EIA: Congratulations Bill and happy 33rd birthday SBJ!

Emily Letterman, Features Editor

There was a grand celebration in Springfield last night.

Friends, family, colleagues and business partners came together at the Ramada Plaza Hotel & Oasis Convention Center to talk, laugh, eat and raise a glass to 14 hardworking companies and organizations across the Ozarks – and one special man.

Bill Foster, CEO of Foster Hospitality Group LLC, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement in Business Award.

As the crowd of more than 200 people stood in his honor, Foster made his way to the stage with a smile on his face and a speech in his hand. Bestowed on 11 men and one woman before him, Foster used his time at the podium not to talk about his journey, but to thank his community. Foster said he was influenced by business leaders such as John Q. Hammons, Jim D. Morris and Jack Stack to name a few.

His words rang out across the crowd, and, in that moment, we were influenced by him.

The evening’s festivities also marked a milestone for the Springfield Business Journal – its 33rd birthday. Moments before donning dresses and suit jackets, SBJ staff sent volume 34 issue No. 1 to press, marking the beginning of another year and another journey through the high, lows, failures and celebrations of Springfield’s business community.

Each day a new business begins and a lifetime’s work is retired, but despite all the changes, one thing will remain the same – SBJ will be there to cover it.

Reporter’s Notebook
Attending my first Economic Impact Awards as an SBJ staff member last night, I wasn’t sure what to expect – but I knew it was going to be something special. The office buzzed with excitement all week as preparations were underway. I bought new heels. It was going to be good.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

As is my quirky reporter custom, I captured the night’s highlights via iPhone photos. The photos are sometimes dark, sometimes grainy, but they have one thing in common – everyone is happy.

President and Chairwoman Dianne Elizabeth Osis chats with guests during the hors d’oeuvres hour. Since founding SBJ in 1980, Osis has been the smiling face of the journal.

President and Chairwoman Dianne Elizabeth Osis chats with guests during the hors d’oeuvres hour. Since founding SBJ in 1980, Osis has been the smiling face of the journal.

No reporter’s notebook would be complete without a food picture. The appetizer bar salsa was amazing. Sadly, I neglected to snap a pic of our delicious prosciutto wrapped chicken dinner. Please forgive the momentary lapse in judgment.

No reporter’s notebook would be complete without a food picture. The appetizer bar salsa was amazing. Sadly, I neglected to snap a pic of our delicious prosciutto wrapped chicken dinner. Please forgive the momentary lapse in judgment.

Past EIA posters line the room like badges of honor.

Past EIA posters line the room like badges of honor.

Despite the fun, there was still work to be done. SBJ photographer Wes Hamilton made his way around the room, camera in hand.

Despite the fun, there was still work to be done. SBJ photographer Wes Hamilton made his way around the room, camera in hand.

Adding a warm glow to the evening, the EIA logo graced the walls above the stage.

Adding a warm glow to the evening, the EIA logo graced the walls above the stage.

Filled with goodies from event sponsors The Bank of Missouri and PILR Technology Services, I couldn’t wait to take my seat.

Filled with goodies from event sponsors The Bank of Missouri and PILR Technology Services, I couldn’t wait to take my seat.

While the SBJ staff table was in the back, I could still see the smiles on each and every honoree who took the stage to accept their awards.

While the SBJ staff table was in the back, I could still see the smiles on each and every honoree who took the stage to accept their awards.

Despite their protests, I managed to wrangle SBJ reporter Brian Brown, left, and Web Editor Geoff Pickle for a quick editorial photo.

Despite their protests, I managed to wrangle SBJ reporter Brian Brown, right, and Web Editor Geoff Pickle for a quick editorial photo.

Pickle played Wizard of Oz during last nights festivities, keeping a watchful eye on all things electronic.

Pickle played Wizard of Oz during last night’s festivities, keeping a watchful eye on all things electronic.

Today, the candles have been extinguished and the tulle is neatly rolled away for another year. While I don’t have the final say in these matters, I vote success all around.

Thanks for making it all possible Springfield.

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