Business in brief: CFO names development VP, Chamber announces business award finalists – News-Leader

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Silva promoted to VP of development at Community Foundation of the Ozarks

Ashley Silva

Ashley Silva, a seven-year veteran of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, is now its vice president of development and philanthropic services. As of March 18, Silva leads the CFO’s team helping donors, nonprofit partners, and professional advisors build charitable resources to improve the quality of life across central and southern Missouri.

Silva joined the CFO in 2017 to help manage its network of more than 50 regional affiliate foundations. She first joined as director of regional engagement, and more recently as assistant vice president of affiliates. Prior to working for the CFO, Silva spent a decade working in community foundation donor relations, corporate philanthropy, and nonprofit fundraising in Dallas, Texas.

A Springfield native, Silva holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and broadcasting from Oklahoma State University and is currently earning a master’s in nonprofit and civic leadership from Drury University. She also holds the designation of Chartered Advisory in Philanthropy from the American College of Financial Services.

City to host Renew Jordan Creek project open house and environmental information meeting April 11

The City of Springfield will host a public open house and environmental information meeting for the Renew Jordan Creek Project on Thursday, April 11, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Missouri State University Brick City Gallery (215 W. Mill St.). Attendees will be able to learn about the upcoming project and the estimated timeline for construction. An informational presentation on the project’s environmental impacts will be given at 5:30 p.m.

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Renew Jordan Creek is a project to “daylight” or uncover 1,100 feet of Jordan Creek and build several bridges downtown. The project area is comprised of two large blocks in the urbanized center of Jordan Valley Park. The area is bordered on the east by Boonville Avenue, Water Street and the railway on the south, Main Avenue on the west, and Mill Street on the north.

The project goals include flood reduction and water quality improvements, pedestrian and connectivity enhancements, sustainable greenspace integration, and sense of place development. Funding will come from a variety of local sources combined with a number of outside grants and loans. As a requirement for utilizing state funding and acquiring required permits, the project team has produced an Environmental Information Document. The team will present information from the document to the public and accept public comment.

Chamber announces 2024 Small Business Award finalists

The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce has announced five area business as finalists for the 2024 W. Curtis Strube Small Business Award, according to a press release. Finalists were selected based on applications covering company history, management philosophy, responses to challenges, innovation in product and service offerings, and contributions to the community.

The finalists for the 2024 W. Curtis Strube Small Business Award are:

  • 417 Magazine
  • Dake Wells Architecture
  • Ireland Architects
  • Ozark Empire Fairgrounds & Event Center
  • Volt Credit Union

Johnson joins Guaranty Bank’s commercial lending team

Jordan Johnson

Guaranty Bank has announced that Jordan Johnson recently joined its commercial banking team as vice president, commercial banking officer.

Johnson began his career as a credit analyst at Guaranty Bank in 2017. In 2020, he joined Legacy Bank and Trust as a credit underwriter and was promoted to a commercial lender in the affordable housing division. Most recently, he served as vice president commercial loan officer for Old Missouri Bank. Johnson is a graduate of Missouri State University.

“We are very excited to welcome Jordan back to Guaranty Bank,” said Becky Scorse, executive vice president chief lending officer. “He is a fantastic community banker, and we look forward to his continued growth and development as he cultivates relationships with area Springfield business owners.”

Atchley awarded Deborah Fellman Spirit Award at Float Balloon Convention

Dena Atchley, owner of Dena the Balloon Lady in Springfield, has been awarded the Deborah Fellman Spirit Award at Float Balloon Convention in Chicago, according to a press release. Atchley started Dena the Balloon Lady in 2008, and she has since become one of the Ozarks’ premier balloon artists. Float is an international balloon convention with more than 900 attendees representing 23 countries. In the spirit of the award, Atchley will go on to South Bend, Indiana, in April to participate in her sixth Big Balloon Build.

The Big Balloon Build is an international balloon event created with more than 150,000 biodegradable balloons. This year, Atchley will work with other artists to create a fully immersive balloon carnival featuring tightrope walkers, a Ferris wheel, clowns, and more, all made out of balloons. Funds from the event will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Michiana.

Atchley was selected from an applicant pool of hundreds for the Big Balloon Build. This year will be her sixth big balloon build.

“I feel privileged to help bring this amazing event to life in south Bend and to make a difference to the lives of children,” Atchley said in the press release.

Silver Dollar City nominated for Best Theme Park in America

Silver Dollar City is nominated for the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice award for “best Theme Park” in America, and the park is hoping for a repeat of last year. The 1880s theme park in Branson previously snagged the recognition in 2023. Fans can now vote at every day on every device through April 22.

In addition to the nomination as Best Theme Park, the park’s Rivertown Ramblers show has been nominated for “Best Theme Park Entertainment.” According to the press release, the show takes the audience on a joyful journey packed with the sounds of Dixieland Jazz — with a unique twist.

Silver Dollar City was chosen as a nominee by a national panel of amusement and theme park experts who partnered with USA Today 10Best editors and additional influencers from across the country.

Missouri S&T alumnus part of India’s lunar landing

This screenshot of a livestream shows the Vikram lunar lander descending to the moon.

Twenty-seven years ago, Radhakant Padhi was working as a national defense scientist in India, and he aspired to earn a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering in the U.S. While searching for the best program, Padhi landed on Missouri University of Science and Technology’s aerospace engineering program.

In August 2023, Padhi — or rather the technology he developed — landed on the moon, according to a press release. He played a significant role in developing the Indian Space Research Organization’s Vikram lunar lander that successfully landed near the moon’s south pole as a part of the Chandrayaan-3 mission last year.

“This shows how a lot can change over time if you work hard and are determined to reach your goals,” Padhi said.

After leaving Missouri S&T in 2003, Padhi was hired as an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, where he previously earned a master’s degree in aerospace engineering. He has continued to work for the institute and has also conducted research with the support of government agencies in India, as well as the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development.  

“We were not born to fly, but we know birds do fly, and hence, things can fly,” said Padhi. “With that knowledge in hand, the next step is to determine how we can make things fly even better.” 

Frazier hired as new southwest Missouri regional director at OATS Transit

Rene Frazier

OATS has announced the appointment of Rene Frazier to its team of regional directors effective March 31. Frazier has been hired as the new Southwest Missouri Regional Director based in Springfield. She will oversee transportation operations in 17 counties across southwest Missouri.

Frazier has been with OATS Transit since 2018, when she joined the team as operations manager in southwest Missouri. The OATS Transit southwest region currently includes three operations managers, 11 staff, and 87 drivers.

Frazier replaces Jeff Robinson, who will retire from the role effective April 10, 2024. Robinson spent 16 years with OATS Transit and announced his retirement last fall. He came to OATS after serving in the U.S. Air Force for more than 27 years.

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