAL MEdiCAL CENTER

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hristian Jones has taken over the executive leadership at Moberly Regional Medical Center. As the new CEO, Jones will succeed Stephen lunn, who left to assume the CEO position at Heartland Regional Medical Center in Marion, Ill. Jones is a familiar face at MRMC. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences, then received his M.B.A. from William Woods University in 2002 and then his master’s in health administration in 2006. While he was pursuing this educational track, he worked

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as the medical imaging supervisor at Moberly Regional from 2001 to 2006. He was promoted to director of medical imaging and held that position for two more years. In early 2007, Jones was promoted to administrative specialist and was responsible for the administrative oversight of medical imaging, pulmonary medicine, EEg, EKg, sleep lab, cardiovascular ultrasound and the cardiac catheterization lab. Since April 2010, Jones had been the chief operating officer at gateway Regional Medical Center in granite City, Ill.

Brokerage Firm Study Ranks Missouri In ‘Top 10 Pro-Business States’

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ov. Jay Nixon’s policies and job-creation strategies were praised by an international brokerage and consulting firm as it rated Missouri as one of the top U.S. states for business. The Show-Me State ranks No. 8 in the Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States for 2011, an annual study considered the most comprehensive in the economic development industry. This is the second year in a row that Missouri has made the list, moving up two spaces from No. 10. The Pollina study giving Missouri high marks comes after a recent report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for 2011 that also praised the state’s fiscal soundness and economic policies to attract business. That report listed Missouri at No. 7 among the states as “a leader in businessfriendly tax and Pollina’s regulatory climate.” Corporate Top “The annual Pro Business study by Pollina States is is a respected an annual benchmark that study of job evaluates the states retention on their success in and creation being attractive to efforts by the new and existing 50 states. businesses,” Nixon says. “Our efforts to grow Missouri’s economy, create jobs and maintain a state government that lives within its means are paying off not only in this recognition by Pollina, but also through the positive direction that the state’s economy has clearly taken.” Pollina’s Corporate Top Pro Business States is an annual study of job retention and creation efforts by the 50 states. It examines more than 30 factors relative to state efforts to create business-friendly environments, including taxes, human resources, energy costs, infrastructure spending, economic incentive programs and state economic development efforts.


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[ meeting planners guide ] by haley adams / photo by l.g. patterson

meet me in columbia Your meeting may only last a weekend, but there’s a lot that goes into that three-day window. You want it to run smoothly, so what’s one way to plan a successful meeting and not spend a fortune? Choose Columbia. feel, even though they’re at a meeting, they’re on a little vacation Location, Location, Location away from home,” DeSalme says. A big draw to Columbia as a meeting place is its convenient She adds she always hears good things about Columbia’s location. Situated halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City, its food choices when she contacts groups after they’ve attended a center-of-the-nation location reduces cross-country trips. Even meeting. “We have some amazing restaurants and our hotels do though St. Louis and Kansas City’s airports are about two hours a good job catering as well,” she says. away, the drive to Columbia is an easy ride down Interstate 70. If you choose not to rent a car, there are shuttles, such as Mo-X, How To Plan that constantly drive back and forth. It may also be possible for When you decide to have your meeting in Columbia, there are your group to fly into the Columbia Regional Airport, depending a few things to think about before you book. First, consider the on their departure location. time you come because some weekends are better than others. Another perk of Columbia’s location is its size. It’s a city with Mizzou home football games, Show-Me State Games and high more than 100,000 residents, but it still maintains its small-town school competitions tend to bring in a lot of out-of-towners and feel. This factor can be an advantage when planning a meeting hotels fill up fast. or conference because it affects how much attention you will “There’s no perfect time to plan a meeting, but we will receive from hotel staff compared to convention centers in larger encourage anyone who contacts us to take a look at our peak cities, says Amy DeSalme, the convention sales manager at the occupancy calendar,” DeSalme says. Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Some of these groups will have their conventions at these Call The CVB giant convention hotels, and they’re one of many things But before you even book a flight or hotel, call the CVB. The happening,” DeSalme says. “They can get lost in the shuffle.” organization offers complimentary services to make your meeting She says Columbia doesn’t have that problem. “Our hotels a success, from comparing hotel rates to site tours to answering are able to provide more personalized attention than the any questions about the area. The CVB can also customize a convention hotels of larger cities because, often, theirs is the package for your group that could include a variety of features, only conference occurring at that time,” DeSalme says. from gift baskets to cash sponsorships. It’s a The size of Columbia also cuts down on rates at hotels, From music to unique service that many meeting planners restaurants and shops. No price hikes for tourists in this city; sports to shopping, do not even know about, says CVB Services visitors can enjoy reasonable prices wherever they go. Columbia has something for every Manager Terra Crane. type of group. “We survey our planners after they’re Lots To Do, Lots To Eat gone, and most of them say they had no idea this service was But one of the biggest draws of Columbia is its eclectic there and they’re excited it was complimentary,” Crane says. “A culture. From music to sports to shopping, Columbia has lot of CVBs will offer a welcome from the mayor or a welcome something for every type of group. A lot of that is because of the from a dignitary, but there’s not the tangible aspect of it.” downtown area, The District, a great place to spend free time at Representatives from the CVB can also recommend activities a conference. for your group during free time, or put together tours. With so “You have dining, you have comedy, you have music and many different festivals throughout the year, and so many events entertainment,” says Beth Mead, the tourism marketing manager every night, your group is sure to find its niche. It’s one of the at the CVB. “That would be where I would send almost anybody reasons DeSalme can’t pick just one reason why Columbia is a any time.” good place to plan a meeting, but she knows this: “Columbia’s Dining, especially, is one aspect of Columbia many meeting just fun.” planners enjoy. “Food is a huge part of meetings because people Contact the Convention and Visitors Bureau by calling 573-875-1231, or visit online at www.visitcolumbiamo.com. Want a Visitor and Area Guide to Columbia? Stop by the office at 300 S. Providence Road. 38

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WHERE TO SPEND YOUR FREE TIME ➤ The District David R. Francis Quadrangle MU Campus Stop by the heart of the University of Missouri campus. You can’t miss The Columns, which are all that remains of Academic Hall, which burned down in 1892.

The Penguin Dueling Piano Bar 1025 E. Broadway, 573-449-8005, www.penguinpianobar.com After dinner, dance into the night at The Penguin Dueling Piano Bar. There’s no DJ, only two pianists playing your requests. Sometimes they put their own spin on it, which is always entertaining.

Museum of Art and Archaeology 1 Pickard Hall, 573-882-3591, maa.missouri.edu This free museum on the MU campus includes ancient art, modern art and everything in-between.

Flat Branch Pub & Brewing 115 S. Fifth St., 573-499-0400, www.flatbranch.com Voted the Best Overall Restaurant by Inside Columbia readers in 2011, Flat Branch is a must for anyone looking for a true Columbia meal. The eatery has great food, but the brewery is known for its beer; try the Katy Trail Pale Ale or Green Chili Beer.

Quinton’s Bar And Deli 124 S. Ninth Street, 573-268-3011, www.quintonsandtonic.com Need a spot for dinner and drinks later? If you have nice weather, head to Quinton’s and climb the stairs to the sky bar. 40

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Shelter Gardens 1817 W. Broadway, 573-214-4595 Always a popular photo-op spot for locals, Shelter Gardens is a public garden on the property of Shelter Insurance Cos. Stroll around the flowers, take a break by the waterfall or check out a replica of a 19th-century schoolhouse.

➤ Just Down The Road

➤ ➤ ➤ The Blue Note

17 N. Ninth St., 573-874-1944, www.thebluenote.com If you have any music fans in your group, check the calendar at The Blue Note. This venue is Columbia’s go-to for live music. ➤ ➤ ➤ Les Bourgeois Vineyards

➤ Beyond Downtown

➤➤➤

The Candy Factory 701 E. Cherry St., 573-443-8222, www.thecandyfactory.biz If you’re still in the mood for something sweet, stop by The Candy Factory. Ask to go upstairs where you can see how the candy is made; it’s the closest thing Columbia has to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

park. There are more than 20 miles of trails, so it’s sure to keep you busy for an afternoon.

