July 11, 2023
Employee Profile – Jon Loos, Transportation Assistant Regional Manager and Academic Scholar
Horner & Shifrin's training and continuing education program encourages Employee-Owners to broaden their knowledge base and spur career advancement
Embarking on a journey of academic growth and achievement, Jon Loos, Assistant Regional Manager – Transportation, has recently earned his master’s degree, marking a significant milestone in his career. With an unwavering dedication to the field of engineering and commitment to the success of Horner & Shifrin, Jon has demonstrated that perseverance and hard work are the key steps to unlocking one’s true potential.
Jon began his career at H&S as an intern in the summer of 2011. In the homestretch of graduating with an engineering degree from the University of Missouri, Jon sought out to find an internship for his last summer as a student. After interviewing with H&S, he was offered an internship in the transportation group and spent the summer expanding his engineering knowledge and building solid relationships. After the completion of his internship, he immediately felt a sense of belonging at H&S.
The following spring, before graduation from Mizzou, Jon interviewed for an entry-level engineer position at H&S.
“The transportation group was an awesome team, and the entire company in general had then, and still has now, a great culture. It was fun to be a part of, and it was where I wanted to start and where I’ve wanted to stay.”
Shortly after starting at H&S, Jon began his first project – the Cave Springs Interchange and I-70 Outer Roads Improvements. This study focused on access improvements to Interstate 70 from Cave Springs Road to Route 79, in St. Charles County. Little did Jon know at the time, but part of that first project at H&S would eventually become a Design Build that he would have a hand in leading 10 years later.
Over the course of 11 years at H&S, Jon has been able to work on numerous projects of varying scopes and scales, including opportunities he never expected to have so early in his career. “Last year, I was able to shake the Governor’s [Mike Parson] hand and tell him that I was the lead engineer of the interchange that we were literally standing beside,” said Jon, referring to his roadway design efforts for the Lindbergh Boulevard interchange portion of MoDOT’s I-270 North Design Build project. Jon attributes being afforded these leadership opportunities so early in his career to the fact that H&S is a major player in the St. Louis area.
“That’s the thing I have always liked [about H&S]. It’s not the size of the project, it’s the role you get to play in it. That’s what is unique about H&S and working for a company of this size, because it’s big enough that it can tackle larger projects, but it’s small enough that you get to have big roles in those larger projects.”
With the help of Horner & Shifrin’s Educational Assistance Program (EAP), Jon decided to pursue a master’s degree. The EAP provides partial upfront reimbursement for tuition costs and other related expenses, in addition to ongoing reimbursement upon completion of an approved degree, eventually resulting in 100% repayment. When he started this journey in the winter of 2021, he was married and expecting his first child. Now two and a half years later, Jon has two children with his wife Annie and a new outlook. “The last two and a half years have changed my approach to management and leadership, and I think even relationships in general.”
The EAP played a significant role in his decision to pursue an MBA, and the courses he took changed his outlook on business and leadership. Jon started with an emphasis in management and then switched to an emphasis in leadership. “I believe words matter. Those two seem very similar, but there’s a different skill set that goes into leadership versus management, and I think [leadership] is what I’m better at.” Jon reflected on going through a transformation during his master’s program where he realized the importance of appreciating the strengths and perspectives others can bring. “You want to continue to build the right team and not just one of the same kind of person. I think diversity of personality is very important, because you have people that get passionate about different kinds of projects and want to work on different things.” He strives to focus on encouraging and harnessing team members’ skills and recognizes that there is more than one way to do things.
While pursuing his master’s, he began to get into more of a management level position at H&S. Jon was having real-world exposure to what he was learning in his classes. “Lining those two up educationally and professionally at the same time was a great benefit to me.” When it came to class projects where he could choose the topic, Jon focused on Horner & Shifrin. “Every class project that I did, whether it was writing a paper or the project itself, I tried to make it something that would either further my knowledge of H&S or help affect the company in a positive way.” For one particular assignment, titled “The Organization I Wish Would Change,” he focused his efforts on restructuring the organization of Horner & Shifrin’s Transportation group. The resulting organization chart spread out responsibilities and allowed for more individual growth potential within the group. Jon presented this org chart to Senior VP, Business Unit Leader, Jarrett Jasper in the summer of 2022. A few months later, a similar org chart was presented to the company and implemented.
“Getting to take those learning experiences and seeing them implemented made me realize this is a company that actually cares about what [its employees] think. When you come up with a good idea and you message it correctly, they’re willing to listen and make those changes. That was something that made me think, wow, I can accomplish anything here.”
After 11 years at Horner & Shifrin, Jon has shown tremendous professional growth. From intern to Assistant Regional Manager, Jon’s success demonstrates that the possibilities at H&S are limitless if you are motivated to succeed. He has many hopes for the future of H&S and strives to see those through.
“When I take a step back from the different stages of life that I’ve gone through here, I realize that Horner & Shifrin is willing to be whatever you want it to be, which is what makes it The Right Choice for me.”