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Who's Who

Learn more about who you will see on stage at Think Summit. 
Who they are and what they have coming up next. 


Logan Aguirre is Publisher/Owner of Whitaker Publishing, the company that produces 417 Magazine, 417 Home, 417 Bride and Biz 417. Logan’s parents bought the magazine in 2001 and she  joined the business in 2006 after a career in New York and St. Louis in marketing and public relations. At 417 she has served in roles in sales, marketing and events, eventually becoming Associate Publisher, then President before purchasing the business from her parents Joan and Gary Whitaker, in September 2020.

“I feel like I was born for this position. I grew up in a media family and fell in love with the industry at an early age,” Logan says. “I am incredibly fortunate and grateful to my parents for creating a company and culture that celebrates everything we all love about 417-land. I am humbled by their confidence in me to continue the legacy.”

Logan graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She is the immediate Past Chairman of the Board of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Springfield Business Development Corporation Board. She currently serves on the Friends of SPS Steering Committee, is a former board member and sustainer of Junior League of Springfield and has  served on the 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. In 2017 Folio: Magazine named her a Top Women in Media in the Corporate Visionaries category and she is a 2008 Springfield Business Journal 40 Under 40.

Logan is married to her husband of 16  years Dave Aguirre, and together they have a daughter Lucy, 13, and a son Cruz, 9 who attend Springfield Public Schools and the Springfield Little Theatre Academy.  When not cheering for her kids on a stage or a field, you can find her in hot yoga classes or on a boat with her family at Table Rock Lake.

Richard Bliss is a LinkedIn Top Voices Influencer, an experienced executive communications manager, and a social media coach. He has helped thousands of people master social media tools and become fluent in social conversations, building their platforms and confidence to effectively reach their audience, define their brand vision and strategies, and develop high-caliber sales teams. In addition to working with businesses and organizations in the US, he’s consulted startups and high-growth technology firms around the world. 


A former executive vice president of marketing for eighteen years, and an award-winning pioneer in technology, collaboration, and cloud computing, Richard has appeared on CNN, GMA, and other major media outlets. He shifted his attention to social media when he founded the podcast Funding the Dream, which became a leading voice in the crowdfunding space. Today, Richard continues to empower others through his weekly newsletter and podcast, which reach over 45,000 subscribers.  


Tom joined JMARK in 1997 upon completion of enlistment to the Navy, where he was awarded two Navy Achievement medals. One of which was a result of his passion for technology when he upgraded his first computer and designed a financial reporting database. As a level one engineer at JMARK, he worked his way up the ranks before purchasing the company in 2001. Tom had to make some hard decisions and downsize the company to only 6 people. Now, with over 110 employees, JMARK is a leader in its space.

As JMARK’s CEO, Tom is a trusted technology adviser to a global list of clients. He has been named to the annual MSP Mentor 250 leadership list five times. Nationally, he is an in-demand speaker on leadership and technology, including culture and people puzzles, operational efficiencies, executive strategies, entrepreneur tactics and more. Tom has also been involved in acquisitions and startups in technology and space. Tom’s latest passion is to share the lesson-learned from building a great business which celebrates the culture and people who make it successful.

Kate Francis, Museum Affairs Officer for Fundraising and Development

A seasoned non-profit fundraiser with over two decades of arts administration experience, Francis previously served as Chief Development Officer for The Phoenix Symphony. Her professional career is marked by successful roles with increasing responsibility as Vice President for Development for the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis, Director of Development and Marketing for Jazz St. Louis, President and Managing Director of The Orpheum Theatre/Knox County Civic Center Authority, Director of Development for Arizona Opera, and started her fundraising career as Campaign Coordinator for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in the early 2000s.

Francis graduated cum laude from Monmouth College (Monmouth, IL) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and a minor in English. A native Missourian, Kate was raised in the St. Louis area by a musical family. Her artistic upbringing influenced her appreciation of and love for visual art; regularly taking her to visit the Saint Louis Art Museum from an early age. 

An avid traveler, Francis considers museum visits as integral to broadening one’s cultural and civic perspectives. Personally, she holds an eclectic collection of art with original works by a range of artists, including: Rita Leff, George Platt Lynes, Sam Stang, James Thurber, and Ini Kumo.