➤ ➤ ➤ MKT Trail

101 S. Fourth St.; 501 S. Providence Road; 800 W. Stadium Blvd.; 2701 Forum Blvd; 3662 Scott Blvd.; visit www.gocolumbiamo.com for more details. Want to go for a run or bike ride before your meeting starts? Head to one of five trailheads for the MKT Trail, a popular route that was built on an old railroad bed.

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park 5901 S. Highway 163, 573-499-7402 (park office), 573-442-2249 (trails hotline) Enjoy the scenery at this 2,273-acre

14020 W. Highway BB, Rocheport, 800-690-1830, www.missouriwine.com If you and your colleagues have a whole evening free, take the short drive to Rocheport, just west of Columbia, for Les Bourgeois Vineyards. Have dinner at the Bistro, or purchase a bottle of the vineyard’s wine at the A-frame.

Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre 114 High St., Arrow Rock, 660-837-3311, www.lyceumtheatre.org Take Interstate 70 West to the quaint town of Arrow Rock, home of the Lyceum Theatre. The theater attracts professional actors from across the country, and features a variety of shows every season.

National Churchill Museum 501 Westminster Ave., Fulton, 573-5925369, www.churchillmemorial.org Westminster College is where Winston Churchill made the famous “Iron Curtain” speech. No need to travel across the pond to learn about the life of this world leader.


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[ meeting planners guide ] used with permission from thegreatevent.com

THE EVENT PLANNER’S TO-DO LIST Skilled event planners know the secret to low-stress, high-impact events is organization. This handy checklist will inspire you to begin planning early and stay on track for an event that is sure to be the talk of the town. 6–12 Months Before The Event

➤ Develop alternative site if the event is to be held outdoors

➤ Decide on the event’s purpose (raise funds, visibility for your company, celebration, etc.)

➤ Consider pre-party event for publicity or underwriting

➤ Choose a theme

➤ Hire a graphic artist; begin invitation design

➤ Visit potential sites ➤ Research and hire an event coordinator or appoint an event manager ➤ Select committees and appoint chairpersons ➤ Chairpersons form subcommittees ➤ Get cost estimates (site rental, food, drinks, sound/lights, etc.) ➤ Get recommendations for entertainment; hold auditions ➤ Get bids for entertainment ➤ Get bids for decorations ➤ Get bids for design/printing ➤ Get bids for other major items ➤ Finance committee drafts initial budget ➤ Decide on admission cost ➤ Create sponsorship amounts and levels ➤ List items to be underwritten and possible sources ➤ Research and approach honorees ➤ Compile mailing list (individuals/ businesses) ➤ Check proposed date for potential conflicts, finalize date in writing ➤ Get written contracts for site, entertainment, etc. 42

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➤ Invite and confirm VIPs

➤ Create logo for event with graphic artist ➤ Order save-the-date cards or other event announcements

➤ Complete mailing lists for invitations ➤ Order invitations, posters, tickets, etc. ➤ Sign contract with entertainment company ➤ Make list of locations for posters ➤ Finalize mailing lists; begin soliciting corporations and major donors ➤ Obtain invitation lists from honorees, VIPs

➤ Set marketing schedule

➤ Obtain media sponsors and prepare public service announcements, promos

➤ Develop press releases and calendar listings

➤ Set menu with caterer for food and beverages

➤ Select photographer; arrange for photos of VIPs, key staff members, honorees

➤ Secure permits and insurance

➤ Get biographical information on VIPs, celebrities, honorees, committee chairs ➤ Investigate need for special permits, licenses, insurance, etc.

3–6 Months Before The Event ➤ Begin monthly committee meetings

➤ Get written confirmation of celebrity participation/special needs ➤ Finalize audio/visual contract ➤ Select and order trophies or awards

2 Months Before The Event ➤ Hold underwriting or preview party to coincide with mailing of invitations; invite media

➤ Send requests for funding or underwriting to major donors, corporations, and sponsors

➤ Assemble and address invitations (with personal notes when possible)

➤ Request logos from corporate sponsors for printing

➤ Distribute posters

➤ Mail invitations

➤ Review with graphic artist invitations, programs, posters, etc.

➤ Finalize transportation/hotel accommodations for staff, VIPs, honorees

➤ Prepare final copy for invitations, return card, posters

➤ Obtain contracts for decorations and rental items

➤ Prepare final copy for tickets

➤ Confirm TV/radio participation


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THE EVENT PLANNER’S TO-DO LIST (continued) ➤ Release press announcements about celebrities, VIPs, honorees ➤ Follow up to confirm sponsorships and underwriting ➤ Obtain logos from corporate sponsors for program printing ➤ Review needs for signs at registration, directional, etc. ➤ All major chairpersons to finalize plans ➤ Hold walk-through of event with responsible committees, chairpersons and responsible site staff members at event site ➤ Review/finalize budget, task sheets and tentative timeline ➤ Start phone follow-up for table sponsors (corporate, VIP, committee)

1 Month Before The Event ➤ Phone follow-up of mailing list (ticket sales) ➤ Place newspaper ads, follow up with news media, on-air announcements ➤ Confirm staff for registration, hosting, other ➤ Write to VIPs, celebrities, program participants and confirm participation ➤ Complete list of contents for VIP welcome packets ➤ Get enlarged site plan/room diagram, assign seats and tables

➤ Confirm hotel accommodations ➤ Prepare transportation and accommodations (include arrival time, flight number, airline, person assigned to meet flight) ➤ Confirm special security needed for VIPs, event ➤ Prepare welcome packet for VIPs, chairpersons and key staff ➤ Schedule deliveries of special equipment, rentals ➤ Confirm setup and tear-down times with event site ➤ Finalize plans with party decorator

1 Week Before The Event

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➤ Write checks for payments to be made for the day of the event

Day Before The Event

➤ Have petty cash and vendor checks prepared

Event Day

➤ Finish phone follow-ups

➤ Arrive early (with your change of clothes)

➤ Confirm number attending ➤ Finish seating/table arrangements ➤ Hold training session with volunteers; finalize assignments ➤ Secure two or three volunteers to assist with emergencies ➤ Finalize registration staff ➤ Distribute seating chart, assignments to hosts/hostesses

➤ Reconfirm event site, hotel, transportation

Inside Columbia’s CEO

➤ Establish amount of petty cash needed for tips and emergencies

➤ Meet with all committees for lastminute details

➤ Review script and timeline

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➤ Schedule volunteer assignments for day of event

➤ Recheck all equipment and supplies to be brought to the event

➤ Double check arrival time and delivery times with vendors

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➤ Schedule rehearsals

➤ Meet with chairpersons, key staff to finalize any of the above

➤ Meet with all outside vendors, consultants to coordinate event

➤ Confirm transportation schedules: airlines, trains, buses, cars, limos

➤ Final walk-through with all personnel

➤ Lay out all clothes that you will need the day of the event

➤ Schedule pickup or delivery of any rented or loaned equipment

➤ Continue assigning seats; set head table, speaker’s platform

➤ Distribute additional fliers

➤ Give caterer revised numbers

➤ Give estimate of guests expected to caterer

➤ Continue phone follow-ups for ticket/table sales

➤ Make follow-up calls to news media for advance and event coverage

➤ Deliver final scripts and timelines to all program participants ➤ Finalize catering guarantee, refreshments ➤ Confirm number of volunteers

➤ Unpack equipment, supplies and make sure nothing is missing ➤ Be sure all VIPs are in place and have scripts ➤ Reconfirm refreshments/meal schedule for volunteers ➤ Go over all the final details with caterer and setup staff ➤ Check with volunteers to make sure all tasks are covered ➤ Set up registration area ➤ Check sound and light equipment and staging before rehearsal ➤ Hold final rehearsal

After The Event ➤ Meet with key staff to discuss successes and brainstorm ideas for improving future events ➤ Send event photos to Inside Columbia for possible publication in the “On The Town” section


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[ meeting planners guide ] By Corbin Ball

hand in those handouts The Business Value Of Mobile Apps For Meetings

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ecent data from Meeting Planners International’s FutureWatch 2011 Survey and others indicate that more than 80 percent of meeting professionals are using smartphones and other mobile devices in their jobs. Yet, with this high adoption, relatively few have used mobile applications for their own meetings. This is about to change. Meeting professionals and attendees are crossing the chasm of early adoption and are entering into the early majority phase. We will see a very rapid adoption of mobile applications for events during the next two years. There are many ways that mobile applications can assist events. Here are some of the features found in many of the mobile applications that have been created specifically for events and tradeshows: ➤ Agenda management, building and sharing for attendees ➤ Alerts/conference messaging/updates ➤ Analytics (tracking attendee interests and activities for business intelligence) ➤ Appointment scheduling for attendees ➤ Attendee list distribution ➤ Audience polling ➤ Continuing education unit tracking ➤ Concierge and local area information ➤ Conference program and schedule

