Ask Bob Harrington about his leadership philosophy, and he’ll spell out the four-pronged approach that has served him well over the last 40 years.

“The first is to make sure the people who work for you know what it is they’re supposed to do,” he said. “No. 2 is to make sure they know how to do it. No. 3, make sure they have everything they need to do their job. And No. 4, if you’ve accomplished the other three, hold them accountable for doing the job.”

On Nov. 13, Harrington – director of the Physical Plant at Missouri Southern – will be honored during the Joplin Regional Business Journal’s Regional Men of Distinction ceremony. Nominees for the recognition were judged based on their work experience, leadership activities and dedication to civic service.

Bob Harrington

Bob Harrington

“I’ve always been very active in the community, and it’s nice to be recognized,” he said.

This marks the second year that the Business Journal has held the Men of Distinction recognition.

“The judges are looking at community involvement, the integrity of the individual, leadership, mentoring and what they’ve done businesswise in the community,” said Larry Warren, owner of the Joplin publication.

Prior to joining Missouri Southern in 1999, Harrington worked for St. John’s Regional Medical Center for nearly 20 years, starting as director of environmental services in 1979 and leaving in 1998 as one of the hospital’s vice presidents – heading up numerous construction projects.

During his career, he has served as a member of the Joplin City Council and a board member of organizations ranging from Main Street Joplin and the Ronald McDonald House of the Four States to the Joplin Humane Society and the Joplin Historical Society.

As director of the Physical Plant, Harrington is in charge of all construction, maintenance, grounds, custodial work and transportation and also serves as the university’s risk manager. With four major building projects underway – the residence hall complex, fieldhouse, FEMA shelter and baseball stadium – it’s a position that comes with no small amount of responsibility.

“It’s very exciting and very challenging too,” he said. “We’re trying to keep all four of those projects going. I meet with the contractors on a weekly basis for a formal meeting, but I’m informally in touch with them on a daily basis to make sure everything is going OK.”

He’s quick to praise the team working with him at the Physical Plant for all the work they do.

“They do an outstanding job,” he said. “We have a team that is very dedicated. We often accomplish far more than we should be able to accomplish with the number of people we have.”

The other 14 recipients of this year’s Regional Men of Distinction class are:

  • Adolfo Castillo, owner of Castillo Consulting and retired Sergeant First Class E-7, U.S. Army.
  • Phil Cook, superintendent of Carl Junction R-1 School District.
  • Joe Craigmile, business development officer at Southwest Missouri Bank.
  • Doug Crandall, senior vice president and trust officer at Southwest Missouri Bank.
  • Charlie Davis, Missouri State Representative and owner of the Software Center.
  • Joe Dellasega, owner of Dellasega Consulting Group (a U.S. Awards company).
  • Blaine Henningsen, superintendent of Carthage R-9 Schools.
  • Terry Hicklin, CEO/owner of Candy House Gourmet.
  • Jerrod Hogan, vice president of Anderson Engineering Inc.
  • J. Huff, superintendent of Joplin Schools.
  • Rob O’Brian, president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.
  • Mike Seibert, mayor of the City of Joplin and senior sales representative with Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical.
  • Dan Stanley, financial advisor with Edward Jones.
  • Gary Stubblefield, executive director of the Carl Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I was proud to be nominated,” said Harrington. “And to be considered a member of this group is very exciting.”

Each of the nominees is featured in the latest issue of the Joplin Regional Business Journal and will be honored during next week’s recognition ceremony.