Gary Gibson is the President and CEO of City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri.  City Utilities of Springfield is a progressive, community-owned utility serving 320 square miles in southwest Missouri since 1945 with electricity, natural gas, water, broadband, and public transportation services. City Utilities is overseen by a governing board composed of local citizens.  Over 111,000 customers enjoy electricity prices among the lowest in the United States, the convenience of one bill for all utilities, and dependable hometown services delivered with a personal touch.

As the Chief Executive Officer for City Utilities, the President serves as the strategic leader for City Utilities’ vision and mission, provides overall direction for the efficient operation of City Utilities, and advises and makes recommendations to the Board of Public Utilities.

Mr. Gibson holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.  He has formerly served as Chairman of the Missouri Association of Natural Gas Operators, Chair of the Board of the MEA Energy Association, the Board of the American Public Gas Association (APGA) and Chair of the APGA Research Foundation.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Energy Authority.

Art Hains is an American broadcaster in Springfield, Missouri, who serves as the voice of the Missouri State Bears. His voice is also heard on the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network.

He grew up in Marshall, MO, and started work at KMMO Radio in Marshall while in high school. He graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, majoring in broadcast journalism, and worked in the SMU sports information office from 1973–76.

Hains was sports director of KGBX Radio in Springfield, MO from 1977–81, serving as the voice of the Southwest Missouri State Bears football/basketball teams. From 1981-85 he worked on the sports staff at KRLD Radio in Dallas, TX, anchoring weekday sportscasts, hosting Dallas Cowboys pre-and post-game shows; play-by-play and color for SMU basketball, and studio host for the Southwest Conference Football Radio Network 1982–84.

In 1985, he returned to Springfield, MO as coordinator of athletic promotions at Southwest Missouri State, resuming his duties as voice of the Bears. From 1995–2008, he was sports director of Meyer Communications in Springfield, returning to the university in 2008 as licensing director in the Marketing & Communications Department. (SMSU became Missouri State in 2005). From May 1, 1995, until September 2022 he hosted a daily afternoon radio show known as "Sports Talk" which first aired on KWTO and later KWTO-FM when it changed to a sports radio format (the show and format moved to KBFL (AM) and KBFL-FM on July 30, 2020, after an ownership change of the group of radio stations). Since 2008, he has served as studio host for the Chiefs Radio Network in Kansas City, including their Super Bowl victory in February 2020.

In September 2022 he contracted West Nile Virus and was in various health facilities while recovering. In August 2023 he resumed his studio duties with the Chiefs and resumed doing Bears home broadcasts in September 2023. 

Hains was inducted into the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2017, and the Missouri State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2022. In December 2023 he was given the Spirt of the Valley award by Missouri Valley Conference Commissioner Jeff Jackson. 

Dr. Grenita Lathan views her role as chief advocate for Springfield Public Schools, its students and employees. She takes that responsibility seriously and keeps her focus on efforts to positively impact the 24,500 students and 3,500 employees who learn and work at SPS.

When she came to Springfield in 2021, Dr. Lathan was pleased to see that the community supported its students and schools. That collaborative spirit creates a strong foundation for continuing to expand and improve the educational experience for Springfield students, no matter who they are or where they live.

Beyond the classroom, Dr. Lathan also encourages involvement in the community. She knows from personal experience the positive impact it can have on young people. She first learned about serving her community through Sunday School and Girl Scouts. These women in leadership instilled in her character traits and leadership qualities that have helped her achieve success. She is very involved in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and The Links, Incorporated, which are international service organizations for women. She also serves on the boards of the Alliance for Healthcare Education, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, United Way of the Ozarks Campaign Cabinet and Community Partnership of the Ozarks.

