Grow Our Own adds the arts to program


Nov. 17, 2021

Contact: Darrel Berry, Corporate Communications Manager
Hanson Professional Services Inc.
(217) 747-9291

Grow Our Own adds the arts to program

Two students, center, learn about a lidar system March 10, 2018, during the 98th Engineering Open House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Grow Our Own provides trips to the event, which Hanson organized for middle and high school students in the Springfield, Illinois, area. Hanson coordinated the event with the Springfield chapter of Frontiers International Inc.
Photo by Darrel Berry/Hanson Professional Services Inc.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Grow Our Own Minority Participation Program is getting an “A.”

The program’s goal is to foster interest in careers involving science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, by providing mentoring, education and training opportunities for Springfield’s minority youth. The program now includes the arts, expanding the focus to STEAM.

“Art is key to personal development,” said Mayor Jim Langfelder. “Art shapes each person in its own way, from written and spoken words to visual arts and music. Public-private partnerships are critical in building a stronger community and helps expose future generations to more opportunities. The addition of arts to Grow Our Own is an important step for Springfield in recognizing that inspiration and creativity create stronger cities.”

Grow Our Own, which is sponsored by the city of Springfield, Sangamon County and Hanson, with support from the Illinois Department of Transportation, was launched in 2013 in response to community desires for an increased involvement of minority and disadvantaged businesses in the Springfield Rail Improvements Project.

“By investing in Springfield’s minority youth today, we’re preparing for the future,” said Sergio “Satch” Pecori, P.E., chairman and CEO of Hanson, which manages the program. “Our goal is to have the students in this program obtain college degrees in these fields and start their careers in Springfield.”

This rendering shows the west-side view of Springfield’s transportation center, called “The Hub.” Rendering provided by Muller & Muller Ltd.

With the rail project’s transportation center, called “The Hub,” underway in downtown Springfield, the architectural design, artwork, murals and sculptures that may be used in the center would provide opportunities for students interested in architecture or art careers.

“We are really happy that our partnership with Hanson and the city of Springfield will expand to include students interested in careers in the arts as an indispensable component of our public spaces,” Sangamon County Board Chairman Andy Van Meter said.

“The Grow Our Own program has proven to be a success for the community; it continues to provide minorities the opportunity to empower themselves with positive impacts on their lives. The continued partnership between business and community organizations is key to the success of this program!” said Roy Williams Jr., Ward 3 alderman and president of the Faith Coalition for the Common Good, a nonprofit, interfaith group of congregations, organizations and individuals working collaboratively for racial equity, civic engagement, a fair economy and participatory decision-making.

“Grow Our Own is looking for local architecture firms and art organizations that can identify potential internship candidates for the program,” said Kevin Seals, Hanson’s chief environmental scientist and STEAM outreach coordinator.

Organizations that conduct STEAM-related programs and are interested in becoming a partner to offer opportunities to youth through Grow Our Own may contact Seals at To learn more about Grow Our Own, visit

Hanson is a national, employee-owned consulting firm providing engineering, planning and allied services. The firm’s corporate headquarters is located at 1525 S. Sixth St., Springfield, IL 62703. The office may be reached by phone at (217) 788-2450.


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