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Welcome new member Logan Aguirre

Jim Conley introduced Logan on June 1.  Her co-sponsor is Lisa Odom.

Logan is publisher/owner of Whitaker Publishing of Springfield, which produces 417 Magazine, 417 Home, 417 Bride and Biz 417.  She joined the company in 2006 after working in New York City and St. Louis in marketing and public relations.  After working in sales, marketing and event planning, she became associate publisher and then president before purchasing the business from her parents, Joan and Gary Whitaker, in September 2020.

Logan is a past chair of the board of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, serves on the national board for the City Regional Magazine Association, and is active on the Friends of SPS Steering Committee.  Other past board experience includes Junior League of Springfield, Springfield Business Development Corporation, Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau Board, Foundation for Springfield Public Schools Advisory Board, Care to Learn Advisory Board, Lost & Found Grief Center Junior Board and CoxHealth Young Professionals Advisory Council.  She is a graduate of Leadership Springfield Class 31.  Folio: Magazine named her a Top Women in Media in the Corporate Visionaries category in 2017 and she is a 2008 Springfield Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree.

Logan earned a Bachelor of Journalism degree at the Mizzou School of Journalism.  She often serves as a speaker and emcee.  Her speech topics include leadership lessons and networking tips.  She’s a big believer in the Great Game of Business.

Logan and her husband of 17 years, Dave, live in east Springfield.  They have a daughter, Lucy, 13, and a son, Cruz, 10, who attend St. Agnes.  In her free time, she enjoys hot yoga classes and boating with her family on Table Rock Lake.
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Lend-a-Hand Award

Past President Lori Barnes Miller presented Springfield Southeast Rotary Club's second Lend-a-Hand Award of 2023 to Jason Flores on May 25.   Jason earned the award for his hard work that resulted in the club becoming a 100% Paul Harris Fellows Club.

Jason joined our club in September 2021.  Despite being relatively new, being the father of three young children, and recently receiving a promotion at Central Trust, he was not intimidated by the challenge of getting all 191 members (as of late 2022) to be Paul Harris Fellows after he became chair of the club’s Rotary Foundation and Benefactor Endowment Committee in July 2022.

Jason wrote many emails, submitted countless forms, made phone calls, and texted members to coordinate donated points.  He submitted all the paperwork for each person to the Rotary Foundation and worked with President Lori Murawski and President-elect Michael Wehrenberg to reach the goal. He then set to work to plan a bigger-than-normal Paul Harris Fellows reception at Highland Springs Country Club on June 1.


Helping students in Mexico create beautiful music

Here is the presentation made by Past President Barbara Lucks at our meeting on May 25, 2023:

You will remember, about this time last year, we were engaged in a project collecting gently used musical instruments to send to a Rotary Club in Delicias, Mexico. The project was a huge success and I’d like to share with you some of the comments and photos from the Delicias Club.

A bit of background – in January, 2022, my long-time personal friend, Dr. Melida Gutierrez, a Professor of Geochemistry at MSU, received a request from the Rotary Club in her home town of Delicias, Mexico. It said: “KINDLY REQUESTING ROTARY CLUB BROTHERS AND SISTERS FROM THE UNITED STATES (LEND) THEIR SUPPORT TO A PROJECT THAT WOULD BENEFIT DEARLY OUR YOUTH IN DELICIAS, MEXICO”.  He goes on – “the Rotary Club of Delicias - No. 6913 - greets you warmly. Our group serves the community of Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico. Our county has a population of 140,000. Our city is young; it turned 88 years old this year. Our club has operated for 84 of those years; it belongs to District 4110. We have 36 members.”

A bit more about the Delicias Club in Melida’s words -- The Delicias Rotary Club members work closely with the new City Mayor and they are implementing arts in everyday life, as a way to offset all the negative (violent) happenings. For example, they put up great Christmas decorations in public parks and offered free music and games (low-cost types of things), and their volunteers dressed as elves and helped children with the swings and slides. Also, farmers were celebrating good crops as this was a rainy year. But these good happenings are in a large part the result of the tireless work from both the local people and other supporters (like the Rotary Club of Springfield-Southeast).

