Issuu on Google+

AROUND THE ROUNDTABLE

Ceos speak out about The economy, The airport, and mu’s new Prez Page 43

REPRISE

a music Retail Icon Returns To The scene Page 51

AGENT OF CHANGE

Gary Thompson Takes over at Columbia Insurance Group Page 30

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CONTENTS

Inside Columbia’s CEO • www.ColumbiaCEO.com • Volume 3, Issue 2

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22 12 Opening Bell: The Buzz On CoMo Biz

special promotional section

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City Stats: How Columbia Compares

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Pictures From The Past: 1103 E. Broadway

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Regional Roundup

22 Moneyball: Finding Opportunity In Mizzou’s Move To The SEC the columbia image awards Page 38

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30 Agent Of Change: Gary Thompson Takes The Helm Of Columbia Insurance Group

43 CEO Roundtable: Talk Of The Town 51 Reprise: A Familiar Name Returns To The Retail Music Scene 58

Status Symbols: Stay On Top Of The Trends

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Style Points: Accessories And Gadgets For The Sophisticated CEO

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Networking

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Publisher’s Note

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Closing Quotes

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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

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

design Consultant Katie S. Brooks Creative director Carolyn Preul design@insidecolumbia.net graphic designer Casey Loring casey@insidecolumbia.net graphic designer Aaron Channon aaron@insidecolumbia.net

pAuL LAnd Principal/Owner Plaza Commercial realty

diAnne LynCh President, Stephens College

geOrge pFenenger President & CEO, Socket

digital and new Media projects designer Jill Hamilton jill@insidecolumbia.net director of Marketing & Business development Bill Bales bill@insidecolumbia.net director of sales Linda Cleveland linda@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 Ken Brodersen ken@insidecolumbia.net Marketing representative Kyle gross kyle@insidecolumbia.net Marketing representative Kara Kinkeade kara@insidecolumbia.net

Please Recycle This Magazine.

Inside Columbia’s CEO magazine 47 E. Broadway • Columbia, MO 65203 • Office: 573-442-1430 • Web: www.ColumbiaCEO.com Inside Columbia’s CEO is published quarterly by OutFront Communications LLC, 47 E. Broadway, Columbia, Mo. 65203, 573-442-1430. Copyright OutFront Communications, 2012. 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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special projects Manager Tiffany Schlarman tiffany@insidecolumbia.net Office Manager Brenda Brooks brenda@insidecolumbia.net distribution Manager John Lapsley Contributing photographer Dan Brenner


OPENING BELL

united state

the buzz on como biz

One of Columbia’s most progressive companies, VA Mortgage Center.com, has progressed to a new name: Veterans United Home Loans. According to Veterans United CEO Nathan Long, “It all came down to who we are as a company and where we think we are going. VA Mortgage Center.com has served us tremendously. But as we move forward, our company is more than just a website; we strive to be a true resource for our nation’s heroes.” The company announced the name change at an employee rally on Nov. 10. The rally also celebrated the launch of a new charitable foundation geared toward serving the community, as well as military families and veterans. The company began fundraising efforts for the foundation on Nov. 1, and announced on Nov. 10 that it had already raised $1.3 million.

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OPENING BELL

the buzz on como biz

Middle Of The Pack The optimists will point out that there are 19 states that fared worse on the list, but at best, Missouri can boast of mediocrity on the recent Forbes magazine list of the Best States for Business and Careers. The state ranked 31st on the list, a precipitous tumble from last year’s ranking of 18th. Utah, Virginia and North Carolina made up the top three, and Maine claims last place for the second year in a row. At least in this competition, Kansas beat Missouri by coming in at No. 12.

Oh, Say, Can You See ...

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olumbia’s Linen King faced a star-spangled cleaning job this fall when the Sept. 11 memorial flag showed up at the health care laundry facility with a greasy reminder of time spent at a Columbia event. The 63-by-30-foot flag is the centerpiece of a traveling tribute to U.S. armed forces, first and second responders, Sept. 11 families and the victims of the 2001 attack on the United States. Donated by the Joliet, Ill., Fire Department last year, it replaced the original but worn-out Patriot Flag that had traveled the country since the aftermath of the attack. When the flag flew in downtown Columbia for a fundraising event in early November, a crane hoisted the 50-pound Star Spangled Banner. Flying in high winds, it wrapped around some greasy cables and Linen King was called in for a speedy cleanup. The flag was scheduled for an appearance at a funeral in California at week’s end. The cleaning crew spent three days and took extraordinary care to gently clean the soiled flag until it was good as new. The next day, Federal Express, which transports the flag around the country at no charge, picked up the sparkling clean flag and it was on its way in time to make its West Coast appointment. Follow the travels of The Star Spangled Banner with the flag’s GPS tracker online at www.publicsafety.net/thestarspangledbanner-tracking.htm.

Sweet Rewards 2011 was a very good year for Columbia’s Patric Chocolate. Chocolatier Alan McClure’s handcrafted chocolate was recognized as Best New American Chocolate by Food & Wine magazine, and recently made an appearance on the Forbes list of Top 10 Artisan Foods to Try Now. 14

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Best Of Both Worlds

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n the last issue of Inside Columbia’s CEO, we revealed our selection of CARFAX as the Best Place to Work in Columbia. Turns out, we’re not the only ones who are impressed with CARFAX’s creative work environment and innovative employee benefits. Washingtonian magazine just placed the company’s Northern Virginia headquarters on its list of 50 Great Places to Work for the fifth consecutive year.


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OPENING BELL

city stats: here, there & yonder

How Columbia Compares

To Other Cities

We’re keen on Columbia, but how does it stack up against other cities in other regions of the country? In this issue, we look in all directions — north, east, west, south — and compare Columbia to four similar-sized towns.

Total population

Percentage of population with bachelor’s degree or higher Columbia, Mo. 50.5%

Columbia, Mo. 108,500

Cambridge, Mass. 65.1%

Cambridge, Mass. 105,162

Fargo, N.D. 34.4%

Fargo, N.D. 105,549

Midland, Texas 27.2%

Midland, Texas 111,147

Burbank, Calif. 29.9%

Burbank, Calif. 103,340

Largest employer Columbia, Mo. University of Missouri Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Fargo, N.D. Sanford Health Midland, Texas Midland Independent School District

Percentage of population younger than 34

Burbank, Calif. The Walt Disney Co.

Columbia, Mo. 55%

Total housing units

Cambridge, Mass. 56%

Columbia, Mo. 46,758

Fargo, N.D. 52%

Cambridge, Mass. 47,291

Midland, Texas 43%

Fargo, N.D. 49,956

Burbank, Calif. 42%

Midland, Texas 44,708 Burbank, Calif. 44,309

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Percentage of population that is Hispanic

Average residential real estate listing price

Average annual temperature

Columbia, Mo. 3%

Columbia, Mo. $216,172

Columbia, Mo. 63 degrees

Cambridge, Mass. 7.5%

Cambridge, Mass. $572,158

Cambridge, Mass. 51 degrees

Fargo, N.D. 2%

Fargo, N.D. $187,787

Fargo, N.D. 41 degrees

Midland, Texas 38%

Midland, Texas $239,813

Midland, Texas 63 degrees

Burbank, Calif. 24%

Burbank, Calif. $568,222

Burbank, Calif. 66 degrees

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fROm PLayS TO PLEaS The Columbia law firm of Van Matre, Harrison, Hollis & Taylor stands in the footprint of The Columbia Theatre, a building described in the 1910 book, Columbia: the Columbia City of Central Missouri, as “the handsomest theatre in Central Missouri.” The theater burned in 1929. This onestory structure at 1103 E. Broadway, originally built to house a laundry business, took its place. 18

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pictures from the past

Photo By L.g. Patterson

OPENING BELL


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REGIONaL ROuNduP

dISCOvERy RIdGE NamEd STaTE’S 10Th CERTIfIEd SITE

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he Missouri Department of Economic Development has designated Columbia’s Discovery Ridge as the state’s 10th Certified Site — the third site in the city of Columbia to receive that status. Chosen by DED’s Certified Sites Technical Review Committee, the 122acre land site located east of the U.S. 63 and Discovery Parkway interchange provide the city and Boone County with a competitive advantage in attracting 21stcentury jobs. The property, a research park owned by the University of Missouri system, is considered “development ready” with road access, a full range of utilitysupporting infrastructure and alreadycompleted geo-technical testing and environmental compliance inspections. The Discovery Ridge site is part of a contiguous 550-acre area that will be developed in phases. Officials have recently announced private project development, financing and construction of a new 80,000-square-foot research facility building on the site. According to Greg Williams, University of Missouri system director of research parks, the estimated regional impact of all future tenants of Discovery

Ridge could be as much as $3.5 billion and support 90,000 jobs in the Discovery Ridge park area. The Certified Site Program developed through a cooperative effort with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Economic Development Council, Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, Empire Electric, Kansas City Power & Light, Ameren Corp. and DED. The program’s purpose is to provide consistent standards regarding the availability and development potential of commercial and industrial development sites. Site pre-qualification through the Certified Site The 122-acre process provides land site is a standardized located east tool by which of U.S. 63 both development and Discovery professionals Parkway. and business prospects can review prospective sites for compatibility with their development needs. Sites are certified through a comprehensive review of many of the issues facing businesses and corporations as they search for areas to relocate or expand, including the availability of utilities, site access, environmental concerns, land-use conformance and potential development costs.

Jefferson City Hospital Honored For Superior Quality Care St. Mary’s Health Center has been named a national 2011 Summit Award winner and one of the nation’s top performers in clinical quality by Press ganey, an organization that gauges more than 10,000 health care facilities for quality. The Summit Award recognizes topperforming facilities that sustain the highest level of quality performance for three consecutive years. St. Mary’s is one of only 11 organizations in the nation to receive this award for achieving and sustaining excellence in core measures performance. The Summit Award is the industry’s most coveted symbol of quality achievement. St. Mary’s is ranked in the top 1 percent of hospitals in the nation for quality, based on data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as the No. 1 hospital in Missouri for quality measures as reported by HealthInsight.

