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Newsmakers: Jan. 17-23, 2022

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Nancy Edson, Esterly Schneider & Associates Inc.’s business manager, was appointed as partner, the firm’s fifth. She’s worked at Esterly Schneider & Associates since 2019, and holds a bachelor’s in business management from University of Missouri.

Cris Swaters was hired as public affairs officer for the Springfield Police Department, succeeding Jasmine Bailey. Swaters previously worked as a social media specialist for City Utilities of Springfield and as a communications coordinator for White River Valley Electric Cooperative Inc. With a bachelor’s in public relations and a master’s in communication from Missouri State University, Swaters is responsible for developing, coordinating and administering communication and marketing programs for SPD.

Branson Convention Center hired Gayla Welsh as senior event sales manager. She has 20 years of experience in hospitality and events, previously as education and events coordinator for the Missouri Hospital Association and as sales manager for Chateau on the Lake Resort, Spa & Convention Center.

Attorneys James Meadows and Joseph Reid were named partners in Kutak Rock LLP’s Springfield office. They’ve worked for the firm since 2018. Meadows handles contract disputes, real estate claims and insurance coverage cases, and Reid represents businesses and individuals in civil litigation.

Lowther Johnson Attorneys at Law LLC appointed Megan Creson as a member of the firm. She’s worked seven years as an associate attorney for Lowther Johnson Attorneys and practices in litigation and transaction cases, including real estate, business, creditors’ rights and trusts. She also was selected by Best Lawyers for inclusion in the Ones to Watch category in 2021 and 2022, and was chosen by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star Honoree in 2021.

Spencer Fane LLP added Chris Weiss as an of counsel attorney in its litigation and dispute resolution practice group. Of his 22 years practicing law, 15 years were with Husch Blackwell LLP, where Weiss was a partner. He holds bachelor’s degrees in government/international relations and computer applications from University of Notre Dame and a Juris Doctor from Saint Louis University.

The Jeannette L. Musgrave Foundation awarded $355,000 to 29 nonprofit agencies through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks Inc. In addition to the fall grant round, named the 2021 Jerry Redfern Grants in honor of the Musgrave Foundation’s longtime manager, $25,000 in grants each went to five area nursing schools for scholarship awards, and $30,000 went to Community Partnership of the Ozarks’ O’Reilly Center for Hope to cover operational expenses for homeless and affordable housing services.

CFO granted $300,000 to 10 agencies that provide child care in rural communities across central and southern Missouri.

Funded by an anonymous donor, the CFO’s Early Childhood Support Grant Program aims to reduce barriers to quality child care so parents can return to work or maintain employment.

H2Ozarks, previously known as Ozarks Water Watch, added Mona Menezes as state projects director. She previously worked 12 years as an environmental specialist for the city of Branson and has led hundreds of stream cleanups and other public events for conservation and sustainability. Menezes holds a master’s in forestry from MU. 


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