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Springfield, MO

2017 Most Influential Women: Melissa Higbie

Esterly, Schneider & Associates Inc.

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A partner at Esterly, Schneider & Associates Inc., Melissa Higbie has helped to shape the look and feel of the Springfield area since 1993.

Higbie says one of the Springfield-based architecture firm’s central tenets is to design concepts that allow businesses to realize the greatest return on their investment possible.

“Over the years, I have been able to design businesses and organizations to their best potential and also have been able to watch them flourish in their industry,” she says. “Knowing that I was able to be a part of their success and help them lay the foundation they needed to succeed is something I take great pride in every day.”

A 1993 architecture graduate of Kansas State University, Higbie is a trailblazer in her industry.

In her graduating class, she says only eight women were in the field of study with her. Higbie worked her way up to her proudest accomplishment of earning her architectural license after growing up on the family farm in Kansas.

“With hard work and perseverance, you can truly achieve your dreams as a woman in your industry,” says Higbie.

Higbie is involved with several industry organizations, including the Construction Specifications Institute, Missouri Heartland Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials and the Springfield Contractors Association.

She’s also active with area nonprofits, such as The Springfield Little Theatre, Developmental Center of the Ozarks and, most recently, the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools’ advisory council.

“I have had the privilege, through our firm, to contribute to so many great organizations throughout our community on many different levels,” Higbie says. “Finding out more about how our community’s nonprofits are impacting our region is always very humbling. Being able to help them make a difference is something for which I am very grateful and appreciative.”

As a member of the Springfield Little Theatre Board of Directors, Higbie has used her skills as an architect in efforts to preserve the historic Landers Theatre.

Bill Mitchell, past president of the theater’s board of directors, says Higbie has been involved in identifying critical infrastructure needs.

Her presentations to the board, he says, were among the motivating factors to request significant funding from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. The organization also has formed a capital campaign tasked with securing nearly $1 million to address such needs as foundation repairs and a new HVAC system at the downtown Landers Theatre.

“Unselfishly giving of time, talent and support is the hallmark of an exceptional volunteer, and in just one short year, Melissa has shown that she is an exemplary addition to our board,” Mitchell says. “Melissa also continuously provides guidance and oversight on the projects we undertake to ensure the work is done correctly and at a reasonable cost.”

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