CALLAWAY COUNTY MANUFACTURER AWARDED $300,000 GRANT

A

Fulton company will expand, creating 30 new jobs, courtesy of economic incentives from the state of Missouri. Through the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the state has approved a $300,000 Industrial Infrastructure grant for Callaway County for infrastructure improvements under the Community Development Block grant program. The Industrial Infrastructure grant will aid the county in serving the infrastructure needs of expansion at OCCI Inc. The project will have a significant economic benefit for Callaway County and the surrounding region. County road 256 will be widened and paved in order for the company to continue to add jobs at

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its current Callaway County location. The current road infrastructure creates a great challenge for transporting products out of the facility and affected the design process throughout the project. The company plans to expand its presence in the gate fabrication market and is positioned geographically to compete for this business in the continental United States, especially east of the Mississippi river. The company plans to invest additional capital into the fabrication facility to streamline the operations and enable handling of larger steel fabrication projects. The company also has a small loading facility on the Missouri river in Callaway County, which it hopes to expand into a location where large items, such as gates, could be assembled on site and loaded on barges.

OCCI Inc. is a general contractor construction company founded in 1984. Today the company consists of two distinct divisions: the construction division carries the OCCI name, and the fabrication division does business as Missouri Fabricators. The construction division’s primary focus is bridge construction as well as lock and dam rehabilitation. Products manufactured at the site include bridge and road steel products, railroad bridges, dam locks/gates, bridge finger joints, heavy construction consumer products and other items needed by the company to effectively execute construction projects such as workboats, barge spuds, jacking cans and specialized scaffolding.


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Finding Opportunity In Mizzou’s Move To The SEC by KATHY CASTEEL photos by L.G. PATTERSON courtesy of MIZZOU ATHLETICS

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It was always about the money. When the University of Missouri announced it would leave the Big 12 to join the Southeastern Conference, Chancellor Brady Deaton offered up reasons for the move that made the deal sound more like a corporate merger than a change in athletic affiliation. “We were looking for long-term stability as a university and who we were associated with,” Deaton says. “Who we were going to develop long-term partnerships with so we could have financial security in our planning.” College athletics is big business these days, a lucrative enterprise that impacts the Columbia economy to the tune of $118 million a year. The deals brokered in the boardroom carry as much import as the efforts on the playing field, with longerlasting effect. Deaton’s decision to switch the university’s athletic affiliation in July will give MU an immediate boost from league-generated revenue and provide greater exposure for branding opportunities. These profitable perks are expected to spill over into the local economy.

When Mizzou becomes a member of the SEC on July 1, 2012, it will join the most profitable conference in college athletics. MU’s share of league revenue will be equal to all other SEC members. “When you are a member of the SEC, you are a member in every sense of the word,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive says. “We share financially, we share in decision-making, and we share everything that we do in an equal way.” The cut from the SEC promises to be a substantial upgrade to Mizzou’s athletic income from the Big 12 Conference. Last year’s SEC take-home was $18.3 million for each member from league revenue. That’s reportedly about $8 million more than Missouri received from the Big 12 last year in league-generated revenue. Media rights to SEC broadcasts have fueled the conference’s rich revenue base. Last fall the league began 15-year agreements with CBS and ESPN that make the SEC the most widely distributed conference on television. The landmark deal follows a surge of success for SEC teams across the athletic spectrum: six consecutive BCS national championships in football, three consecutive College World Series championships in baseball and back-to-back national championships in men’s indoor track and field. In the 2010-11 season, SEC teams won five national titles and finished as runner-up in three more. “This is an opportunity,” Deaton says, “to fulfill the expectations and the promise and the potential of the University of Missouri in a way that we have not had the opportunity in the past. We’re moving to one of the fastest-growing regions and one of the most illustrious athletic conferences in the nation in the

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Southeastern Conference. We are proud to be where we are.”

University of Missouri athletic

events wield a significant impact on the Columbia economy. According to an analysis by MU graduate students, 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. Local boosters are hoping the excitement over this new association will trump the loss of traditional affiliations and translate into additional prosperity. Indeed, economic development is part of the university mission. “We made the decision based on the best interests of the future of the University of Missouri,” says Deaton. “Given the 170-plus years of partnership between MU and the Columbia community, we understand that our interests are forever mutual. We want MU’s success to be Columbia’s also. As Mizzou becomes

part of the SEC family, we want Columbia to share equally in enhanced economic opportunities and increased visibility.” Economic impact was one of the factors that went into the SEC decision, says Tim Hickman, MU’s senior associate athletic director for operations. “A strong community and local economy is important to the university,” Hickman says. “We believe that the move to the SEC will bring more out-of-town guests to our home games and give the university and Columbia more national exposure via television and media coverage.” Out-of-town fans are a prized commodity: they spend more than twice as much money on the game-day experience here as locals do. About 65 percent of ticketholders to MU sporting events are from out-of-town, Hickman says, and he estimates that percentage will rise slightly with the new conference affiliation. SEC fans are reputedly “good travelers”; that reputation will soon be tested to see if it holds up in the face of longer travel distances between Columbia and SEC towns. Traffic at Columbia Regional Airport could see a bump in passengers


who prefer to cover those long distances by air. SEC fans are the best at filling a stadium. The conference leads the nation in football attendance. In 2010, more than 6.5 million fans flocked to SEC games, averaging 76,719 per game and filling stadiums to 98.51 percent of capacity. And for every dollar those fans will spend on direct revenue in the MU stadium, $1.64 recirculates in the Columbia economy. MU’s Memorial Stadium capacity of 71,000 ranks 10th among SEC members and its $48.8 million athletic budget is 11th. A new master plan for athletic facilities has been in the works since last spring, Hickman says. “We feel that we must always look to keep our facilities up-to-date and state-of-the-art, regardless of conference,” he says. “We do feel however, that the move to the SEC and the excitement that surrounds that will expedite the fundraising efforts and get us moving quicker.” Athletic officials have identified priorities for improvements that will cost about $100 million. “In no particular order,” Hickman says, they include: Football: A $30 to $40 million project to add premium

seat options that would likely include outdoor seating accessible to an indoor club, most likely in a new structure on the east side of the stadium; renovate the current press box and suites, and Touchdown Terrace; ongoing maintenance and structural repairs Tennis: Upgrade and expand the outdoor courts and renovate the Green Tennis Center Golf: Build a team facility to include offices, meeting space and practice bays Softball: Expand seating and team facilities Baseball: Add offices and new team facilities

“We have not defined our overall timeframe yet, as much is dependent on our fundraising,” Hickman says. “But we definitely have some donors who have expressed their excitement about the SEC move.” Viewers of local CBS affiliate KRCG are excited as well, since SEC games air on channel 13. And that local interest

could bode well for weekend viewership of the mid-Missouri station. “Anytime you have more people watching you, it’s a good thing,” says KRCG general manager Jon Van Ness. “College sports doesn’t drive a whole lot of revenue for the station, so it won’t be an economic bonanza for us, but it’s a nice opportunity to serve mid-Missouri. We could see some upticks and there will be opportunities for promotions — we’re always trying to find unique and better ways to serve our audience.”

The switch to the SEC does have its downside. For the Missouri wrestling team, one of MU’s most successful athletic programs in recent years, the search is on for a new conference home since the SEC does not support wrestling as a conference sport. Mizzou is slated this year to host the Big 12 wrestling championships in the Hearnes Center and follow up with hosting duties at the NCAA wrestling tournament in St. Louis. “Coach Brian Smith is working on securing a new conference home for the Tigers,” says athletic department spokesman Chad Moller. “Details are not yet finalized, but we are confident that we will wind up in a great position that will help Coach continue to keep Mizzou among the top programs in the country.” For traditionalists, the greatest loss in leaving the Big 12 is the suspension of the MissouriKansas rivalry. The two schools haven’t played home-and-home football games since 2007, instead meeting in Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium. Although the contract with Arrowhead runs through 2012, University of Kansas officials have indicated they have no interest in continuing the 119-year-old series after Missouri exits the Big 12 this summer. “We have been very clear with our desire to continue our rivalry in all sports,” Moller says, “but Kansas has been very adamant publicly about not having an interest in playing. If Kansas isn’t interested, there’s not much we can do.” Attendance at the game in Arrowhead has fallen off considerably in recent years after tremendous ticket sales for the first two games played there.

Deaton says that “nothing is going away. The good thing is, here we are expanding the excitement. We heard from the fan base and we heard the potential of expanding our facilities if the fan base responds. That’s all good for the state of Missouri.” His “good for the goose, good for the gander” approach projects the university will inject even more resources into the state, calling the move to the SEC “a major positive step forward for the Missouri economy as well.” Let’s call it a merger of hope and promise. “This is our shot,” MU football coach Gary Pinkel told a group of reporters in early December. “The University of Missouri’s got an opportunity now.”

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hEy,

a LOOK aT COLumBIa’S NEw PEER COmmuNITIES Of ThE SEC

TuSCaLOOSa, aLaBama COLumBIa, mISSOuRI population: 108,500 Median household income: $40,816 Median home value: $164,900 Major industries: health care; education; insurance Home to the flagship campus of the University of Missouri, Columbia is known as Collegetown USA, a reference to the seven colleges with facilities here. Mizzou’s student population is by far the largest of the seven with 33,805 students. Dominant economic sectors include education, life sciences, animal and human health, information technology and insurance. Major employers include the University of Missouri, University Hospital & Clinics, Boone Hospital Center, Shelter Insurance, MBS Textbook Exchange, IBM and State Farm Insurance. Columbia Regional Airport offers Delta Air Lines connector service to and from Memphis. Columbia ranks No. 8 on Forbes magazine’s Best Places for Business & Careers.

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(620 miles from Columbia) population: 90,468 Median household income: $33,362 Median home value: $158,700 Major industries: education and health care; manufacturing; retail Located on the banks of the Black Warrior River, Tuscaloosa serves as western Alabama’s regional center of industry and commerce. The city is home to more than 31,000 students of the University of Alabama, plus two other colleges. Major employers in Tuscaloosa’s $8.8 billion economy include the University of Alabama, DCH Health System, DCH Regional Medical Center, Northport Medical Center, Bryce Hospital, Partlow Developmental Center, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Manufacturing (Michelin), Hunt Refining, Corus Tuscaloosa (British Steel), Gulf States Paper Corp. and Johnson Controls. Tuscaloosa Regional Airport has no commercial passenger airline service. The city was named to Fortune Small Business magazine’s list of The 50 Best Places to Launch A Business in 2009. The community is still recovering from a devastating EF4 tornado that tore through Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011. The tornado killed 50 people and damaged 5,300 homes and 600 businesses.

fayETTEvILLE, aRKaNSaS (315 miles from Columbia) population: 73,580 Median household income: $35,365 Median home value: $175,800 Major industries: education and health care; recreation and tourism; retail Nestled in the Boston range of the Ozarks, Fayetteville is the third-largest city in Arkansas and the seat of government for Washington County. It is home to the University of Arkansas and its 23,000 students. The $18 billion economy of the FayettevilleSpringdale-Rogers metro area is bolstered by corporate giants WalMart, Tyson Foods and JB Hunt. Fayetteville’s major employers include the University of Arkansas, Washington Regional Medical Center, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Superior Industries, Arvest Bank, Ayrshire Electronics and Arkansas Western Gas. Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Highfill serves the area with 10 carriers. Forbes magazine ranks Fayetteville as the seventhbest college sports town and eighth on its list of Best Places For Business And Careers. The city is No. 7 on Kiplinger’s 2008 Best Cities to Work, Live and Play.


