Daryl Deel, a Missouri Southern graduate who made his mark in the regional transportation industry, has been selected at the 2014 recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award from the MSSU Alumni Association.

Bill Martz – a longtime Lionbacker – will be honored with the Lion-Hearted Award, which recognizes non-graduates for their contributions to the university.

They will be acknowledged during the All Alumni Reception at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, at the Ralph L. Gray Alumni Center, and formally recognized during the Lion Pride Brunch at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in Billingsly Student Center’s Connor Ballroom.

The 2013 honorees – Outstanding Alumni recipients Rob Roy Ratliff and Mike Osborne, and Lion-Hearted recipients Don and Gloria LaFerla – will also be recognized.

Admission to the reception is $8 for members of the Alumni Association and $10 for non-members; admission to the brunch is the same. To make reservations, call 417-659-5466.


The recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Alumni recognition is Daryl Deel, a 1975 graduate of Missouri Southern.

Daryl Deel

Daryl Deel

Born in Drexel, Mo., Deel is a 1975 graduate of Missouri Southern and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He began his professional career in 1975 as a Certified Public Accountant with Baird, Kurtz and Dobson.  He was the firm’s transportation specialist and was a partner until he left in 1990 to join Trism Inc. as the executive vice president of finance.

In 1995, Deel became the president of Tri-State Motor Transit, a wholly owned subsidiary of Trism. He left Trism in 1997 and purchased R & R Trucking Inc., which specialized in the transportation of Department of Defense arms, ammunition and explosives, commercial explosives and radioactive materials.  He sold R & R in March 2007 and then purchased an interest in EBV Explosives Environmental Company (EBV) and took a position as vice-chairman of the company.  EBV, which was sold in 2010, provided waste explosive dismantling and incineration services to the Department of Defense, and other commercial companies. He is currently the managing member of Deel Investments LP and Deel Enterprises LLC.

Deel served on the Board of the National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA) and chaired the NDTA Surface Transportation Committee for more than seven years. In 2007, he was honored to receive the St. Christopher Medal from the U. S. Army and the President’s Award from the NDTA.  In 2004, the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce recognized R & R Trucking as the Large Industry of the Year.

He served on the Board of the American Trucking Association (ATA) and chaired two ATA committees.  He is a past member of the Board of Governors of the Institute of Makers of Explosives and served on the executive board of directors for the Missouri Motor Carriers Association. Deel has served on the boards of several charitable, civic and philanthropic organizations in Joplin, Mo.

He currently spends time between homes in Joplin, Louisburg, Kan., and Cabo San Lucas. Deel and his wife of 39 years, Pat, enjoy travelling together and spending time with their two daughters and three grandchildren in Kansas City, Mo.— Kelli Dakan and her husband, Glen, and children Charlotte and Tyler; and Karla Deel and her daughter, Salem.


Bill Martz, a resident of Neosho, Mo., has been a Lionbacker for more than 15 years.

Bill Martz

Bill Martz

He currently serves on the Lionbacker Steering Committee and works tirelessly on the membership drive because he wants to improve the opportunities for student-athletes. In the last two years he has recruited more than 30 new members. He has signed more than 50 Lionbackers the past three years, and 97 percent of those are from Neosho.

He is constantly reaching out to community members to try to get them involved with Missouri Southern. He brings people to Southernfest, Lion Pride lunches and a variety of games. As a donor, he has supported scholarships and capital projects. He also has worked hard to identify and build relationships with potential athletic donors.

Martz has also helped organize the Crowder College booster club, served 13 years on the Neosho City Recreation Board, served on the Neosho Housing Authority Board and is a member of Kiwanis.

He moved from Pennsylvania in 1953 as he was drafted into the Army and was stationed at Camp Crowder.  He was discharged in 1955.  He worked for 38 years at the Rocketdyne facility in Neosho and retired in 1996. He was a member of the Local 1070 UAQ for 38 years and held offices ranging from president to secretary.

He is married to Myrna Martis and has a daughter, Cheryl Lipscomb, who is a graduate of Missouri Southern; a step-son, Rusty Shelley, who is also a Southern  graduate and football Hall of Fame member; a step-son, Larry Shelley; and a step-daughter, Lisa Nelson.


