Missouri State University
Erik Enyart

Erik Enyart

  • Planning Director
  • Tulsa, Okla.
  • MS, Architectural Studies, University of Oklahoma
  • BS, Community/ Regional Planning, Missouri State

Love of virtual city building led to city planning as a major

What started as simple enjoyment of a video game became an interest in city planning for Erik Enyart.

"When I was young, I started playing a game called SimCity," Enyart said. "I was always fascinated by cities, but the game let you build cities. Somewhere in high school, I learned that you could help build cities for a profession." Unfamiliar with the planning process at first, he came to Missouri State for its planning program.

He worked his way through school, leaving him little time for extracurricular activities. He did find time to hang out with his friends and he also enjoyed his time on campus and in Springfield.

"The people were genuine and kind," he said. "The professors, faculty, the students - all of them seemed to be down-to-earth, good natured people...(Springfield) was a comfortable size. It had all of the amenities you need; it was big enough to have culture and entertainment you look for in a college experience but small enough to have that small-town feel."

Missouri State's planning program and the networking opportunities offered through the department helped him get a head start in the field of city planning.

He said, "People (in city planning) usually have a bachelor's in geography or social sciences, but to get both a bachelors and a masters in planning is the best way to do it...I went to a four-state planning conference the fall before I graduated, where I made some job contacts. They contacted me, interviewed me and I got a job offer before I graduated with my bachelor's in planning. I landed in Tulsa, did well and kept getting promoted. What I expected to be a two to five year stint has gone on for ten and a half years so far."

Enyart continues to be interested in the challenge of city planning.

"They keep me buried in work," he said. "I enjoy the challenge of digging myself out. Every day is a new challenge that you need to think about creatively to resolve."

Enyart lives in Jenks, a suburb of Tulsa with his wife Rachel, who also has a bachelor's degree from Missouri State. They have a daughter named Emily. He also enjoys long-distance training for marathons and learning. He is currently teaching himself Latin so he can teach Romance languages to his daughter.

"Learning is in and of itself fun and rewarding," he said.