Neighbor! Auburn, Alabama (730 miles from Columbia) Population: 53,380 Median Household Income: $35,500 Median Home Value: $215,100 Major Industries: education; research; manufacturing The fastest-growing metropolitan area in Alabama is home to Auburn University and its 25,469 students. The economy centers on the university and affiliated services with an industrial base of mid-sized, hightech manufacturing and research firms. Auburn has four technology parks where the industrial focus is on the manufacture of small engines, automotive wheels, fuel cells, plastic injection technology and vehicle armor. The city is located between two automobile manufacturing plants: Kia Motors about 35 miles east and Hyundai Motors about 55 miles west. The closest commercial airports are two hours away in Atlanta or Birmingham. Southern Living magazine lists Auburn as One of the South’s Best College Towns. The city ranks No. 6 on Forbes magazine’s list of Best Small Places for Business and Careers.

Gainesville, Florida (1,000 miles from Columbia) Population: 124,354 Median Household Income: $31,208 Median Home Value: $169,200 Major Industries: education; health care; social assistance; entertainment and recreation; retail The Gainesville campus of the University of Florida is the sixth-largest in the country, with an enrollment of 50,116. Gainesville enjoys a low cost of living, but that is offset by high property taxes. Santa Fe College is also located in Gainesville. Major employers include the University of Florida, Shands Healthcare System, the city government, Nationwide Insurance and CH2M Hill engineering and construction. Gainesville Regional Airport offers daily service to Atlanta, Miami and Charlotte, N.C. In 2007, Gainesville ranked as one of the Best Places to Live and Play by National Geographic Adventure; the National Coalition for the Homeless calls it the “Fifth Meanest City in the USA.” Gatorade was invented by University of Florida researchers in Gainesville, but the beverage, now owned by PepsiCo Inc., is headquartered near Chicago.

Athens, Georgia (735 miles from Columbia) Population: 115,452 Median Household Income: $33,750 Median Home Value: $163,800 Major Industries: education; health and social services; poultry; timber The University of Georgia anchors the economy of the unified city-county AthensClarke County with an enrollment of 34,885 students. Athens Technical College and Piedmont College also offer educational services in the city. Major employers include the university, Athens Technical College, St. Mary’s Health Care System, Athens Regional Medical Center, pharmaceutical maker Merial and RAI Steel. The closest air service is Hartsfield– Jackson Atlanta International Airport. In 1980, Athens became a Main Street City, one of the first in Georgia to embark on a downtown revitalization program through the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Lexington, Kentucky (460 miles from Columbia) Population: 295,803 Median Household Income: $47,104 Median Home Value: $159,300 Major Industries: education; technology; manufacturing The “Horse Capital of the World” is the setting for the University of Kentucky, which has a student population of 27,209. The city’s largest employer is the University of Kentucky; other major businesses include Lexmark International, Tempur-Pedic, HewlettPackard, Trane, International, Kentucky Horse Park, Keeneland race course, Red Mile race course, Transylvania University and Bluegrass Community & Technical College. A Toyota factory is in adjoining Georgetown. The Jif plant produces more peanut butter than any other facility in the world. The city’s Bluegrass Airport offers about 65 commercial passenger flights daily through seven airlines. Lexington ranks fifth on Forbes’ list of Best Cities for Businesses and Careers, and on Kiplinger’s list of Best Cities for Young Professionals.

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BaTON ROuGE, LOuISIaNa (750 miles from Columbia) population: 229,493 Median household income: $36,816 Median home value: $153,400 Major industries: petrochemical production and manufacturing; state government; educational services; health care The mighty Mississippi rolls past the state capital of Louisiana on its way to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana State University and its 28,871 students call this river port home. Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, medical and research center of the South. Its port is the farthest inland port on the Mississippi River that can accommodate ocean-going tankers and cargo carriers. The ExxonMobil facility is the second-largest oil refinery in the country and one of the 10 largest in the world. Major employers include the state, LSU, Turner Industries, ExxonMobil Chemical, the Shaw Group, Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center and Baton Rouge General Medical Center. The Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport connects the area with four airline hubs serving the southern United States. Brookings Institution lists Baton Rouge as one of the top 20 cities in North America for economic strength. Portfolio magazine rates it as one of the Top 10 Places for Young Adults.

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OxfORd, mISSISSIPPI (475 miles from Columbia) population: 14,147 Median household income: $38,450 Median home value: $156,800 Major industries: education; health services; hospitality; retail The 19th-century boosters of Lafayette County, Miss., surmised that naming the county seat after the English university town of Oxford might garner them the prize in the race to land the state university. They were right. Oxford has been the cultural center of the state ever since the University of Mississippi was founded there in 1848. The influx of the university’s 15,800 students swells the small college town’s population to double its Census count; the metro area of Oxford-Lafayette County is about 47,000. The genteel Southern town is a writer’s paradise, hometown to the likes of William Faulkner and John Grisham. Oxford is included in The Best 100 Small Towns in America. The largest employers are Ole Miss, FNC Inc. and Baptist Memorial Hospital – North Mississippi. The nearest airports are in Tupelo, Miss., and Memphis. The National Center for Natural Products Research in Oxford is the only U.S. facility with a federal license to cultivate marijuana for scientific research and for distribution to patients allowed marijuana for medical purposes.

STaRKvILLE, mISSISSIPPI (575 miles from Columbia) population: 23,888 Median household income: $25,184 Median home value: $118,900 Major industries: education; health and social services; retail; manufacturing Starkville is the home base for Mississippi State University, whose 21,424 students make MSU the largest university in the state. The university dominates the city’s economy as the largest employer; others include OCH Medical Center, Sitel Computer Call Center and Flexsteel. Delta Air Lines services Golden Triangle Regional Airport with daily connector flights to Memphis and Atlanta. Starkville was cited by Southern Business and Development as a Top 10 location in the South for emerging growth companies.


the sec Knoxville, Tennessee

Columbia, South Carolina (875 miles from Columbia) Population: 129,272 Median Household Income: $36,546 Median Home Value: $156,300 Major Industries: state government; education; health care; retail; waste management That “other Columbia” is South Carolina’s state capital and largest city, home to the University of South Carolina and its 29,597 students. Major employers are the Palmetto Health hospital system, Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC and the University of South Carolina. Columbia is also the headquarters of SCANA, a Fortune 500 energy company, Colonial Supplemental Insurance, Ritedose Corp. and AgFirst Farm Credit Bank. Nearby Fort Jackson is the U.S. Army’s largest training installation. Five airlines service the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. BusinessWeek ranks Columbia, S.C., 14th on its list of 40 Strongest U.S. Metro Economies. CNNMoney.com named the city one of America’s 25 best places to retire.

(610 miles from Columbia) Population: 178,874 Median Household Income: $31,994 Median Home Value: $116,400 Major Industries: education; research; technology; warehousing and distribution The Tennessee River forms along the Appalachian Ridge in Knoxville, home of the University of Tennessee and its 27,523 students. The area’s economy is fueled by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other Department of Energy installations, the National Transportation Research Center and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Companies headquartered in Knoxville include AC Entertainment, Bush Brothers & Co., Verizon retailer Cellular Sales, DeRoyal Industries, Pilot Corp., Sea Ray and Weigel’s. McGhee Tyson Airport is adjacent to an Air National Guard base and provides commercial passenger air service from numerous carriers. In 2008, Forbes named Knoxville among the Top 10 Metropolitan Hotspots in the United States. Knoxville was once known as the “Underwear Capital of the World” because of the city’s 20 textile and clothing mills that employed more residents in the 1930s than any other industry.

Nashville, Tennessee (435 miles from Columbia) Population: 601,222 Median Household Income: $44,630 Median Home Value: $166,800 Major Industries: music recording and production; tourism; health care; automotive manufacturing; insurance; finance; publishing The state capital of Tennessee is best known by its nickname “Music City.” The country music mecca on the banks of the Cumberland River is also the home of Vanderbilt University. With 12,714 students, it is the smallest school in the Southeastern Conference, yet Vanderbilt is the single largest employer in Nashville. Nashville’s renown in country music is eclipsed locally by health care, the city’s largest industry. Major employers include Hospital Corporation of America, Nissan North America, Gaylord Entertainment, Cracker Barrel, Dell and Dollar General. Nashville International Airport serves the area and is a mini-hub for Southwest Airlines. The city’s most popular tourist attractions are the Grand Ole Opry, the world’s longest running live radio show, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

College Station, Texas (780 miles from Columbia) Population: 93,857 Median Household Income: $32,297 Median Home Value: $174,700 Major Industries: education; health care; telecommunications; utilities; construction Mizzou’s fellow Big 12 refugee, Texas A&M University, is in College Station, a city located within the most populated region of Texas, near three of the 10 largest cities in the United States — Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. Texas A&M’s students attend classes on the College Station campus; the adjacent city of Bryan combines to form a metropolitan area of 228,660. College Station’s major employer is the university; others include Sanderson Farms, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, Reynolds and Reynolds, and Alenco Holding Co. Easterwood Airport is located on the Texas A&M campus and offers multiple daily flights to Dallas and Houston. The size of the Texas A&M student population (46,422 students) brought College Station honors from Money magazine in 2006 as the most educated city in Texas and the 11th most educated city in the United States.

