Springfield is often billed as a big small city, and if you've ever described it like that to friends or family outside Missouri, we don't blame you. It's about as accurate as any label can be; Springfield is large enough to have dozens of amenities without the overwhelming and sometimes lonely feel of the country's largest metropolitan areas. But the Millennial SWAT Team—a group of 19 young professionals organized in 2016, tasked with evaluating the community's standings—wants more for the place its members call home. "We don't want to be just another mediocre Midwestern city with no identity," they write in their final report and recommendations. "Let's create structures, amenities, and spaces that are uniquely 'Springfield'... If we create amenities that make our city a great place to live, others will come."
On visits to six cities in Texas, Tennessee, Iowa, Nebraska and Utah, the Millennial SWAT Team began to see commonalities that could also benefit Springfield's young professional attraction and retention efforts. The keys, they say, are to empower the next generation, embrace inclusivity and speak with a unified voice. At Think Summit on January 12, five members of the Millennial SWAT Team sit down to discuss these foundational ideas, the team's nine other recommendations (did someone say daylight Jordan Creek?), their discovery process and how the community can move forward from here.
Meet the panelists
Aaron Abernathy, Arvest Bank
Teresa Coyan, CoxHealth
Ryan Crosby, Central Bank of the Ozarks
Kristen Milam, City of Springfield
Cora Scott, City of Springfield and moderator
Don't miss out on this exciting discussion at Biz 417's second Think Summit is on January 12 at the Springfield Art Museum. See the rest of the speaker lineup here and purchase tickets here.
The other Millennial SWAT Team members are: Jim Ashley, BKD LLP; Ingrid Bohnenkamp, Springfield-Greene County Library District; Brittney Bywater, City of Springfield; Ryan DeBoef, Missouri State University; Laura Head Elliott, Elliott Space; Hallie Heinzler, City Utilities; Elijah Joplin, O'Reilly Hospitality Management; Chris Keenan, Great Southern Bank; Mailyn Knight, Greene County; Matt Lemmon, Community Foundation of the Ozarks; Paige Oxendine, The eFactory; Chris Weiss, Husch Blackwell; Laura Whisler, Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau; and John Jay Wilson, Assemblies of God.