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➤ Content distribution — paper replacement (session handouts, course notes, exhibit literature) ➤ Content distribution — video (YouTube, conference streaming media) ➤ Cyber café replacement ➤ Evaluations of speakers, sessions, overall conference and other activities/services ➤ Exhibit guide with interactive floor plan ➤ Exhibitor management, including interface with exhibit service contractor ➤ Housing management (with interface with housing provider) ➤ Hybrid and virtual meeting access ➤ Lead exchange/integration with contact managers ➤ Marketing and advertising of events and sub-events ➤ Meetings logistics management while onsite (including attendees management, housing management, budget tracking, meetings specifications and meeting spend tracking) ➤ Membership management ➤ Messaging for events (SMS, email, group announcements, etc.) ➤ Networking/social media/friend finding (event and location-based) ➤ Product and merchandise sales with micropayment capabilities ➤ Registration ➤ Revenue generation from exhibitor, sponsor and local business advertising ➤ Mobile team-building exercises at events ➤ Show contractor/supplier communication and logistics ➤ Site inspection checklist ➤ Social media onsite integration (for white label apps, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) ➤ Sponsor ad revenue (with full tracking)

➤ Surveys ➤ Ticketing and access control ➤ Transit tracking and other business travel tools ➤ Treasure hunts and other games to stimulate exhibit hall flow ➤ Way-finding and mapping (through exhibit hall, venue, nearby attractions, city) Beyond these features, however, there many tangible benefits that mobile technology will bring to event organizers, exhibitors and attendees. Here are a few of them: Real-Time Distribution And Access To All Conference Information Paper conference programs, exhibition guides and announcements go out of date almost immediately after they are printed; conferences are fluid and things change. Mobile guides and other conference information can be changed on the fly, assuring that attendees have instant access to the current information in a manner that is faster, lighter and easier to access. Event managers can send alerts of significant program changes as well. Better Way-Finding Through Interactive Maps, Floor Plans And Location-Based Services Attendees often need assistance finding their way around a venue, an exhibit hall and the neighborhood surrounding the meeting venue. There are a range of mapping and GPS tools that can help. Some of the advanced mobile exhibit applications (such as Core-Apps.com and Sherpa-Solutions. com) can even pinpoint attendees’ locations in the exhibit hall and guide them through the hall, finding the most efficient path between exhibit booths. Adding to this will be augmented reality


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hand in those handouts (continued) applications (such as Google Goggles), which will layer additional information on phone-cam screens simply by pointing the phone camera at places where attendees want to know more. Environmentally Friendly Events are often awash in paper: program guides, session handouts, course notes, exhibit directories, exhibit brochures, surveys, events specifications and more. These documents can be accessible more efficiently in mobile platforms. With the upsurge of iPads and other tablets, people will annotate these documents as well. Mobile devices documents are lighter, easier to use, quicker to access, cost nothing to print/ ship and are much more environmentally friendly that paper documents. Enhanced Onsite Networking Social mobile networking apps (meeting industry-specific apps such as Pathable.com and Dub Events), the big three social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and the locationaware apps (such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places) provide completely new networking channels for events. One good contact can often be worth the entire price of the meeting, and these tools will help bring people together to make these contacts. Savvy meeting planners and venue managers are now monitoring the event tweet stream (Twitter comments around a specific event) as the fastest way of being notified of a problem during an event. Real-Time Feedback Through Surveys And Polling Paper surveys for speaker and meeting evaluations are laborious to tally — so much so that they usually are done after the event. Web-based surveys sent via email links also are usually sent after the event. In either case, the data received is too late to make mid-course corrections during an event. Mobile surveys are automatically tallied in real time while the information is fresh. If a session bombs, or if there are other problems, there are opportunities for corrections during the rest of the meeting by using this survey feedback during the conference. Audience polling keypads, although 48

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they are very helpful feedback tools, tend to be expensive ($3–$12 per person per day). As mobile polling apps (such as PollEverywhere.com, Validar.com, Zukuweb.com, and others) move into this space, attendees can use their phones to vote or respond to speaker questions via text messages, mobile Web-based polling tools or even Twitter. Additionally, there is the ability to send questions to the speaker, allowing input from audience members who are not “brave enough” to ask questions out loud. Often, these tools are available at a fraction of the cost of keypads and sometimes for free. Enhanced Branding Mobile apps are hot and give the impression of being up-to-date technologically — they are a great way of event branding! It won’t be very long where, if an event does not use mobile applications, attendees will be wondering why the conference is behind the times. Cost Reductions And New Revenue Streams From Sponsorships And Advertising As has been mentioned, there are many ways mobile apps can cut costs while providing enhanced onsite services. In additions, there are many potential revenue sources from exhibitor and sponsor advertising. Several mobile companies have business models where there are no direct costs to the show/ event organizer. They rely instead on revenue from exhibitor sponsorship. Better Analytics Mobile apps have the ability to track page views and other attendee activity. Some mobile applications provide extensive data analytics of attendee behavior, which can be invaluable for improving future events. Page-view data regarding specific exhibit products can also be invaluable for exhibitors providing connections to attendees who are specifically interested in a product or services. Better Onsite Management Tools Gone soon may be the days where you can identify the meeting planner as the person carrying around a 4-inch 3-ring binder full of paper specifications

and event orders. Event-related apps for iPads and tablets may change this. Ootoweb.com offers a “paperless meeting binder” for meeting planner to carry around related documents converted to .PDF files on an iPad and iPhone. Future versions will include other tablet operating systems and will have ability to change, annotate and easily share these files. Better CRM The current barcode lead retrieval model used at many tradeshows is broken. It is one way (attendee to exhibitor); location based (at the booth); it costs the exhibitors substantial sums; and is not standardized in terms of data collection. Other methods, such as business-card exchange have paperbased inefficiencies. Why can’t all attendees collect important contact information from any other attendee in a standardized method electronically anywhere at the event? There are several mobile apps providers (such as Dub and BusyEvents) that are working in this direction. The next generation of iPhone, it is rumored, will have near-field communication (NFC), a cross-mobile platform that will allow quick, standardized exchange of contact information as well as micropayment and mobile commerce capabilities. This will likely push this technology to widespread usage providing much more efficient ways of business contact exchange at events and tradeshows. Enhanced Attendee And Exhibitor Experiences The bottom line is that mobile applications are offering a wealth of new capabilities that will increase the business value of events. It will make the lives of meeting planners easier; it will reduce costs; and will provide richer experiences for planners, venues managers, exhibitors and attendees alike. Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, is a professional speaker and consultant focusing on meetings technology. With 20 years of experience running international citywide technology meetings, he now helps clients worldwide use technology to save time and improve productivity He can be contacted at www.corbinball.com and followed on Twitter: www.twitter.com/corbinball.


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The Judges

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Inside Columbia’s CEO is grateful to the two employment experts who shared their time and expertise for this project. To keep the process fair, the judges did not score the companies with which they had a current or past business relationship. Tina Ehrhardt has almost 20 years of human resources experience in nonprofit and private industry. She has been nationally certified in HR since 1993, and achieved her senior level certification in 2010. Ehrhardt teaches at Stephens College in the graduate business program and earned her M.B.A. from Stephens in 2010. Prior to her career at Stephens, she worked as a manager of human resources at ABC Labs. She has lived in Columbia since 1999, is married to Glen (an attorney), and has two bonus teenagers. She is actively engaged in the community and serves on the board of Heart of Missouri United Way, is on the steering committee for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, is a member of Metro Rotary, HRA of Mid-Missouri, and attends Woodcrest Chapel. She is an alumnus of the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge, Class of 2010. Ehrhardt is also currently training for the Chicago Marathon.