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agent of change

Gary Thompson Takes The Helm Of Columbia Insurance Group by KATHY CASTEEL photos by L.G. PATTERSON

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ary Thompson’s Halloween costume came as no surprise to his co-workers this year. Dressed as the New Year’s baby, he cut a prescient figure at the office festivities, poised to take on the top job at Columbia Insurance Group on New Year’s Day 2012. Make no mistake, though: Thompson is no babe in the business world. After 22 years with Columbia Insurance Group, the 51-year-old president and chief operating officer will add CEO to his list of company titles on Jan. 1. The CIG board of directors named Thompson as the retiring Robert Wagner’s replacement 2½ years ago, clearing the way for a seamless transition in the hierarchy of one of Columbia’s largest private employers. This quiet change at the helm offers a welcome bit of calm as Columbia Insurance Group gears up to face new trials that await the storm-tossed industry. Coming off what Thompson calls the worst financial year in the company’s history, the new CEO has his work cut out for him. “His challenge will be to lead the recovery down the road to future success,” says the retiring Wagner. “I have absolutely no reservations turning the helm over to Gary.” nnnnn Wagner’s confidence in his protégé is an assurance borne out by long association. In 1989, then executive vice president Wagner recruited Thompson to CIG, making his pitch over lunch in Kirksville. Thompson left the meal with a job offer and soon left the Iowa insurer where he’d been working since 1983. His arrival in Columbia was a homecoming of sorts. Born in Kansas City, Thompson grew up in Nevada, working farm jobs and dreaming of becoming a veterinarian. He enrolled at the University of Missouri in 1978 with plans to attend MU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Organic chemistry changed my plans,” he recalls with a grimace. “That’s when I realized I wasn’t cut out to be a vet.” Thompson graduated from MU in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and returned home to Nevada to farm and supervise a grain elevator. When Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co. came calling that winter, he joined the company as a marketing representative, managing the company’s property/ casualty agencies in Missouri. In 1986, he packed up and moved to Grinnell, Iowa, to work as an underwriter. Thompson joined Columbia Insurance Group in October 1989 as vice president of reinsurance. He was 29 years old. His climb up the CIG management ladder has been steady — in 1994, he became a senior vice president, still overseeing reinsurance, and joined the company’s executive committee. He was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2002, directing the day-to-day operations

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of the company. He earned an MBA from Walden University in 2007, and in June 2009, the company’s board of directors named Thompson president and successor to Wagner, who had announced his retirement plans. “This transition could not have gone any better,” says board member Bob Gerding. “The process and plans laid out by Bob Wagner to ensure that Gary was mentored but allowed the freedom to set his own path worked quite well.” The change in title includes additional leadership duties for Thompson, who will add the company’s accounting, finance and legal departments to the operations he will manage. “Any time there is change, there are questions,” Thompson says. “I’ve been addressing those questions as they arise, explaining that I’ve been a part of the management team for 22 years and chief operating officer since 2002, working hand-inhand with Bob.” Administrative change is not a routine occurrence at Columbia Insurance Group. Thompson is just the seventh CEO of the 138-year-old organization. nnnnn Columbia Insurance Group traces its roots back to 1874 when Boone Countians banded together to form Home Mutual Insurance Co. in Columbia to provide each other with fire insurance. A 1918 merger with two Rock Port insurance companies gave birth to Farmers Mutual Windstorm Insurance Co. In 1929, the Rock Port operations moved to Columbia, where the company’s headquarters have remained. Multiple mergers, acquisitions and name changes followed; the surviving entity became Columbia Mutual Insurance Co. in 1989. Now known as Columbia Insurance Group, five insurance companies comprise the group operating in 19 states through five branch offices. Of its more than 330 employees, 160 work in Columbia. “Each branch office operates like a little company,” Thompson says. “They handle their own marketing, claims


“My advice for Gary: be visible, be clear, be fair, be accessible. Lead, don’t just manage.” — Retiring ColumbiA Insurance Group President Bob Wagner

and underwriting. The home office provides the backroom functions. It’s very decentralized.” CIG’s subsidiary companies offer only property and casualty insurance, sold through more than 800 independent agents around the country. They are heavily concentrated in commercial lines; three-quarters of policyholders are small to mid-size businesses. The company reported a net income of nearly $15 million in 2010, up 19 percent over 2009 income. Financial figures from 2011 are expected to look quite different. An unprecedented string of natural disasters has made it the highest-ever loss year on record, saddling the

insurance industry with billions of dollars in claims. Dealing with disaster is only one of the challenges Thompson will face early in his term as Columbia Insurance Group’s CEO, says Gina Boone, vice president, secretary and general counsel. “The primary challenges Gary will face will not be unique to CIG,” she says. “The lagging economy, extremely competitive insurance markets and escalating storm activity are pressures felt by all insurance companies operating in the Midwest. Gary is passionate about CIG. He has spent many hours evaluating our operations over the recent months and has challenged his management team to help identify and better position our

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strengths to set CIG apart from our competitors.” It isn’t easy trying to stand out in the crowd of competition. “There are nearly 3,000 property and casualty insurance companies in the United States,” Thompson says. “Most of our competitors are larger than we are; sheer size gives them some financial advantages. We need to earn a reasonable operating margin, and that’s a real challenge.” The company continues to grow. “We have more policyholders now than we did at the beginning of 2011,” Thompson says. “We are a mutual insurance company, owned 100 percent by our policyholders. We’ve made some acquisitions — the most recent were three years ago when we bought two insurance companies in Texas and Georgia — but most of our growth is organic.” nnnnn Thompson does not plan to change the culture of Columbia Insurance Group. “Culture is what we’re all about,” he says. “We live by our core values.” The company abides by seven core values: n We believe our employees are our greatest asset. n We believe that our customers should always be treated in the same manner that we would want to be treated. n We believe the service we provide is critical to our policyholders and the well-being of society as a whole. n We believe that earning a profit is good and contributes to the financial security we provide our customers. n We believe that honesty, fairness and integrity in life and in business are essential and we will not tolerate anything less. n We believe in being responsible corporate citizens. n We believe in having fun. Lofty ideals that could be difficult to live with at times, one might think. But Thompson doesn’t think so. “We’re very transparent,” he says. “Take No. 5 — honesty, fairness and integrity. We had an employee who embezzled. We didn’t keep it quiet; we prosecuted. We’re not afraid to air our dirty laundry.” “We’re very transparent,” he says. “Take No. 5 — honesty, fairness and integrity. We had an employee who embezzled. We didn’t keep it quiet; we prosecuted. We’re not afraid to air our dirty laundry.” This transparency applies at every level of the organization. In 2010, a board member from Arkansas was investigated by the Arkansas Department of Insurance for alleged misconduct in the handling of his business affairs. He was removed from the board immediately. “We don’t tolerate dishonesty,” Thompson says. “We make it clear that we will not accept even the appearance of dishonesty or other impropriety.” Thompson’s management style is upbeat and collaborative. “I’m a bit more direct than Bob [Wagner],” he notes. “Bob says

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I’m more impatient. Everything is on the table and the very best people are around that table, sharing expertise and perspective. We have open discussions and then must make decisions in a quick timeframe. There’s no need to be combative, but I can be blunt in an effort to move forward.” Colleagues laud his direct manner and visionary ideas but what they really enjoy is his self-deprecating sense of humor, which starts with his own self-styled job description: “chief servant, strategic thought leader, cheerleader and part-time janitor.” CIG senior vice president and Columbia branch manager Roger Birdsong says Thompson’s humor shines through in their


Gary Thompson and his wife, Julie, split their time between Columbia and a home in southeastern Nebraska where Julie works in hospice care and is getting a master’s degree in counseling. “It’s a long commute,” he quips. “But we’ve been doing this for 7½ years now and we’ve got it down. We’ll be consolidating soon and moving everything to Columbia permanently.” regular outings for Booches burgers or a round of golf. “Gary often pokes fun at his game on the golf course,” Birdsong says. “When he hits a bad shot, he’ll say, ‘well that golf lesson last week really helped.’ This same sense of humor works well for Gary in our corporate setting. He uses it often and it not only builds camaraderie but keeps us from becoming so tense that we become less productive.” Core Value No. 7 is an integral part of Thompson’s makeup, and one of the reasons Columbia Insurance Group is considered one of the best places to work in Columbia: These folks believe in having fun.

“Gary’s predecessor Bob Wagner would often say, ‘We take our work seriously but we don’t take ourselves seriously,’ ” says senior vice president Roger Ballard, the company’s chief financial officer. “If you’ve ever seen Gary’s Halloween costumes, you can tell Gary believes in this policy as well. His sense of humor makes him well-liked throughout the organization.” nnnnn Well-liked and well-respected, Thompson adheres to the first part of Wagner’s mantra as well. There is serious work to do

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as the insurance industry tries to recover from 2011’s losses and braces for what 2012 may hold. “I don’t have a crystal ball,” he says. “Our target client is the small business looking to get help and save time. And we’re passionate about helping our customers. In Joplin last May, the tornado struck Sunday afternoon and we were there on the ground Columbia Monday. We used technology to Insurance create an overlay in our database Group that helped us predict which of Property our customers were in the path of & casualty the tornado, and used GPS to find insurance: them. We were done in two weeks. n 330 employees With our support, businesses (160 in were able to reopen, jobs were Columbia) retained and families could begin n 800 rebuilding their lives.” independent Thompson’s intricate agents knowledge of what to do and how to do it impresses 30n Licensed year industry veteran Jon in 30 states Erickson, CIG vice president n Policyholders of claims. “Gary has a better in 19 states overall understanding of insurance than anyone I’ve Headquarters: encountered,” Erickson says.

Columbia, Mo.

“His focus is always about what’s best for the customer and the company, not what’s best for him. His example helps instill that dedication in the rest of us. He is also one of the most observant people I’ve met and asks questions that make us think about what we can do to improve service to our customers. He is consistently upbeat in approaching challenges.” The challenge for Columbia Insurance Group is growth. “As a mutual company, we inherently face certain challenges in raising capital that stock companies don’t,” Thompson says. “We’re succeeding in doing that, even given these hard economic times, but we must continue to increase our financial strength to finance our growth.” To maintain that growth, Thompson pushes the company to help policyholders by controlling rates, exposure, costs and loss. “There are other things we can do to reduce the cost of risk for us and policyholders. We are using tools — such as loss control surveys — to manage costs. Additionally, directing our policyholders to seek risk advice from our independent agents is a great way to proactively manage the overall cost of risk.” In with the new does not necessarily mean out with the old. It all comes back to the agent and that personal touch. “Our historic marketing focus has been the independent agent,” he says. “Eighty percent of business insurance is sold through independent insurance agents. We have to position ourselves in his or her mind first.”

