Chrystal Irons, director of the Missouri State University (MSU) Small Business Technology & Development Center (SBTDC), Springfield, has been named the 2016 Missouri State Star, or the state’s outstanding business counselor, for her contributions to local business growth. The award is conferred by America’s SBDC, the national association for all SBDC programs throughout the country.
“Chrystal is simply outstanding in every way,” said Greg Tucker, MO SBTDC interim state director. “She regularly exceeds all goals in helping new businesses get off the ground, boosting existing businesses’ profitability and ensuring all area economic stakeholders work together to achieve regional prosperity and stability. It’s no exaggeration to say she has been instrumental in southwest Missouri’s continued economic success, and I expect even greater things from her as director.”
The state star award follows Irons’ recent promotion from MO SBTDC business development specialist for Christian and Taney counties to MSU SBTDC director.
Irons will receive official state star recognition at the ASBDC national conference in Orlando, Fla., this September. The award is given annually to a small business and development counselor in Missouri who shows a strong commitment to business and makes a significant contribution to the economic health of the region and state.
Irons is regularly recognized for excellence. In 2015, she won the Associated Industries of Missouri Extension Industry Award, which recognizes faculty and staff whose educational programming supports the economic viability of Missouri businesses.
Over the past two fiscal years, Irons far exceeded all her economic goals. Her goal of increasing sales for area companies was $6.5 million, and she achieved $10.6 million. In the same period, she helped create or retain more than 200 jobs and start 16 new businesses.
She partnered with the city of Hollister, Taney County Partnership and Missouri Enterprise, among others, to obtain grant funding to start a farmers’ market in Hollister. She also partnered with the Branson Chamber of Commerce and Taney County Partnership to celebrate SBA’s National Small Business Week in the Taney County area in past years, as well as bringing new educational programs to area small businesses.
Irons is also a business owner and entrepreneur in a family business, A-1 Walls & Landscaping, Ozark, Mo. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA from Drury University.
The Missouri State SBTDC is designed to deliver up-to-date consultation, training, and technical assistance in all aspects of small business management. Assistance is available to owners interested in improving or expanding an existing small business and to prospective business owners. The Management Development Institute is a collaborative effort between Missouri State University and Springfield Innovation, Inc. to support the successful development of small and growth-stage companies.