As a child, Sandy Steil had the good fortune to live next door to Clifford Johnson, a retired biology teacher who never passed on an opportunity to share what he knew. He shared it with the neighborhood in the form of his gardens that overflowed with native flowers and woodland plants. He also shared it with Sandy, teaching her how to identify and name every wildflower that grew in the surrounding woods and fields.
Mother earth is a bit of a drama queen in Dubuque. The River marks the ebb and flow of seasons at the feet of soaring, rock-faced bluffs. There’s nothing simple about the terrain or the role it plays in the lives of the people who call the city home. This setting, combined with the mentoring from Mr. Johnson, fueled a love for the land and, over time, her dedication to redefining the concept of land development.
Her lifelong passion and drive to make Eastern Iowa all that it can be are a big part of the reason we’re so happy to have Sandy back! Here's a bit more about Sandy:
You were previously with MMS Consultants for 7 years, and have recently come back after being gone for a 4 years – what brought you back to MMS?
Being away from MMS gave me the opportunity to get outside the box to gain experience and knowledge of other aspects of engineering and development. However, it also made me realize there is no other group of engineers, surveyors and landscape architects that I trust more than the ones at MMS to do land planning and community development. There are engineers and surveyors at other firms I trust just as much, but no firm I trust more.
What do you find compelling about land development?
The fascinating thing about land development is you can “develop” land for anything. I think people have a tendency to think the word development means just commercial and housing. However, development can be for parks, trails, wetlands, roads, churches, schools as well as providing a roof over your head and a place to work.
What are your favorite types of projects to work on at MMS?
Any project that involves an original idea and can be an improvement to the surrounding community are always the most interesting…they also tend to be the most challenging, then again that seems to be what MMS specializes in. When you can be involved from the inception of a project and take it through completion, those are my favorites. However, the best part is often the personal relationships you develop along the way.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I served 4 years active duty in the Air Force. I have an idea a lot of people look at me and think I am a powder puff.
What passions do you pursue outside of work?
I am certifiably crazy about flowers, gardening and landscaping. I became a Master Gardener a few years ago just so I had validation that I wasn’t crazy and to connect with other people that are just as obsessed…LOL. After that it would be photography.