The Heart of FriscoFeb 01, 2020 ● By Allie Spletter
Charlie Wendell - A Heart for the Arts
2020 brings with it the future of a bigger music and arts scene in Frisco. Local Charlie Wendell has a heart for music that is so big she built her career around it.
Ms. Wendell has always been passionate about three things: Jesus, people and music. In graduate school, she decided to work on a project that allowed her to incorporate all three of these passions. Ms. Wendell recalls, “At the time, I was also working for a record label – G4 Muzik. While I loved my job, I felt like somehow all the money, fame and resources could be utilized to help make a difference in the community. I began working on a business plan that centered on a music festival that traveled across the world, and life literally took me across the world to Ethiopia. Before Melody of Hope came to life, I made a commitment to move to Africa for 10 months to do mission work. It turned out to be a blessing because I got to see what it was like to live in immense poverty without hope. When I returned to the states, I met my husband, Austin, and he helped me edit a business plan to bring Melody of Hope to life. As we were growing Melody of Hope, we received a lot of support from this community, especially Frisco Arts, and that is why we are still here! We just celebrated our five-year anniversary.”
Melody of Hope partners with nonprofit organizations throughout the community to raise funds, while also becoming a voice and advocate for each charity’s cause. “Our priorities and project funding is based on the needs of the community that provide things like support to low income families, educational opportunities, spiritual and mental counseling, economic development, healthcare, job training, support for wounded warriors, resources to help end sex trafficking, autism awareness and more. We want to help provide funding and support that is not easily accessible to nonprofits,” Ms. Wendell explains. “Ultimately, our true hope and the reason we exist is found in our foundational truth, which is built upon the melody of the Gospel that gives a hopeful future to all. We just want to serve God and our community by rocking out one concert at a time!”
Melody of Hope aides other organizations by building and hosting live music programs at events in the community that are already working to make a difference. “Through these events (which are no cost to partner charities), we are able to become an ambassador for these nonprofit organizations and provide artists with a stage to display their talent. I am so passionate about my work because I truly believe that change starts with a single melody of hope,” Ms. Wendell says. “It is great to be involved with a growing arts community working towards highlighting all the incredible talent in our city.”
Ms. Wendell and the organization are currently working on their 2020 calendar that will include more nonprofits and events than any other year. She is hopeful that the organization will be able to host a live music festival in Frisco to benefit numerous nonprofits and feature artists of all genres. “As a whole, our hope for the future is that bands across the country get on board with what we are doing. We want to create this attractive platform for artists and fans to know that if they perform or attend a Melody of Hope show, they are using music to help make a difference in our world!” she concludes.
Ken Miles - A Heart for Service
Ken Miles’ heart is as big as Frisco, and he has built a business around his love for helping others in the community.
After serving in the Marine Corps, Mr. Miles left his job in law enforcement to serve as the vice president of professional services for courts and justice with a large IT company, Tyler Technologies. Mr. Miles moved to Frisco in 2015, when he wanted to live closer to work and be part of the city’s booming growth.
While he loves what he does in IT, his passion has always been around cars, bikes and anything that has gears. “I love the feeling of adrenaline from riding, skateboarding or any other extreme sport. I bought and built my first car at 16. I knew nothing about cars, and my dad was not mechanical, so I bought myself a service manual and learned everything I could about cars,” Mr. Miles shares.
Mr. Miles shares his passion with his son and business partner, Garrison, and after a frustrating experience trying to help a friend get a new tire for his motorcycle, they decided to build a business around customer care, exceptional service and company culture. Motor Bike Works is a family-owned and operated, veteran-led business. It started with mobile service that brought customers a professional mobile shop offering motorcycle services and saved time for customers. The concept grew quickly, and they soon opened a small shop where customers could bring things in. “Within six months, we outgrew that shop and now have 6,000 square feet. We offer full-service, retail and used motorcycle sales. We are not your typical motorcycle dealership,” Mr. Miles shares. “We are a business, but it is not always about profits. We treat people like we want to be treated, and sometimes that means we do things for free or for much less than we could charge. We believe that by putting our customers first and offering a great service for a fair price, we will be successful and the money will come with repeat business. This is what we believe is missing in so many places here in Dallas.”
April 2020 will bring with it Motor Bike Works’ two-year anniversary. They have grown from a race trailer to a full dealership. Garrison runs the day-to-day operations and Mr. Miles serves as the president/CEO. “We are both very passionate about our community and our customers. Our employees are the biggest asset we have, and they live and breathe our culture,” Mr. Miles explains.
As Mr. Miles has worked tirelessly to make a mark in Frisco, his team has also continually worked to help the community. He says, “One of the beliefs we have is that it is our responsibility to help each other. We believe we should respect everyone regardless of their ideology. We are passionate about supporting our fellow local businesses.”
John Kinch - A Heart for the Community
While some are often intimidated by Frisco’s size, John Kinch and his family have lived in Frisco for 17 years and have fully embraced its amazing sense of community, so much so that Mr. Kinch opened his own restaurant, The Community Grill.
Mr. Kinch, the owner and chef of the restaurant, his wife and their two daughters live in the Phillips Creek Ranch area of Frisco, and he wanted a place where everyone could gather and enjoy amazing food. Mr. Kinch explains, “We are residents here. It is our neighborhood! The old neighborhood taverns we grew up with just are not around anymore.”