Branch offices:

Columbia n Omaha n Atlanta n Austin n Salina, Kan. n

EXIT INTERVIEW

Robert Wagner Closes A Chapter At Columbia Insurance Group Robert W. Wagner will step down as CEO of Columbia Insurance Group at the end of 2011, closing out a distinguished career that has spanned four decades with the same company. Capt. Wagner arrived in Columbia in 1971 after serving five years in the U.S. Army. Columbia Insurance Group hired the Vietnam veteran as an administrative assistant, putting him to work in the mailroom. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance with an emphasis in risk and insurance from the University of Missouri in 1973 and worked his way up through the CIG ranks, serving the company as agency director, marketing manager, vice president of marketing and administration, and executive vice president. Wagner became chief operating officer in 1987 and took over as CEO in 1999. Now 70, he will remain as chairman of the CIG board of directors until August 2012. After 40 years in the insurance industry — known as an outstanding leader, industry professional and “all-around good guy” — Wagner still has a few things to say …

Companies: n Association Casualty Insurance Co. n Citizens Mutual Insurance Co. n Columbia Mutual Insurance Co. n Columbia National Insurance Co. n Georgia Casualty & Surety Co.

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You have been in the insurance industry for 40 years, and CEO of Columbia Insurance Group for 12 years. Looking back over your experience, what would you say have been the industry’s most notable milestones of the past four decades — the good and the bad — as it tries to keep pace with a changing world? The use of technology has made a large impact, helping with distribution, internal processing

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and accumulation of data for more accurate pricing as well as communication with agents, policyholders, regulators, business partners, etc. Forty years ago, policies were hand-typed. Today the underwriting process — from the original application to a finished product — is automated. Coverages and delivery methods have evolved to meet the changing needs of our customers.


How has Columbia Insurance Group weathered the storms that have stricken the industry during your tenure as CEO — from natural disasters such as floods, tornados and ice storms to the political storms that rage through the halls of Congress and the state Capitol? We have always been transparent to regulators and customers. We’ve flourished over the years because we maintain a strong capital position, exceptional expense control, a solid reinsurance program and intelligent but realistic underwriting. Technology has changed the way consumers do business, which has changed the way businesses operates. How has the computer age affected your business? Technology has eliminated inefficiencies and helped us reduce costs. Technology doesn’t reduce the need for personal interaction, but it does enhance it. Our customers still want the guidance and counsel of a risk adviser (independent agent). Technology has allowed us to handle more business without

a corresponding increase in staff. It also enhances convenience for our customers with electronic bill payment and 24-hour claim reporting, for example. What challenges do you see Columbia Insurance group facing in this next decade? Do you envision an altered landscape for the insurance industry? A few challenges might be a foreseeably slow economic improvement, depressed investment climate and the trend of increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters (a big unknown). Additionally, with the baby boom generation retiring, it will be a challenge to replace their vast knowledge and experience. A trend I feel likely to continue would be consolidation in the insurance industry — for example, larger generalist insurers spreading their risks internationally as well as specialty niche insurers focusing on doing what they do best. How has Columbia Insurance Group changed since you arrived in 1971?

In 1971, we employed 17 people, had annual sales of roughly $3.5 million and operations in one state with a very limited portfolio of products. Today we employ about 330 people operating in 19 states; annual sales are $260 million on a full line of property and casualty products. The best part, though, is our core values and principles have not changed. What will you miss most from the workaday world at Columbia Insurance Group? What are you looking forward to in retirement? I will miss day-to-day contact with people I know and respect: fellow employees, agents, regulators, other business partners, etc. In retirement, I will remain very active in the community. I currently serve as a trustee for Boone Hospital Center and am on the board of directors for the Columbia Chamber of Commerce as well as the Community Foundation for Columbia Missouri. There should be a little more time for my wife, children and coming grandchildren.

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Special Promotional Section

The Columbia Image Awards As a rapidly growing city and college town, there are always newcomers passing through Columbia, and their first impression comes from the city’s diverse landscape. From new buildings to old, this city is a beautiful collage of traditional and modern architecture. The first Columbia Image Awards took place in 2009, to recognize the people and projects that give Columbia such dramatic visual appeal. For the 2011 awards, a call for nominations went out in January, and a committee of experts judged the nominees in July. The 2011 Image Awards, designed by artist Susan Taylor Glasgow, were presented in six categories at a banquet on Nov. 10.

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Special Promotional Section

Phoenix Award

This award goes to an exceptional adaptive reuse of an existing building. It is based on the impact to the surrounding area, the appeal, quality and design of the project, the renovation obstacles and challenges, and the beginning site conditions compared to the finished project. This year’s award went to The Club at Old Hawthorne. The clubhouse sits on one of the state’s premier golf courses, and is a gem in mid-Missouri. It also serves as the centerpiece of the Community of Old Hawthorne, off Route WW. Finalist: Alley A

Historic Preservation Award

The Historic Preservation Award goes to a project that restores a historic business property. The committee judges it on the preservation of the historic character and the defining characteristics that remain similar after repairs. If there are any additions to the building, they must not take away from the historic integrity. This year’s winner was the Berry Building on the corner of Walnut and Orr streets. Ott Historic Rehab revitalized the building, which is now home to a diverse range of businesses, including the Perlow-Stevens Gallery and Wilson’s Total Fitness in The District, as well as upscale loft apartments. It is part of the revitalization of the North Village Arts District. Finalist: Daniel Boone Building Remodel winter 2012 I Inside Columbia’s CEO

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Special Promotional Section

Inspiration Award

Development of Distinction The third award, the Development of Distinction, focuses on an outstanding commercial development. Judging criteria includes how the development contributes to the community and its impact on future development. The committee also looks at appearance and innovation. The 10th and Park Complex clinched this category. As part of the North Village Arts District, the corner includes residential homes and businesses, such as Café Berlin. John and Vicki Ott of Alley A Realty developed the complex. Finalist: University of Missouri Southwest Campus Housing Complex

Columbia is known for its artsy shops and people, and many local businesses and organizations love to include art on their properties. The Inspiration Award celebrates this choice for the unique use of art or mediums other than landscaping. To be a winner in this category, a piece of art must be appealing, have a positive impact on its surroundings and be creative in display. It also must be inspiring for the community. The committee presented this award to The Keys to the City, the large piece of art by Howard Meehan outside City Hall. Put up in 2010, the sculpture is a welcoming entrance to the city’s building at Seventh and Broadway, and it complements The District’s main thoroughfare. Finalist: Joy of DiscoveryChristopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center

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Special Promotional Section

2009 Image Award Winners

Ray Rothenberger Landscape Award The Ray Rothenberger Landscape Award goes to an outstanding landscape design. Judges look at the quality and composition of the landscape, the use of plants, color and placement, and care and maintenance. The committee also considers how nonplant material is incorporated into the composition. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at Battle Gardens took home the award this year. As the entrance to the Katy Trail on Stadium Boulevard, the memorial is not only a striking part of the park, it also serves as a gathering place for celebrations and ceremonies. Finalist: Francis Quadrangle Perennial Landscape

Striking Structure Award The final award is the Striking Structure Award, given to an outstanding exterior architectural design and interior impression. The winning structure must be innovative and creative, and the design must be a nice addition to its surroundings. The committee also looks at pursuit of LEED certification. The University of Missouri Mid-Campus Housing Complex won the title this year. The dormitories are known for having lots of windows and open areas inside. The dark trim around the windows contrasts with the building exterior, which pleases the eye.

Phoenix Award: Orr Street Studios Historic Preservation Award: Atkins Warehouse Offices Development of Distinction Award: The Village of Cherry Hill and Broadway Shops Inspiration Award: Cypher at the Columbia Public Library Ray Rothenberger Award: Shelter Gardens Striking Structure Award: Columbia Public Library

Finalist: Missouri Credit Union winter 2012 I Inside Columbia’s CEO

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CEO ROUNDTABLE

Talk of the town A Prestigious Group Of Community Leaders Tackles Columbia’s Most Pressing Issues by SANDY SELBY photos by L.G. PATTERSON

CEO Roundtable participants met in the conference room of the new Inside Columbia office and enjoyed a lunch prepared by Chef Mike Odette of Sycamore.

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f Columbia put together a think tank to puzzle out the city’s stickiest issues, it would look a lot like the group that gathered in the new offices of Inside Columbia’s CEO on Dec. 1. Fifteen local business and community leaders came together for a delicious lunch prepared by Sycamore’s Chef Mike Odette, and a rapid-fire discussion led by Inside Columbia’s CEO Publisher Fred Parry.

The Year In Review The discussion began with a glance back at 2011. Parry asked for an end-of-year assessment of Columbia’s economic health. Business owner and Regional Economic Development Inc. Chairman Dave Griggs

admitted, “2011 was not quite as good as I predicted it would be.” He is encouraged, however, by the buying trends he’s seeing at Dave Griggs’ Flooring America. “The thing that’s most impressive to me is that consumers are actually buying products and that speaks well to all of us because we are all, directly or indirectly, driven by the consumer making purchases.” For many of Griggs’ customers, those purchases have been a long time coming. “When we install a floor, we send out a survey and one of the questions we ask is: How long ago did you buy a floor? It’s amazing how long people waited to purchase a floor.” MFA Oil President Jerry Taylor is seeing a similar trend in his business.

“We’re partners with Big O Tires, which is owned by Sumitomo, the largest tire distributor in the world. One of the indicators we follow is when somebody buys a set of tires and leaves the old tires; we measure how much tread is on those tires so we can tell how long people waited. As of this morning’s phone call, we are at a number that has never existed in that measurement. People are waiting longer to buy that one product than they ever have before.” Accountant Bob Gerding classifies 2011 as “a flat to improving year.” He has observed businesses becoming more conservative in their business practices. “I think they’re holding the line on spending and new investment. I do sense a kind of winter 2012 I Inside Columbia’s CEO

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CEO rOundtablE deferred buying urge, but I don’t know if it will happen in 2012.” Gerding said there seems to be a nervous “wait and see” attitude among business owners about what moves the state and federal government will make. Columbia Insurance Group’s incoming CEO Gary Thompson agreed. “I think it creates a whole lot of uncertainty that has everybody just sitting on the sidelines waiting to see how this shakes out.” Randy Coil of Coil Construction said his business has changed dramatically since 2006, when about 80 percent of his construction projects involved retail businesses. “By 2011, that’s probably less than 10 percent of our business. However, we’re starting to see retail creep up a little

bit. Most of our business now has gone from new construction to more additions and renovations, primarily in health care and offices. There is some pent-up demand that people have to make some moves, and we’ve seen them come in and check that out. But a lot of people are still waiting for that big move.” Chamber of Commerce President Don Laird was among the most optimistic at the table. “I think it’s a really exciting time,” he said. “I feel very good about it — everything from conference alignment to businesses looking to open. I think we’ve got a solid downtown and certainly our retail side seems to be doing OK.” City Manager Mike Matthes was also looking on the bright side, and with good

reason — he’s seen the sales tax figures for 2011. “In 2011, it’s up three times over what we hoped for. We budgeted for a 2 percent increase and it looks like it’s going to be more than 6 percent. That’s a good thing for the city, obviously, but it’s a really good thing for the community. What we haven’t done yet is tweeze out which industry that is. We’re pretty sure it’s not spread evenly across everything and we’re digging into those numbers now.”