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From kindergarten through college, the career question students are asked all the time is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Then those students enter the workforce and realize there’s another important question no one’s been asking: “Where do you want to go to live out that dream?” All it takes is a couple of months — or perhaps a couple of hours — in the real world of careers to realize that how you feel about your work has as much to do with workplace as it does with work title. More than 50 Columbia businesses submitted Best Places to Work entries describing what makes them so special. The survey was open-ended, asking simply: “Why is this company one of the best places to work in Columbia?” The responses, though, were more categorized, offering examples of greatness that fell along four general themes: >>> We have a comfortable and fun — but also challenging — atmosphere. >>> We offer incredible perks and benefits. >>> Employees take pride in our outstanding customer service and/or products. >>> We give back to Columbia. The editors of Inside Columbia’s CEO, along with two expert judges, Bob Scribner and Tina Ehrhardt, took on the tough assignment of narrowing the nominees to the Top 5. All five companies — CARFAX, Columbia Insurance Group, MidwayUSA, Socket and VA Mortgage Center.com — deserve kudos for their exceptional workplace culture. But, there can be only one “best,” and this year in this city, that company is CARFAX. by ANITA NEAL HARRISON // photos by L.G. PATTERSON

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Bob Scribner founded Executive Advantage, a Columbia human resources management firm, in 1990. With 20 years of human resources management experience, Scribner was aware of the frustration of business owners who were often required to run their businesses by day and work late-night hours wrestling with personnel issues such as workers’ compensation and unemployment claims, turnover and absenteeism problems, and training and development issues. He created Executive Advantage to provide human resources solutions to businesses, to bring the fun back into running a business, and to help protect owners’ financial investments.

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CARFAX Like a lot of CARFAX employees, systems administrator Joe Vancil decided to interview at CARFAX on the recommendation of a friend. “I didn’t believe it could possibly be as good as my friend described when he first approached me,” Vancil admits. “When I finally did come over, I almost immediately regretted not doing it years earlier.” The reputation CARFAX has for being a great place to work has brought in a lot of good people, says Mary Stanford, manager of Employee Services. “What sets CARFAX apart is less about what we do and more about what we believe,” she says. “We believe in people knowing what they’re working on and having confidence in their contributions to our success. We believe in participation, giving credit, celebrating success and working together to do the hard things. We believe in winning and being the best: That allows us to recruit for and hire the best people.” What Do They Do At Columbia CARFAX? CARFAX is a name that people all across the United States associate with peace of mind. Where once people in the market for a used vehicle had only a handshake to guarantee a salesperson’s information, now buyers and sellers can see verified reports of a vehicle’s past. A CARFAX Vehicle History Report includes such information as the number of previous owners, prior salvage titles, potential odometer rollbacks and accidents, along with a price adjustment based on that car’s unique history. CARFAX generates the reports on demand using its database of records and vehicles’ 17-character VIN numbers. Although CARFAX is headquartered in Centreville, Va., the company was launched from Columbia in 1984, and the data center has always been here. “We take great pride in the fact that we’ve been able to change the way people buy and sell used cars from our humble-looking building on Maguire Boulevard,” Stanford says. “Nobody would 52

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ever suspect that more than 3 million pieces of information stream into our database every day. We add more than 1 billion records a year to our already burgeoning database that is fast approaching 10 billion records.” Teamwork Inside Managing all of those records and turning them into informative, easy-to-understand reports is the work of Java developers, systems developers, network administrators and other computersavvy employees. CARFAX follows “agile methods” of software development, an approach that emphasizes collaboration. “Our work environment is conducive to teamwork,” says Mike Pierce, director of data services. “We have removed all semblances of cubicles within our application and system development areas and created lab spaces where all members of the team reside together.” An online job posting for a Java developer provides more insight into how the agile method works: “As a Java Developer, you will work on a team to create highquality software solutions that satisfy our customers’ needs. Projects can range anywhere from extending the content of our vehicle history database to improving the user experience on one of our websites. All teams use Agile development practices and work in short iterations to deliver a continuous flow of the most important and valuable features. Everyone participates in the full software development lifecycle — from gathering customers’ requirements to coding, testing and promotion to production.” The chance to collaborate is an opportunity a lot of CARFAX employees, regardless of title, find irresistible. “The one thing that I had dreaded in school was graduating

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to a lonely career in a cube-farm,” says systems developer Jordan Grant. “At CARFAX, I was offered the opportunity to program with and learn from experienced developers and to be a valuable contributing teammate in a very short time.” Cody Keeling, also a systems developer, appreciates how even the office floor plan supports teamwork. He likes that when he needs others’ input, he can just ask a question over his computer monitor instead of taking the time to craft an email. “The instant feedback makes my work go faster,” he says. “I’m not waiting for a reply to an email since I never had to write one.” Because collaboration is crucial to how CARFAX operates, a strong sense of team pervades the company’s culture. For example, CARFAX offers free Friday lunches. Aside from being a great perk — Who doesn’t like a free lunch? — the lunches double as a team-building activity: The various teams organized within the company take turns pulling the lunches together. Other team-building activities include regular celebrations. Upon completing a project, teams get to congratulate themselves — on CARFAX’s tab and time — with fun outings, such as an afternoon of bowling or going to see a movie. There’s also time for fun each workday. Jordan Grant, a systems developer, reports he spends a lot of his breaks at the CARFAX pingpong tables. “The activity and competition are a refreshing break from the computer,” he says, adding the matches with his co-workers promote “a sense of camaraderie and friendship.” Free lunches and fun breaks may help pull employees together, but the culture of teamwork goes deeper than extracurricular activities. At CARFAX, even the foundational task of setting the company course is a team endeavor.


Free lunches and fun breaks may help pull employees together, but the culture of teamwork goes deeper than extracurricular activities.

“Our entire company, every employee, votes annually on the business priorities for the coming fiscal year,” says vice president Joedy Lenz. “When those are set, every division, team and employee figures out how they’ll contribute to our achieving these goals. We have frequent team huddles to check on our progress, ask each other for help, make adjustments as necessary and celebrate our success. At the end of the year, we all share in the success of the company through our annual bonus plan. Every employee’s salary is based, in part, on a shared commitment to the success of the company.” The voting can even change the company’s priorities. Lenz recalls how last year, the senior management team thought updating the CRM systems — software designed for Customer Relationship Management — was needed, but deemed it a low priority. The annual employee vote, however, revealed a new CRM system was, in fact, a huge priority for CARFAX staff. So now it’s the top priority for Team CARFAX. “We’ve basically said as a company that we are going to allow our employees to be a big part of the decision-making for how we drive our business,” Lenz says, “and that has, as you can see, resulted in a very high level of employee morale.” Data services quality analyst Aaron Rackers affirms that assessment. “The team and open atmosphere is amazing to work in,” he says. “You are truly connected to the people you work with and the projects being worked on. We all have a real sense of ownership in our work and the products we produce.”

Show Me The Perks In addition to enjoying a strong sense of team, CARFAX employees benefit from outstanding perks that help build the winning culture. One such perk is a casual dress code. “Where else can you wear shorts, a T-shirt and a baseball cap to work and fit right in?” asks senior analyst Robert Stinnett. “We are very casual, not only in dress but in our workspace.” Another popular perk is flexibility. “CARFAX is very supportive of their employees’ personal lives outside the office,” says systems developer Jennifer Frisbie, a mother of three with a half-hour commute. “We are able to sit down with our teams and work out flexible schedules that allow us to meet our responsibilities here as well as at home. If our commitments are met and our customers are happy, you hear no complaints from management.” Also appreciated are CARFAX’s efforts to promote employee health. CARFAX offers employees a top-notch health insurance plan that covers them, their spouses, domestic partners, children and even pets. CARFAX also subsidizes employees’ gym memberships and offers a jogging trail, outdoor basketball courts and Frisbee golf. “I know CARFAX wants me to be a healthy, happy person,” says systems developer Joanna Kovarik. Another perk for CARFAX employees is personal development time every Friday afternoon. During this four-hour block, employees can develop their skills however they see fit, from reading books to experimenting with new technologies and techniques. FALL 2011

