YOUR BUSINESS AUTHORITY
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.
Heirloom Candle Bar moved; art supply thrift store Arrow Creative Reuse opened; and Rockford, Illinois-based Beef-A-Roo debuted in Springfield.