General Session

Friday, January 18

4:30 pm

Thoroughbred 1-3

Panel: KYTC Bridging Kentucky Program

Tom Springer

Senior Vice President Planning and Environmental


As a kid growing up in Hardin County, I was into everything outdoors—camping, hiking, Boy Scouts, tree houses, bikes, fishing, etc. My love for the outdoors led me to major in physical geography and environmental science. My grandfather, and hero, was a highway contractor, which influenced my fervor for getting projects built. Having learned that I could apply this pursuit to roadway planning, I have enjoyed a satisfying career since.


Qk4 (then Presnell Associates) hired me in 1994 as a transportation planner. My first opportunity to work on an Environmental Assessment (EA) for a roadway project was, ironically, KY 101. This “101” introductory project “schooled” me in environmental issues, roadway design, regulations and laws, and people skills. I loved every second of it.

That on-the-job education helped prepare me for one of my most complex early assignments—Industrial Parkway in Northeastern Kentucky. The project manager, Glen Kelly, who is now president of Qk4, charged me with completing an all-hands-on-deck, 9-month turnaround of an EA/FONSI (Finding Of No Significant Impact). The success of the 9-month contract-to-construction effort netted the project an ACEC award for excellence in engineering.

Of more than 40 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) projects for highway work across the state, my proudest was the expedited completion of the extraordinarily complex Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Final EIS for the Louisville and Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project. That may soon be supplanted by my current project—the 40-mile-long widening the widening of the Mountain Parkway in Eastern Kentucky, for which I am the environmental project manager.

I understand the need for and have great respect for the NEPA process—its scope is wide-ranging, its outcomes are of great consequence, its complexity is challenging, and its successful completion very rewarding! More here