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locally by a gentleman from These, and other perks, Ashland,” he says. “Being from create a culture of enthusiasm, central Missouri really makes me something Frisbie noticed the proud that it was started locally day she came to CARFAX to and it still keeps its Missouri interview. roots with ‘Show Me The “These employees were CARFAX’ as our slogan.” happy!” she says. “They had so many freedoms and perks, yet The Heart Of CARFAX still managed to accomplish more CARFAX employees also tasks in one solid work week “There is a buzz, a hum take pride in the company’s than I’d seen moved through a commitment to doing good deeds. The list of queue in months of working for various other of productivity. community organizations that have benefited employers.” The CARFAX culture from CARFAX’s generosity include The Food The atmosphere is energizing, says product is a very fast-paced, Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri, Meals developer Nathan Tuley. energized, team on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, MS150, “When you first step in, there is a buzz, a environment.” Central Missouri Honor Flight, Pascale’s hum of productivity,” he says. “The CARFAX Pals — University Children’s Hospital, Joplin culture is a very fast-paced, energized, team – Nathan Tuley Disaster Relief, Coyote Hill, Voluntary Action environment.” Center, C.A.R.E., Camp Mudd, the Vincent To Grant, it all makes sense. P. Gurucharri MD Foundation Inc., various charitable golf “Never have I seen an employer go to such lengths to keep tournaments and more. employees happy and productive,” he says. “This investment in “We’re a hometown company,” Lenz says. “CARFAX was employees has yielded a fierce loyalty to CARFAX and concern for founded in Columbia, CARFAX has grown up in Columbia, and what is best for the business.” CARFAX is committed to staying in Columbia, and for us as an organization, our employees live here in Columbia and so we need Proud Moments to make sure as a company we are providing a give-back to the Employees may be happy to work at CARFAX because of all the community.” outstanding perks, but they are proud to work there because of the The giving isn’t just in dollars. CARFAX also encourages service CARFAX provides. They offer lots of reasons why: employees to volunteer, even giving them company time to do it. “It’s not only knowing that we provide a valuable service to our While some giving certainly has marketing value, CARFAX customers but that we provide an honest service,” Frisbie says. also gives when the giving won’t be noticed. Employees tell of out“The quality of our data is extremely important to us, and we go of-sight examples of CARFAX’s generosity. Vancil says that aspect that extra mile to make sure that what is facing the customer on of the culture impressed him on day one. the report is the real deal.” “Our director hired me and specifically told me to start before “Every day, I see business decisions based on what is best for Nov. 1,” he says. “Why? Because you’re eligible for a half-year our customers,” says product developer Lee Clifton. “We work very bonus if you start on Oct. 31. Pretty much any company I know of hard to filter out bad data, and we constantly go over the vehicle would start a new employee on Nov. 1. Our boss brought two of us history report to make sure we are presenting the information in in on Oct. 30th and 31st.” the most understandable and valuable way possible.” Product developer Josh Antweiler tells how when his niece was “I am proud to work here because I know our product is used diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 2, his CARFAX department and valued,” Kovarik says. put together a spaghetti lunch and sold raffle tickets to help with “I love how many people will spot one of my CARFAX T-shirts her medical expenses. and have a story about how we helped them somehow,” says “CARFAX picked up the bill for the lunch and matched all network administrator Rick Buford. proceeds, which was very unexpected,” he says. “While business “I like the fact that I’m working for the ‘good guys,’ ” Vancil is important and CARFAX leads the industry in vehicle history says. “We really do want to make sure that the deals that are made data, they never lose sight of what is truly important: life, family, for used cars out there are fair.” community.” The quest for fairness extends to a guarantee, says Stinnett. And that sentiment — that CARFAX does what it does because “The company even stands behind the quality of our data with a it cares — is what makes CARFAX special … what, in fact, makes guarantee that we will buy back the vehicle if for some reason we all of the Best Places to Work so special. Because companies that miss a DMV-reported incident,” he says. “They put their money have a genuine desire to do what’s best for their customers, their where their mouth is!” employees and their communities tend to get the important things For Rackers, another point of pride is the company’s local start. right. w “I have a big sense of pride in CARFAX because it was started 56

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The Nominees For Columbia’s Best Places To Work 3M A Civil Group ABC Labs Addison’s/Sophia’s Aflac Columbia Region Alzheimer’s Association Mid-Missouri Chapter Atkins Inc. Bengals Bar & Grill Booche’s Boone County National Bank Boone Hospital Center Boone-Central Title Co. CARFAX CenturyLink City of Columbia Columbia College Columbia Insurance Group Columbia Orthopaedic Group Commerce Bank Daniel Boone Regional Library David the Salon Flat Branch Home Loans Flat Branch Pub & Brewing Gates Co. Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital House of Brokers Realty Inc. HuHot Mongolian Grill Hy-Vee IBM JES Holdings Joe Machens Dealerships KOMU-TV8 Marathon Building Environments Maurice’s MBS Textbook Exchange Inc. MFA Inc. MFA Oil MidwayUSA Miller’s Professional Imaging Missouri Employers Mutual Missouri State Teachers Association Moresource Inc. MU College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Murry’s N.H. Scheppers Distributing Co. Quaker Oats Ragtag Cinema Schneider Electric SEMCO LLC Service Noodle Shakespeare’s Pizza Shelter Insurance Cos. Socket State Farm Insurance Timeline Recruiting True Media University of Missouri Health Care University of Missouri Uprise Bakery VA Mortgage Center.com Williams-Keepers LLC FALL 2011

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company is providing a critical service to our customers and fulfilling all obligations as promised,” says Curt Pistel, a claims supervisor. Columbia Insurance Group operates on seven core values. The first, “We believe our employees are our greatest asset,” and the last, “We believe in having fun,” are the two that set the culture of Columbia Insurance Group apart, Wagner says. “While a lot of companies talk about employees being their most important asset, they don’t really do a lot to show it,” he says. “We were the first — first — major employer in Columbia to offer flex time because we realize a job is just one part of people’s lives.” Employees of Columbia Insurance Group agree that how the company treats them is far and above what’s expected. Benefits and perks include mentor programs, monthly management training sessions, financial assistance for higher education, cash rewards for obtaining professional designations, and a generous employee benefits package including profit-sharing and employer-matching opportunities. “I have compared our 401(k) program to those of friends and family members, and ours is always the best,” says Stephanie Edwards, a customer service manager. “The retirement contributions are great as well,” adds David Vandenberghe, an IT system administrator. “CIG adds retirement contributions, over and above profit sharing, in profitable years, which really says a lot about how the company cares for its employees. The fact that CIG is willing to contribute to a person’s retirement, even when the person may not be contributing themselves, is amazing.” Alicia Pham, a senior accountant, adds: “Even when the economy slowed down, they made sure to still give raises and did not lay off anyone. They didn’t even stop paying into our 401(k)s!” It’s not all about retirement, though. Columbia Insurance Group emphasizes fun in the present, too. Several employees cite the “Special Events Committee,” which schedules fun events ranging from March Madness Basketball Brackets to National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. “At the top of my list are those Fridays when you hear CEO Bob Wagner’s voice over the intercom letting you know that it is just too nice to be in the office and that everyone needs to go have fun — and then he promptly closes the office early,” says Jason Boyt, a commercial lines underwriting assistant. CIG employees feel empowered to share their ideas and foster

columbia insurance group

In making its case for being the best place to work here, Columbia Insurance Group submitted a little extra evidence: a photo of Chairman and CEO Robert J. Wagner sitting at his desk in a full Goofy costume. After feigning indignation at such exposure, Wagner acknowledges he has a habit of showing his “goofy” side at the office. “I feel like it’s important that I take my work very seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously,” he says, “so that’s the example I try to set.” Don’t be fooled: Columbia Insurance Group is a place where serious work is done. A regional property and casualty insurance company, Columbia Insurance Group operates in 19 states. Its products provide protection for business, farm, auto and home. Independent insurance agents sell all the products, and the Columbia office is a full-service operation with employees who issue and renew policies, make changes to existing policies and specialize in claims adjustment. Columbia Insurance Group’s roots trace back to its inception in Columbia in 1874, something potential employees find attractive. “Surviving in business that long is a sure indication that the 58

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Chairman and CEO Robert Wagner (front far right) with his management team

“We were the first — first — major employer in Columbia to offer flex time because we realize a job is just one part of people’s lives.”

