Southern fares well in ’40 under 40s’

Colby Williams & Amye Buckley

When Joplin Business Journal announced the recipients of its 2007 “40 Under 40” Award Missouri Southern was well represented.

Coaches Bart Tatum and Bryce Darnell were recognized at the awards ceremony last Tuesday at the Butcher’s Block Banquet Center. Five Missouri Southern graduates from the Robert W. Plaster School of Business also received awards.

“It was just a nice event and just a nice opportunity to meet other, younger professionals at the area,” Tatum said. “It was a real privilege to be here.”

Tatum, Lions’ head football coach, was honored for his enthusiasm and his achievements, leading Southern to its 3-1 record so far this year.

Darnell, Lions’ head baseball coach, played at Southern and was honored for his commitment to the sport and leadership while coaching at Webb City High School. Darnell said he was honored by the award and to by his association with Southern

Five Southern alumni from the Robert W. Plaster School of Business Administration were also among the honorees.

“Our alumni are recognized not only for work in the community, but for standing out in the community,” said Dr. Brad Kleindl, the dean of the School of Business. “These young people have taken to heart that they need to get involved and not just pick up a paycheck. I think it demonstrates the quality of students we’re putting out right now.”

Southern graduates Deron Burr and Shane Cowger were recognized for their roles in the banking community. Burr, president of the People’s Bank of Seneca was nominated for his focus on customer service. Cowger, president of Arvest Bank in Miami, Okla. is one of the youngest bank presidents in the Arvest system at 33-years-old.

Another Southern recipient of the award, Randy Brownlow, has worked with Joplin Supply Company since 1990, beginning while still a student at Missouri Southern. Brownlow works on community service projects for the company and was nominated as a loyal, hard-working employee.

Michael Gray and Bradford Hodson were nominated for their roles in the finance community. Gray a CPA, CPIM and BKD Partner continues to work with through the partnership of BKD and the Missouri Southern Accounting Club. Vice President of University Advancement at Pittsburg State University, Bradford Hodson saw foundation giving almost double under his leadership from 2003 to 2005.

The “40 Under 40” awards recognizes the most influential 40 people under 40-years-old who have impacted business in the Joplin area in exceptional ways. The business publication world has a tradition of giving these types of awards in most metropolitan areas. This is the first year for the [ITAL]JBJ[ENDITAL] to grant the award.

Area companies nominated individuals based on character, business accomplishments, and community involvement. For the [ITAL]Joplin Business Journal[ENDITAL] response in the business community was larger than expected.

“We were skeptical that we would get enough nominations and that the quality of the people nominated would be nowhere near worthy of the award,” said Phil Graham, associate publisher of [ITAL]JBJ[ENDITAL]. “To our astonishment, we received over 80 nominations and the quality of these people will blow you away!”

In preparation for this event, the [ITAL]JBJ[ENDITAL] read publications from larger cities that gave out similar awards.

“I would stack our crew up against any area,” said Graham. ” It’s just an outstanding group of young people.”

The [ITAL]JBJ[ENDITAL] intends to make this an annual award and has other events coming in the future.