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PYSK: Ted Curtis

Bike/Ped Program Manager, Public Works Department, City of Columbia

AGE: 59

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES: Plan, coordinate and oversee the implementation of the federally funded Pednet Project. Ensure the success of this pilot project intended to develop a system of multi-purpose trails, walkways, bike lanes and bike routes that will entice people to use their feet more and their automobiles less.

YEARS LIVED IN COLUMBIA: One week (moving from St. Louis, where I’ve lived 34 years).


EDUCATION: Master’s degree in engineering management from Washington University, St. Louis, 1990; master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Washington University, St. Louis, 1975; bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y., 1969.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Rotary Club 11 (St. Louis), St. Louis Open Space Council, Webster Groves Parks Commission

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Bicycle and pedestrian professional. Experience in planning and implementing bikeways, rail-trails and greenways. Experience in non-profit management as the executive director of Trailnet, one of the largest and most successful trail and greenway organizations in the country.

A COLUMBIA BUSINESSPERSON I ADMIRE AND WHY: I have been impressed by the friendliness of the handful I have met. As a lover of old buildings, I especially admire John Ott, for what he has done with The Tiger, and Brian Pape, who has the guts to tackle a deteriorating historic brick industrial building near downtown.

WHY I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT MY JOB: My satisfaction comes from seeing people of all ages out walking and biking — enjoying the outdoors. It is almost impossible to find a grumpy person on a trail!

BIGGEST CAREER OBSTACLE I’VE OVERCOME AND HOW: Making the career shift from working as an aerospace engineer at McDonnell Douglas for 24 years to establishing a non-profit (Trailnet). How: a mix of planning, persistence and dumb luck with lots of support and faith from my wife, my family, my friends and a board of directors.

A FAVORITE RECENT PROJECT: Trailnet’s establishment of the Confluence Greenway in St. Louis, bringing the public back to the region’s river heritage.

WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS PROFESSION: It’s all about people. The most difficult part is not in building sidewalks and bikeways, nor in making them safe and attractive, but in getting people to change behavior, such as using their bikes or walking for errands instead of using their cars.

WHAT I DO FOR FUN: Running, biking, backpacking, canoeing and introducing my grandsons to nature.

FAMILY: Married, two sons, two stepdaughters, five grandsons.

FAVORITE PLACE IN COLUMBIA: So far it’s a tossup between The Tiger and the library. The parks are a close second.

ACCOMPLISHMENT I’M MOST PROUD OF: Trailnet’s renovation of the old Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis.


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