A ride on the “Wayback Machine”
Published: Friday, May 1, 2020
By: Randy Allen, President/CEO
For those of you too young to remember,
The WABAC Machine or Wayback Machine is a fictional time machine from the segment "Peabody's Improbable History", a recurring feature of the 1960s cartoon series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. ... Peabody and Sherman go back in time to visit important events in human history.
The WABAC took me to my first day working at the Chamber as the new President and CEO, October 4th, 2005. It was an eventful day as I joined a delegation of city, county, state government and Chamber leaders traveling to the nation’s capital to meet with our representative members of Congress and key staff of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. I had just come off of 12 years in state government so I knew the drill. Led by our Chairman of the Board, Clyde Lear, our mission was to discuss our local legislative and appropriation priorities with our congressional leaders. Our delegation presented a clear and concise message that consisted of five priorities of our business community. They were: Focus on 50, MSP redevelopment, Interstate Loop-570, new federal courthouse and the Lafayette Street interchange.
15 years later there has been mixed results with these issues. Since that time the Focus on 50 initiative was instrumental in securing funding for 4 lane expansions from Jefferson City west to California and Jefferson City East to Linn. Both of those sections have been completed and have reduced the commute time and accidents. The MSP Redevelopment plan was being discussed as an area which would also provide a home to the new federal courthouse and other tourism and business uses. The courthouse has been completed and the Missouri State Penitentiary Community Partners committee recently made a recommendation to the City Council to continue negotiations with a developer. The Interstate Loop 570 project would mean upgrading Highways 63 and 54 from Interstate 70 to put Jefferson City on the “Interstate map” for marketing purposes. Due to lack of federal highway funding, this idea has yet to mature. Funding for the Lafayette Street interchange from Highway 50 to the courthouse and MSP sites was received and the project was completed in 2013.
Throughout my time in this position, other community and economic projects and initiatives have been started and completed and some are still underway. I will always remember fondly my first day on the job and the way our city, county, Chamber, and state leaders came together to make these impactful projects a reality.
Much has changed in the ensuing 15 years and as I look back will always remember all of the successes and challenges and know that on July 1st, when I leave this job, I have full faith that JCMO will be better than ever.
2005 Chamber delegation to Washington DC:
Front Row L-R: Mike Kehoe, Chris Wrigley, Larry Brickey, Angi Baugher, Missy Bonnot, Melva Fast, Randy Allen
Back Row: L-R: Bernie Fechtel, Carl Vogel, Jake Otto, Harry Otto, Kyle Bruns, Dot Baker, Mark Bruns, Roger Schwartze, Not pictured Clyde Lear