We Choose to Evolve, Avoid Retrench (Sponsor Letter)

Posted online

At the age of 17, I joined the Navy. When I returned about 35 years ago to join my family’s company, I was accustomed to a 24/7 schedule and all hands on deck. I have since fallen on my sword regarding a rigid work environment.

Two years ago, we started planning for remote and flexible work. The pandemic greatly accelerated and redefined what that would mean for us. We were originally planning for one day a week but discovered flexible and remote work can be not only successful but also more productive for our staff. We now offer 50% remote work. We also have adapted many other policies and procedures to be more flexible.

There is a cost to us, no doubt. But to attract the kind of talent we want, we have to do it.

Our city also must meet the challenge of placemaking. We are exceptionally well positioned with the installation of high-speed fiber to every household and business in the city limits by 2022, investments in Springfield Public Schools, the Grant Avenue Parkway project, daylighting and naturalization of Jordan Creek, and Springfield Art Museum master plan will add to what we already have as a vibrant, diverse regional economic hub.

You’re either growing and evolving or you’re retrenching and ultimately dying. I want to be a part of a community, business and family that is thriving. SBJ’s Economic Growth Survey is a way we can come together to envision what the future will bring.

Richard Ollis Chief Executive Officer, Ollis/Akers/Arney Insurance & Business Advisors