real changes. That’s something Wagner has been purposeful in developing. “My best management technique that I’ve developed over a lot of years is M.B.W.A. — Management By Walking Around,” he says. “The employees give me ideas. And you know when it comes right down to it, the people doing the job usually have the best ideas about how it can be improved. I try to create an environment where they feel comfortable coming to me with suggestions and criticisms.” Columbia Insurance Group also impresses employees with its commitment to customers. Boyt tells how after he had been with the company for just a few months, a major storm passed through Arkansas. He expected havoc and ill humor at the office but instead found a smiling executive with a positive message. “All that was said was ‘Now is our time to shine, to show those people what they pay their premiums for,’ ” Boyt says. “I hadn’t been in insurance for very long but was completely taken aback by that response, and I realized that was our purpose as a company.” Melanie Wood, a claims adjuster trainee, adds: “When we have policyholders offering to put up advertising signs for our company

in their yards, I know that we are providing our customers with a great service.” Employees also take satisfaction in knowing Columbia Insurance Group gives back to the Columbia community. “I have always been impressed with the company’s willingness to share not only its resources but also its time to many good causes,” Pistel says. “For example, each year the company loans an employee to the United Way for their Loaned Executive program, donates many hours of employee time to Mill Creek Elementary for the Partners in Education program and encourages and allows employees to participate in Big Brothers/ Big Sisters. Our willingness to provide manpower to these and other good causes demonstrates a much stronger commitment to these endeavors than simply writing a check and is something we can all be proud of.” For all these reasons and more, Columbia Insurance Group employees can’t help but brag a little about how great a place it is to work. Says Boyt: “When sharing stories with friends that the president of the company walks around giving everyone high fives and telling them they’re doing a good job or that the reason you got off early that day is because the boss decided it was too nice to be stuck at a desk, their response is always the same: ‘Must be nice.’ And you know what? It is.” w FALL 2011

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midwayusa If one line could sum up how MidwayUSA employees feel about their work, it would have to be: “Pinch me. I’m dreaming.” This is a place where employees work surrounded by people — co-workers and customers alike — who share an interest that, for many, is more of a passion: shooting sports. MidwayUSA is a catalog and Internet retailer of shooting, hunting and outdoor products. “One of the neat things about our company is that we operate in a hobby industry,” says Matt Fleming, MidwayUSA’s president. “We attract a lot of employees who embrace our culture and love our industry and our customers. We have a great atmosphere! It’s not uncommon for an employee to pull into our parking lot with a trophy buck they just shot and attract a crowd. Or bring in a new rifle they just bought to show it off. In fact, [as I tell this] four of our employees are guests of our owners on a hunting trip in Africa — a once-in-alifetime trip they all had dreamed about before they came to work here.” For readers who might be a little confused, a quick note of clarification: MidwayUSA is not connected to Midway Travel Plaza, Columbia’s famous truck stop. MidwayUSA is a familyowned business that has operated in Columbia since 1977, when, after leaving the U.S. Air Force, company founder and CEO Larry Potterfield moved his family from Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, S.D., to Columbia and opened a humble 1,632-squarefoot gun shop with his brother. Today, MidwayUSA is an industry leader in the mail-order distribution of shooting, reloading, gunsmithing and hunting products. The company received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2009 as the best-run small business in America. 60

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You can bet that when MidwayUSA sets a target, a focused aim follows; employee satisfaction is not left up to chance.

Fleming describes how Potterfield managed that transformation with a strong love for the shooting and hunting industry and a passion for customer satisfaction, innovation and continuous improvement. “If a company values customer satisfaction and performance excellence, it has to be full of high-performing employees who are extremely engaged,” Fleming explains. “MidwayUSA values its outstanding employees; we pay them well, provide training and development, promote from within, reward and recognize and treat them like members of the family. In fact, employee satisfaction is our No. 2 company goal, right behind customer satisfaction.” And you can bet that when MidwayUSA sets a target, a focused aim follows; employee satisfaction is not left up to chance. MidwayUSA has a thoroughly developed process to ensure the goal is met. It begins each quarter with an employee satisfaction survey built around employees’ “key requirements,” a list that includes good salary, work-life balance, job security, having the right tools for the job, good benefits, advancement opportunities, and so on. Management uses the surveys to find opportunities for improvements and then conducts employee focus group meetings to explore how those improvements should be made. Ideas are then synthesized, action plans created and improvements executed. “All throughout the process, we communicate, communicate and communicate — both ways,” Fleming says. The many benefits of working at MidwayUSA also show how serious the company is about employee satisfaction: great salary


and benefits, profit sharing, advancement opportunities with a promote-from-within strategy, fresh-cut flowers, free apples and bananas, certificates of achievement, lunch celebrations, training and development, book-ofthe-month clubs, cross-functional work teams, top-tobottom involvement in planning, calls for innovation, mentoring with senior leaders, career maps, employee purchase program, industry involvement trips (such as fishing in Alaska, hunting in Africa, shoots in Wyoming), tuition reimbursement, esprit de corps events (Tax Day cookout, holiday party, anniversary lunch, etc.), range days and sporting clay leagues. “One of the most popular benefits is our employee purchase program,” Fleming says. “Our employees love that they can purchase more than 100,000 great products at a significant discount. Another popular benefit is our profit-sharing program. The Potterfield family is extremely generous with the company profits, and they share a significant portion of them with all our employees who make them happen.” Brett Russell, a customer service specialist, confirms those are his personal two favorite perks. About the profit-sharing, he adds, “Not only is it significant, but I receive it just in time for the spring Tulsa Gun Show.” MidwayUSA employees understand that with all they’ve been given come high performance expectations. And fulfilling those high standards is a satisfying, not frustrating, mission, says Eric Ellingson, a Contact Center supervisor, because employees are equipped to do their jobs well. “Management empowers employees to solve problems, encourages us to continuously improve the processes and provides us with the latest technology to do the job effectively,” Ellingson says. “We are at the tip of the spear in terms of the customer experience and by that I mean the service, the shipping, the selection, the website, everything … It makes me proud to be a part of the team that makes it all happen, but it also keeps us sharp. We are always looking down the road to make sure that we stay ahead of the competition, and that keeps the job exciting and challenging.”

As for how MidwayUSA gives back to the community that supports its success, employees proudly note the generosity of owners Larry and Brenda Potterfield. Along with supporting the National Rifle Association, the Potterfields established the not-forprofit MidwayUSA Foundation, which, among other programs, provides the Scholastic Shooting Trust Fund, an endowment that provides financial support to collegiate and high school shooting programs. And just this July, Larry Potterfield received the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence Award. He was recognized in part due to his donations to youth shooting sports programs that exceeded $4 million in 2010. “The fact that our owners give back so generously to our industry to ensure our way of life is sustainable for our children and grandchildren gives employees a strong sense of pride,” Fleming says. Russell confirms this. “Working at MidwayUSA is much more than a job, more than a career — it is truly a way of life,” he says. “I love this company!” w

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From left, Socket co-owners Carson Coffman, John Dupuy and George Pfenenger

socket No one remembers just when or how the nickname got its start, but employees of Socket are not “Socket employees” — they are “Socketeers.” “It’s almost like a rite of passage: ‘I’m a Socketeer now,’ ” says Carson Coffman, Socket’s president and chief operating officer. “Anyone can be an employee, right? But not everyone can be a Socketeer.” So what does it take to be a Socketeer? A big part is thriving off challenges. Socket is the largest local telephone company and Internet provider in Missouri. Founded in Columbia and still based here, it offers local and long-distance phone and Internet service for business and residential customers. “Socket is in the business of selling communication services,” Coffman says. “It’s a fast-paced, highly technical industry that is constantly changing.” That constant evolution has a major impact on Socket’s culture.