The LOnG vIew Parry asked some long-term Columbia business people to assess Columbia’s economic evolution over the last decade. Bob Pugh, CEO of MBS Textbook Exchange, said that a much-hailed

CEO Roundtable Participants TOM aTkInS

President tom Atkins investments

ranDY COIL

PauL LanD

Principal/Owner Plaza Commercial realty

BOB GerDInG

DIanne LYnCh

Dave GrIGGS

President Dave Griggs’ Flooring America

ChrIS keLLY Missouri State representative

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President Columbia Chamber of Commerce

President Coil Construction

Principal Gerding, Korte & Chitwood

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BOB PuGh

CeO MBS textbook exchange

BILLY SaPP

Developer Club at Old Hawthorne

President Stephens College

kurT SChaeFer

MIke MaTTheS

JerrY TaYLOr

GeOrGe PFenenGer

GarY ThOMPSOn

City Manager City of Columbia

President & CeO Socket

Missouri State Senator

President MFA Oil

incoming CeO Columbia insurance Group


newcomer to Columbia’s economy has presented something of a challenge for his business. “IBM. We’ve lost some of our middle-skilled customer support people, technically trained, and it’s bringing our costs up. We’ve had to make moves to protect the skilled positions.” Pugh says there’s no shortage of candidates for the entry-level positions at MBS, and the company is seeing older applicants and workers who are seeking second jobs. The company also hires a lot of immigrants and refugees, and employs people from 34 different countries. But he is dismayed that local high school graduates seem ill-prepared for the world of work and often score poorly on the company’s simple pre-employment test. “So many kids graduate from the public school system and are not prepared to work anywhere,” he said. It’s not just education, according to Socket’s George Pfenenger. It’s mindset. “Once people are in our organization, I really have no idea what education background they had,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you what degree any of our executive staff has. Skill is important in a particular area, but in our industry, people who have been there a long time largely aren’t doing anything close to what they were doing when they started with us. So it comes back to mindset and things like work ethic and willingness to take risks. I don’t want to downplay the importance of that piece of paper because I think it is important, but absent mindset, I don’t care about skill set.” Taylor believes Columbia has weathered the recession far better than other communities in the state. “When you see the economy contract, an awful lot of people who live in rural areas who are not property owners or producers — they’re laborers and workforce — those people get really, really hurt. Consequently, southern Missouri has been hard hit. Columbia has acted more like a large city, insulated. All indicators that we see say that, at best, this is a very divided economy, and that the people we do business with are having a real hard time.” Paul Land specializes in commercial real estate and has seen Columbia at the best of times and worst of times. He winter 2012 I Inside Columbia’s CEO

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CEO ROUNDTABLE

At top, business owner and former University of Missouri Curator Tom Atkins (center) is concerned that, too often, the city and state take the university for granted. Above, City Manager Mike Matthes (on right) fields questions about the long-term viability of Columbia’s airport. thinks the city is beginning to move out of its commercial real estate inertia. He does find it shocking, though, that so many of the properties he’s selling now — five out of nine current contracts — are bankowned properties. “But Columbia fares far better than some other Midwestern communities,” Land said. “And we’ve had places fill up rather than holding occupancy levels stagnant or going backward. That’s 46

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encouraging because it’s taken a lot of flexibility — shorter terms, less rent — but it’s keeping businesses open.” It’s not all good news. “Land prices have cut in half, or maybe worse,” he said. “Any investors who are willing to come off the sideline are only looking at investment property, only things that have income.”

Words For The President With the University of Missouri on the

verge of naming its new president, the roundtable participants had some helpful advice to share with the newbie. “His or her top priority, I hope, will be continuing to protect, defend, support the quality of education at the University of Missouri,” said Stephens College President Dianne Lynch. But she admits that won’t be easy. “The higher education landscape is facing a perfect storm. The landscape of higher education is shifting beneath our feet and the challenges are going to be enormous. Distance learning, for example. I can make the argument effectively that my students have a very different learning experience at Stephens College that they cannot replace with a computer online. It’s very difficult to make that argument with freshmen at the university when there are 500 or 600 students in lectures, because they’re already distance learning. Why should that have to be in that lecture hall? What does seat time mean? All those metrics are going to become pressing. The new leader of the university is going to be looking out on a landscape that asks and demands a whole new set of questions and answers.” “I think Dianne said a really important thing when she used the word ‘quality,’ ” said state Rep. Chris Kelly. “Politicians always want to talk about access to higher education, but the question becomes: Access to what? The university right now is doing a fantastic job with enrollment, but it’s also eating us up. It just doesn’t have the money it needs to support the kind of really complex, important research that’s going on there. We’ve got to have more money for the university.” Business owner and former University of Missouri Curator Tom Atkins says the days of “town and gown” are behind us. “We’ve got to work with the university,” he said. “The university is willing to work and has been working very well with the community and the largest organization represented on the Chamber of Commerce is the University of Missouri. Too many people take it for granted and we cannot take our assets for granted. We have all kinds of opportunities to make this town even better than it is, and we’ve


got places we could do better, but the university is key.” “The No. 1 cheerleader for the University of Missouri” — that’s how state Sen. Kurt Schaefer describes the job of the incoming president. “You’re not there to carry anybody’s water except the university and you’ve got to call it like you see it.” Schaefer shared some dire predictions for the state’s budget in 2013, when increased federal mandates coupled with the loss of $400 million in one-time federal money will mean even more cuts for education. “Whether it’s the governor or the General Assembly, when someone is not supportive of the university, the president needs to call it like they see it.”

“So many kids graduate from the public school system and are not prepared to work anywhere.” ­— Bob Pugh Taylor worries that some of the university’s best programs could fall victim to the budget squeeze, including the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, or FAPRI. “It is a premier research unit at the University of Missouri that is in dire threat right now. The research that is done here is counted on by all states. FAPRI is literally on its last legs. They’ve lost three of their top researchers and they cannot get their projects done. I think we’re at the point of taking the muscle off the bone. You’re no longer dealing with just the fat.”

Now Boarding Thompson broached the subject of Columbia’s airport, where passenger service is down to just two flights a day. Parry asked the group if guaranteed seats from the major institutions and companies in Columbia would be an option that might preserve quality air service for the city. “We’ve had, in this past year, the opportunity to create probably 500 good jobs in our community that aren’t here because of the airport in both cases,” Griggs said. “People need to get their people to Columbia. We’re going to have winter 2012 I Inside Columbia’s CEO

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CEO ROUNDTABLE

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer (in purple tie on left) predicts that fiscal year 2013 will be a difficult one for the state of Missouri as the Legislature struggles with an increase in unfunded federal mandates. to spend the money to get the flights in here and make a significant contribution locally to infrastructure and the terminal. If we get the service, we’ll have the passengers.” City Manager Matthes pointed out that progress is already underway. “We’re spending $35 million right now to improve the airport. The taxiways are getting rebuilt, and the off-ramp on the highway. That doesn’t bring in new planes but that’s important. You have to have the gates to get the planes because the point is we want to have more than one plane at a time on the ground. I feel very confident we can add destinations, whether it’s Dallas or Chicago or Denver or somewhere, but the terminal is the key piece and that’s $14 million we don’t have today.” Coil believes there needs to be a cultural shift in perception of the airport. “There needs to be some education about it,” he says. “We need to convince people that the airport is a good idea.” 48

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“Everybody at this table is going to be asked about seed guarantee money,” Gerding said,” and I think until the university and business community step up and provide some revenue guarantee for these airlines, I don’t think they’re going to talk to us a whole lot. I think that conversation is coming and we need to be ready for it. It’s going to be a pretty big number if we’re going to attract these airlines. If we don’t, I think we’re going to be at zero flights.” The timing may be right to approach the business community, according to Thompson, who points out that “you can’t fly hardly anywhere out of St. Louis anymore, and it’s no picnic driving up and down I-70. It’s becoming more dangerous, more crowded, and obviously we know about fuel prices.”

Parting Thoughts Land took the opportunity to praise Columbia’s leadership. “I want to thank the mayor and our city manager,” he said.

“I think they brought a real nice business attitude to the city, and they’re taking on real issues now and not hiding behind things that don’t make a difference to our community.” But Matthes had little time to bask in the glow of that praise as Taylor offered his perspective. “I’d like to see a continued effort on the part of the city to somehow analyze vendors who pay taxes versus people who come into our community and make bids and contribute nothing,” Taylor said. “I know the city went on a campaign to get people to buy locally. The city is pathetic at it. You’re not practicing what you preach and you’re placing no value on something value should be placed on.” “How was that honeymoon, Mike?” Parry asked the new city manager. “I’m feeling the love,” Matthes said. This CEO Roundtable was sponsored by Auto Owners Insurance and Beckett Taylor Insurance Agency.


