Game changer: Technology and information

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For more than 40 years, Phil Broyles, PE, has served the State of Missouri in local, regional, and state roles. He began with a 30-year career at the Missouri DOT as director of operations and retired 11 years ago. In 2010, he returned to the profession to serve as assistant director of public works for the City of Springfield, Mo., on an interim basis, but has since been hired permanently as director of public works. He manages 220 people.

PHIL BROYLES, PE

DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS
SPRINGFIELD, MO.

You'd think game changers would be in short supply, but Phil Broyles doesn't think that's the case.

“Information technology is changing our future as it has in the past,” he says. “I started out my engineering career with a slide rule, then a $250 calculator you can now buy for $10, and now I own a notebook computer that's as powerful as the room-sized computers of the 1960s. i-Pads and smart-phones just add to the mix to stay connected in a very fast-paced world. Cars park themselves, adaptive traffic signals make changes on the fly, and Bluetooth technology calculates travel times and speed.”

As many as 5 billion smartphones have been sold worldwide in the last five years. And by next year, as many as 70% of U.S. mobile devices will be smartphones. Using them to build and maintain relationships with neighborhoods, visitors, and businesses will be key in solving community challenges.

“As the economy begins to take off again, are you ready to embrace new forms of technology and information?” Broyles asks. “You'd better be. New methods of information sharing will be how we convince the public their infrastructure is declining, and technology will be how we solve the problems.”