Melida contacted me and asked if I would help reach out to my Club. I said, “of course”! And, after getting everyone’s approval, we started to work on the Delicias Club’s request.  We were able to accept donations of instruments OR donations of cash toward the purchase of refurbished instruments at a discounted price which Palen Music Center had so graciously collected and repaired just for our project. This was a small, quick, easy project with the potential for a big impact on the lives of the students of Delicias.

Again, in Melida’s words: “As you may know, Chihuahua (the northern state bordering with Texas and New Mexico  ) holds the 3rd (sometimes the 2nd) place in violence in Mexico, and the situation is not getting any better. This violence and lack or opportunities is especially hard on young people. To focus on giving a meaningful activity to youth and keep them out of the streets, the Delicias Rotary Club wanted to help the local High-School Preparatoria 20-30 to make their dream of having a Marching Band come true. The High School had a music teacher that knew about marching bands, but they didn;t have musical instruments or money to purchase them. They wanted to see if I could help them find used instruments that are still in relatively good shape. They contacted me to ask in Springfield, Missouri.” she said.

So, for around $5,000, we were able cover the cost of the instruments at Palen and the cost of transportation. The Rotary Club of Springfield – North also participated. Mark Walker offered the services of Transland at a deeply discounted cost to get the instruments to New Mexico, where they were picked up by members of the Delicias club and then delivered on to the school.

We ended up accumulating 22 instruments, thanks to Palen Music Company and donations of club members and even a trumpet from my next-door neighbor! I delivered these to Transland on 8/4 and, thanks to Mark Walker and the folks at Transland, the instruments were picked up in New Mexico on 8/11 and were at the school by September 1.

I received this e-mail:
“This message is to inform you that the 22 instruments that you sent arrived safely in Delicias on September 1, 2022.  As promised, the Rotary Club of Delicias will oversee them to make sure our High School students learn how to play them and participate in our first Marching Band.  Thank you very much for your support to this activity. We will keep you updated on the progress of our Marching Band!”  What a journey!!

So, here are a few photos of some of the students with their instruments.  There also is a photo of Melida receiving an award and club flag and an award for us that she has brought to us. I have given Melida a flag to take back to the Delicias club.

Special thanks go to Past President Lisa Blumenstock for her support (and her saxophone), and to those of you who donated instruments or cash, and another special thanks goes to Mark Walker and Transland – we certainly couldn’t have done this without you! And, finally, although she couldn’t be here today, thank you, to Melida, my dear friend, for bringing us this opportunity!

This is the first high school marching band in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico – made possible by the efforts of our Club –
Thank you !

Thank you KY3 and AdSmith Marketing & Advertising
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Welcome new member Hector Cruz

Hector was introduced on May 18.  His sponsors are Brent Baldwin and Bob Hammerschmidt.

Hector is senior director of development at Evangel University, where he’s worked for 14 years.  He oversees alumni relations and fundraising.

Hector has lived in the Springfield area for 18 years.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership at Evangel.

Hector’s community service includes the Encompass Academy board, the Ozarks Teen Challenge board, the Network Leadership Council, and volunteer work with his church.  He’s a member of Association for Financial Professionals, Certified Fund Raising Executive International, and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Hector and his wife, Eden, live in Ozark and have three children, ages 10, 8 and 6.
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Welcome new member Travis Comfort

Lynette Weatherford introduced him on May 18.  His co-sponsor is Lori Murawski.

Travis is vice president of Rick’s Automotive, where he’s worked his way up since 2009.  He oversees all operations, including personnel, payroll, finances and training.  He previously served as porter, parts manager, service advisor and general manager.

Travis grew up in Independence, Mo., and moved to Springfield 20 years ago to complete his education.  He earned a business degree at Missouri State University. 

Travis’ community service includes Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks, CoxHealth Foundation, Mercy Foundation, OTC Foundation, CASA, Isabell’s House, Ronald McDonald House of the Ozarks, Convoy of Hope, and United Way of the Ozarks, which named him Campaign Manager of the Year in 2022.  He’s a member of Springfield Executive Breakfast Club, the Springfield chapter of Midwest Auto Care Alliance, and the Chamber of Commerce.  He says one of his proudest moments was when Rick’s donated $100,000 for the new
Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Ozarks Technical Community College.

Travis and his wife, Kala, married in 2008.  They live in Nixa and have two sons, ages 14 and 11, who keep them busy with sports, including baseball, basketball, football, and wrestling, which are the same ones in which he participated as a youth.


