Photo by Brandon Alms
Before moving to 417-land, Derrick Estell was at Valparaiso University in Indiana, studying civil engineering. Now he’s helping build a better city for the future.
On an Internship Becoming a Career
“During my studying at Valparaiso, I ended up getting an internship here at the City of Springfield. I came down and learned about not just traffic engineering but transportation, environmental services, a pretty broad spectrum of how the city works and how different departments work together. After I graduated, I came on here at the City full-time.
“I’ve been in my position here for three years now… no two days are the same. Most days I come in and say ‘okay, I’m going to sit down and knock out this project’ and it never fails that there’s always something that pops up... I've been heading the bike and pedestrian projects and infrastructure. I've been involved in the different groups and organizations surrounding that, such as the transportation collaborative and the walkability group. Just working with the community [...] I'm a people person, I love to talk to people.
“Being able to communicate and to have those conversations with people, to put that information into your design and have all that coordination together is extremely valuable. No matter what project I'm working on, I’m making sure that we get that feedback and input from the communities and the experts.”
On Springfield Becoming the Place to Be
“I would like to see Springfield as a community make that next step… Really make a name for itself, become that place that people talk about on a nationwide scale, just like we talk about Austin or Boulder or Boise or any of these cities that you hear us talking about that like, ‘Let's go there, let’s raise a family there.’ I really want Springfield to be that and I think it definitely has the bones to do that. It's just a matter of putting everything together and making sure that it all meshes.”