The new Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce President, Robert - Rob - Devore calls himself a Neosho kid and his roots in the community go deep.

The new Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce President, Robert - Rob - Devore calls himself a Neosho kid and his roots in the community go deep.
Although born in Clinton, Mo., he spent his early years as an Army brat in several locations around the county, includingCalifornia and Kileen, Texas, the home of Fort Hood. At the age of 8, however, Devore's family moved to Neosho in January, 1984.
"It was the dead of winter," he recalled. "I'd never seen snow before and there was snow, a lot of snow."
He settled into the community and has fond memories of the freedom kids have in Neosho, riding his bicycle all over town.
"Neosho has always felt like home," Devore said.
Devore chose Neosho as the place for his business, Grey Oak Investments, located on the west side of the square. He's been in the same location for two and a half years and for Devore, downtown Neosho was a deliberate choice.
"I graduated from Neosho High School in 1994," Devore said. "Then I was one of those kids who ran away."
He continued his education at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin but when a chance to go into management with Applebee's restaurants beckoned, he took the job and worked in food industry management in various locals for about a dozen years.
Then Devore shifted his career path and became a financial advisor, a change that some might find sudden but Devore says it wasn't. "Tony Bergkoetter (a now retired financial advisor in Neosho) had been mentoring me since high school. I got started, my interest, started when I was 17."
While in his twenties, Devore tried his hand at being a financial advisor in the Joplin metro area but his age proved to be a disadvantage. He launched his career in food service management soon afterward.
 "I didn't want it (food service industry) to be what I grew up to be so I came back to financial advising."
By then, Devore had the maturity and savvy to become a financial advisor. Beginning in the spring of 2008 worked for the Barron Financial Group in the Springfield, MO area. He remained with Barron for about 7 and a half years.
When Bergkoetter decided to retire, he contacted Devore and Devore realized he had an opportunity to bring his services to Neosho.
In September 2015, Devore opened Grey Oak Investments on the Neosho Square. He chose the location for the tradition and because it's near where Bergkoetter operated his firm for many years. Devore wanted to make the transition easy for his customers, many of which he inherited from Bergkoetter. "Tony (Bergkoetter) told his clients, 'I trust Robert and so should you'."
As for becoming the 2018 Chamber President, Devore said, "It's an honor to represent the Chamber."
As the president, after having been on the board of directors at the Chamber, Devore has a few ideas of what he'd like to see enhance the Neosho business community. Hopes are that a hotel and a full-service restaurant, possibly a steakhouse, can come to Neosho. "I want to see Neosho and the community become even better than last year," Devore stated. He's also a member of the Economic Development Committee in Neosho and believes a lot of future growth will continue along the Highway 86 corridor near the Love's as well as on the Highway 60 corridor.
Growth, he says, is great for the community in all areas, including downtown Neosho and along Neosho Boulevard. "Neosho is a small town and they think small," Devore said. "Sometimes I think they should think big."
Devore makes his home in Springfield with his fiancee, Monica Henderson and her daughter, Kaylee, age 11. One of the reasons Devore makes the commute is to avoid uprooting his daughter from school, sports, and activities.
His dog, a miniature pincher terrier named Dougie, sometimes joins Devore at his office in Neosho.
The best part about Devore's job as a financial advisor is helping people. "I get to help people to reach their financial goals," he said. "You have to plan life and make it happen. I help them get there."
His job also allows Devore to live life the way he wants. "I can make a comfortable living all the freedoms I want with all the time to do what I want to do what I want," he said. "I want to work to live, not live to work."
One of the accomplishments Devore is most proud of is being named Rotarian of the Year in 2013 in Springfield. "It was humbling," he said. "It's given to the member who gives the most of themselves that year."
His other activities including being actively involved in fund raising as well as sports. "I love playing golf," he said. "I'm not good at it but I love it." He also still plays basketball and begins playing in a league soon.
As the 2018 Chamber President, Devore is looking forward to serving the community. "I wouldn't say I'm innovative," he said. "I'm usually the guy who looks at it (the idea) and implements it."
Devore can be found at Grey Oak Investments, 120 South Wood in Neosho, on the west side of the Square. He can be reached by phone at 417-451-0000.
"You don't get a better breadth of people than in Neosho," Devore said. "Neosho is family and you don't get that anywhere else."