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One of Socket’s core values states: “We believe each day provides us an opportunity to learn, grow and succeed, as an individual, a team and a company.” There’s an inherent challenge in that, and that challenge attracts a certain kind of employee. Allie Schomaker, a marketing representative, exhibits the Socketeer attitude when she says she likes Socket because there’s always something new to learn and do. “This job is never boring!” she says. Mark Wharton, a business center analyst, agrees. “I’ve been able to grow and experience new and cutting-edge technologies both with high-speed Internet and enterprise data networks,” he says. Along with opportunities to grow and learn, Socketeers receive access to management, who invite questions and suggestions. “In five years here, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the words, ‘Well, this is the way we’ve always done it,’ ” Schomaker says. “Everyone is open to new ideas and trying new things. So your input is really valued as an employee, and that’s awesome.” That openness, Coffman says, goes back to another one of Socket’s core values: “We respect the individual. Roles are necessary to function as a business, but these roles do not define our inherent value as humans.” “That’s a big one,” Coffman says of this core value. “It shows


how everyone values each other outside of their specific, defined job. We do not judge people based on their role in the company. Everyone’s voice and opinion is valued … Everyone is expected to challenge and push each other to quickly produce great results.” Management’s eagerness to consider everyone’s ideas has done more than just boost morale, notes Dave Giles, an account executive: It has been crucial to the company’s success. “Socket is able to stay on top of the latest “It’s a fast-paced, trends in technology in part because it values its employees and allows them to be involved highly technical in the direction and technological growth of industry that is the company,” Giles says. constantly changing.” Also contributing to employees’ – Carson Coffman sense of value is the long list of benefits and perks Socket provides. A few of the favorites include a benefits package that includes vacation, sick leave, personal days, holidays, group health insurance and a retirement plan; healthy snacks in the break room; discounted gym membership; Socket parties, such as the family fish fry, Christmas party, hog roast and Tiger tailgates; Socket’s You-Makethe-Difference award — given monthly to the employee fellow Socketeers vote as best exemplifying Socket’s core values and beliefs; regular training; and flexibility. Through all of these perks, Socket sends an uplifting message to those who work there. “Socket makes you feel like they are lucky to have you as an employee, rather than making you feel lucky to have a job,” says Sheila Lynch, a business account coordinator. “That is the mindset of this company, and it shows in all of the things they do for their employees.” Socket takes a similar approach with customers, many of whom choose Socket — and choose to stick with Socket — because of outstanding customer service. “A lot of companies try to do what we do, but our employees bring a level of service and personality that is hard to match,” Coffman says. “Our customers appreciate not getting lost in a maze of call transfers. We value the fact that they want to buy from us, and we take extra special care to treat them right.” For Socket employees, the chance to do right by their customers is a big contributor to job satisfaction. “We recognize that if we succeed, it’s not just us [who are “Several times a day, I hear our customers say how much they responsible for that success],” Coffman says. “It’s also those love our customer service and tech support,” says Travis Baugh, a in the community who helped us, and a great way to show technical support technician. “They love not having to wait a long our appreciation is to give back … If we’ve succeeded in the time to talk to someone. They love how friendly we are. They love community, we should give back to the community.” that we are local. [So I am proud to work at Socket because of ] That commitment to doing what’s right just because it’s right is our drive to go above and beyond to keep our customers satisfied at the root of Socket’s culture — and Socketeers’ pride. — and how good we are at doing it!” “Socket has amazing core values and beliefs both externally Socketeers also take great pride in their company’s community and internally,” says Alexis Hildebrand, a business representative. service. Organizations from The Food Bank of Central & “I like a company that really does want and try to do all they Northeast Missouri to the Special Olympics to the Red Cross have can for their customers. They do the same with me and all the benefited from Socket’s generosity, expressed both in giving funds other employees here. Hard work is always recognized and never and in giving employee hours. forgotten. I’m a Socketeer and proud of it!” w FALL 2011

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va mortgage center.com VA Mortgage Center.com has gotten much press for its awesome perks — things like free Monday lunches, a casual dress code and massages on Fridays. And those were the kind of perks that made Ian Franz, a former loan processor who has moved to the position of value coordinator, interested in working there. “But it wasn’t until I got situated into my position that I saw why it was a great place to work,” Franz says. “The work itself is challenging and is different nearly every day, but it’s very rewarding. I know that just coming into work and doing my job every day helps people fulfill their dream of owning a home, and that makes it all worth it.” August Nielsen, the company’s human resources manager, says keeping that mission in front of employees is VA Mortgage Center’s real secret to success. “We’re a great place to work because of what we stand for, who we serve and why we serve them,” Nielsen says. “The leadership of this company figured out a long time ago that our success wouldn’t be measured solely by profits but also by the positive impact we have on the lives of our clients, our employees and our community. “We care about the bottom line, no doubt,” he adds, “and our employees share in those rewards. But our overarching purpose encompasses so much more than that.” The customers VA Mortgage Center serves are, as the company’s name implies, veterans. VA Mortgage Center is the nation’s No. 1 dedicated VA lender. Nearly 1 million veterans and military families have gone to VA Mortgage Center to use their VA loan benefit, and this year, VA Mortgage Center will secure more than $1.6 billion in VA funding. The company has attracted national attention for its success, including a 2007 Inc. 500 award, along with the ranking of the seventh-fastest-growing financial services company in the nation. Founded in 2002 by brothers Brock and Brant Bukowsky in Columbia, VA Mortgage Center is still headquartered here, with 18 locations in 16 different states. A strong sense of values has pervaded VA Mortgage Center’s culture from the beginning, but for several years, the values were implicit. That changed in February 2009 with an executive retreat at Lake of the Ozarks, for which one of the most pressing topics on the agenda was, “What are our values, and what do we stand for?”

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VAMC co-founders Brant and Brock Bukowsky


“Our success wouldn’t be measured solely by profits but also by the positive impact we have on the lives of our clients, our employees and our community.” – August Nielsen

Chief Marketing Officer Kris Farmer was in his first week with VA Mortgage Center when he attended that retreat, and his retelling of the discussion and what followed reveal much about how business gets done at VA Mortgage Center. “We started going around the room, talking about our mission and why we do what we do,” Farmer recalls. “I had just come from a large venture-capitalfunded company in Los Angeles. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to see a group of executives give ‘values’ and ‘mission’ the same consideration as ‘profits’ and ‘expenses.’ “We decided that day that it really wasn’t up to us to define our values; this was up to our employees … So the following week we polled the company and posed this question to every single employee: ‘What values do you hold close to your heart? What drives you to come to work every day? Is it just about the money or is it more than that? How do you find fulfillment?’ “The response was incredible. People really poured their hearts into this. It was clear this was overdue, and we were onto something. “The next couple of months we held executive meetings and went through every answer. We found a lot of common themes and the values that everyone contributed started to take shape. “We eventually landed on three core values: Be passionate and have fun. Deliver results with integrity. Enhance lives every day. “We knew this was going to be big. Maybe the biggest thing we do as a company. Before these values were formalized, this was a fun place to work. But this gave all of us something to rally behind. These values really helped to define our culture and gave us a purpose outside of making money. Work can be about so much more than a paycheck, and we wrote that on the wall. “We had to roll out our values in true VAMC style, so we threw a big company party to unveil them. Our CEO gave a speech and

explained to everyone what this meant to us as an organization and how we would live these values every day. He was met with a standing ovation.” Employees have many examples to share about how those values find expression at VA Mortgage Center. Meggie Smith, a human resources specialist, says: “One time, I had a bouquet of flowers show up on my desk with a teddy bear and note that said, ‘Thank you for all you do for VAMC! You are truly appreciated.’ I still have that note on my bulletin board.” She also talks about how the values keep VA Mortgage Center employees motivated. “I am amazed by what our group can accomplish each month,” Smith says. “Whether it’s hiring 27 people in one week or closing 260 loans in the same amount of time, we get the job done, and we do it well! I don’t get to work with borrowers directly in my job here, but I still have a great sense of pride for getting veterans into homes.” While VA Mortgage might be most famous for its perks, it also has quite the reputation for community service. The company is a major supporter of the United Way and contributed more than $430,000 to the organization last year. In addition, VA Mortgage gets behind a lot of causes that are near and dear to employees’ hearts, from Race for the Cure to Granny’s House to relief efforts for Joplin. This also marks the second year that VA Mortgage has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to build a home for a veteran, and Smith describes how that project really encompasses all of what makes VA Mortgage Center a great place to work. “VAMC donated $60,000 to make that happen, and then encouraged everyone to work on the build,” she says. “Knowing that we could come together as a family, work hard and make such a difference in a veteran’s life was remarkable. “The family spirit here is one of a kind,” adds Smith. “You cannot force people to really care about each other, but it happens when people appreciate their jobs and work together to accomplish something so great.” FALL 2011

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DIVIDENDS

ceo at play

Game Day Garb by haley adaMs photos by dan brenner 3

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9 8 1. White rhinestone tiger shirt, available at tiger spirit ($27.99); 2. Black and gold wooden bracelet, available at tiger spirit ($12.95); 3. short bill hat, available at tiger spirit ($21.99); 4. southern tide Mizzou polo, available at Binghams ($79.50); 5. Mizzou casual pants, available at Binghams ($145); 6. pigskin belt, available at Binghams ($85); 7. vibram Five Fingers, available at american shoe ($100); 8. toMs with custom painting, available at american shoe ($44 for shoes, $15 for custom painting); 9. Joe’s Jeans petite micro flare, available at girl Boutique ($164); 10. Moonshine tote, available at tiger spirit ($31.99)

