Lloyd Joseph “Joe” Carmichael, a prominent attorney and Democrat, was named the 2023 Springfieldian at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting Friday, Jan. 27.
Carmichael was distinguished for his community service, his legal prowess and dedication to Springfield.
“Joe Carmichael has been involved in so many things in our community for decades,” said former Republican U.S. Senator Roy Blunt in a video tribute to Carmichael shared at the annual meeting. “He’s curious, analytical, and he’s a real problem solver. There are all kinds of places in Springfield where you can see how those traits have really helped Joe make a difference.”
What is the Springfieldian?
“The Springfieldian is the Chamber’s most coveted honor, given each year to an individual who exemplifies outstanding community service, excellence in his or her field and dedication to improving the quality of life for Springfield and its citizens,” the Chamber says above a list of recipients that date back to 1957.
Joe Turner, the CEO of Great Southern Bank, collected the honors in 2022.
Carmichael joins Turner and the likes of Johnny Morris, Charlie O’Reilly, Mary Beth O’Reilly, Patti Penny, Annie Busch and many other well-known community members honored for their impact in Springfield over the years.
“To get this award from the Chamber, it’s very significant to me personally,” Carmichael said after being surprised with the recognition and ushered onstage with applause from the roughly 1,000-person audience.
The announcement of Carmichael as the 2023 Springfieldian took place at the Chamber’s annual meeting at the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center. The event also celebrated previous year’s accomplishments and looked toward the future.
“Over the years, when good things have happened in Springfield, the Chamber has always been there, they’ve been up front and leading the pack,” Carmichael said. “It’s truly an honor to be honored by this organization.”
Carmichael said he shares the award with Marie, his wife of nearly 50 years, and said the honor wouldn’t have been possible without her.
In the video tribute, Blunt was joined by Marie, former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, the Director of Aviation at the Springfield Branson National Airport Brian Weiler, Missouri State University President Clif Smart and his son Joseph.
“I’m confident with this additional honor you have, you’ll continue to use the profile you have built as a leader in your community to provide great things for this region,” Nixon said in the video.
Carmichael’s storied career brought him to the national stage
Carmichael’s expansive career began in Springfield, where he graduated from Parkview High School and MSU, with a bachelor’s degree in general business and a minor in French in 1969.
He then went on to attend law school at the University of Arkansas, where he met Marie, and they have two children, Joseph and Kathryn, according to a 2021 news release from MSU, when he was a trustee of the MSU Foundation.
Son Joseph is a colorectal surgeon and faculty member at the University of California, Irvine and Kathryn is an emergency room doctor at Liberty Hospital in the Kansas City area.
Carmichael initially specialized in tax law, and served as a public accountant in Tulsa for several years. It wasn’t long, however, before he returned home. In 1975, he began his own practice in Springfield and joined the accounting department faculty at MSU.
Carmichael’s law firm continued to grow and evolve over the years. Today, he is the president and manager of Carmichael and Neal, P.C. He also spends time helping at Affordable Homes Development Inc., his wife’s home building company.
Carmichael has served on numerous boards, associations and committees
Over the course of his time in law, Carmichael has been involved in the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association, the Missouri Bar Association, the American Bar Association, Legal Aid of Southwest Missouri and the Southwest Chapter of the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants, according to a press release from the Chamber.
Law and family haven’t been Carmichael’s only focus. In 2013, then-Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Carmichael to MSU’s Board of Governors. He continues to serve as a member on the MSU Foundation Board of Trustees, where he was once the chairman of its executive committee.
In addition, Carmichael has served on the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System Board of Trustees, the City of Springfield Airport Board and as the commissioner and chairman of Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.
Carmichael is also a prominent Democrat, having served as chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party and vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.
“Joe Carmichael is one of the most respected people that I know,” Weiler said in the video. “He asks the hard questions. He is very much a part of getting things done behind the scenes. Joe’s primary focus is to get to the best solution for our community.”