Job description:

Organized in 2003, MEDA is the association of Missouri’s investor-owned utilities and their strategic partners. Our members serve nearly 3.5 million customers, invest over $1 billion in the state annually, and employ over 10,000 people while providing the electric and natural gas services integral to the safety and prosperity of Missourians. My team members and I work closely with our Missouri investor-owned utility members and their strategic partners, representing their interests and advocating balanced policies in the legislative and regulatory arenas. MEDA provides credible public policy leadership, pivotal industry awareness and education, and strategic business intelligence.

Years lived in Columbia/Mid-Missouri:

22.

Original hometown:

Estill, Missouri.

Education:

Bachelor of Arts in business finance from Westminster College.

Favorite volunteer/community activity:

Coaching my oldest son’s Daniel Boone Little League baseball team and assistant coaching my youngest son’s DBLL T-ball team.

Professional background:

I began my career as a business analyst and team leader for the development and successful implementation of the Statewide Advantage for Missouri project, the upgrade of the state’s HR and payroll system for 65,000-plus employees. I then joined the College of Arts and Science at MU as the university embarked upon their first $600 million fundraising campaign. I went on to serve as the director of development and chief advancement officer for the college and managed a team responsible for fundraising, external relations, and communications for the largest college in the state of Missouri. As my business interests shifted 13 years ago, I was offered the opportunity to enter the exciting field of lobbying. I served as the vice president for governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the state’s largest business association. For the last eight years, I’ve had the pleasure of serving as the president of MEDA.

A favorite recent project:

After years of debate and months of hard work, a talented team of volunteers and I were able to bring to fruition Columbia’s only heated and air-conditioned indoor tennis facility. The facility consists of two regulation courts and the only regulation 36-foot court for junior players in Missouri. Columbia is rich in tennis talent, and I am excited to be a part of building opportunities for beginning, junior, academy, and adult players.

A Columbia businessperson I admire and why:

The conversation and friendship of Brent Beshore are two things I greatly appreciate. I admire his focus, work ethic, faith, and dedication to his family. Each time we talk, I walk away feeling I learned something. And most times we rarely discuss the intricacies of “work.” He was there the day I found out my wife was pregnant with our second child, and he saw the shenanigans that followed . . . and may continue.

Why I’m passionate about my job:

I value integrity and hard work. It’s easy for folks to say you shouldn’t take your job “too personally,” but it’s hard not to when you believe in your mission and the people you represent.

Why I’m passionate about my company:

The companies I represent supply essential electricity and energy resources to a majority of Missouri citizens and do so with the goals of affordability, safety, and reliability. Their compact to deliver these crucial resources is not taken lightly, and their values extend beyond our borders, as they did in their recent efforts to help in Texas and Puerto Rico after last year’s devastating hurricanes.

If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would:

Be writing songs and playing live music.

What people should know about this profession:

Contrary to what you may hear on the news or read on social media, the role of a lobbyist in the legislative and regulatory processes is one that is taken very seriously and is represented by passionate advocates who are educated in the areas they represent. In these times of political distrust and mistruths, a lobbyist is necessary to cut through the noise and be an informative resource for a variety of stakeholders.

The next challenge facing my industry:

Currently, the electric and natural gas industries are working to modernize the regulatory process in Missouri while at the same time providing customers with more stable and predictable rates and a smarter and more resilient grid.

My next professional goal:

Tomorrow is a new day. . .

Biggest lesson learned in business:

“Be proactive, not reactive.” I learned that from Joe Wes Davis Jr., my father.

How I would like to impact the Columbia community:

Continue to be a positive influence for my children and their teammates.

Greatest strength:

The ability to build relationships and trust.

Greatest weakness:

“Living in the now” is one that can be a real challenge for me.

What I do for fun:

Travel with my family, golf, hunt, play music, and ride horses.

Family:

My wife, Paige, who is an interior designer; my oldest son, Jackson, 9; and my youngest son, Hampton, 5.

Favorite place(s) in Columbia:

Country Club of Missouri for the view, Murry’s for music and a chicken philly, Booches for a cold Budweiser, and my back patio for peace and quiet.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of:

Being a husband and a father.

Most people don’t know that I:

Won first in the State Speech and Debate Championship in storytelling as a sophomore in high school for “Pecos Bill.” I also won third in the same category as a junior for “Paul Bunyan.”

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