Johnny T. McNeil is originally from St. Louis. After graduating from Brentwood High School he played
football for two years, under Coach Jesse Branch, at then Southwest Missouri State University. Johnny
has a BS in Psychology and a Master’s in Sports Management. Johnny started his professional career as a
Juvenile Officer in Springfield, Mo and later worked in the corporate offices of Aurora Foods Inc. He then
left Corporate America to become a NFL Agent. While an NFL Agent, Johnny was fortunate to work with
several highly visible Sport & Entertainment companies. Mr. McNeil had the privilege of working at the
Alliance Sports Management Agency, based out of St. Louis. It was there that he worked with Hall of
Fame running back Marshall Faulk as well as the St. Louis Ram’s 2004 first round pick, Steven Jackson
and other highly decorated NFL Players. While at the Alliance, Johnny also worked with the team that
represented rap superstar “Nelly” as well as TV/Movie personality, “Cedric the Entertainer”.

Johnny is currently the Vice President of Community Relations at Community Partnership of the Ozarks.
He has always been involved in motivating and cultivating the lives of today’s youths and others who
seek out a bigger and better purpose to their lives. He has a passion to see individuals be the best that
they can be and truly believes in helping others reach their potential. 

Dami is a visionary leader who has dedicated her life to making a difference in the world. As a medical missionary, she founded Divine Missions Health Center, a non-profit organization headquartered in Republic, Missouri that brings healthcare to underserved communities in Southwest Missouri and third-world countries.

In addition to her work in healthcare, Dami is a passionate workplace coach. She helps individuals, teams, and leaders discover their true potential and find fulfillment in their work and business. Her ultimate goal is to transform workplaces, one employer-employee relationship at a time.

Recognizing the challenges faced by international students in finding employment opportunities, Dami created Purpose Connect. This innovative platform connects job seekers with employers, eliminating the need for traditional resumes. Through Purpose Connect, Dami empowers international students to thrive in their careers and contribute to the global workforce.

Dami has also developed several impactful programs. The Purpose Strategy Program (PSP) is a comprehensive career strategy development program that spans a month. The Business Go-Givers Club is a three-day certificate program designed for leaders. And the Ultimate Team Party is an eight-hour cultural competency program that promotes communication and understanding within multicultural groups.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Dami is a strong advocate for increasing racial and ethnic diversity in her community. Having lived in the Springfield area for the past decade, she has made it her mission to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment.

Dami is a single mother to a remarkable six-year-old boy. While her family is scattered across the country and in Nigeria, she has found a true sense of home with her son and her mother in Springfield.

Richard Ollis is the CEO of Ollis/Akers/Arney Insurance & Business Advisors, Springfield’s largest independent insurance agency, founded in 1885. Ollis holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Missouri State University and has served on their College of Business Advisory Board. A veteran of the US Navy, he served two terms on the Springfield City Council and also serves on the board of the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents.  Richard recently was appointed to the Board of Directors for Restore SGF, an organization committed to the development and revitalization of historic neighborhoods.  Driven by his passion for physical, mental, and emotional wellness, Ollis serves on the board of directors of the Wellness Council of America and was an original stakeholder in creating a regional annual wellness conference in partnership with Bass Pro Fitness Series, which is currently in its 16th year. Ollis is a past chairman of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and has served on boards of Commerce Bank, the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, Springfield/Branson National Airport, and the Safety Council of the Ozarks.


Ollis was pivotal in moving his family’s agency into a 100% employee-owned organization beginning in 1985, 100 years after it was established. He was also responsible for the conversion from a traditional insurance agency to a risk management/consultative organization in 2008. Under his leadership, Ollis/Akers/Arney Insurance & Business Advisors has been recognized as a Best Practices Agency by the Big I and Reagan Consulting for multiple years and was the only agency in Missouri to win this award in 2023. Other awards that the agency received under Ollis’ direction are Top Insurance Employer (2019–2023), one of the Best Places to Work by Best Companies Group (2021 - 2023) and the Torch Award for Ethics by the BBB in 2020.  Ollis has been married to his wife, Teresa, for 32 years, and they have two amazing daughters.

A lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan, Dan got his start with Cardinals Baseball by winning the Fox Sports TV contest, "Payin' Your Dues," in May of 2004.

Since joining the Springfield Cardinals prior to the inaugural season in 2005, Dan has gone from the last Account Executive hired all the way to Vice President/General Manager, with various sales and marketing positions along the way. As the second General Manager in team history, Dan's focus is two-fold: To make sure the Springfield Cardinals are advocates for a great community. And to do everything the organization can to help the St. Louis Cardinals win their next World Championship.

