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Barbara Lucks, Springfield’s first sustainability officer, announces resignation

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After 22 years with the City of Springfield, most notably as Springfield’s first sustainability officer, Barbara Lucks has announced her resignation, effective in mid-October.

She will continue to work full time as a private consultant.

Barbara Lucks

Barbara Lucks

Lucks joined the City of Springfield in 1994 as a materials recovery/education coordinator, before heading the city’s newly created Sustainability Division following the department of Environmental Services’ creation in 2011. She is responsible for developing and implementing sustainability efforts for the city organization and guiding the city’s public involvement in community sustainability.

She has been responsible for planning, implementing, and overseeing the public education and information components of the City’s solid waste management system, (which includes the Household Chemical Collection Center, Yardwaste Recycling Center, recycling drop-off centers, Springfield Sanitary Landfill and curbside recycling services offered by private trash haulers), the Clean Water Services division of the Environmental Services department, (which includes two wastewater treatment plants and associated facilities and services) and the City’s air quality and water quality sections.

“It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work with Barbara Lucks, both during my time at Greene County and now at the City,” said Deputy City Manager Tim Smith. “Barbara has truly been Springfield’s ‘environmental conscience,’ throughout her career, and I know she will continue serving as such as she transitions to the private sector.”

Lucks’ accomplishments include:

• The successful attraction of Canadian manufacturer Canbrands (now Nestle Purina PetCare) to Springfield in 1998, resulting in 30 new jobs and a $3 million, 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility that recycles mixed paper into animal bedding products.

• The creation of the annual Choose Environmental Excellence Awards Luncheon in 2002, recognizing efforts and accomplishments in the environmental field. At the 2016 event, 12 organizations presented a total of 21 awards.

• The creation of the annual Environmental/Conservation Education Summit in 2005, bringing together approximately 40 representatives of nearly 30 organizations committed to providing educational programming for a one-day discussion of current issues and topics.

• The establishment of Springfield as a regional recycling hub, including the availability of glass recycling for Springfield and area communities through a partnership including Ripple Glass of Kansas City, and Nestle Purina PetCare as an end user of mixed-paper materials.

• The creation of Springfield’s Green Building Task Force, which investigates and evaluates the latest “green building” policies, procedures and ordinances, and recommends their application to regional development. Lucks served as the chair/facilitator of this 16-member task force.

• Community Task Force (CPO) Environmental Collaborative Volunteer Award, 1996 and 1998.

• Solid Waste Mgt., District “O” Environmental Excellence Award, 1997.

• Ozark Greenways Member of the Year, 1999.

• Friends of the Zoo Earth Hero Award, 2000.

• Rotary Club of Springfield, Southeast Volunteer of the Year Award, 2001.

• Gift of Time Award, Environment category, 2002.

• Springfield Business Journal Most Influential Women Award, 2005.

Lucks has a bachelor of science degree in marketing from Missouri State University, is a Missouri Environmental Education Association-certified educator and achieved associate-level certification in the inaugural class of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals in 2015.

Lucks serves as a board member of Community Partnership of the Ozarks, chairs CPO’s Council of Collaboratives and is a founding member and current chair of the organization’s Environmental Collaborative. She also serves on the Field Guide 2030 Natural Environment committee.

She is a Greene County Master Gardener, a Missouri Master Naturalist and serves on the board of directors of Friends of the Garden and Ozark Greenways, Inc. She is vice president of the Missouri Environmental Fund. She is a past president of the Rotary Club of Springfield-Southeast, Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame (currently serving as treasurer), and Ozarks Counseling Center, and is a founding member of Missouri State University’s Fast Break Club, a women’s athletics booster club.

She also served on the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors and as vice president. She is a former chair of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board and served on the task force that was instrumental in merging the Park Board and the City’s parks system. She also chaired the parks, open space and greenways focus group of the Vision 20/20 comprehensive plan, and was an active member in the Founders’ Park Committee, as well as a past chair and current member of the Jordan Valley Advisory Committee.

“I have been so very fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve the citizens of Springfield and the southwest Missouri region for these past 22 years,” Lucks said. “During that time, I have gained a keen appreciation for the value and dedication of our public servants as well as the critical role in the health of our communities that our not-for-profit organizations fill. Now, I am looking forward to offering my skill and experience to support the important work that is being done in the not-for-profit arena. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for local government and I look forward to future opportunities to support those efforts any way I can. Springfield and Greene County are poised to embark on some very serious and very ambitious efforts to address generational problems within our communities that will take all of us, working together and working very hard to produce success.”

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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