State recognizes Missouri businesses, organizations and economic development leaders at 2014 Governor’s Conference on Economic Development

September 5, 2014

LAKE OF THE OZARKS — Gov. Jay Nixon recognized outstanding leaders in business, community engagement and economic development at the 2014 Governor’s Conference on Economic Development at Lake of the Ozarks, September 3-5.

The Zonta Club of St. Louis was presented with the Missouri Women’s Council Award of Distinction for its dedication to advancing the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. Zonta Club is a service organization of executives and professionals, part of the global Zonta International network, which has over 1,200 clubs and members in 67 countries. The organization is active in a number of programs that benefit local and international communities, including financially supporting a number of scholarships and participating in many service and volunteer projects.

The recipient of the Governor’s Career Service in Economic Development Award was James Michael (Mike) Brooks, President of Columbia-based organization REDI (Regional Economic Development, Inc.). Since assuming the role of REDI President in July 2009, Brooks has helped the organization focus its efforts on strengthening the Columbia/Boone County economy through the attraction of new business, the retention and expansion of existing business, and supporting the community’s entrepreneurial efforts. With his wealth of experience in economic development, Mike has achieved many feats during his tenure as President. He has been instrumental in fostering strong business growth in central Missouri, resulting in the creation of many new jobs.

Church & Dwight, Harrisonville, received the Governor’s Innovative Industry Training Award, which recognizes a company that demonstrates outstanding success in workforce training and education. Church & Dwight manufactures and markets a broad range of leading household, personal care, and specialty products. The company partnered with the Metropolitan Community College Institute for Workforce Innovation in Kansas City to develop a customized ‘Church & Dwight’ 2-year Associate of Applied Science:- Business Management degree for production employees at its Harrisonville facility.  Currently, 30 trainees are working toward a degree through this program, and the company has already seen significant benefits in  increased company loyalty, less turnover, and higher morale.

The Governor’s Community/Redevelopment Project of the Year Award was presented to theHarbor Village Community Health & Senior Center in Warsaw for bringing direct, immediate access to quality, affordable care to the Benton County area. This collaborative facility is an integrated, comprehensive health and wellness facility, providing access to physical, oral and mental healthcare, along with educational, nutritional, cultural, and recreational opportunities.

Masterclock, Inc., St. Charles, was the recipient of the Governor’s Exporter of the Year Award for its outstanding export performance. The company, which manufactures a variety of equipment designed to help keep facilities and people synchronized, is experiencing continued growth in export sales, with 39 percent of its year-to-date revenue coming from international buyers. Masterclock now exports to more than 65 countries worldwide.  

The recipient of the Governor’s Minority or Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year Award was NextGen Information Services, Inc., St. Louis. NextGen, a national staffing, recruiting, and consulting firm specializing in IT and Professional Services, partners with businesses ranging from Fortune 500 companies to emerging companies to meet staffing and project management needs. The company has developed innovative programs, including the RAV (Recruit a Veteran) Program and the We Care Initiative, a corporate outreach program designed to support charity, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and scholarship.

Marie Carmichael, Springfield, was presented with the Hawthorn Foundation Volunteer Economic Development Award, which honors a person that has made a significant contribution to enhancing the economy of their community through volunteerism. Carmichael has been actively involved in community service on both the local and statewide level for many years, with her steady leadership earning her placement on numerous boards and commissions. She is currently the owner and operator of Affordable Homes Development Inc., a real estate development company in Springfield that specialized in affordable housing. She is also the current Missouri Partnership Board Secretary, has served as chair of the Missouri Development Finance Board since 2010, and has been a Hawthorn Foundation board member since 2009.

The Governor’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award was presented to Jim Spencer, president of Columbia-based Newsy, for his pioneering work in news industry trends. Newsy is an innovative multisource video news service that is the only company of its kind.  Since its founding six years ago, the company has earned numerous awards, including a National Edward R. Murrow Award, and currently maintains partnership with AOL/Huffington Post, Mashable, and The Weather Channel. In January 2014, Newsy was acquired by the E.W. Scripps Company – an acquisition that will allow it to grow dramatically in the coming years. 

Cerner Corporation, North Kansas City, was presented with the Governor’s Business Project of the Year Award for its continued commitment to invest and expand in Missouri. Cerner is a leading global provider of health care information technologies, whose innovations connect people, information, and systems at approximately 14,000 facilities worldwide. Earlier this year, the company announced that it had completed its purchase of the Three Trails Crossing property in Kansas City, paving the way for a historic company expansion. Cerner’s redevelopment of the more than 230-acre property includes a capital investment of more than $4 billion, and will create more than 15,000 new jobs in the area.

In addition, the Governor recognized a local business participating in the Show-Me Heroes program while also celebrating two milestones in the program’s history. Since the Governor launched the program in 2010, more than 4,000 employers have taken the pledge to actively recruit military veterans for job opportunities when they return from service. To date, those employers have reported the hiring of more than 7,000 military men and women. Employers in the Show-Me Heroes program that hire veterans receive recognition through the Flag of Freedom award. The award includes a flag patch worn by a member of the Missouri National Guard while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Gov. Nixon presented the Flag of Freedom award today to Johnson Controls of Eldon to honor their hiring three veterans after joining the program this spring.

Both veterans and employers can learn more about Show-Me Heroes at

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