2017 Best of FriscoMay 01, 2017 ● By Allie Spletter
Joshua Meek – The Investor
When he is not spending time with his family, entrepreneur and investor Joshua Meek loves taking in an FC Dallas game, reading, watching movies and working around his many interests, including business, entrepreneurship, philanthropy and politics. As the owner of Meek Industries, LLC, an investment holding company, Mr. Meek and his team seek out equity ownership deals to acquire and hold businesses long-term, as they work to positively impact the community in promoting commerce, business and entrepreneurship.
Mr. Meek shares, “I am a big supporter of the Young Entrepreneur’s Academy and the Frisco ISD Independent Study and Mentorship (ISM) program. We live in a unique community where entrepreneurship thrives and many young people have the resources to explore and create businesses. This is something I find unique to Frisco and I look forward to seeing our community become one of the leading cities in the nation for business and entrepreneurship. I hope, one day, one of the pieces of my legacy is being known as someone who helped foster and create that success.”
Mr. Meek is a member of and serves on the board of directors for the Frisco Chamber of Commerce and is an active Rotarian and the current club president of the Rotary Club of Frisco. He also serves on the Dallas chapter board of directors for the Texas Association of Business and is currently a mentor to FISD students through the ISM program in the field of entrepreneurship.
Christine Ortega – The Advocate
Christine Ortega has lived in Frisco for 13 years with her husband, Tony, and two sons, James and Justin. Ms. Ortega is a native of Calif. and has a love for nature and outdoors, where she feels she is closest to God and is always reminded of His beauty. When she is not traveling, spending time with her family or taking a yoga class, she serves Preston Trail Community Church as the community outreach director. She explains, “As an expression of my love, my desire is to serve the relational, spiritual and resource needs of my neighbors. I work diligently to provide practical steps for individuals and families to engage in the community and serve the needs of others. I also use my position to advocate on behalf of the needs of others.”
Ms. Ortega believes that, to have an impact in the community, we must spend time connecting with one another and work together for the good of our city. “When we are present and engaged with one another where we live and work, there is collective impact in the community. That long-lasting impact is made through collaborative partnerships within our schools, nonprofits and churches, and I strive to help make Preston Trail a church for the community through relationships and transformative work that I must live out personally.”
Outside of her work with Preston Trail Community Church, Ms. Ortega serves as the vice chair of membership with the Collin County Homeless Coalition and the Collin County Steering Committee with the Health and Wellness Alliance for Children. “By taking God’s commission seriously where I live, I am privileged to be a servant leader in the community,” she says.
Paul Boyd – The Crusader
Paul Boyd, a native of Arcanum, Ohio, and his wife have lived in Frisco since 2008, when they decided it was the perfect place to raise their (then) two-year-old twins. Since moving to Frisco, Mr. Boyd has admittedly become a raving fan of Frisco’s pro-business and pro-resident climate, and attributes his love for the city to the fact that it is a community continually strong in faith. Mr. Boyd serves as the chief operating officer of Catholic Charities Fort Worth, where their mission lies in ending poverty one family at a time.
Having been raised in a humble household where money was tight, Mr. Boyd knew his calling was to help others in similar situations. After working his way up the corporate ladder, he joined Catholic Charities Fort Worth. He says, “Catholic Charities Fort Worth became the ultimate answer I had been looking for, where I could live out my commitment to helping others live up to God-given talents to break the cycle of poverty. Every child walking through our doors deserves the childhood fun I missed out on, and that is why I choose to serve at Catholic Charities Fort Worth. More times than not, when a client walks through our doors, they are in one of the most difficult moments of their life, and we get to greet them, meet them where they are and show them there is hope. We give them a hand up rather than a hand out, and I get to see that daily by overseeing various teams and departments we have here.”
Mr. Boyd is a proud member of the DeVry Alumni Association, has enjoyed service as a board member and past chairman of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, has served on the board of Frisco Family Services and served on the Frisco Resale Committee during the building of the new facility. He also served as the communications committee chair and on the pool committee of Meadow Hill Estates, served as a mentor at Bright Elementary and has been a commissioner of the Frisco Housing Authority.
As he continues his work with Catholic Charities Fort Worth and around Frisco, Mr. Boyd cherishes time with his family.
Bobby Craig – The Mentor
Bobby Craig and his family moved from Bastrop, La, to Frisco six years ago. As a self-professed socialite who loves time with family and friends, Mr. Craig finds joy in inspiring local youth to be better than generations before them. He explains, “My wife and I own a local sports academy, Frisco Kings Sports Academy. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and have been in business since 2012. We currently have 13 boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, ranging from grades K-11. ‘KINGS’ is actually an acronym for ‘Kids Igniting Next Generation Success.’” The sole mission of Frisco Kings Sports Academy is to serve as a sports and mentor program. Currently, Mr. Craig is the program partner with Bright Elementary, where they have a mentoring program referred to as “Lunch with the Kings.”
