As President and CEO of Hammons Black Walnuts in Stockton, he runs the family business as the “head cheerleader” of the third-generation company. In his spare time, he runs marathons, including 11 times in the Boston marathon.
This year, Hammons is being honored with the Leadership Missouri Alumni Lifetime Achievement award and—according to him—it’s too soon. He’s not done yet.
Hammons was part of the inaugural class of Leadership Missouri in 1990 and has stayed active in the Leadership Missouri community and the Missouri Chamber ever since.
“I joined to learn more about the state, particularly to connect with other business leaders, and to learn more about our state and state government,” Hammons says. “There are a lot of economic engines that contribute to the state. We have a lot in common and I gained an appreciation that we have to learn to work together.”
Hammons grew up in the black walnut business and, in 1990, was responsible for the company’s sales. He had just returned to his hometown of Stockton after practicing law in Kansas City with his wife Kim and three kids: April, Adam, and David. In addition to working for the company and Leadership Missouri, he served on the Stockton City Council.
“It was great to travel the state and learn about the diversity Missouri has,” he says. “I was able to travel and look at other black walnut crops and gain an appreciation for the variety of businesses that make up the state. Lots of towns have things in common and I wanted to learn about state policy and education and health care and the future for our kids and the jobs that will be available to them.”
Hammons credits the leadership program with helping him to be a successful lay leader with the United Methodist Church by making him more understanding and aware of people and the communities around him.
“Anyone who joins the program needs to soak up all the friendship and knowledge he can,” Hammons says. “Stay connected and involved with the class and the Missouri Chamber, because they provide leadership to deal with the issues businesses face.”
Outside of work, Hammons is very proud of his 35 year marriage to Kim; daughter April who lives in Brussels, Belgium; son Adam, a CBS reporter in Austin, TX; and son David of Springfield, who has a novel being released soon.
“All three of our kids are self-supporting – so hey we did something right!” Hammons says.
He enjoys hunting, fishing, golfing, traveling, watching his favorite sports teams, and…running. Hammons ran the New York Marathon in last November, and is training for another Boston marathon with April in 2018. This will be their third Boston Marathon together.
Hammons joined the Missouri Chamber board in 2002 and has remained active in Chamber events and Leadership Missouri Alumni events.
“This is a very thoughtful award,” Hammons says. “I’m honored, humbled, and I don’t believe I’m finished just yet. I still have so much to accomplish.”