Dan has always, and will continue to, put a focus on being active in the community--both through new community relations programs with the Cardinals and serving a variety of organizations, including stints on the Boards for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Springfield Area Sports Commission and the Sertoma Club of Springfield.

A graduate of Springfield Catholic High School, Dan attended the University of Missouri-Columbia. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Minor in Psychology while also co-founding the student-operated designated driver program, STRIPES.

Dan and his wife, Heather, have been married since 2011. They have two wild boys, Andy and Tyson, who fill their life with laughter, excitement and living room wrestling. As Dan likes to say, “Our loud home is a happy home, and we wish the same for you.”

Most of Tim Rosenbury’s 40-year career practicing architecture has been in Springfield. In March 2020 he retired from practice and began a second career in Springfield in the City Manager’s office. As Director of Quality of Place Initiatives, he is responsible for project planning and design, policies, advocacy and engagement around the City Council Priority of Quality of Place.


Tim is a graduate of the Mississippi State University School of Architecture. He has served in a number of community volunteer leadership positions, including chair of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and two terms on the Board of Education for Springfield Public Schools.

Gary is the managing partner for the FORVIS Southern Missouri market which includes offices in Springfield, Joplin, and Branson, Missouri. He is responsible for the administration, planning, oversight, and operations of nearly 380 personnel, who serve approximately 7,000 businesses and individual clients. 

Prior to becoming managing partner, he served as an audit partner and leader of the commercial products and services group in Southern Missouri. For more than 20 years he provided audit and consulting services to retailers, manufacturers, and wholesalers. 

He leads the peer reviews FORVIS performs for large national firms. He also serves as a member of the National Peer Review Committee of the AICPA. 

Gary currently serves as president of the Board for the business development corporation of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, treasurer for the Springfield Downtown Council of Champions, and many other community boards. Gary is also currently serving as an elected member of the FORVIS Governing Board.

Dr. James Stapleton is a nationally recognized entrepreneurship champion. He has been a creative and tech startup founder, coach, investor, and regional entrepreneurship ecosystem developer for over 30 years, and is driven by a passion to help improve the quality of others’ lives.

James co-founded Codefi in Cape Girardeau, Missouri in 2014. Codefi’s award-winning approach centers on boosting regional economies by growing the high-growth entrepreneurship pipeline, filling gaps in early-stage capital, creating high-quality digital occupations, and increasing technical education and skill-building. Codefi has supported the launch of 80 startups that have raised $50 million in equity capital and created over 300 jobs. It has also trained over 400 adult software developers and introduced coding to thousands of 5th-8th grade students across the United States.

Dr. Stapleton has worked for nearly 15 years with federal, state, and local agencies and leaders, advocating for increased focus on tech-based economic and workforce development, especially in smaller metros, cities, and rural regions. In 2022, Codefi partnered with the efactory at Missouri State University and with the support of over 100 leading companies and strategic partners, launched the Southern Missouri Innovation Network. Innovate SOMO connects a group of regional nodes and communities across the southernmost 47 counties in Missouri, to the resources and expertise needed to transform entrepreneurial support and workforce development.


Dr. Stapleton earned a Ph. D. from Southern Illinois University, and an MBA and M.S. in Education from New Hampshire College. He was also formerly a tenured Associate Professor in Business and founding Executive Director of the Douglas C. Green Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Southeast Missouri State University, which delivered entrepreneurship development programs across the lower Mississippi Delta region.


James and his wife Stacy love to cook and travel, especially to wine regions across the country and around the world. He’s also an avid auto enthusiast and enjoys working on the two 1960’s hotrod trucks he built.

Prior to her 17-year career in tech that's spanned nine enterprise technology service areas and four leadership promotions, Simoriah Stogner dismissed technology as a career option. One interaction with a recruiter who clearly spoke a different language, and the door was closed. Thankfully, Simoriah reopened it and entered a world filled with opportunity and stability. And eager to share the news. Through this engaging talk driven by Sim's own story balanced by career and hiring data, today's leaders will walk away with a better understanding of the benefits of letting their vision and purpose drive them through being uncomfortable to become comfortable — leading them to make meaningful connections that help make their dreams come true.