John Treadwell – Edmond, Oklahoma
Though not yet 40 years old, he says he’s accomplished enough to return to what feels like home and focus on his growing family while taking on a relatively modest role in municipal redevelopment. Only his role as Edmond’s commercial plan review specialist doesn’t seem that modest, there much going on in this community of 95,000, 14 miles north of Oklahoma City.
His responsibilities include working with senior leadership to develop plan-review for the Central Edmond Urban District Board as it seeks to enhance the downtown’s appeal. “The local motto is ‘A great place to grow,’” he tells Blueprint. “We take that literally.”
While he’s not in leadership per se, his input is welcomed as city bosses consider tweaking codes to allow more development while not compromising safety. He also has a role as the city targets a largely undeveloped corridor east of Interstate 35 for mixed uses. There being sparse or no utilities here, development will take time, which Treadwell has to offer.
“My approach for everything is through a servant’s heart,” he says. “I’m one of the many voices that shares an opinion. I just help get policies in line for their review, but still want to impact.”
He knows the score
Early on, Treadwell made an impact in this part of the Sooner State. Fresh out of Oklahoma State University in 2010 with a degree in engineering technology, he ascended the ranks during two go-arounds with a local outfit, Silvercliffe Construction Co., supervising hard hats twice his age.
While Treadwell acknowledges that’s a daunting task for any young person, he cites the many projects completed on his watch. Among them was the $12 million renovation of Taft Stadium, a facility built during the Great Depression.
With Treadwell supervising much of the groundwork and aided by the nonprofit Fields & Futures, all but Taft’s signature redstone façade was overhauled. The original 18,000-plus capacity being excessive, seating was reduced to 7,500—sufficient for high school sports as well as the United Soccer League team Oklahoma City Energy FC, which reasons suspended operations in 2021.
Then there was Treadwell leading construction crews on school renovations, some that primarily serve low-income neighborhoods. Since returning to Edmond, he’s revisited those schools and says the work has held up.
In between his Silvercliffe stints of 2010-2011 and 2013-2014, he ran his own company, TreadCo Homes, for two years. He joined the then-Oklahoma-based Soni Drive-In for a 2014-2020 stretch and when it was bought by Atlanta-based Inspire Brands, Treadwell spearheaded westward expansion that brought new franchisees from Oklahoma to California. He might still be doing it if the job hadn’t interfered with family life.
“I was constantly traveling though I didn’t want to,” Treadwell explains. “Edmond needed a plan reviewer and though it meant a pay cut, I saw it as an appropriate slowdown.”
A comfy pace
It’s a slower pace than Sonic but far from rehearsing for retirement. There’s a master plan to administer and a balance to be struck between optimizing the economic potential of Oklahoma’s fifth-largest city and preserving forest, grasslands, lake and general homespun appeal.
“We don’t want to overburden the developers,” Treadwell says. “We just need to create more space for the community to grow and incentivize developers to come in.”
Much remains unsettled as municipal planners decide what terrain best accommodates single-family lots and mixed-use, commercial and industrial zones. There’s water, sewer and electricity to install off I-35. As more builders take interest, they may need educating on codes.
While most everyone knows that Oklahoma is tornado country, the state also experiences seismic activity, possibly from energy industry fracking. Safety and building codes being a moving target, Treadwell’s role includes keeping up with what’s on the books.
“At least my scope is narrowed and defined and that’s how I like it,” he says. “Issues are more easily resolved and timelines reasonable.”
And more time for family. He’s proud of his Filipino-born wife, Aezel Faith Soledad Lazo-Treadwell, who has overcome cultural barriers to be a business operations associate for New York-based Flatiron Health. The couple has a 16-month-old son, Thomas, and they focus their spare time on him and his cousins.
“I’m quite happy at this point in my life,” Treadwell says. “Government work is more conducive to family life and lets me use my servant heart.”
As a 10-year-old schoolboy, Treadwell was among others who felt a rumble on April 19, 1995. The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in nearby Oklahoma City was collapsing after domestic terrorists detonated explosives packed from a rental truck outside the entrance.
Since then, parking regulations and general access have tightened at some federal buildings. Then on June 24, 2021, the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo collapsed in Surfside, Florida, likely from corrosion and flawed construction. That had Treadwell and his colleagues compiling a training video on code enforcement.
“It shouldn’t take a tragedy to emphasize why we have these rules,” Treadwell says. “Codes exist so we can avoid these disasters.”
View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. III 2023 Edition here.
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