Jay Wynn runs a civil engineering firm with more than 30 years of experience in the field of keeping traffic moving in the Queen City.
2019 Projection: Work is plentiful as Springfield grows, but funding needed for city projects to expand roadways remains in question.
SBJ: What is on the transportation radar heading into 2019?
Wynn: It seems commercial growth, development, has come back. We are doing a lot more commercial development than we have been doing since the bottom fell out of the market in 2008. The firms that were able to survive were fortunate because now the economy has come back and we were able to weather the storm. So, now, we are very busy.
SBJ: With a better economy bringing more work, is the field becoming increasingly competitive?
Wynn: You have to compete for usually every job that you have until you create a relationship with a client where they no longer want to compare or shop around. The market is growing, and all of us are trying to find additional clients, as well, to grow.
SBJ: What was the greatest hurdle of 2018?
Wynn: Finding the right employees for our organization in the time of growth. Missouri State University is now an associate with Rolla and the (Missouri University of Science and Technology). They now have an engineering program at MSU which has been a substantial asset to the engineering profession in the area from the standpoint that we are developing and keeping students here.
SBJ: The city of Springfield’s Capital Improvements Program identified $80 million in projects in 2018, including several transportation goals. As voters face a sales tax renewal for roughly $30 million, what is your take on the plan?
Wynn: The Capital Improvements Program is one of the best programs they have for the community. It’s something that has allowed safety and congestion improvements to be made that wouldn’t have been possible. When we improved Grant Street, it took nine years. The new Capital Improvements Program the city is presenting would allow that to be done in probably three to five years. These are improvements that are needed now. So, if the city is able to accelerate and make safety and congestion improvements and bike and pedestrian and trail improvements more efficiently, everybody benefits.
SBJ: What is being done to make Springfield more friendly for pedestrians and bikers?
Wynn: We’ve worked with the Ozarks Transportation Organization to help map the trails that are needed in the area. They have a great understanding of where they need them and where to expand. I just think they’re looking for ways to find the capital and the funding to do the project. That’s where the Capital Improvements Program is so important to the community.
SBJ: Proposition D, which would have increased the gas tax, was shot down by Missouri voters in November. How does this impact Springfield?
Wynn: We are very fortunate to have the Department of Transportation we have. They are doing twice the amount of work with half the amount of staff that most organizations have. In the recent Proposition D failure, I think it really put the DOT back on maintenance mode instead of growth mode. That’s where they get their revenue from and, as vehicles have become more electric and more hybrid, that percent of sales tax goes down.
As we proceed into the future, I only see funding as a bigger challenge.
Local developer plans renovations after investing $5 million in foreclosed property acquisitions.
As employees are more mobile and have a desire to work from home, Haden Long owner of Ellecor, explains office spaces are trending towards a more home-like feel. Things like shared work spaces, office pets, and cozy furnishings allow employees to be selective about where they work and become more effective as a result.
Every industry has to navigate trend shifts, but Scott Shotts of Missouri Spirits describes the changes in beverage industry as anarchy. Tried-and-true spirits rules are being ignored. Learn how the local distillery balances following the trends for product development with taking risks.
Kevin Wyas, founder of ECRI, started his first business at the age of 19, ran the business for 16 years before selling it. He recognizes the benefits of starting a business so young when he had relatively little to lose. "The stress and the uncertainty of this would be crippling," he says for somebody accustomed to a regular paycheck.
ighty percent of questions are common across industries, so you don't need industry-specific experience to do effective market research according to Debra Kassarjian, independent consultant and owner of DKInsights. As a matter of fact, she thinks there is a great deal to be gained from exchanging ideas outside of your industry.
Danny Collins, 37 North founder and guide, says the biggest leap they took in the first year was to purchase a vehicle. That major financial investment, however, allowed them to provide their outdoor guide services at a price point they felt was more appropriate.
Springfield Diner owner Ömer Önder sits down with a restaurant consultant who starts challenging the menu offerings."No bashful food." The blunt conversation is the launching off point to determine how the Mediterranean influence will affect the young restaurant's offerings in the future. Made to Order is an ongoing sbjLive documentary series in collaboration with Springfield Business Journal tracking the rebranding of a local restaurant.
Haden Long, owner of Ellecor, opened a retail home decor business five years ago in a traditional retail space. When the interior design side of the business took off, she decided to renovate a 100-year old bungalow to better show off product samples and installations.
Scott Shotts, partner with Missouri Spirits, says when they started in 2011 there were approximately 300 distilleries in the U.S. and now there are more than 3,000 so competition has grown significantly. Diversification of their business model has helped them succeed.
Matthew Blystone of Theta Float Spa had the financial means to start the unique business, but used crowdsourcing for pre-orders to determine market interest in addition to gathering a nice cash reserve before opening.
Avery Parrish with the Springfield Regional Arts Council explains how businesses can display local art in their spaces for a fraction of the price of investing in a permanent collection. The corporate partnership program allows a business to select from a customized portfolio of local artists' work curated based on the company's mission and aesthetic that can be switched out every six or 12 months.