What You Missed at Think Summit

We challenged 417-land to think big, and we weren’t disappointed. Basically, the day was 🔥🔥🔥.

By Adrienne Donica

Jan 14 2017 at 8:34 a.m.


It might have been a little chilly outside, but inside the Springfield Art Museum on January 13, the conversation and big thinking was hot. Biz 417's Think Summit featured engaging speakers from Uber, Bass Pro Shops, The Mystery Hour and more. Whether you missed out on the fun or want to relive the magic, here are our favorite moments and takeaways from the day.


We learned the most popular pickup locations for Uber rides in Springfield.

The Springfield-Branson National Airport, Springfield Expo Center, Gillioz Theatre, bars and restaurants on Walnut Street and student housing at Missouri State University all topped the list of most popular pickup locations for Uber passengers. Pro tip: your Uber driver can drop you off outside of city limits as long as they pick you up somewhere in Springfield.


Bass Pro Shops surprised the crowd with a bald eagle.

Ben Brandell holds Capella the bald eagle. Photo by Brad Zweerink

Capella, who weighs about 9 pounds, was joined by Vaughn, a barred owl and Oliver, a hawk. Oh, and Bob Ziehmer, conservation director for Bass Pro, teased us with details about the soon-to-open Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium.


One mile of solar highways would be enough to power 30 homes.

The Missouri Department of Transportation’s Laurel McKean is leading the pilot project to install Solar Roadways at the historic Route 66 Welcome Center in Conway. McKean showed the audience a miniature solar panel during her talk, but the real panels are about 4 feet wide and weigh 70 pounds.


Nixa Superintendent Stephen Kleinsmith made the case for removing senior year.

Nixa Superintendent Stephen Kleinsmith was joined by Willard Superintendent Kent Medlin, Springfield Superintendent John Jungmann and moderator Greg Holman.

Citing research that suggests spending a dollar on early childhood education has a sevenfold return, Kleinsmith suggested reallocating resources in schools. “Remove senior year and put your resources in pre-K where you get a higher return rate,” he said.


Think Summit speaker Siphiwe Baleka and 417 Magazine’s Jami Wightman fit in a quick, midday sweat sesh.

Wightman was so inspired by Baleka’s 4 Minute Fit movement that she started four minutes of vigorous exercise before the fitness guru was even off the stage. Baleka then found her in the Interactive Living Room doing squats and joined in.


“Dream big and start small."—Jeff Houghton, The Mystery Hour

Jeff and Michelle Houghton of The Mystery Hour shared their journey to find their passions and how they are making them happen here in 417-land. “Don't follow your dreams unless you want to walk that thin line between perseverance and crazy person," Jeff said.

There were even more great speakers and moments throughout the day. Visit the Biz 417 Facebook page to watch videos of all the talks and check out photos.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the species of Vaughn the owl.