SBJ names seven graduates of Evangel University to “Forty Under 40”
February 27, 2019 | Paul K. Logsdon
A record number of young professionals who are being honored this spring by the Springfield Business Journal are graduates of Evangel University. The annual “Forty Under 40” list for 2019 was announced recently, and seven of the 40 up-and-comers are alumni of Evangel.
The class of honorees was among 300 nominated for their personal accomplishments in civic and professional arenas, according to the SBJ. Each year, the selection committee analyzes the data and chooses “extraordinary individuals for their personal, professional and philanthropic contributions” to the community.
Seven Evangel University graduates are being honored by the Springfield Business Journal as members of the “Forty Under 40” class of 2019 — Michael Buttacy, Hector Cruz, James Wilson, Cameron Jones, Diana (Schall) Tyndall, Heather (Strange) Hardinger, and Luke Van Kirk.
All 40 of the men and women selected this year will be celebrated at a dinner on Thursday, March 21, 2019, at the Oasis Hotel & Convention Center.
The Springfield Business Journal is the business news authority for Springfield and southwest Missouri. Recognition events such as “Forty Under 40,” Most Influential Women and Men of the Year honor and encourage members of the community. The “Forty Under 40” recognition event debuted in 1999.
“Historically, members of the Evangel family are well represented among the honorees in the SBJ events,” said Paul K. Logsdon, spokesman for the University. “Seven Evangel graduates honored this year takes it to a whole new level.”
Evangel alumni on the “Forty Under 40” list
Michael Buttacy is a 2005 graduate with a double major in electronic media and theology. Following a calling he felt as a student at Evangel, Mike serves as executive director of the Ozarks Teen Challenge, “an adolescent recovery program working with young men ages 13-18 dealing with life-controlling issues and addiction.”
Hector Cruz is a 2009 graduate with a degree in business management, and then in 2013 with a Master of Organizational Leadership. He currently serves as director of alumni engagement and the annual fund at Evangel University — his third department in ten years with continually escalating areas of responsibility. “I never left Evangel. They forced me to move out of the dorms, so I moved into an office.”
Heather (Strange) Hardinger is a 2009 graduate with a degree in International/Multicultural Studies. She has a career in economic development, serving as programs & communications director for Taney County Partnership at the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. “I am happy to say that I use the knowledge I gained in my major every day in the work I now do. How many people can say that?”
Cameron Jones is a 2008 graduate with a degree in psychology. He is an estate planning and elder law attorney at Parks & Jones, Attorneys at Law. “My psychology degree is something I use every day. I am considered a ‘counselor-at-law.’ Every day I help people through difficult times such as disability, the passing of a loved one, or pre-planning for these life-altering events.”
Diana (Schall) Tyndall is a 2003 graduate with a degree in communication and an original member of The Skinny Improv. Diana serves as the marketing and sponsorship coordinator for the Springfield-Greene Country Park Board. She advises students to, “Find a good mentor and listen to them. Be a sponge and soak up what information they share. Then, filter that through prayer and God’s Word, and He will give you direction.”
Luke Van Kirk is a 2007 graduate with a pre-med/ biology degree. He is a family physician with his own practice, Command Family Medicine, where they do direct primary care (DPC). Considering the life-altering impact Evangel had on his career, his advice is clear. “I would tell them to not only follow your strengths when trying to determine a career choice, but to find a cause or issue that they are passionate about fixing.”
James Wilson is a 2009 graduate with a degree in business from EU’s College of Adult and Graduate Studies. He serves as general manager of NewStream Enterprises, an SRC company, with plants in Joliet, Ill., and one across the street from Evangel. NewStream specializes in packaging, kitting, sub-assembly and distribution of a wide variety of materials from large diesel truck parts to ATM banking equipment. The adult studies program changed his life. “I started to really enjoy working with teams. I think this is what lead me on my career path of leadership. I really wanted to be a part of something bigger and try to make a positive impact on people’s lives.”