Nixa is already a great community, but its residents are always working toward the future. There are so many people doing amazing work to bring more business, culture and events to Nixa on a daily basis. We’d love to high five each and every one of them, but for this article we just wanted to shine a light on a few citizens of Nixa who are making Nixa an even cooler place to live, work and play!
Doug Colvin is the Interim City Administrator for the City of Nixa and has been Director of Nixa Utilities and Public Works since 2004. He worked to develop the public-private partnership which resulted in Missouri’s largest solar farm being constructed just outside Nixa City Limits. No small feat. This kind of energy efficiency is coveted by scores of other communities in the area and across the country. The project has saved the city $2.5 million while reducing its carbon footprint and currently stands as the largest solar farm in the state. He has also led another massive project, the sale of the city’s electric transmission system (the city retains its distribution system) in a $10 million transaction which positions the city to make some key investments in future infrastructure improvements. “It was a major windfall for our city,” Colvin says, “it could save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.” Although he didn’t set out to make other cities jealous, that’s exactly what Colvin’s work has done.
Representing the United States in the Olympics is one of the greatest honors an American athlete can achieve. Courtney Frerichs did exactly that at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. She also finished 2nd in the 2017 World Championships in London for the same event, where she finished with the seventh fastest time in history for women in the 3000 meter steeplechase. Frerichs started her pathway to Olympic glory at Nixa High School. She was a super-athlete there, garnering all-conference honors for cross country, all-district honors for soccer and was a two-time regional qualifier in gymnastics. She also set school records fastest time in a 5K race, longest triple jump, and fastest time in a 4×800-meter relay. Winning stuff is very cool and Courtney does a lot of it. She’s doing a lot to make Nixa proud!
If you’re looking for someone who lives and breathes Christian County, you’d be hard pressed to find someone with more passion than Andrea Sitzes. She has a long history of working in community development. She started her career as intern at the Hollister Chamber of Commerce. After working at Big Cedar Lodge as a manager, she took a job as the executive director for the Ozark Chamber of Commerce where she stayed for over two years. She recently resigned to take on the Executive Director position of the newly formed Show Me Christian County. In this position she is working as an economic developer for the entirety of Christian County. “I’ve been blessed with honor of being able to make a real difference in my community,” she says. Sitzes focuses on three main areas for this new public/private partnership organization: business attraction, business retention and workforce development. These areas are important because according to Sitzes, 54% of the employable people in the Springfield area live in Christian County. Nixa has never had dedicated positions for economic development until now and we think they’re in good hands with Andrea and all of her passion for the area.
Officer Brent Forgey has been a D.A.R.E. officer for nearly 25 years and has been a positive influence to thousands of kids in the Nixa School System over that time. Forgey is a highly decorated police officer as well, having been named the Missouri Crime Prevention Officer of the Year and a Role Model Award from the Nixa School Board. In 2005 he was named the Nixa Police Department’s Officer of the Year, and in 2009 the Missouri Extension Council awarded him with an Excellence in Leadership Award. One of his biggest achievements was winning D.A.R.E. officer of the year back in 2009 for the entire state of Missouri! Forgey serves a very important role in education about the dangers of drug abuse and continues to teach kids how to say no to this day.
Being dubbed “The Next Big Thing” for Ozarks baseball is no small feat. This area has produced players like Lucas Harrell, Josh Kinney and Scott Bailes. Hammit earned that title though. He hit an otherworldly .451 for Nixa last year and took home the award for the best player in his conference. “Brett is not only a good ball player, but is a good person as well,” said Nixa high school baseball coach Jason Daughtery. Major League scouts have him graded out pretty highly in terms of power hitting and defense. Hammit won’t be signing a major league deal, at least for now. He committed to Nebraska University to play college ball on a scholarship. We’re sure he’ll end up getting selected in the MLB First Year Player draft in the future. He’d be the first major leaguer in Nixa history and he could end up as one of the best players to ever come from the Ozarks! Way to put us on the map, Brett!
For more than 40 years, Wayne Glenn has hosted the Old Record Collector on KTXR right here in the Ozarks. As Greg Holman notes in his 2016 profile of Glenn, the broadcaster hasn’t missed a single weekend of producing his show since 1978. That’s dedication right there. Glenn has earned a legendary status with Ozarkers who love history, music and a knowledgeable, friendly voice on the radio. He is also a prolific writer, having penned 14 books on local history. He’s a good source of information since he’s lived in Nixa for his entire life. He lives on the farm his parents bought in 1949 to this day. “I’m a person that’s very inquisitive,” says Glenn, “I choose to spend my inquisitiveness on local history.” Glenn’s work reminds us that our history is worth remembering because it is interesting, rich and vital to the progress we can make now. With Wayne’s help, we see not only what Nixa and the rest of the Ozarks have been in the past, but what they can be in the future too, all while staying true to its roots.
If there is one person in Nixa who embodies the spirit of hard work paying off, it may well be Matt Crouse. He’s been with the Nixa Parks department for 21 years, since the age of just 15. He started out instructing canoeing for the department and has worked his way up to the top position over the past few decades. Crouse has done it all and now he wants to bring top quality parks to the Nixa area, something the community has been in short supply of during its booming growth. Crouse has already made a name for himself in the Ozarks, having been named to the Springfield Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2017. His next big project is to oversee the development of the land donated by the Brothers Eoff. If his past work is any indication, Eoff Family Century Farm Park will be an amazing park for the citizens of Nixa to enjoy for many years.
This Nixa power couple has been extremely influential in the launching of a Nixa Downtown Revitalization effort. “Their investments in properties at the corner of Main St. and 14 are greatly appreciated and we are seeing exciting things come as a result of their investments,” said Drew Douglas, Public Information Officer with the City of Nixa. The Andersons purchased a building in the heart of downtown Nixa that was once owned by the Fraught family who founded the city. It had once been an important community event center for the city, but slowly drifted into a place that wasn’t utilized very much at all. The Andersons have big plans for that property and the whole of downtown Nixa. They started the downtown revitalization committee with other community leaders and have built a lot of support in the community.
Being generous is very cool and so are the Brothers Eoff. They recently donated over 50 acres of property with frontage along the James River to the Nixa Parks Department. The City is working to create a master plan of its parks system, so they can plan strategically for the development of that property as a new and exciting park which will provide amenities not currently offered within its current Parks system. The land is along AA-highway and features pastures, hills and forest. Stephen and DuWayne donated the land from their grandfather’s century farm. Their reason for donating the land rather than selling it was to keep the land’s original purpose alive and to honor their family’s history. This act of generosity will be enjoyed by Nixa residents for generations to come. Pretty cool if you ask us.