Coordinating, Collaborating and Connecting

Over the past two decades, it is safe to say that Frisco has experienced an amazing amount of growth, prosperity and innovation. While innovation is often portrayed as generic researchers in crisp, white lab coats, by slick tech entrepreneurs with fancy gadgets or as venture capitalists doing inspired deals, it can often be uncertain and unpredictable. More than anything, it is clear that successful innovation is simply driven by collaboration, and it takes more than just smart people. It requires diversity and the ability to work on different things that collide together in unexpected ways to bring about new, important ideas. That is why, the ability to innovate and collaborate is crucial to continuing the vibrancy of our fair city. Frisco’s newly-formed Community Action Board (CAB) supports this effort by its leading-edge, fundamental foundation — collaborating and communing together to foster economic growth and development.

Frisco’s CAB is an informal board of involved citizens committed to actively pursuing opportunities within the community to foster economic growth and development through engagement with public and private interests. Designed to seek and generate community visibility and economic development opportunities, Frisco’s CAB engages with business owners, elected officials, government entitles and private citizens to act as a stimulant for innovation and community development through strategies such as communication channels, cohesive messaging and planned events.

Steven Turner, a Frisco CAB board member, explains, “Simply put, we foresee the CAB becoming a coordination and consolidation point that links our government leaders, small business owners and private citizens all under the same umbrella. Through our time in Frisco, we have identified a point of disconnect or gap, not within our government, but within the municipalities of Frisco itself. We believe the CAB will resolve this.” He continues, “Throughout Frisco, we have business-generating nodes or communities that are highly successful within themselves and their specific areas, but the coordination between them is somewhat cliquish and insular. For example, those in Stonebriar are thriving and engaged within themselves, but they do not have any view of all that is occurring within Frisco Square. Much alike, those businesses and entities on Frisco Square do not know much about what is going in the downtown district. Overall, we are just seeing a big disconnect throughout the community, and our goal is to collaborate together and link these nodes.”

Created less than a year ago, the Frisco CAB is designed and architected by its three board members, including Matt Milhauser, responsible for CAB strategy and organizational modeling, Mr. Turner, the business champion and liaison, and Corley Randolph, responsible for grass roots outreach. Having had the fortuitous chance meeting at a Frisco roundtable, Mr. Milhauser and Mr. Turner identified the gap and similar challenges that they were experiencing as regular citizens. Adding Mr. Randolph to the core team, the three members work on a volunteer basis and have taken their time to understand what Frisco already has in place, as well as craft and cultivate the Frisco CAB concepts, designing principles, strategy and game plan for implementation.

As newer members to the Frisco community, all three original CAB board members relocated to Frisco within the last few years and quickly planted roots. Mr. Milhauser adds, “One of the reasons we are so invested in the Frisco CAB is our intentionality and dedication to Frisco. We love this city and want to devote ourselves to making it even better. Our long-term intentions are to stay, and we hope and believe the organization will be influential in helping Frisco become more effective to encourage communication, collaboration and innovation.”

With the creation of the Frisco CAB, not only do Frisco silos benefit from the communication and execution of activities and events, but residential communities of the city will also be accommodated. “Frisco hosts one of the fastest-growing Indian populations in all of Texas, and in my opinion, there is not much being done to accommodate them. This revenue-generating community is leaving the municipality to seek entertainment outside of Frisco. Similarly, those living near State Highway 121 and Dr Pepper Arena often seek food, fun and entertainment at the Shops of Legacy, in Plano. Again, we are losing out because that revenue is not captured for Frisco. The Frisco CAB can consolidate all of these pieces under one lean organizational group, tell the story of Frisco, facilitate meaningful engagement and provide connection opportunities to enjoy the different assets of the city.”

Frisco CAB’s foundational and pioneering event, entitled “Woods and Words,” is planned for the spring or fall of 2017, and it will showcase local musicians, authors and novelists. Reaching out to the arts and culture audiences throughout Frisco, the event will bring together a music festival sandwiched with an author exhibit, increasing awareness of the talent residing in the Frisco metroplex. In between local singer and songwriter sets, Woods and Words will allow local authors to promote their disciplines and offer tent setups for the local community to view local books, written arts and other author pieces by Frisco community. Mr. Turner continues, “As the owner of The Roots Bar on Frisco Square, I am privy to many exceptionally talented musicians, artists, authors and poets, and after speaking with many of them, I heard, time and time again, how there was a gap and disconnect in the city’s art and culture realm. Many did not believe there was a place for their offering to be propagated. But, with the forming of the Frisco CAB and our first event, Woods and Words, we hope to increase the understanding and awareness of the immense talent that resides right here in Frisco, expanding and growing their exposure and benefitting the community overall.”

Mr. Randolph adds, “As we all know, music is a great equalizer. We wanted to utilize something within our greatly diverse community that brings everyone together to commune and collaborate on music, written word and art overall. Woods and Words is the perfect opportunity for this endeavor.”

Keeping its promise to connect public, private and government entities, the Frisco CAB invited the Frisco Public Library to participate, and with a keen interest in the event, they are offering some of their literary assets as well as hosting a tent and providing more information on their services. Local businesses will also be able to gain local market exposure with opportunities to participate. While this event will likely be located near Frisco Square, the event specifics are very malleable and versatile, with the ability to produce it in other areas throughout the city. “Woods and Words works in its design near Frisco Square because of the music-centric piece of it, the proximity to the library and nearby local businesses. However, future aspects of other events might offer a different focus and fit better in Stonebriar, Downtown or the Frisco Lakes area. Each of the pieces can be augmented into a particular node, and our goal is to begin engaging the community and ramping up our communication efforts,” continues Mr. Milhauser. “Over the next 30 to 60 days, we will begin our social media campaign and outreach activities, educating others on what we are doing. We want to broaden the efforts and hear back from the voices in our community.”

As the Frisco CAB continues to innovate and seeks to invest in the Frisco community, they hope to solve some of these basic communication, silo-based problems and ultimately, create value for the city as a whole. Mr. Milhauser says, “Our goal is simple. We want to be the catalyst for innovation and community engagement through active engagement from Frisco and its citizens, and we believe we are on the right track. It is very exciting.”

To submit your thoughts to the Frisco CAB, please email friscocab@gmail.com.

Carolyn Cameron
Carolyn Cameron is an online writer and marketer who fancies coffee, her family, random creative endeavors and finishing a home project in her off time.