“Once a week, we have lunch with several students, where we discuss behavior skills and life lessons. It is truly an amazing time. We work hand-in-hand with the school administrators to provide positive reinforcement when needed, and we are currently working on building this program and expanding it across the FISD.”
Mr. Craig also serves the FISD as a mentor and his program volunteers with the City of Frisco’s Adopt-A-Street initiative. He considers himself to be a community youth ambassador, given his strong passion to see youth excel in life. He says, “My goal is to have a positive impact on every child I encounter. I believe youth sports can teach kids so much about life, from the many lessons on teamwork to the hard work and dedication required to participate. They are always learning, and I also learn from them.”
Tamme Leff – The Entrepreneur
Frisco native Tamme Leff has called Frisco home for 21 years and has seen it evolve right before her eyes. She says, though the population has grown, the community stays grounded in its small town roots. Ms. Leff’s daughters, Aly and Casey, have grown up here and Ms. Leff simply describes it as an “amazing community.”
Ms. Leff wears many hats and is the co-owner of Frisco Rail Yard and 5th Street Patio Café. Ms. Leff is a developer and owns four buildings downtown, including the 5th Street Patio Café building and the three that surround it, working directly with the tenants of the buildings. She also owns the Caboose at the Frisco Rail Yard, which sells Frito pies, hot dogs, ice cream and more. Recently, she has worked closely with partners Colleen and Craig Yates and Walter Brumbalow developing The Dough Box, a new foodie option at the Rail Yard that offers edible cookie dough. Though an undertaking to make a reality, Ms. Leff admits that the City of Frisco has been great in working with them.
Of her normal day-to-day, she shares, “My day may consist of interviewing new staff, making Frito pie, managing social media or booking bands. We have such a great team at the Rail Yard, and we all pitch in where it is needed.” She continues, “After running a home theater company, Sound Perfection, for 17 years, I have learned it is really not about what you know. It is about having great people on your team who care about what you have created.”
Bob Messina – The Historian
Bob Messina and his wife, Debra, moved to Frisco in 2000, after he accepted a position on an internal transfer to manage a sales team for a large computer company. Since then, he has retired from his corporate job and has worked with Mrs. Messina at Heritage Exteriors, a business she founded based on designing and installing landscapes and outdoor living areas. He explains, “We recently sold our company and plan to retire after we transition the operations to the new owners. Our goal is to spend more time with our family and volunteer organizations. The type of business we are in has exposed us to many areas and residents of Frisco and our clients have become our friends.”
Through this work in the community, Mr. Messina’s interest in Frisco’s historic roots has grown and is now a driving factor in much of the work he does. “I have a passion to maintain the historic fabric of the old town, original roots of Frisco, by encouraging and helping restore rather than replicate older homes and businesses,” he says.
Mr. Messina is a member of the Miracle League of Frisco, where he manages the acquisition of uniforms and awards and coaches a team of children requiring special assistance. He is a member of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and serves on the Downtown Advisory Board, which oversees the planning and maintenance of historic downtown Frisco. He has been a Frisco Downtown Merchants Association member since 2005, helping to expose and grow businesses in the historic downtown area. He is one of the founding members of the Annual StrEATs Music Festival and he serves at the Old Town Help Desk, where he encourages and assists those looking to invest in businesses or restore homes downtown.
When he is not out and about in the community, Mr. Messina and his wife live in a restored home, built in 1921, where they expect to spend more time with family and continue in their volunteer capacity around the community.
Bill McGee – The Educator
Bill McGee and his wife of 37 years, Janna, are fairly new to the community, after having moved here last June from the Austin area. Mr. McGee serves as the head of school for Legacy Christian Academy (LCA), Frisco’s only PK-12 Christian preparatory school.
LCA offers a faith-based education to Christian families who desire a challenging college-preparatory curriculum taught from a Biblical perspective, consistent with Biblical values. He explains, “We are proud to be a part of a community that places a high value on education and we believe the Frisco area is blessed to have excellent public and private school options. I tell everyone that LCA and Frisco must be pretty special places to lure us away from such a beautiful city as Austin!”
Mr. McGee and his wife have two grown sons, a daughter-in-law and were recently blessed with their first grandchild. The McGees are empty nesters enjoying this chapter of their lives, especially grand parenting their new grandson.
Mr. McGee believes his role in the community lies in ensuring a high-quality, faith-based school is an important component of the overall educational landscape in the area. He explains, “I firmly believe that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ and ‘iron sharpens iron.’ It has been my experience that the whole community benefits when there is a diversity of outstanding educational options.”
Mr. McGee loves the “can-do” spirit and optimism of the leaders of our community, from businesses and city government to the nonprofit sector. “There is definitely a sense of community pride that is second to none,” he says.
