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Technology Outlook: Nick Lofaro

Senior Vice President and CIO, Guaranty Bank and President, Springfield Tech Council

Posted online

2022 Projection: Talent is only going to continue to leave until we make some changes in salary and professional development. We have to be able to compete with the rest of the country.

The pandemic caused a tectonic shift in how and where we work in the past two years. How has technology adapted to meet that demand?
The work-from-home shift has been the biggest. If people weren’t already in the cloud, I think they are certainly looking at it now. I think cloud or remote workforce has become the two biggest things that came from the pandemic. In Springfield, we are continually looking for talent. Now, our talent is running to remote workforce from Oregon because they can and make West Coast money.

In light of all the talk about blockchain, non-fungible tokens and Web3, what are some of the things business owners should be thinking about as we head into the future?
If you’re not already looking at what (cryptocurrency) can do for your organization or the security measures that go into handling it, you’re probably behind the times a bit. The bank world hasn’t quite supported it, but we’re looking at it. Be careful with and be aware of it. Be sure you’re taking the right security steps and you’re protecting yourself. 44

Crews have been busy all over town working on City Utilities’ $120 million fiber optic broadband project. What does this mean for Springfield in terms of attracting innovation and talent?
Man, this is major, probably one of the greatest things since I moved here back in the early ’80s. It’s southwest Missouri. Everyone thinks it’s this rural farming community. We’re not as rural as many people want to think. Being able to bring the bandwidth that SpringNet and CenturyLink provide – kudos to (City Utilities) for bringing it here. I think our local utility bringing it here means it will be far more stable than I think the [existing fiber optics] network is. It’s just unbelievable. It’s going to bring other folks to this community. SpringNet has been available for the business side, but it’s going to be very attractive to remote workers.

The CU project will boost speed in the city, but how is the rest of the Ozarks faring?
I still think our rural communities are suffering a little bit because there’s nothing out there aside from Mediacom and Suddenlink and other cable-style providers. I want to say people, like rural parts of Clever and beyond, are having to find some of these newer satellite technologies to get anything quality. I really do look for SpringNet to continue to grow that gig service. I can’t believe it’s not going to be long before it makes it to the surrounding counties.

What are your hopes for Springfield’s tech future?
Not that we aren’t already, but I want to be known as a tech community. I want people to understand the salaries, the jobs, the availability of resources is not limited in this area because we’re little Springfield. That is not the case. We are the third-largest city in the state. I didn’t even mention Amazon, Expedia – we have global internet companies here in Springfield. If those don’t speak volumes for where we’re going and where this town can grow, we’re not doing our job.


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