Rob Roy Ratliff, Gaithersburg, Md., was born and reared in Webb City, Mo. He attended Joplin High School and worked as news editor and announcer for WMBH in Joplin, Missouri. Upon graduation, he attended Principia College in Elsah, Illinois. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the Pacific before World War II. After the war, he worked as a reporter for the Joplin Globe and News Herald and enrolled in Joplin Junior College. He received his AA degree in 1947 and attended American University in Washington, D.C. where he earned his BS, MA, and PhD degrees.

Rob Roy Ratliff

Rob Roy Ratliff

He was a clandestine officer in the Central Intelligence Agency, serving in the Philippines, the Republic of China in Taiwan, and British Guiana, (now Guyana) in South America. He served six years as the senior CIA officer on the White House staff of the National Security Council under three presidents. He was the Executive Assistant to the Director of the CIA and was a member of the CIA Inspector General’s staff.

He was awarded the Intelligence Medal of Merit when he retired in 1980. In 1948, he married a JJC classmate, Rebecca (Becky) Shaw, and they reside in a retirement facility in Gaithersburg, a suburb of Washington, D.C. Two daughters live nearby and another lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Michael W. (Mike) Osborne, Neosho, received a Bachelor’s in Business Administration in 1976 from Missouri Southern. In September of 1976 Mike became Secretary Treasurer of a start-up company called Nutra Blend located in Neosho, Missouri, and in 1989 became President and CEO of Nutra Blend. With his direction and the efforts of many talented employees, Nutra Blend has grown from a start-up to revenues of over $800 million per year, facilities from coast to coast, and average revenue growth of over 20 percent over the last 11 years. He is an active Board Member of the American Feed Industry Association.

Michael Osborne

Michael Osborne

Mike and his wife Terry (who holds an Associate degree in Nursing from MSSU, and a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Pittsburg State University) have been married for 37 years and have 3 children, Matt Osborne, Laura Shadwick, and Julie Lippert. Two of their three children received their  Bachelor Degrees from MSSU, and one from Pittsburg State. All three, along with Terry, have or have nearly completed their MBAs. Mike also has four grandchildren who he hopes will become MSSU graduates someday.  Mike is an active member of Forest Park Baptist Church in Joplin.

Don and Gloria LaFerla have resided in Carthage, Missouri since 1973. They moved from St. Louis, Missouri when Don accepted the position of Data Processing Manager at Leggett & Platt’s Corporate Office in Carthage.

Don has served as past board president of the McCune-Brooks Hospital Board, McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation Board, Missouri Southern Foundation Board, Carthage Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, and is currently board president of the Carthage Community Foundation Board. He has also served on the boards of the Missouri Hospital Association, Carthage Sheltered Workshop and Private Industry Council and was active in the Carthage Little League.

Don and Gloria LaFerla

Don and Gloria LaFerla

Gloria is a past president of the Soroptimist International of Carthage. She also has been a member of Dogwood Garden Club and McCune-Brooks Hospital Auxiliary. They are both Lionbackers and belong to the MSSU Legacy Society.

The LaFerlas met as students at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri in 1959. They were married on June 17, 1961 in St. Louis, Missouri. They celebrated their 52nd anniversary this year. They are both actively involved in the Southeast Missouri University Foundation Board of Directors.

Gloria was employed for over 20 years with IBM Corporation. She retired from the Joplin  office in 1996. Don’s career with Leggett & Platt, Inc. spanned twenty-seven and a half years from 1973 to 2001. He retired in 2001 as Vice President of Management Information and Office Services.

Don taught Introduction to Data Processing at MSSU in the evening study program in the early 1990s and was on the Computer Science Advisory Committee there as well.

They have two sons who graduated from Missouri Southern State University:  Jeffrey in 1984, and Michael in 1989. Both sons went on to pursue professional degrees. Jeffrey LaFerla is a Doctor of Optometry. His wife, Joni, is also an Optometrist. They are in private practice in Kansas City, Missouri. They have two sons, Peyton, 16, and Cameron, 14.

Michael LaFerla is a Board Certified Orthodontist practicing in Joplin, Missouri. He and his wife, Bre, have one daughter, Jadyn, 6, and reside in Joplin, Missouri.

Don and Gloria are members of the Grace Episcopal Church in Carthage. They are avid St. Louis Cardinal fans, and enjoy travelling with friends and family.