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EntrEprEnEurial spirit

Reprise a Familiar name returns To The retail Music Scene by kaThY CaSTeeL photos by L.G. PaTTerSOn

rank Hennessy just can’t retire. “I’m not old enough,” says the 78-year-old master piano technician. That’s music to the ears of midMissouri pianists who have felt a void ever since Hennessy closed his Columbia music shop, Hennessy & Sons, in 2010. A year and a half later, the entrepreneur is back in business; Hennessy Piano Shop celebrated its grand opening in November in its new location next to Hazel Kinder’s Lighthouse Theater. The shop sells Hailun pianos exclusively, in addition to Hennessy’s renowned tuning and restoration services. Hennessy is ready to welcome past and future customers. “When customers walk in the store,” he says, “they’re going to feel and see and hear pianos.” ///////

Frank Hennessy

Chances are, those customers walking through the door have traveled a long way for such a sensory opportunity. Hennessy’s expertise and long record in retail sales have built a reputation throughout the Midwest; his previous Columbia store enjoyed a market reach from Chicago to Dallas. “No one could touch us,” he says. “We offered exceptional quality in our products without the high-pressure sales tactics. I always say, ‘If the customers found the front door once, they’ll find it again.’ ” And find it they have. The 750-squarefoot showroom of the new Hennessy Piano Shop was practically bursting at the winter 2012 i InsIde ColumbIa’s CEO

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entrepreneurial spirit seams the weekend before Thanksgiving as more than 100 guests milled around the pianos at the grand opening. Kinder, whose husband Steve custom-built the piano shop, scheduled special events at her music theater next door to coordinate with the opening. Hennessy chatted up the curious as he extolled the virtues of Hailun pianos. “All selling is,” he says, “is a conversation.” It’s been a long conversation for Hennessy. He grew up in Springfield, Ohio, nurturing twin passions of golf and music. After graduation from high school, he hired on as the instrumental music teacher at his alma mater, and at age 18 became the band director the next year. A brief stint in the U.S. Air Force in 1953 — long enough to attend the Air Force School of Music — ended after 10 months when he was discharged because he stutters.

“When Jerry Hauer asked me to head up his store’s piano sales department, I told him, ‘I can spell salesman — that’s all I know about sales. And I still stutter.’ ” He smiles at the memory of his Air Force aptitude test. “The tester told me, ‘Son, you’ll never have to do anything mechanical in your life.’ ” The laughter comes quickly from this master technician who has tuned or restored nearly every piano model on the market. “Back then, I didn’t know the difference between a screwdriver and a chisel,” he says. Hennessy turned his attention to higher education, enrolling at the University of Dayton and majoring in music education. Three semesters into his college career, his old nemesis raised its ugly head again. “They called me in and told me the state of Ohio would never give me a teaching certificate because of my stutter,” he recalls. He switched his major to music composition and joined the school’s golf team, graduating fifth in a class of 500. 52

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entrepreneurial spirit He found work at Fitzsimmons Piano & Organ Co. in Dayton and later became a piano technician for the university. A surprising job offer from Dayton’s Hauer Music Co., one of the largest music stores in the country, came in 1967. Ten years earlier, Hennessy had applied for a job teaching the saxophone at Hauer, once again losing out with his stutter. “When Jerry Hauer asked me to head

up his store’s piano sales department, I told him, ‘I can spell salesman — that’s all I know about sales. And I still stutter.’ ” Undeterred, Hauer had a ready comeback: “I can hire all the smooth talkers I want — the problem is when they open their mouths, they don’t know what they’re talking about.” Hennessy did know his subject. “When I went into retail, I knew zero about sales,

but I knew the music end,” he says. He learned the sales business by listening to tapes. By 1971, Hauer had become one of the largest Yamaha piano dealers in the country. The next year, Hennessy moved to St. Louis, hired to teach the sales staff how to talk to customers about Yamaha pianos at Hamilton Music’s five stores. Sales improved 610 percent in six months, he says. After three years, the entrepreneur bug bit. He moved to Columbia and opened his own business, Crossroads West Music Center, in the strip mall at West Broadway and Stadium Boulevard. Why CoMo? “I did my homework,” he says with a satisfied smile. “In 1973, Columbia was one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.” The store’s location then moved several times between Biscayne Mall and the Broadway Shopping Center. A family business that included wife Diane and sons Kevin and Sean, it eventually was renamed Hennessy & Sons Music; in 1989, the business settled in at Broadway Shopping Center. For the next 21 years there, Hennessy and his 14 employees sold new and used musical instruments — everything but drums — from the 2,250-square-foot facility as the area dealer for Yamaha, Pearl River, Charles Walter, Baldwin, Beckstein and Hailun. He tuned instruments, and reconditioned and restored pianos; his most complex restoration was an 1865 Steinway grand. Six instructors offered lessons in piano, keyboard, guitar and bass in the five teaching rooms. All but one of the pianos at the University of Missouri came from his store; he also served as concert technician for Jesse Auditorium for five years. ///////

Hennessy’s sales philosophy focused on the customer experience. “He was always telling us to be nice — make the customer happy,” says former employee Andrew Weir, director of operations at Columbia Academy of Music. “If you make the customer happy, they will come back.” Hennessy saw no need for high54

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pressure sales tactics. “We never squeezed,” he says. “It’s stupid to squeeze.” He was confident in his products and the demand they generated. “There’s no such thing as a customer ‘just looking,’  ” he says. “There’s a hair of interest somewhere.” Hennessy arranged a seating area at the entry to the store with comfortable tables and chairs where customers could sit and take a load off. “My concept was to give people time to sit down, relax and talk because when someone opened the door, they could carry on a good conversation,” he says. The casual, low-key approach was not always popular with manufacturers, but, Hennessy notes, “They could not argue with sales.” His management style was similarly low-key. “He was one of the nicest people to work with,” Weir says. “He was the boss because he was the owner, but it was never like that with him.” As a businessman, “Frank was, above all, fair,” says former office manager Sharyn Kropp, who is helping Hennessy set up his new enterprise. “He told us all, many times, to treat every customer with respect, to never judge a customer by appearances. He didn’t want a customer to find out from a friend or neighbor that they had paid less for the same instrument, so he put a ‘fair price’ card on every instrument in the first place, and didn’t bargain. He knew that many of his customers came from bargaining cultures, so he would bring up his concept of a fair price, and the customers would understand that at Hennessy & Sons Music, ‘fair’ was the way to operate; they didn’t need to bargain.” Wes Wingate calls him “the perfect manager.” “Frank was the boss, but he very rarely interfered with our lessons,” says the former Hennessy instructor who now owns Columbia Academy of Music and The Bridge. “I have never met — much less worked with — anyone who is more knowledgeable about pianos than Frank Hennessy. And I don’t suspect I ever will.” Weir resorts to pop culture superlatives to describe his former boss’s winter 2012 I Inside Columbia’s CEO

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entrepreneurial spirit technical skills. “Frank is the Indiana Jones of piano restoration. He made it seem like they should be in a museum because he cared so much about them.” ///////

Were it not for the 2008 recession and contraction in the financial industry, Hennessy & Sons Music might still be

in business at 1729 W. Broadway. But by 2009, inventory financing had all but dried up and Hennessy made the unhappy decision to close the store that June. An auction did not go as well as expected, and he ended up at Hazel Kinder’s Lighthouse Theater, seeking a place to store tools and equipment. “Hazel told me her husband wanted to talk to me. ‘Not this week,’ I said.

What I didn’t know was Steve Kinder is a civil engineer. When we finally got together a few weeks later, he made his pitch to build a new shop for me on the Lighthouse property. And that’s why I’m here,” he adds with a sweep of his arm to the front window. “The interstate … location, location, location!” Kinder was only too happy to work with the man she calls “Mr. Piano.” Hennessy sold her a piano when she opened her theater in 2005. “I visited his store often, playing his pianos because they have a certain sound that other pianos don’t have,” she says. “He’s such a kind and generous man. He has donated a great deal to Columbia — not only pianos but his talents as well. I saw him one day and he looked so sad I could hardly stand it. He’d been searching for a new business place in Columbia, but just couldn’t find what he was looking for and it sounded like he was giving up on his dream.” Hennessy agreed to let Steve Kinder custom-build a shop that he would rent from the Kinders. Construction began in October 2010 and finished the next April. “Working with Frank was easy,” says Steve Kinder. “He had special needs for lots of open space, climate controls for the pianos, and some special lighting to show off the pianos, plus a work and storage area. He’d come out every once in a while and say ‘I like it … I really like it!’ ” ///////

Hennessy delights in demonstrating the intricacies of the products he sells. “Look at this,” he says as the self-closing keyboard cover silently glides shut on a Hailun upright. “That’s craftsmanship!” he whispers, eyes a-twinkle. Hailun was the one piano franchise Hennessy retained when he liquidated his previous inventory. Produced by the only privately owned piano manufacturer in China, it is an instrument of unparalleled quality at an incredibly low price, he says. Hailun pianos became available in the United States in 2007. That’s when Hennessy first spotted one at a trade show and played some chords on it. “Have you ever tried to keep a straight 56

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Hennessy Piano Shop 3077 Lighthouse Lane (Interstate 70 East, Exit 137) 573-356-7556 Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays & Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays Tuning, repair and restoration service available Monday through Wednesday

face when you want to say ‘Wow!’?” he asks. “Then I saw the price list and my eyeballs had to get larger.” Labor is inexpensive in China, but Hailun pays its craftsmen a higher wage for their skills and treats them well, Hennessy says. “Every part in the piano is overkill,” he says. “All umpteen thousand.” He ordered one piano at that 2007 trade show. When the first one arrived, he took his customary week preparing it and then put it in the showroom one morning. It sold by 5 p.m. “So then I ordered two, and kept on selling them,” he says. By 2009, sales had pushed Hennessy & Sons to the top as the largest institutional dealer of Hailun pianos in the country. It is the only piano he sells at Hennessy Piano Shop. And like his singular franchise list, Hennessy is the sole principal of this oneman family business. His sons have gone on to successful music careers of their own and his former wife is now a church music director in Florida. The solo nature of this enterprise does not faze him. “I’ve done this before,” he says. “I don’t think I’ve forgotten how.” winter 2012 I Inside Columbia’s CEO

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DIVIDENDS

luxury living

Status Symbols

fur

Whether you opt for oh-soconvincing faux or the real deal, you’ll be at the height of style this season when you wrap yourself in fur. Fur coats and jackets remain popular, but you’ll also find head-turning fur hats, handbags and fur-dazzled shoes. Looking for a new take on an old classic? Try a fur garment that has been dyed with this season’s hottest colors. Who says fox has to be red? Why not electric blue? How about a mink in pink? Perhaps you’d prefer this dip-dyed purple number from Prabal Gurung?

