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Columbia College sophomore Aaron Nelson, a Fulton native, is climbing the Billboard charts. Nelson plays lead guitar and sings backing vocals for Christian rock band Almost Taken. Their single “Ashes” is currently No. 16 on the Billboard Christian Rock National Airplay list. Nelson, 20, is the youngest member of the band and has been a member for three years; all members of the band are mid-Missouri natives. They’ve performed locally at the Blue Note, Rose Music Hall and large festivals. The group also formed an LLC and sets up AV equipment at events to help fund recordings.
The Boys and Girls Clubs downtown location, The CLUB, started a girls-only program to get members interested in STEM projects. The program, STEM Girls!, teaches girls about science, technology, engineering and math through hands-on projects, experiments and discussions with professional women in STEM fields. STEM Girls! is funded by a grant from the American Association of University Women.
Tech Electronics recently moved into a larger facility in Columbia. The former Da-Com building at 1406 Rangeline allows room for growth and new amenities for employees. The 8,000 square-foot facility provides the tech services organization with enough space to house the office staff, warehouse and testing labs in one building. Tech Electronics is headquartered in St. Louis and has five regional offices. The company specializes in voice IT services, security systems, safety systems and more.
Columbia Safety has opened a new facility in Atlanta, Georgia. The new facility adds 30,000 square feet of warehouse space to better serve customers in the area. The facility also features the company’s “Safety Experience Zone,” where customers can interact with new safety equipment. The location also contains a 3,000 square-foot learning and training center. Some Columbia employees were transferred to Atlanta, and the company hopes to add an additional 20 team members in 2016. Columbia Safety was formed in 2005 and is a distributor of safety and work performance gear.
Columbia Police Department staff participated in No Shave November and raised $1,312 for Coyote Hill Children’s Home. This is the second year the staff participated. Staff members were allowed to go without shaving for the entire month and held contests for furriest faces. SWAT/CNT training coordinator officer Jeff Forck took the prize for best beard, and officer Lane Nelson won best moustache. Coyote Hill houses abused and neglected children in both long-term and emergency shelter.
McClure Engineering Company has signed an agreement to merge with JFSCO Engineering of Red Oak, Iowa. McClure and Columbia engineering firm Trabue, Hansen and Hinshaw merged in June 2015. McClure currently has seven locations throughout Iowa and Missouri. The new merger will add rail design and terminal transloading facility design to McClure’s services and will expand its aviation expertise and the company’s resources in Iowa. MEC will maintain leadership, and all employees will be retained. The merger is expected to be completed in early 2016.
The MU School of Medicine celebrated the 20th anniversary of the area health education center rural track pipeline program in November. The program was created to address the critical shortage of physicians in rural areas by increasing enrollment of rural medical students, offering hands-on learning experiences and returning them to rural Missouri to practice medicine. More than 500 students, in all specialty areas, have participated in the program. More than half of those students now practice in rural locations.
The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy recently awarded a grant to MU engineering researcher and professor Yangchaun Xing to develop technology that will produce materials for lithium ion batteries in electric vehicles. The grant is $2.2 million and will help develop the proposed technology over the course of the next three years. The project’s goal is to drive down the cost of eco-friendly vehicles, but it will also help the local job market, Xing says. The project was one of 16 chosen nationally.
Influence & Co., a content marketing agency headquartered in Columbia, was recently ranked on Entrepreneur’s Top Company Cultures list, a ranking of U.S. businesses with high-performance cultures. Influence & Co. ranked 25th in the medium-size category and was recognized for driving employee engagement, exceeding employee expectations and affecting company success. The company offers unlimited paid time off; flexible hours and work locations; and events like talent shows, overnight retreats and team bonding events. The company also has offices in St. Louis and Kansas City.
Reliable Community Bancshares Inc., parent company of The Bank of Missouri, headquartered in Perryville, has completed its merger with Bank Star of the BootHeel. Under the terms of the agreement, Bank Star of the BootHeel has merged with and into The Bank of Missouri. The Steele and Caruthersville locations are now branches of The Bank of Missouri. With the completion of this transaction, The Bank of Missouri operates 23 locations throughout Missouri. All Bank Star employees will join The Bank of Missouri team. The Bank of Missouri, one of the region’s fastest growing financial institutions, is an independent community bank locally owned and operated with more than $1 billion in assets. Chartered in 1891, The Bank of Missouri operated with one branch until 1997.