Ten community members have successfully completed the 2013-14 Leadership Phelps County class.
The class graduated Thursday night, June 12, during a ceremony held at Gordoz in Rolla. The featured speaker for the evening was Dr. Brad E. Frazier, senior director of the Walmart Logistics Distribution Center.

Ten community members have successfully completed the 2013-14 Leadership Phelps County class.
The class graduated Thursday night, June 12, during a ceremony held at Gordoz in Rolla. The featured speaker for the evening was Dr. Brad E. Frazier, senior director of the Walmart Logistics Distribution Center.
Each participant who graduated received a plaque during the ceremony in front of their family, friends and supervisors.
This year’s graduates of the program are Mark Calvert, Beth Chase, Debbie Cook, Phil Cox, Katy Goslin, Karen Groom, Paul Hackbarth, Tracy Limmer, Angie Proffitt and Brenda Safarik.
The participants attended 10 leadership sessions, once a month, starting in September 2013 with a two-day retreat and wrapping up June 12.
Each session covered a different topic, including government, health, community service, industry, media and education among others. Participants traveled to various businesses, agencies and organizations throughout the county, learning about the county as well as hearing from various leaders in the community.
The class also completed a service project in April, helping out with various projects at Camp David of the Ozarks.
Chantae Alfred, with the Phelps County University of Missouri Extension, who helped lead the class, called the program a great and needed tool for Phelps County.
“This past year we were able to add new locations (Phelps County businesses) that we had not included in previous sessions like Wolfert’s Tool & Machine Company and the Public House Brewing Company, as well as a new retreat facility, Leadership Ranch in Republic, and leadership speakers,” she said.
“With the new set of participants every year, I am always pleasantly surprised at the various careers and backgrounds of the people attending. I look forward to the bonding that occurs within the group and how everyone learns from each other,” Alfred said.
“This group this past year is no exception. The participants’ experiences and backgrounds brought  new perspectives to the leadership training practices we use,” she said, adding that she always get attached to the groups and thinks each group is the best.
This year’s participants whose backgrounds were in health, banking, media, law and other areas, shared what they liked about the program and what they learned.
“For the knowledge gained about Phelps County, the solid connections made with my classmates and leadership opportunities developed, this is the most worthwhile class I have taken,” said Cox. “There are some amazing products created in Phelps County, and marketed all over the world.”
“I have lived in Phelps County for three years and I had no idea how much I was missing. This class is the best training I have ever had — for work and for life,” said Goslin. “It made me take a flying leap outside my comfort zone and I have grown in ways I never thought possible. I don’t have to be perfect to be a leader but I want to continue the growth I started in LPC.”
“The exposure to the people and businesses/groups in Phelps County was eye opening,” Calvert said. “I learned that we have some very amazing people in Phelps County and a lot of people who are engaged with helping our community. I would highly recommend the class.”
“I've watched and appreciated through these past 10 months, the leadership skills of the team develop. We came from different backgrounds, but the work ethics were there,” said Cook. “I learned that if you dream, dream big and then don't be afraid to go for it.”
Proffitt also said she would recommend this class to everyone. “The knowledge you gain about your community is amazing,” she said. “I learned a lot about myself and my classmates. We went from strangers ziplining on the retreat to leaders on this amazing journey.”
Groom said she did not realize what the program had to offer until she participated. “Not only did I learn so much about the businesses/groups in the Phelps County area (but also I learned about) the huge impact they had on the community as well as worldwide.
“Amazing simply amazing ... everything that I saw, learned and experienced through the whole program,” Groom said. “Not to mention stepping out of my own comfort zone and learning how to trust, total strangers, through team building, and the new friendships I have gained.” She said she also would highly recommend it.
“I found the Leadership Phelps County program to be a doorway into the heart of Phelps County,” Safarik said, noting that she started the program “a little nervous, not knowing what to expect and ended the program with new found confidence in myself.”
Safarik added, “I looked forward to each day spent with my new-found friends as we explored the area. I have been here since 1989 and only thought that I was familiar with Rolla. This has been a wonderful opportunity to see Rolla behind the scenes. I encourage anyone who has the chance to participate in Leadership Phelps County.”
Chase said the program exceeded all possible expectations she had. “The relationships, networking and leadership skills you gain as part of LPC are irreplaceable,” Chase said.
“Through the past 10 months I have seen myself, as well as fellow participants, develop from the knowledge and experiences the program provides,” she said. “No one will walk away without strengthening their potential as a leader.”
Limmer said she found the classes to be an inspiring program. “I have lived in Rolla over 23 years, but realized I didn’t really know much about the history of our wonderful community,” she said. “We had a very diverse group, observing all types of personalities and leadership styles. I feel we have a bond among the group that I hope will continue in the future. It’s a perfect networking program.”
“I’m so glad I went through the program,” said Hackbarth. “I was invited to be a guest speaker during the 2012-13 session for Media Day when I learned about Leadership Phelps County. I decided to take the class shortly after I took over as managing editor of the Rolla Daily News. I’ll never forget the experiences and relationships I made during the program.”
Applications for the 2014-15 program will be available in August from the Phelps County University of Missouri Extension program.
“I am looking forward to the class of 2014-15 to see what greatness and new perspectives will be brought by new participants,” Alfred said. “We strive to keep growing and improving to make each participant’s experience an effective one as they move forward in their careers.”