Dynamic Dozen companies showcase Ozarks’ spirit

Emily Letterman, Features Editor

Walking away from last night’s Springfield Business Journal Dynamic Dozen event, I left with a sense of pride in our community and the feeling everything was going to be OK.

Honoring six individuals and the 12 fastest-growing companies in the Ozarks, the event aims to salute business progress and spurs on healthy competition as we count down to the No. 1 company. But more than the awards, it was the words of the honorees that struck me.

In a recession, growth is rare, but it’s not unheard of. The men and women who took the stage at the DoubleTree Hotel last night know that. They know you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it and they know how hard they worked to achieve their goals.

Springfield First Community Bank President Brian Straughan summed it up best during his acceptance speech saying the buzz words when the bank started in 2008 were “subprime, recession and too-big-to-fail,” but despite it all, the bank has thrived, landing them at No. 4 on this year’s list.

Red Monkey Foods CEO Jeff Brinkhoff offered up an explanation during his No. 3 company acceptance speech – it’s the people.

“Employees are on the wrong side of the balance sheet. They are not an expense, they are an asset,” he said as he introduced and thanked staff members on stage with him.

Brinkhoff stuck a nerve with the audience and with me. Since the recession took hold of America in 2008 things have been bad, but here in the Ozarks, they haven’t been as bad as they could be and it’s because of men like Brinkhoff.

A sense of community and a willingness to help our neighbors are the fabric the Ozarks is made of. Young and old, big and small, rich and poor, we’re all woven together on this journey called life. Numerous factors play into the success or failure of a business and the economy, but it’s Ozarkers ability to love one another that has seen us through the worst of times.

The Dynamic Dozen charity partner, Dig Deep, is a perfect example of Ozarks’ compassion.

When Rob and Julie Neal adopted two boys from Ethiopia, they were ecstatic to bring them home, but they’re compassion didn’t end there. The couple has raised $191,940 so far toward a $228,000 deep-bore well to be built in their son’s village.

That’s Ozarks’ spirit.

Last night’s silent auction, which included a baseball signed by Julie Neal’s brother, actor Brad Pitt, and baseball legend Billy Beane, sold for $1,200.

A small piece of Hollywood, baseball and Ozarks history rolled into one neat package.

A small piece of Hollywood, baseball and Ozarks history rolled into one neat package.

In just one hour, the auction raised $4,785 for the cause with more donations rolling in as the night ended.

That’s Ozarks’ spirit.

This year’s 12 companies who embodied that spirit, and backed it up with revenue and year-to-year percentage growth are:

  • No. 12 – Marlin Network Inc.
  • No. 11 – Superior Rents Inc.
  • No. 10 – JMark Business Solutions Inc.
  • No. 9 – Penmac Staffing Services Inc.
  • No. 8 – Citizens Memorial Healthcare
  • No. 7 – Jack Henry & Associates Inc.
  • No. 6 – CoxHealth
  • No. 5 – Covington Holdings Inc. dba Ashley Furniture HomeStore
  • No. 4 – Springfield First Community Bank
  • No. 3 – Red Monkey Foods
  • No. 2 – DeWitt & Associates Inc.
  • No. 1 – Integrity Pharmacy LLC

When this year’s first and second companies took the stage in anticipation of top honor results, you could tell both were simply happy to be there – a start up pharmacy business and a construction company who managed to thrive, despite everything the economy threw at them.

Employees from Integrity Pharmacy and DeWitt & Associates crowded the stage as emcee Chad Harris announced the No. 1 company.

Employees from Integrity Pharmacy and DeWitt & Associates crowded the stage as emcee Chad Harris announced the No. 1 company.

“2010 was a difficult year and we had to make the decision to cut back or stick it through. The decision was made to stick with our people,” said DeWitt President and CEO Randall Ganz. “We’ve captured new clients, we’ve captured new markets and we are hiring.”

That’s Ozarks’ spirit.

Reporter’s notebook
As is my favorite custom at SBJ events, I couldn’t help but snap a few – dozen – pictures of the evening on my always-handy iPhone.

In addition to silent auction items, Dig Deep also sold these necklaces hand rolled by ladies in the village.

In addition to silent auction items, Dig Deep also sold these necklaces hand rolled by ladies in the village.

The lobby of the DoubleTree was packed to the gills with honorees before the ceremony, and the building’s open architecture provided the perfect backdrop for mingling.

The lobby of the DoubleTree was packed to the gills with honorees before the ceremony, and the building’s open architecture provided the perfect backdrop for mingling.

It wouldn’t be a proper reporter’s notebook if I didn’t take a picture of my food. It was no macaroni in a martini glass ala the 40 Under 40 event, but it was pretty tasty.

It wouldn’t be a proper reporter’s notebook if I didn’t take a picture of my food. It was no macaroni in a martini glass ala the 40 Under 40 event, but it was pretty tasty.

One of my favorite pics of the night, SBJ account executive Karen Ross draws the winning name from Rob and Julie Neal in the Dig Deep raffle.

One of my favorite pics of the night, SBJ account executive Karen Ross draws the winning name from Rob and Julie Neal in the Dig Deep raffle.

For more (professional) photos of last nights events and company group shots, check out our online photo gallery and tag your friends in the SBJ Facebook gallery.

Congratulations again to of our honorees this year. Each of your many contributions to our community makes Springfield a better place to live, work and play.

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