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Chase Heilman, 28

Co-Pilot, Starboard & Port Creative

You read that right. Chase Heilman’s official job title is “Co-Pilot,” as confirmed by the State of Missouri on Starboard and Port’s business license. 

The name is apt for Chase and his partner, George Ferris, who started out in photography planning to shoot exclusively for sailing-related companies. During the economic downturn of the late 2000s that mission morphed into whatever they could get, and last year both partners, and Chase’s girlfriend, Chelsea, moved back to Chase’s native Springfield to continue growing the company.

The Parkview graduate already had a number of local clients, about 95 percent of which are commercial. Local campaigns include Mother’s Brewing Company, BKD, Scotch & Soda and Prime Trucking. On top of that, Chase has done charitable work for the Child Advocacy Center and Rainbow Network.

“I know a lot of people here who are young and up-and-coming and doing great things,” Chase says. “It seemed like there was a point where there was this decision to make Springfield a younger, hipper, more interesting place, so it was nice to be surrounded by that.”

Chase travels as much as he is in 417-land. This year has already taken him to Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas, and he has plans to travel to Kenya to shoot for Children’s International. In his limited spare time, Chase canoes, hikes and volunteers with Parkview High School photography students—hopefully helping to teach the next generation of co-pilots.



Job title and where you work: Co-Captain at Starboard & Port Creative

Education: Parkview High School and The Art Institute of Colorado B.A. Photography

City or town where you live: Springfield, Missouri


1. How did you end up at your current job/profession?

There isn’t enough space on this questionnaire to go all through the twists and turns and friendships that got me to here, so I’ll just say a lot of good luck and a bit of hard work.


2. Where do you find passion to do what you do?

Creating something, anything in your mind, and making it tangible in the form of a photograph or video is incredibly rewarding, and so it makes it easy to be passionate.


3. Are you single/married, and do you have any kids?

I have a beautiful and brilliant girlfriend named Chelsea Straub who is a physical therapist at Mercy.


4. What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?

Floating, golf, Scotch, Cardinals games, and road trips to new places.


5. Are you involved in any charitable organizations?

I guest teach at Parkview High School in their photography program whenever they let me, and Starboard & Port donates prints to almost any organization that asks for charity auctions. And anytime the Child Advocacy Center needs anything we try our best to help them with anything they need.


6. Are you a member of any professional organizations?

This year is my first year with Springfield Creatives. They are a new organization, and I’m looking forward to being more involved with them. 


7. How would you define the secret to success?

Surrounding yourself with great friends and family and realizing they are the real secret to success. It takes more then just yourself to be successful, and even if success comes, what good is it unless you have people to share it with?


8. What's your favorite thing about your career?

My favorite thing about this job is building up this company with my business partner, George. Also the travel, the creativity, the shear unpredictability of every project and that we make our own schedule.


9. What's your favorite thing about working in 417-land?

The rivers. Also the fact that many of us are looking at Springfield and seeing how we can make it even better. I was gone for 10 years, but I realized that what I wanted to build was going to be built in Springfield.


10. If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Buy Apple stock.


11. What was your “dream job” at age 5?

I wanted to be Payne Stewart and win US Opens.


12. List three traits that define a successful career:

Be comfortable with yourself, over-deliver and build strong relationships.


13.  Why are you a 20 Under 30?

That is a great question, and I’d like to know myself. I guess there are quite a few people out there rooting for us to do big things.


14. What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?

We have photo-shoots coming up this spring and summer that involve being out in the Atlantic photographing yachts, so I can only imagine that being a good time.


15. What completed project are you most proud of?

A few years back I built an image library and a marketing plan for Rainbow Network that raised awareness and helped raise money for their programs. I was able to spend a week riding around on bumpy roads photographing everything that their organization does down in Nicaragua.


Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:

Friendships make life worth living.

A day at work wouldn't be complete without George awkwardly Photoshopping my profile photo.

Ten years from now, I hope I'm at the Masters.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would buy a farm.

The best part about being a 20 under 30 is a proud Mom that will tell all of her friends about this.


Mingle with the winners at Highland Springs Country Club on April 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Find party details and purchase tickets here. 


< Christi Sudbrock | Alyssa Michelle Ruiz >

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