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2016 40 Under 40 Yearbook: Jonathan Gano, 41

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Then: Assistant director of Public Works, City of Springfield
Now: Director of Public Works, City of Des Moines, Iowa

After an unsuccessful bid to lead the city of Springfield’s Public Works Department, Jonathan Gano made a play for the top role in Des Moines, Iowa.

Now, over a year into his position as director of Public Works for Iowa’s capital city, Gano says his seven years working for the Queen City government were invaluable.

“It’s very similar to Springfield in its size and feel. There’s some very interesting, unique wrinkles,” says Gano, who worked nearly five years as assistant director of Public Works for Springfield.

In 2012, Gano was a key player in opening Springfield’s first public compressed natural gas fueling station. His voice also was used at crosswalks to let pedestrians know when it’s safe to walk.

In Des Moines, he’s easing into such unique opportunities.

“We’re working on several ideas that are in that same vein,” he says. “I wanted to get some water under the bridge before I wandered off the reservation.”

Gano, who moved his wife and four kids to the new city, says a key difference has been the political climate, particularly this year during the Iowa caucuses.

“I saw Jeb Bush walk by,” he says. “If you’re in Iowa and you haven’t met a presidential candidate, it’s your fault.”

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