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You work hard during the week, but come football saturday, it’s tailgatin’ time. cheer on your favorite team in a look that’s fit for a true tiger. I

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DIVIDENDS 1

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More than 400 guests attended the 2011 Countdown to Kickoff: An Evening with Coach Gary Pinkel on Aug. 23. The event raised a record-setting $52,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Columbia. Retiring Columbia Insurance Group CEO Bob Wagner was honored for his support as the presenting event sponsor for the past four years. Kat Cunningham was honored for chairing the event for the past three years. (Photos by Wally Pfeffer, mizzouwally@compuserve.com) 1. Shelly and Gene Devore 2. Haley and Tom Schwarz 3. Bob Buckley and Dawn Eckenrode 4. Gary Pinkel and Georgalu Swoboda 5. Mary Ann McCollum with Donna and John LaRocca 6. Heather Stewart, Anne Farrow and Tracy Green 7. Steve Erdel, Melody Marcks and Jim Bornhauser 8. Jon Signaigo and Kerrie Bloss

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quarterly membership breakfast The Columbia Chamber of Commerce hosted its Quarterly Membership Breakfast on Sept. 8 at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. The event draws hundreds of local business owners and managers for some fun, information and networking. The September breakfast was hosted by Inside Columbia, which marked the occasion by opening enrollment for its new Culinary Adventures center. (Photos by

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Wally Pfeffer, mizzouwally@compuserve.com) 1. Darrin Arends and Dave Wisniewski 2. Don Helmreich, Tina Busick and Chris Steuber 3. Don Laird, Emily Hendren, Amanda Barnes, Victoria Brees and Kathy Frerking 4. Tamara Ford, Judith Miller and Michele Batye 5. Brian Harrison and B.J. Hunter 6. Ray Beck and Jim Loveless 7. Kim George, Greta BassettSeymour and Shelly DeVore

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ADVERTISING INDEX Beckett & Taylor Insurance............................. 25 Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar........................... 22 Boone County National Bank............................2 Boone Hospital Center......................................15 Braykley’s Hall....................................................43 Cancer Research Center.................................. 27 Central Trust........................................................17 City of Columbia Water & Light.................... 33 Coil Construction..............................................30 Columbia Country Club...................................47 Columbia Regional Airport..............................19 Columbia Strength & Conditioning............... 24 Columbia Turf......................................................17 Command Security............................................ 31 CORE.................................................................... 37 Courtyard Marriott...........................................45 Creative Surroundings......................................66 D&M Sound...........................................................5 Event Solutions...................................................45 Florassentials......................................................43 Ford, Parshall & Baker Law Firm.................... 33 Gary B. Robinson Jewelers.............................. 22 Hampton Inn & Suites......................................47 Hawthorn Bank.................................................. 76 Image Technologies............................................ 6 Job Point................................................................ 4 King’s Daughters Holiday Festival.................68 KT Diamond Jewelers......................................47 Landmark Bank.................................................... 8 Les Bourgeois Vineyards.................................43 Logistique Studio...............................................49 Manor Metal Roofing.......................................70 Marathon Office Interiors................................19 MayeCreate........................................................ 35 Moresource.......................................................... 31 MU Health Care............................................. 7, 75 Phat Guys Open.................................................49 Riechmann Pavilion...........................................49 Room 38..............................................................45 Sandler Training.................................................28 Schuster Financial Services............................. 32 Shelter Office Plaza..............................................3 Smart Business Products................................. 72 Simon Oswald Associates................................11 Socket....................................................................19 Steve Twitchell Productions............................28 Stifel Nicholaus.................................................. 35 Suit Yourself........................................................70 The Gathering Place.........................................47 The Tiger Hotel.................................................. 39 The Upper Crust................................................47 Tiger Court Reporting....................................... 72 UMB Bank............................................................ 13 University Club................................................... 26 VA Mortgage Center.................................. 20-21 Venture Out.........................................................41 Vicky Shy Realty................................................ 27 Waddell & Reed................................................. 26 Wilkerson & Reynolds...................................... 22 Williams Keepers..............................................66 72

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Building Better Spaces To Work

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his edition of CEO magazine a handful of restaurants, a popular gives our readers an inside nightclub and, of course, a microbrewery. look at five companies that are When you think about it, it’s the perfect considered among Columbia’s place to publish a magazine. If walls could best places to work. The talk, this building could tell stories of these companies enough stories to fill the and the cultures they’ve pages of every publication built are truly inspirational. we’ve issued since 1994. While many of us will When we took possession read these stories and of the building earlier this sadly resign ourselves to summer, it had sat vacant the notion that we can’t for nearly six years. We compete with such high immediately had to contend performers, others will with failing infrastructure, accept the challenge to environmental issues, water, mimic what they can in mold and unsalvageable an effort to make their HVAC and plumbing “This old building companies better places to systems. We listened to is destined to be work. While workspace is the sage advice of more so much more but one small component practical engineering types than our new of what influences job who thought the building satisfaction, our company should be razed. Like any headquarters.” is going through an impractical romance, – Fred Parry interesting transition we were struck by the that is likely to test the character and charm of adaptability of our team as we attempt the building and its post-World War II to create a workspace unlike any other in art deco influences. We saw the diamond Columbia and the magazine industry. in the rough. We dove into the project In October, we’ll move into the old and thanks to the expert care of Coil Grindstone Brewery building at 47 E. Construction, Connell Architecture, Broadway. Originally built by B.D. Simon Timberlake Engineering and Stephen in the 1940s, this amazing old building Rust Design, the building is becoming all has been home to car dealerships, that we hoped it would be.

But this old building is destined to be so much more than our new headquarters. It will also be the home of our new Culinary Adventures center where Columbia’s top chefs will offer hands-on cooking lessons, lead wine and beer tastings and host a number of culinary-related activities. With our magazines’ strong affinity for all things wine and food, opening a culinary center seemed like a perfect fit and another opportunity to interact face-toface with some of our more than 57,000 loyal readers. We have learned a great deal through this process. There are a lot of hoops to jump through when renovating a project of this magnitude. I can now relate to the frustrations expressed for years by local contractors as they tell of navigating their way through a cumbersome regulatory process. Nothing is easy anymore. I get it. In the end, I think it will all be worth it. This investment is not just for our company; it’s for the entire community. In many ways, this is a gift we’re excited to share as we open our new home to the rest of Columbia for events and special occasions. It’s our way saying “thanks” to a community that has generously supported us for 17 years. We look forward to having you stop by for a visit.

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CLOSING QUOTES

What Columbia’s Business People And Community Leaders Are Saying “In the face of competition, we have to become better business people.” — Downtown Appliance co-owner Don Helmreich on how his 50-yearold business has adapted to threats from competitors

“Mortgages may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but I’m excited to come to work every day.” — a VA Mortgage Center.com employee in her nomination of VAMC as Columbia’s Best Place to Work

“For us, it’s not just about having fun, it’s about building team and making connections. Everything we have added to our space either promotes teamwork and interpersonal connections, or it is designed for personal wellness and development. There’s a meaning and purpose behind everything we do.” — Mary Stanford, manager of Employee Services at CARFAX on why that company is a great place to work

“I highly encourage and challenge the community to invest in this once-in-alifetime project that will take health, wellness and fitness opportunities for these children and adults to a level never before experienced.” — Centene Chief Executive Michael Neidorff while announcing his company’s $1 million gift to Special Olympics Missouri to help with construction of a new athletic training center in Columbia

“He has a handle on the fact that while he started the business, it is the employees that make it all possible. That impresses me.” — Eric Ellington, a supervisor in MidwayUSA’s Contact Center, on CEO Larry Potterfield

“Rest assured that the Mizzou ‘brand’ is extremely strong nationally.” — University of Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden in an Aug. 31 letter to the Tiger faithful about changes in the makeup of the Big 12 Conference

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Columbia's Best Places to Work in 2011; Downtown Appliance celebrates 50 years in business; and a study touts the multimillion-dollar impact...

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