Peter Burns – The Renaissance Man
Peter Burns and his wife, Dana, have lived in Frisco since 1999, and have since established a firm foundation here. Mr. Burns, a native of Kingston, Jamaica, and a 20-year service veteran of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, has always enjoyed working with young people by serving as a mentor and motivator to point them in the right direction, or simply to be there to answer questions they might have. He shares, “While growing up, I can remember times I had someone I could bounce my ideas against, where I was then able to make better informed decisions. Today, I feel I am just paying it forward. Besides, it feels good to serve our community and young people as they pursue their goals. I believe we must pour into our youth today, to help them position themselves for success in the future.”
By day, Mr. Burns serves as a business development and technical tendering manager, and in his free time, he is an avid member of our community and a volunteer in many Frisco organizations, boasting a decorated resume not only in the corporate world, but in the world of community service. Mr. Burns serves as a Deacon and youth director at Friendship Baptist Church of The Colony, is a board member of the Frisco Education Foundation (FEF) and chairman of the FEF Mindbender Academy, a science, technology, engineering arts and math (STEaM) camp that encourages students to consider STEaM as a profession. He is a board member of Junior Achievement of Dallas, a board member of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, the program manager of the Frisco Young Entrepreneur Academy, the advisory council chair for Leadership Frisco and a member of the Frisco Sunrise Rotary Club.
Mr. Burns views his role in the community to be one of an informed citizen. He explains, “I try my best to get others in the community involved and informed, while building strong relationships and connections with others. Additionally, I enjoy working with other community and business leaders to have a positive impact. Especially those programs that have a positive impact our youth.”
Nick Johnson – The Encourager
Nick Johnson, his wife, Salina, and their three kids have lived in Frisco since 2004. Mr. Johnson is the owner of Lakes Tennis Academy and loves that tennis brings people in the community together.
As the academy director, Mr. Johnson can ensure his staff is well taken care of. He explains, “We are a community within a community. Tennis is a sport that gives folks an almost immediate bond. Despite regularly competing against your friends, the social bonding is one of the huge hooks of tennis. The sport spills over into celebrating life’s ups together, as well as attempting to encourage and pulling for peers when they are down.” Mr. Johnson believes it is the culture of the sport and community that allows players to find respite in spending time on the court and within their tight-knit community. “We are very intentional about creating a culture that promotes fun and productivity, which is what we are about, and fortunately that culture is contagious,” Mr. Johnson says.
“I love that our city is known for youth sports, which were, outside of church and my parents, by far the largest positive impact on me growing up. I also love the unique reputation of so many public/private partnerships working together to make our city great. When power houses are working towards one mission, to serve the community, you get a city that is second to none in the country.”
Dan Bollner – The Political Volunteer
After many career assignments sent his family around the world, Dan Bollner and his family made Frisco home in 2003. After retiring from ConocoPhillips Australia as the vice president of gas marketing, he has been actively involved with multiple, small-scale entrepreneurial ventures, in addition to the many things he does in Frisco. “Along with my Frisco board activities, I have been appointed to and have volunteered for several political positions including election judge, precinct chair and state convention delegate,” he shares.
Mr. Bollner is a member of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, where he serves as chair for their International Business Council, and over the last five years, he has served on the boards of the Frisco Economic Development Corporation and the North Texas Enterprise Center (NTEC), Frisco’s original business incubator. Prior to his service on these boards, he served as treasurer and president of his homeowners’ association.
Presently, Mr. Bollner stays involved politically as a member of Frisco and Collin County Republican clubs. He shares, “More than any place we have lived, Frisco offers a diverse, friendly environment that encourages participation. Everyone has an opportunity to contribute and know they belong to a community. My current economic focus is helping Frisco establish a strong global presence. We have the assets, including a diverse population, necessary to accomplish this goal. I want to be a part of this effort. On the political front, I like to think of myself as an ‘influencer’ more than an ‘activist.’”
Mr. Bollner and his wife of 49 years, Dotty, have two children and three grandchildren.
Elliot Jolesch – The Businessman
Elliot Jolesch and his wife, Cathy, moved to Frisco in 2012, after having lived in Iowa, Ohio and Mich. with their kids, Kim and Mike. Mrs. Jolesch has had a neurological disorder for the past 12 years and Mr. Jolesch is her primary caregiver, ensuring her safety and the balance of their everyday lives. He is an active community member who has spent more than 35 years in IT working in corporate America, government defense, higher education and K-12 education.
After his corporate career, in 2011, he started his own business, The ECJ Group, a coaching practice, to help small and medium business owners. He explains, “I specialize in lead generation, leadership, communications and process improvement. I also provide consulting assistance on the infrastructure side of IT. My role in our community is to help the small business owner become more successful.”
In addition to his corporate ventures, Mr. Jolesch has been a member of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce since 2013, where he serves as an ambassador. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Frisco and several local business networking groups.