Our founder, Don Penrod, the General Securities Principal of the firm, came to Branson in 1976 as a Registered Representative for Edward D. Jones & Company (EDJ) and opened the Branson area for EDJ & Co. He built a profitable office from scratch where no branch had existed before. He was located in the Federal Post Office Building in downtown Branson. Don had studied at the University of Arizona and Eastern Michigan University receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree from EMU on December 21, 1974. Major: Political Science. Minors: Journalism and Military Science. Post Graduate: Non-credit classes, courses and professional seminars on finance, business, marketing; as well as years of mandatory professional “continuing education”.
Don performed as a professional singer and guitarist in several states and recorded in Nashville over a period of six years. An EDJ Partner recruited Don after seeing him perform on stage and talking with him afterwards. As a former professional musician, the EDJ Partner was convinced that Don would understand and share important common ground with the entertainment community in Branson. Don was not interested in becoming a “Stock Broker” at first. The Partner convinced him that he would be far more than just a stock broker. As a well-rounded financial professional, he could do great good for the people of his community as well as provide a good living for his family.
Becky joined EDJ in 1981 as a secretary. Within two years, she had earned the position and title of “Branch Office Administrator”. Don often said that she had the hardest job in the office and was instrumental in the success of the branch office. Becky and Don were married in 1984 and became partners in life as well as in business.
In 1983, Don became a “Limited Partner” of Edward D. Jones & Company, Member New York Stock Exchange. Don loved the OLD EDJ & Co. management team and Partners. “They were some of the finest individuals I’ve known. But things changed there and I didn’t. I still believed in the principals I was recruited with and operated under while those people were there. The new guys wanted to become “Wall Street”, I wanted to remain small town “Main Street”.
In 1978, Don was elected County Judge for the Western District of Taney County, Missouri, which includes the city of Branson. The position is now designated County Commissioner. During his term (1979 & 1980) many innovative programs were instituted. It was widely agreed that more was done in that two-year term of the “County Court” than in the previous twenty years.
May 8, 1978, Don received the Harry S. Truman Veterans Medal from the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri. Nelson Rockefeller was the other recipient that year. There are only two awards given each year, one to a “prominent public figure”, the other to a Veteran who has distinguished himself through character and accomplishment. Past “public” recipients include Gerald Ford, Thomas Eagleton, Earl Warren, Dr. Jonas Salk, Clarence Kelly, Barry Goldwater, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Paul Volker and more.
In September of 1980, Don was appointed by Governor Joe Teasdale and Max Cleland, then head of the Veterans Administration and more recently U.S. Senator, as Missouri Veterans Day Chairperson serving state wide. On June 11, 1980, Don had been appointed by Governor Teasdale to the Missouri Veterans Advisory Board as a Director for a three-year term.
In December of 1987, Don & Becky established the Penrod & Company Insurance Agency licensed with the State of Missouri.
During February of 1987, Don was formally (legally) recognized as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) by Securities and Exchange Commission and the State of Missouri (January 1987).
In June 1989, after a couple of years of very hard work, Don, Becky and Tammy were successful in establishing Penrod Financial Services, Inc. (Penrod & Company) a Registered Broker/Dealer in securities, registered and licensed with Federal and State Regulators and a Member of NASD (now called FINRA), MSRB, and SIPC. Don served as President/Co-owner, General Principal, Municipal, Registered Representative, Registered Investment Advisor and President of Penrod Agency, Life & Health Insurance Agency. Becky was the Senior Administrator, the Life Insurance Broker for the Agency, and Secretary of the Board of Directors. Tammy became our Financial Operations Principal, accountant, tax preparer and Treasurer of the Board. The Penrod Group is and always has been a “family”.
Becky, along with Don’s oldest son, Aaron, continue to run the family firm. Don and Becky’s son, Jacob, now age 17, is likely to join the firm sometime after college. Jacob competes competitively as a Trap Shooter and Sporting Clays (shotgun). He is also a member of the Chess Club at Branson High School.
In 2005, Don retired due to complications of injuries he received in Vietnam where he earned the Silver Star, Purple Heart, Bronze Star and the coveted “Combat Infantry Badge”.
It is interesting to note that although Don was missing his right leg and his left leg severely damaged, he became a Licensed Pilot in 1984. He had to take a special flight test by a Senior Special Designated Examiner to receive a “Statement of Demonstrated Ability” from the FAA to prove capability in an aircraft.
Don & Becky have served their community as well. Becky has served as Secretary for Pack 226 of the Boy Scouts of America. She also headed-up major troop fundraisers that benefited the local food pantry (Christian Action Ministries) and more. She has been active in Branson School activities and fundraising events, member of Community Focus Group, served on Board of Directors for Presbyterian Preschool, participant and Sponsor of Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks and member of Taney County Federated Republican Women. She is also a Real Estate Property Manager for rental homes and commercial office building. Becky is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Neighbors & Friends of Table Rock Lake, a Non-Profit-Social and Philanthropic Organization.
Don was “drafted” into the Army in November 1966 shortly after graduation from High School. He entered the Army as a Private and rose to rank of Captain within three years. Wounded in Vietnam; (1968) received multiple blast and fragment wounds including immediate traumatic loss of lower right leg, front of left leg, back of left hand with extensive damage to other areas of body. Don relearned to walk and function including playing the guitar. This was considered unlikely because the last three fingers of his left hand were thought to be unusable. An Orthopedic and reconstruction specialist at the University of Arizona went so far as to recommend amputation of the “useless small digit”, “to get it out of the way.”
Don was Medically Discharged for Retirement in February, 1971 - U. S. Army