You don’t have to be named Kardashian to be on top of the trends. Here are a few of this year’s must-haves for the rich and famous, many of which don’t require you to be either. by SANDY SELBY

adventure vacations good wine

Recession or not, the true oenophile scoffs at budget wines. It’s all about quality and, for those lucky enough to have a cellar, investment potential. The U.S. wine industry, like most industries, suffered a slump in 2008 and 2009, but wine enjoyed a robust rebound in 2010. Domestic wine sales were up by 7 percent over the previous year, and Americans drank more wine than the French for the first time since people began keeping track of such things. There are still wine bargains to be found, but money is no object for the astute collector, such as the one who spent $539,280 at a Hong Kong auction for a 300-bottle collection of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. For a mere $1,797.60 per bottle, the buyer came away with some vino that is considerably more impressive than the recession-friendly Two-Buck Chuck.

luxury baby strollers

Celeb offspring wouldn’t be seen in just any old baby stroller. It’s high-end or nothing for the likes of Baby Affleck and the littlest Jolie-Pitts. Does your baby deserve anything less? High-dollar, high-performance strollers like those manufactured by Bugaboo and Stokke keep the infant heiress safe while heightening her sense of security and increasing her engagement with her environment. That’s a lot to ask from a baby stroller, but at prices that start around $1,000, it’s perfectly reasonable to have high expectations. 58

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There’s nothing wrong with a nice hotel and a sightseeing tour of Paris, but you could be bicycling through Tuscany, walking in Darwin’s footsteps alongside a naturalist on the Galapagos Islands, or praying with monks in Tibet. Adventure vacations are growing in popularity and offering daring tourists access to some of the most remote places on earth, including Antarctica, the African wilderness, and the dark depths of the ocean. Your travel agent can help you find an adventure trip that fits your schedule and interests, and your friends will be begging for a chance to watch your vacation slide show.

parkas

Yes, parkas. “Northern Exposure” made bulky cold-weather gear hot in the ‘90s. This year, parkas were the fashion-show stars on the runways of New York. The new styles retain all the warmth of their predecessors but without the shapeless bulk. They’re versatile, colorful and sometimes even feature bold prints, like this Fashion Week sensation from Thakoon.


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diVidEnds

luxury living

stylE pOints Accessories And Gadgets Fit For The Sophisticated CEO

1. Adajio’s tungsten carbide watches are designed to last a lifetime. The scratchresistant surface and permanent polish give this watch a brilliant luster that will never fade. Available at KT Diamond Jewelers ($780)

by CarOLYn PreuL

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2. A contemporary brown leather briefcase provides plenty of room for a laptop and office gadgets. Made from fine Venetian leather, Koffer accessories are specially treated to retain a soft texture and matte finish that will only look better with use. Available at Binghams ($395)

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3. The most sophisticated of men’s accessories, cufflinks impart style into an everyday dress shirt. This set of round black onyx and sterling silver cuff links also includes four tuxedo shirt studs, perfect for the next charity gala. Available at McAdams’ ltd. ($549)

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4. Stay connected with the Toshiba Thrive Tablet. The 10-inch lED-backlit tablet is perfect for browsing the Web and the full-size ports make it easy to transfer data with other electronics. Available at Radio Shack ($399.99) 5. Jawbone Up wristband and iphone application work in sync to monitor physical activity, sleep patterns and meals. The motion-sensored technology is sure to keep even the busiest CEO on track. Available at store.jawbone.com ($99.99)

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DIVIDENDS

networking

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phat guys open

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Inside Columbia’s Phat Guys hosted their second annual Phat Guys Open on Oct. 10 at LA Nickell Golf Course. The 4-person scramble attracted more than 20 teams to compete with Bob Pugh taking the first swing. Golfers enjoyed a perfect day for golf along with the company of the MO-X models, barbecue and bar service. Proceeds from the tournament benefited the Sol House of the Rainbow House. (Photos by Carolyn Preul)

1. Ray Hiatt and Terry Durnil 2. Mike Wright, Larry Schuster and Kurt Schaefer 3. Bob Pugh 4. Tony Hoffman, Amy Hay, Rick Robertson and Dennis Goettel 5. Tom Andes, James Carter and Ken Kehner 6. Jake Jacobson and Cindy Nichols 7. Jake Taylor and Matt Beckett

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ADVERTISING INDEX Beckett & Taylor Insurance.......................49,64 Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar........................... 55 Boone County National Bank............................2 Bowers Chiropractic.........................................42 Bucket Media....................................................... 13 Cancer Research Center.................................. 59 Central Trust........................................................17 City of Columbia Water & Light.................... 53 Coil Construction...............................................17 Columbia Country Club................................... 59 Columbia Strength & Conditioning...............47 Columbia Turf.....................................................62 Command Security...........................................47 Commerce Bank................................................ 67 CORE.....................................................................21 Creative Surroundings......................................42 D&H Drugstore.................................................... 6 D&M Sound.......................................................... 4 Florassentials...................................................... 55 Gary B. Robinson Jewelers.............................. 59 Harper, Evans, Wade and Netemeyer...........15 Hawthorn Bank..................................................68 Image Technologies.............................................3 Inside Columbia Culinary Adventures............19 KT Diamond Jewelers...................................... 59 Landmark Bank....................................................11 Les Bourgeois Vineyards.................................. 13 Manor Metal Roofing........................................61 MayeCreate........................................................ 53 Miller, Bales and Cunninghams.....................54 Moresource.........................................................56 MU Health Care................................................... 8 Rusk Rehabilitation Center..............................19 Sandler Training..................................................61 Schuster Financial Services..............................19 Shelter Office Plaza..............................................5 Smart Business Products..................................15 Steve Twitchell Productions............................62 Stifel Nicholaus..................................................45 Suit Yourself........................................................50 The Gathering Place.........................................45 The Upper Crust................................................ 59 Tiger Court Reporting....................................... 57 UMB Bank..............................................................7 University Club....................................................15 Waddell & Reed................................................. 57 Wilkerson & Reynolds...................................... 53 Williams Keepers..............................................50 64

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Solving The Airport Problem

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f you’ve been paying close believe that cities such as Columbia can attention to the chatter among support the capacity these new jets will the movers and shakers in require. Columbia’s business community, We’ve had a stellar record of filling the you’re hearing the type of comments heard smaller jets, but still the vast majority of earlier this month at our CEO Roundtable mid-Missouri air travelers are choosing luncheon. The top issue on the minds the tried-and-true route of flying in of local business leaders and elected and out of major airports in Kansas officials alike is the future of Columbia City and St. Louis. It seems that most Regional Airport. For some it may seem business and leisure travelers don’t find that for every step forward we take with the convenience of flying in and out of our airport, something comes along and Columbia to be compelling enough to give moves us two steps back. That’s definitely our local airport another chance. There’s the case with two recent no doubt that flying out of decisions made by Delta these major hubs offers a bit Air Lines. more flexibility, competitive Delta has eliminated its pricing and reliability. midday flight in and out Amazingly, many of Columbia. Motivated travelers still have terrible by economic realities, that memories of delayed and move essentially cuts 100 canceled flights as well passenger transactions as the horrible customer from our daily count. service associated with Delta claims the move isn’t American Eagle, the necessarily permanent; airline that formerly however, more bad news served Columbia through “It seems that followed on the heels of American Airlines in St. history always this announcement. Louis. repeats itself The escalating costs It seems that history when it comes of fuel are causing airline always repeats itself when officials to rethink the it comes to our airport. to our airport.” efficiency of their fleet Unfortunately, the clock is – Fred Parry of airplanes. That’s bad again ticking and there’s news for mid-Missouri as little time to make a the likelihood grows that the commuter compelling case to save our airport from planes currently serving Columbia losing commercial service. An airport Regional will be eliminated from Delta’s consultant claims that Columbia will fleet sooner rather than later. Delta is need a volume of 150,000 enplanements switching up to 100-passenger jets that to appease airline partners, far above our are nearly twice the size of the planes current level of 40,000. currently serving Columbia. Therein lies The truth is that if just a fraction of our great dilemma. Airline analysts don’t mid-Missourians currently using airports

in Kansas City and St. Louis switched and gave Columbia Regional another try, we could fill three or four 100-passenger jets today. Convincing Delta Air Lines or any other airline of this possibility will take a monumental effort. Our best option right now is to rally the troops and offer a guarantee to airlines that area businesses and institutions will buy a minimum number of seats each year. That would mean that the university, state government and all major employers in the region take greater control of their travel departments and pool their resources to make commercial air service viable in Columbia. There will be resistance, but a twisted arm here and there is in order to put our best foot forward. It can be done. Perhaps a field trip to Bloomington, Ill., is in order. Several years ago, community leaders there took a risk and made a significant investment in their local airport. Today, the three-gate terminal in Bloomington serves 500,000 passenger enplanements annually. This happens in spite of the city’s location of less than 130 miles from Chicago, roughly the distance of Columbia to either St. Louis or Kansas City. Columbia and Bloomington have many other similarities but many believe that circumstances and conditions are more favorable for Columbia. Let’s borrow a lesson from Bloomington’s playbook and give it our best college try. The future vitality of our community depends on a strong, healthy airport with commercial air service to several regional hubs. It’s time to pool our efforts and put this lingering problem behind us. Columbia can do better. winter 2012 I Inside Columbia’s CEO

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CLOSING QUOTES

What Columbia’s Business People And Community Leaders Are Saying “Forsee ought to be the role model. Forsee was not afraid to break out of the nambypamby gray language that university people sometimes use.”

— State Rep. Chris Kelly during Inside Columbia’s CEO Roundtable on what the University of Missouri should look for in its next president

“You work so long to learn that, basically, experience is not the best teacher. You can’t afford the tuition — it takes too long.” — Frank Hennessy, longtime music retailer and owner of Hennessy Piano Shop

“You run the risk of sending a strong message to the business community that we are unfriendly to business.”

— Outgoing Missouri Director of Economic Development David Kerr on why state lawmakers should not tighten economic development policy in light of the failure of the Mamtek project in Moberly

“This culture stuff between the Midwest and the Southeast is way overdone … we have more Midwesterners in Florida than you do up here right now.” — University of Florida President Bernie Machen, chairman of the SEC board of presidents and chancellors, at the Nov. 6 press conference where Mizzou announced it is leaving the Big 12 to join the Southeastern Conference

“Attracting jobs is the key to keeping everybody. My grandchildren are here. I don’t want to see them go away and live in another town.” — Developer Billy Sapp during Inside Columbia’s CEO Roundtable on the No. 1 economic priority for Columbia in 2012

“Mike Matthes, your honeymoon is over. Why haven’t you fixed the airport?” — Moderator and Inside Columbia’s CEO Publisher Fred Parry during the CEO Roundtable, addressing Columbia’s city manager 66

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