#SBJ4040: 40 movers and shakers, one room, lots of pizzazz

Emily Letterman, Features Editor

Springfield Business Journal 40 Under 40 tickets were a precious commodity in the Ozarks yesterday.

The SBJ office phone didn’t stop ringing all morning, and the office was abuzz with excitement.

By noon, it was a sold out crowd.

As nearly 400 people streamed in the doors of the Ramada Plaza Hotel & Oasis Convention Center for last night’s western-themed event, the building was filled with laughter, cheers and goodwill as the community came together to honor the class of 2014 and support this year’s charity partner, Equi-Librium Therapy Center.

A silent auction loaded with goodies, combined with a passing of the boot for donations and some gentle prodding by emcees Kevin Howard and Liz Delany of Alice 95.5 FM, netted $4,285 for the center.

Congrats to the 2014 class of 40 Under 40.

Congrats to the 2014 class of 40 Under 40.

Reporter’s Notebook

As a disclaimer, I honestly really enjoy every SBJ event. That being said, I love the 40 Under 40 party.

And that’s just it: 40 Under 40 is more than just a networking event – it’s a full-on party. The atmosphere in the room last night was electric, and everybody could feel it.

I’m not sure if it was the energy of this year’s exceptional class, the buzz created on social media – hashtag #SBJ4040 if you want to join in – or the draw of a sold-out crowd, but last night’s event lived up to the hype and then some.

Following this event last year, with great delight I posted my first Reporter’s Notebook blog. A year later, it’s become my SBJ event tradition to recap the night via candid iPhone photos.

So without further ado – I know it’s what everyone clicked for – a behind-the-scenes look at the SBJ 40 Under 40 event via my iPhone.

Thanks to Circulation Director and Events Coordinator Diana Weber the stage of the Oasis Convention Center looked fab.

Note “the boot” for Equi-Librium as Kevin and Liz called it. “Don’t try and pass off one of your stinky boots for the boot,” they teased from stage. #SBJ4040

Note “the boot” for Equi-Librium as Kevin and Liz called it. “Don’t try and pass off one of your stinky boots for the boot,” they teased from stage. #SBJ4040

As always, Springfield Hot Glass created 40 “b-e-a-utiful” awards for last night’s honorees. I’m not gonna lie, I totally want one.

As always, Springfield Hot Glass created 40 “b-e-a-utiful” awards for last night’s honorees. I’m not gonna lie, I totally want one.

Roving emcee and SBJ account executive Valerie Pister was on the mic at the start of the night talking about all the auction goodies.

Roving emcee and SBJ account executive Valerie Pister was on the mic at the start of the night talking about all the auction goodies.

Sadly, I didn’t take anything home from the auction, but that’s good news for Equi-Librium. #moremoneymorehelp

Sadly, I didn’t take anything home from the auction, but that’s good news for Equi-Librium. #moremoneymorehelp

Thanks to the night’s platinum sponsor, employee benefit and risk management specialists Huntleigh McGehee, each honoree walked away with a large blue box. Like me, you’re probably dying to see what was inside.

HM gave each honoree a crystal wine decanter etched with the 40 Under 40 logo. #jealous

HM gave each honoree a crystal wine decanter etched with the 40 Under 40 logo. #jealous

Bandannas and cowboy boots weren’t mandatory dress, but they sure were fun on the tables. #ilovedaisys

Bandannas and cowboy boots weren’t mandatory dress, but they sure were fun on the tables. #ilovedaisys

Here’s the food photo I know everybody has been waiting for. The Oasis offered up a delightful menu of sliders, chicken fingers, mac and cheese, and bourbon-glazed meatballs.

The meatballs were delish.

The meatballs were delish.

That being said, the real star of the food night was the smores bread pudding with caramel rum sauce. I believe I tweeted, “If you aren’t eating this pudding, then you have no reason to live.” Dramatic? Maybe. Ring of truth? Indeed.

It’s real, and it’s fantastic. #wherecanIgetmore

It’s real, and it’s fantastic. #wherecanIgetmore

Leaving the bread pudding behind, the night’s honorees took the stage to cheers from the crowd.

Class of 2014 member Kim Greene rocked a leopard print dress.

Class of 2014 member Kim Greene rocked a leopard print dress.

It wasn’t all fun and no work for SBJ staff. Web Editor Geoff Pickle spent the evening playing Wizard of Oz in the tech booth.

He can see you, but you can’t see him.

He can see you, but you can’t see him.

And SBJ photographer Wes Hamilton went vertical atop a chair in his attempt to wrangle the 40 honorees for a group photo.

I love the wives and mothers below Wes all trying to capture the special moment on their cameras.

I love the wives and mothers below Wes all trying to capture the special moment on their cameras.

Always on the sidelines, my view of the group shot wasn’t nearly as cool.

Always on the sidelines, my view of the group shot wasn’t nearly as cool.

I think my final photo of the night sums up the evening in the way only a selfie could. When honoree and longtime friend Zac Rantz suggested a photo, I replied with the only logical answer. It had to be an Oscar-style selfie. We are attempting to break Oscar host Ellen Degeneres’ retweet record of 2.4 million.

So far, we have five.

Do your part Springfield!

The award looks dangerously close to going up my nose, but I assure you, it’s all camera angles. That’s the risk you run when taking a selfie.

The award looks dangerously close to going up my nose, but I assure you, it’s all camera angles. That’s the risk you run when taking a selfie.

Congratulations again to all 40 of our honorees this year. Each of your many contributions to our community make Springfield a better place to live, work and play.

For more photos from the night’s event, check out our online photo gallery.

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