Rotary International
Fayette, Missouri 65248
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(Photo by Roger Lembke)

Richard Fowler and Presenter James Steele

Richard Fowler, 2008 Business Person of the Year

Richard Fowler, since 1990 manager of the Howard Electric Cooperative here and a leader in recent county economic development efforts, was honored Monday evening as Fayette’s “Business Leader of the Year.

Presentation came during the annual Service Clubs Awards banquet held at the Emmet’s Rosewood Banquet facility.
Fowler began life in West Plains in 1951 — and in 1973 graduated from Harding University in Arkansas with a degree in accounting. He played on the golf team while a student at the university.

Following graduation, Fowler worked for a CPA firm in Little Rock and from there went on to the Arkansas Public Service Commission, serving as an auditor for electric cooperatives.
Several years later, he left Arkansas to take a position as office manager for Ozark Border Electric Cooperative in Poplar Bluff, a post he held for 12 years before coming to Fayette in 1990 in his current position.

As a resident of Howard County, Fowler worked to form a county soccer league which today continues to serve the youth in this area.

The 2008 recipient also has been active in other avenues of civic life here — including current service as chairman of the Howard County Economic Development Advisory Board and chairman of the Howard County Economic Development Council.
He also serves on the board of Howard County Home Health and Hospice and the board of the Central Electric Power Cooperative, in addition to attending monthly meetings of the coordinating group known as “The Huddle.” He also is a Fayette Rotarian.

As an outgrowth of an effort that had its roots in The Huddle, Fowler has been instrumental in organizing and spearheading the work of the Howard County Economic Development Council which now includes some 17 entities. Together these organizations have contributed more than $86,000 as the beginning of a three-year commitment toward hiring a county-wide director of economic development.

An announcement is expected within the next several weeks as to who has been hired for this position.

In addition to his professional and civic service here, Fowler and his wife, Barbara — a Daly Elementary School third grade teacher — have been married 32 years, and have two sons, Dane, 22, and Ryan, 25.

The family is active in the Fayette Church of Christ where he serves as an elder.

Since 1984, members of the Fayette Rotary Club have received nominations — and then have proceeded to vote by secret ballot — to select a person within the community as Business Leader of the Year. This list over the years has included men and women who have been business owners, as well as executives, governmental employees and those from the institutional and academic communities.

A large plaque in the entrance area of Emmet’s Kitchen and Tap provides a permanent record listing past honorees.

Left: (from the left,) Barbara Fowler, Richard Fowler, Keith Keeling and Bill Holman.

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