Welcome new member Jennifer Cotner-Jones

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Bob Hammerschmidt introduced Jennifer on May 4.  Her co-sponsor is Irwin Cohen.

Jennifer has been executive director since April 2019 of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.  She manages the staff and works to increase the orchestra’s income streams.  Previously, she had more than 20 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations, including development, event planning, volunteer recruitment, marketing, and donor relations.  Her past employers include Aaron Sachs & Associates, Ozarks Regional YMCA, American Cancer Society, and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Jennifer has lived in the Ozarks all her life.  She earned a bachelors degree in business at Hollins University in Hollins, Va.  Her volunteer service includes Developmental Center of the Ozarks, and Discovery Garden Montessori School, which she helped found and served as a board president.

Jennifer and her husband, Mark, live in Rogersville and have one daughter.  She enjoys watching science fiction movies, helping her daughter in scholastic hobbies and interests, and playing in her church's bell choir. 
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Welcome new member Chad Munsey

Adam Toth introduced Chad on May 4.  His co-sponsor is Deryk Morelock.

Chad is a broker at Nixon Lindstrom Insurance, where he helps design employee benefit programs and coverages for businesses.  He’s worked there for 18 years.  Before that he was a Jefferson City firefighter and worked for the International Association of Fire Fighters as a legislative assistant at the Missouri Capitol.

Chad was born in Springfield and moved back in 2001.  He attended Southwest Missouri State University (now MSU), Ozarks Technical Community College, and a Fire Science school. 

Chad was a Springfield Rotaract Club member from 2005 – ’08.   His community service includes the Christ Church Foundation; Friends of the Zoo, where he’s a past board president; and as an activator at Good Samaritan Boys Ranch near Brighton.  He’s a trustee of the Springfield Police/Fire Pension Fund and a trustee of the Missouri LAGERS pension fund.

Chad and his wife, Ginger, live in south Springfield and have one son, Edward.
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Welcome new member Claire Sakaoka

Michael Wehrenberg introduced Claire on May 4.  Her co-sponsor is Nick Altrup.

Claire is the owner and chief strategist of engage5W, a branding, marketing, and content creation company that she launched in 2012.  She has 23 years of experience in public relations, marketing, and digital media management.  Some of her previous jobs were at Wiederhold & Associates, Allen Global Companies, Ozarks Technical Community College, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, and Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.

Claire has lived in Springfield since 2004.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations at Central Missouri State University (now University of Central Missouri) in Warrensburg in 2001.  Her community service includes being on the board, including serving as secretary, of The Humanitarian Way.  She is also a past president of the Southwest Missouri Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.  She was a finalist for the Woman Start-Up of the Year award at the Drury University Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium in February 2013

Claire and her husband, Tommy, live in east Springfield and have two children.
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Welcome new member Matt Madura

Lori Johnson Murawski introduced Matt on April 27.  His sponsors are Kirk Elmquist and Todd Carter.

Matt is the owner of Madura Agency, an affiliate of American Family Insurance, on South Fremont Avenue.  He’s been in Springfield for 20 years and worked in the insurance field for 21 years before opening his own agency.

Matt grew up in Kimberling City, attended Reeds Spring High School, and Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications in 2000.  He has volunteered with Reel Recovery, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, and Business Exchange of Springfield.

Matt and his wife, Brianne, live in Fremont Hills and have three daughters -- Madison, 17; Emma, 15; and Chloe, 15 -- and two dogs -- Bacon and Charlie.  He enjoys woodworking, travel, philanthropy, fishing, hunting, boating and learning new skills. 
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Welcome new member Mike Pinkston

Benjy Lampert introduced Michael on April 27.  His co-sponsor is Jim Towery.

Mike is a senior financial advisor and senior vice president for Merrill Lynch, where he's worked for 25 years.  His office is on Bradford Parkway in south Springfield. 

Mike grew up in Texas County.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at University of Missouri.

Mike enjoys travel, golfing, snow skiing, hunting, water sports, and lake time with family and friends.  He organizes Hardwoods, an annual outdoor cooking BarBQ contest and music festival.  He and his wife, Whitney, have three children: Jake, Hannah and Harper.

Mike has been on the board of Ozarks Food Harvest for 15 years and is on the board of its foundation.  He also has volunteered with and helped raise funds for the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri and other nonprofit groups. 
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Welcome new member Carrie Henry

Rick McElvaine introduced Carrie on April 27.  Her co-sponsor is Lori Barnes Miller.

