The Washington Area Chamber of Commerce has two Board of Directors positions to fill for 2020.
The following five nominees were selected from a highly qualified field of candidates: Josh Brinker, Eric Eoloff, Deb Giffin, Rick Hodges, Luke Meyer.
Josh Brinker (Bank of Franklin County)
Josh is a lifelong resident of Washington. He graduated from St. Francis Borgia Regional High School, went on to attend East Central College, and graduated in 2003 from Central Missouri State University with a B.A. in Finance. His career in finance began in banking, and from there, Josh went on to work as an auditor for the Missouri Real Estate Commission where he discovered his passion for real estate. He shifted into a career as a full-time Realtor before getting back into banking where he was able to utilize his in-depth knowledge of real estate appraisals to assist in managing a real estate portfolio. Josh saw an opportunity to leverage his real estate experience and sales skills as a mortgage lender, and proudly joined Bank of Franklin County in 2016.
Outside of banking, Josh is active in the Washington community. He is a member of the St. Francis Borgia Parish, Rotary Club of Washington, and Hummingbird Club. He serves on the boards of Exceptional Equestrians and Advocates for Community Choice, volunteers for many community events such as church breakfasts and the Washington Town and Country Fair, and is also a former Councilman for the City of Washington.
Eric Eoloff (Mercy)
Eric Eoloff is president of Mercy Hospital Washington. Since his arrival in September 2016, he has helped Mercy grow even stronger as a pioneering community partner. Right out of the box, Eric worked with Dr. Lori VanLeer, superintendent of the Washington School District, to establish the Health Science Innovation Academy at Mercy. The academy allows health occupation students at Four Rivers Career Center to be immersed in the climate, culture and atmosphere at Mercy on a regular basis, as they attend classes onsite and interact with health care workers. The effort hopes to seed more interest from area students to become future health care workers in the area.
Eric has also worked to expand the hospital’s cardiovascular services and will soon push for construction of key service areas to keep up with local health care demand. Under his guidance, Mercy Hospital Washington has also been nationally recognized as a top performing hospital by several outside agencies that objectively monitor patient safety, as well as health care cost and service indicators.
In his role, Eric leads almost 1,200 co-workers at the hospital. He is proud for Mercy to be recognized as the largest employer in Franklin county, which includes another 800 employees in the clinic settings. Eric also takes great pride in serving on the board of directors for the Franklin County Area United Way and helping lead Mercy to achieve greater amounts of community giving of both time and money. He is also a board member of ALIVE (Alternatives to Living In Violent Environments), a not-for-profit organization that helps survivors of domestic violence in Franklin County and St. Louis County.
Before arriving in Washington, Eric was president of Mercy Labs. He was also chief operating officer and vice president of operations of Mercy Hospital St. Louis between 2006 and 2012. Eric received his master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. Eric and his wife, Gina, have a home in Washington, and often take part in community-building activities ranging from support for the Farmer’s Market to support for area merchants.
Deb Giffin (Plush Home & Fashion, Swallow's Nest Express)
Deb Giffin is a lifelong resident of Missouri. She chose Washington as her home community 15 years ago where she raised her two children and established herself as a successful business owner in the downtown corridor. Ms. Giffin has enjoyed 30 years of experience in real estate development to include multi-family, single-family and commercial development across Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. As part of the design-build process she developed an interest in interior design which led to the 2015 establishment of Plush Home & Fashion located at 127 Elm Street. Plush recently celebrated its 4th year in business as a popular downtown boutique offering home décor, furniture and various eclectic items discovered in her mid-west travels. Plush has enjoyed great success over the years as a retail boutique which set the stage for its sister company Event Inspirations offering a décor rental line also located at 127 Elm Street. Ms. Giffin’s most recent contribution to downtown Washington is the Swallow’s Nest Express, a vintage 28-passenger trolley made available for scheduled events in Washington and surrounding areas.
Ms. Giffin recently purchased the Nieberg Vitt building at 310 Elm and is remodeling it for the Grand Re-Opening of her family of companies scheduled for the winter 2019. This building will be the permanent home of Plush Home & Fashion, Event Inspirations and Swallows Nest Express. After closing on 310 Elm, Ms. Giffin wasted no time meeting with city officials and Downtown Washington, Inc. representatives offering to serve on various Washington growth and revitalization committees. Ms. Giffin currently serves on a state board (Missouri Workforce Housing Association) and enjoys memberships in over 25 chamber of commerce organizations across the tri-state area.
Rick Hodges (Hodges Badge)
Rick Hodges is the 4th generation owner/manager of Hodges Badge Company and lives in Washington. Rick holds degrees from the University of Vermont and Rivier College, as well as Harvard Business School. After graduating college, Rick worked in high tech for five years at Digital Equipment Corporation in New Hampshire. He joined Hodges in 1989 and rose through the ranks, becoming president in 2000. During his tenure Hodges has more than doubled it sales, and recently completed moving its manufacturing operation to Washington. The company employs more than 100 people at its 87,000 sf plant in the Heidmann industrial park.
Rick and his wife Jennifer have two grown children who live on the west coast. Rick is active in the community, having joined the Washington Fire Department and the WCIC board.
Luke Meyer (Citizens Bank)
Luke Meyer is a Vice President with Citizens Bank. He has worked for the bank for eight years and currently serves as a commercial loan officer at the Washington location. Luke attended St. Francis Borgia Regional High School and St. Louis University. He and his wife, Jill, live in Washington with their three children.
Luke is active in the community, currently serving on the Four Rivers Family YMCA board and the Missouri Bankers Association Young Bankers board, and coaching youth sports. He previously served on the Franklin County Area United Way board.
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