SBJ photo by McKenzie Robinson

2020 Most Influential Women: Krista Shurtz

City Utilities of Springfield

Posted online

The personal and professional life of Krista Shurtz was challenged like never before in 2014 when she began a battle with cancer.

Now a cancer survivor, the director of rates and fuels at City Utilities of Springfield says she’s used the challenge to serve as inspiration for others to find hope. It’s led to her involvement as a board member for Springfield photographer Randy Bacon’s 7 Billion Ones nonprofit, which launched in 2015 as a means to tell inspiring stories to connect and empower people. Her work with the organization has included interviewing and writing individuals’ stories and assisting in their photoshoots.

“Hope brings peace and the fortitude to persevere on the promise that there is a good ending to a difficult period,” she says. “As cliche as it may sound, everyone is battling something. To the extent I can demonstrate there is hope during their difficult period, that will always be my proudest, most gratifying accomplishment.”

Shurtz has worked at City Utilities since 2007 and was promoted in 2018 to her current role, where she leads a team responsible for designing and administrating the utility company’s rates for electric, natural gas and water services.

“Being responsible for managing the utility’s rate program, I am dedicated to ensuring that our community-owned utility provides value to Springfield,” she says. “Much like affordable housing, low utility prices can be an economic development attraction.”

Her accomplishments have included coordinating CU’s successful entry into its first long-term prepay natural gas supply contract in 2018. The contract’s 30-year term supplies natural gas to CU at a discounted cost, she says, noting the total purchased gas cost savings for its customers amounts to roughly $15 million over that time.

Acknowledging she’s in the professional minority as a female engineer, Shurtz says she’s found confidence in leadership through intentional knowledge development. She finds inspiration from a quote by author and motivational speaker Jay Danzie: “Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card. How you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.”

“My intention is to demonstrate leadership through a strong work ethic, active listening, positivity and empathy,” she says.

Those traits have served their purpose in and out of the workplace, Shurtz says. Her cancer battle inspired the 2015 start of a self-help cancer support group she remains active in today. The first group meeting began with five women and has since grown to over 275 participants through twice-monthly meetings and daily support via a private Facebook group.

She graduated this summer from Leadership Springfield Signature Class 38, which Shurtz dubbed “the COVID class,” due to it being held amid the coronavirus pandemic. Shurtz says her program experience served as inspiration to become a new member this year on the organization’s board of directors. She’s also a new board member for Ozark Greenways Inc. and board secretary for the baseball booster club at Kickapoo High School.