Carrie is the owner of Henry’s Towing, which has about 50 employees and serves more than 45,000 customers a year.  It’s the largest independently owned AAA-affiliated single service area towing company in the country.  She also launched another business, Purpose Found Investments, in 2022.

Carrie was born and raised in Cabool with her parents and two older brothers.  She worked at her father's family business, as well as in banking and insurance.  While attending Drury University in Springfield, where she earned a bachelor's degree in Communications, she met Matt Henry and they married in 1991.  They lived two years in Iowa City until Matt earned a degree in neuropsychology at University of Iowa in 1993.  Carrie worked in banking there.

After  they returned to Springfield, Carrie worked for Boatmen's Bank before becoming a stay-at-home mom.  
She and Matt started working at Henry’s Towing, founded by his parents, about 20 years ago, and became owners in 2012.  She became the sole owner and manager after he died of pancreatic cancer in 2019.

Carrie has three children -- Elizabeth, Jared, and Josh, all in their 20s.  She returned to Drury to earn an MBA in 2022.

Carrie volunteers with projects of Schweitzer Church as well as other nonprofit organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Springfield and the National Women’s Business Council.  She enjoys woodworking, traveling, good game nights, all kinds of crafts, trying new foods, wines, and spending time with family and friends.

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Welcome new member Ray Lampert

Benjy Lampert, Raymond’s dad, introduced him to the club on April 20.  His co-sponsor is Stephen Benton.

Ray has been an attorney for 18 years and in a solo practice for 14 years.  He specializes in employment law, business law, and estate planning. 

Ray has lived in Springfield for 39 years except when he was away at college.  He was a Boy Scout in Troop 7 and is an Eagle Scout.  He graduated from Glendale High School and then earned a bachelor of arts degree at Drury University and a law degree at University of Missouri in Columbia. 

Ray was in the Springfield Rotaract Club from 2006  - 2009.  He’s also served on the Springfield Citizens Tax Oversight Committee, the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association, and the Democratic Alliance.  Ray and his wife, Isabel, live in east Springfield and hosted two foreign exchange students in the 2022 - '23 school year:  Emma (Italy) and Duda (Brazil).
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Welcome new member Will Cox

Jim Towery introduced Will on April 13.  His co-sponsor is Ken Williams.

Will is the chief executive officer and co-founder in 2018 of Solera Energy LLC in north Springfield.  The company employs 48 people and says it has installed solar panels on more homes in Missouri than all other companies combined.  It also has customers in northwest Arkansas and Kansas, and serves industrial and commercial businesses as well as residential clients.  It offers backup generators and electric storage facilities as well as solar installations.

Will’s first job at age 7 was going door to door for his father’s successful city council campaign in Lawton, Okla.  After moving to Springfield in 1994 at age 10, Will’s parents opened a restaurant called Scramblers that still operates.  Will credits his work ethic to his upbringing in the restaurant.  As an all-conference quarterback and outside linebacker at Kickapoo High School, Will found his truest passion and coached football for two years after briefly attending the University of Missouri.

Will worked successfully in sales at Wyndham Worldwide starting in 2007.  After becoming director of sales in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania, he increased sales 187 percent over his three-year tenure.  He then took over the converted Hotel 71 in Chicago and became the youngest project director in the company before becoming director of sales in Branson to be closer to family.   
Will resigned from Wyndham with no plan in 2016.  While in Mexico with his family, Will received a call from someone who wanted him to start a solar company. The contents of this call weren’t discussed with anyone. The next day he received a call from his wife’s grandmother to let him know she had a vision during her prayer time in which he was standing in a field and the sun was shining brighter and brighter and money started to pop up around him until it got so bright that she couldn’t look anymore.  Six months later, Will and Mark Gardner founded Solera.
Will and his wife of 11 years, Jenni, live in east Springfield and have two sons, Liam and Chandler, ages 9 and 10, with whom he has played catch every day since they were 4 years old.  His community service includes helping at-risk teens and young men with addictions through Higher Ground and Care Center Ministries.  He’s also volunteered with Honor Flight of Southwest Missouri and the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association.  He enjoys working out, playing a guitar, watching the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs, and coaching his sons’ flag and tackle football teams for the past four years.