Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Announces 2020 Outstanding Citizen of the Year

(Joplin, MO) – The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce (JACC) and Southwest Missouri Bank are excited to announce Mr. Gary Shaw as the 2020 Outstanding Citizen of the Year. The Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award, in its 54th year, recognizes a business leader in Joplin for their outstanding commitment to the community. The Outstanding Citizen of the Year is selected by a committee that is made up of the past three JACC Board Chairs and the Citizen of the Year recipients. 

Shaw is an 18-year veteran of the Joplin City Council, serving as Mayor from 2008 to 2010 and was reelected again in 2018. Over the past year he has made a positive impact on Joplin and can be credited with the following developments:

  • Passing a half-cent sales tax enabling the City to adjust police and firefighters’ pension plans.
  • Involved in the expansion efforts to bring Kansas City University’s new dental school to Joplin.
  • Connect2Culture development.
  • Bringing Casey’s distribution center to Joplin.
  • Developing bridges, roads, sidewalks, and trails.
  • Leading a unanimous decision to hire a new City Manager.
  • Carrying he community through the tornado recovery and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to his elected position on the Joplin City Council, Mr. Shaw volunteers his time in various board positions and presently serves as the Chairman of the Joplin Police & Fire Pension Board, Harry S. Truman Coordinating Council, and Radar Farm Civil War Memorial project.

“Mr. Shaw continues to provide honest and forward thinking leadership to our City government and is widely known and respected in our community and beyond. He is easy to appreciate and represents us well,” shared Dr. Larry McIntire, 2017 Citizen of the Year.

Throughout Shaw’s commitment to the progression of our community, he has spent the past 40 years as an elder and staff member at Central Christian Center. Our Outstanding Citizen of the Year is a native to Delphos, Ohio and served six years in the United States Army, traveling to 30 countries. Shaw studied at Ohio Northern University, Missouri Southern State University, and completed his education at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri, where he played basketball. Mr. Shaw is married to his wife and best friend of over 55 years, Kathy, and has one son, Brian, a local businessman. Their extended family includes a daughter-in-law, Rebecca; a granddaughter, Samantha; great-granddaughter, Mira; and a rescue dog, Mr. Gibbs.

Mr. Shaw’s life goal is allowing God to use his life to bless others.


Erin Slifka, Marketing & Public Information Manager
Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce

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