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Tawnie Wilson | SBJ

12 People You Need to Know in 2024: Steve Prange

Bold Visionary

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For Steve Prange, a typical day at the office is focused on transforming communities through large-scale infrastructure projects.

Prange is senior vice president and director of business development and strategy for Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc., the firm hired as project consultant on the city of Springfield’s Grant Avenue Parkway corridor plan, adopted in 2021 and now in the midst of construction, as well as the Lake Springfield master plan, unveiled in October 2023.

The $26 million Grant Avenue Parkway project is providing a multimodal north-south route through the city’s center, while the Lake Springfield plan aims to create a recreational destination out of 1,000 acres of land and water in the city. Both projects are aimed at improving quality of place in the city.

Prange says when there’s a major project to undertake, the first step is always the same: to listen.

“We listen to our community,” Prange says. “That’s the first part to getting a successful outcome: listening to every perspective out there.”

The second step, Prange says, is to apply a problem-solving mindset.

“So often people get to that second phase and then they just come up with a solution and get married to it, and they don’t have any flexibility to change it,” he says.

But finding the right solution means pushing the limits, he says.

“We’ve always got to just keep going back to the drawing board and never really being satisfied with anything,” he says. “I think that’s one reason for the success that we’ve had in a lot of these big projects we’ve worked on.”

CMT has had a hand in many other transformative projects, such as transportation studies involving Interstate 44 and the U.S. Highway 60 and BNSF corridor.

In these projects, bringing stakeholders together to hash out ideas has been the difference-maker, according to Prange.

“Just finding common ground is what makes these projects great,” he says.

It’s also what makes the Ozarks great, he says.

“We pull our money together to make it go further, and that’s how we make big things happen – and that’s something that we don’t see a lot in the rest of the state,” he says.

Prange sees the bold, decades-long plan for improvements to Lake Springfield coming together the same way.

“Everyone needs to think bigger and work together,” he says. “You’re going to see little pieces implemented, and then all of a sudden it will gain momentum, and more and more pieces will come together into the vision or a version of the vision.”

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