• Special to the Daily Leader
SPIRIT’s 15th annual conference last week in Greensburg was a great success, according to SPIRIT Executive Director Jack Taylor. The planning committee from Greensburg did a tremendous job of making sure that everything was planned, set up and hosted in an extremely professional manner.
“They have done this kind of thing before,” Taylor said.
Welcomes from Taylor and Greensburg Mayor Bob Dixon were followed by video welcomes from Congressman Jerry Moran and former Kansas Governor Bill Graves. This was followed by a keynote address and Power Point presentation by Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Deb Miller.
“She provided a lot of information that most of the crowd had not been aware of,” Taylor said.
A panel discussion by representatives from three of the four states, and a board member from SPIRIT talked about the future direction of SPIRIT and the present construction and plans for the future for U.S. Highway 54 from Wichita to El Paso, Texas.
Serving on this panel were Scott Armstrong, Oklahoma Department of Transportation Division 6 construction engineer, and Kenneth Petr, Texas Department of Transportation Planning and Programming.
“Max Zimmerman, SPIRIT Kansas vice president, and Gaynelle Riffe, SPIRIT Texas vice president, discussed briefly the history and accomplishments of the organization and its future plans,” Taylor said.
The second panel discussion addressed “How to Connect the DOTs.” The panel members told about their communication with and collaboration with DOTs in their surrounding states.
“This kind of cooperation makes the work go smoother and the sharing of information speeds up solving of problems,” Taylor said.
Casey Shell, ODOT operations engineer, Jerry Younger, KDOT assistant secretary of transportation, and Petr from Amarillo, Texas, discussed their interaction with other DOTs.
“Frank Coreigo gave a terrific talk about the economic benefits to the communities and regions of four-laning U.S. Highway 54,” Taylor said. “The statistics were eye-opening.”
Duffy Hinkle with Ports-to-Plains, a north/south corridor across the United States, talked about their efforts to upgrade and about the benefits of their corridor intersecting with the SPIRIT corridor at Stratford and Dalhart, Texas.
More than 50 people attended this historic conference. On March 1, 1996, SPIRIT hosted its first membership meeting in Greensburg, with more than 100 people attending.
“Fifteen years later, Greensburg once again hosted this conference,” Taylor said. “Tours were given after conference so that visitors could see the dramatic rebuilding of Greensburg into a green town.”
For more information about his conference or about SPIRIT, e-mail
or call 624-1540.