Amidst the success of the restaurant and overwhelming love and support from the community, Mr. Kinch and his family have traversed personal trials as he battles a hereditary heart disease that has hospitalized him numerous times. Of running a restaurant and dealing with his health issues, Mr. Kinch says, “I died 19 times in 2019 and my defibrillator brought me back. I am going to need a new heart. They have me stable right now, and I have not died in a couple of months, but my heart is at 19 percent. I am not on the official transplant list because the longer we wait on the front end, the longer I live on the back end. The team here has stepped in and has been amazing.”
After setting out to create a sense of community through his restaurant, his staff and the community have been behind his fight every step of the way. “I have never been around people who love each other and take care of each other the way people here do,” he explains.
Mr. Kinch’s hope is that, through the restaurant, they will continue to impact the community in positive ways through their connections with local schools and events. “It is just amazing to look out into the dining room and watch people enjoy being together,” Mr. Kinch says.
Mr. Kinch’s love for his community has made his local business a place where neighbors gather, no matter the reason.
Prince Nallamothula - A Heart for Innovation
Nine-year-old Prince Nallamothula’s heart for creating and being a leader is continually growing as fast as Frisco is! A young inventor and fourth-grader at Curtsinger Elementary School, Prince has made a name for himself nationally and in the community as he seeks to grow, learn and set a precedent for young people through his entrepreneurial spirit.
His national recognition came in November 2018 when his Happy Family smart phone app won an award at the Young Inventor Challenge at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair and The International Paradigm Challenge, which is considered to be the Nobel Prize of science for kids.
When Prince is not working on his next idea, he loves to study science, play guitar, sketch and play sports. He is a member of Frisco Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneur Academy (YEA!), which is a groundbreaking educational program that takes students ages 11-18 through the process of starting and running real businesses/social movements over the course of a full academic year.
During their time in YEA!, students work closely with local industry leaders, community members and educators to develop ideas and objectives, write business plans, pitch to potential investors, register with governmental agencies, develop brand identity and participate in tradeshows. Prince shares, “With the help of my parents, teachers and Frisco community leaders, I try to understand the problems we have and come up with solutions. Be it waste management, recycling, explaining the importance of hygiene and health to children or encouraging family wellness through interesting activities, I do what I can at my level. I have a YouTube channel through which I share knowledge with my friends and neighbors.”
Prince recently attended the following events as a guest speaker: Future Ready In Frisco, Frisco STYLE Magazine’s Best of Business Awards and Inspire Frisco Talk. Of the future and his plans, Prince is working on ideas regarding recycling and food safety and is looking for investors to bring his ideas to life. Prince loves living in Frisco as there are a myriad of opportunities to explore and platforms to use to express his ideas. Some of his recent awards include the International Echo Hero Award (Notable), 2019 STEM Scout of the Year, Code Launch 7 Finalist, University of North Texas full-ride scholarship and 2018 Young Inventor. Mayor Jeff Cheney even made a proclamation and declared January 15, 2019, as “Prince Nallamothula Day.”
Trillion Small - A Heart for Change
Trillion Small, Ph.D, LMFT, has a heart as unique as her name. Her love for others is what has led her to plant multiple growing seeds here in Frisco.
Ms. Small is an entrepreneur who thrives on developing new ideas, some of which she has turned into businesses. She serves the community as a neuro counselor, speaker, author, publisher, nonprofit founder and as a people development specialist. “I have been pretty clear since I was younger as to what I really wanted to be ‘when I grew up,’ and I am living those dreams. I truly enjoy finding ways to serve. The older I get, the more I realize my life is not about me, but instead about how I can make a difference,” Ms. Small shares.
Most recently, Ms. Small orchestrated her very own TEDx Talk titled “Overcoming the Fear of Love” (which can be found on YouTube). A TEDx Talk is a showcase for speakers presenting well-formed ideas in under 18 minutes. Ms. Small is the founder, licensee and lead organizer for TEDxFrisco, which is an independently-organized nonprofit licensed by TED. “TEDxFrisco is simply a TEDx program that curates events for the Frisco community, surrounding areas and, ultimately, the world. We are a local organization with a global reach. With that in mind, our mission is to change a heart, mind, community … and ultimately change the world,” she shares. “Frisco is a city that thrives on innovation and understands the power of knowledge and partnerships. The spirit of TEDx fits perfectly with the DNA of Frisco. TEDx also understands the power of thought and knowledge, as well as the power of connectivity. What better city within the Dallas metroplex than Frisco?”
Ms. Small believes the true measure of whether she is making a difference or not is contingent upon what others think and feel after experiencing one of her events. She explains, “We want people to come to our event and feel safe to be authentically themselves. We want them to show up apprehensive, but leave feeling seen and heard, and as a result, more open. We want them to come and sit with strangers but leave with friends.”
Ms. Small shares, “There are some who believe they have limits and boundaries that cannot be overcome because of the color of their skin. In the midst of seemingly having all odds stacked against us, I can personally say that it rarely crosses my mind that I may be rejected because of my skin color or the texture of my hair. That is because of the confidence my mother instilled in me. Not once has she ever planted a limiting belief in my mind that I was inferior. So, I do not operate as if I am. My sub-culture has taught me to be proud of who I am, to be assertive, to be a go-getter and to never take no for an answer,” she says.
Ms. Small plans to continue expanding the TEDxFrisco brand. “To date, we have the flagship programs TEDxFrisco and TEDxFriscoWomen. TEDxFrisco focuses on bringing men and women speakers together to share dynamic ideas. TEDxFriscoWomen has the same end goal, but the focus is to uplift the female voice. Summer 2020 will launch [email protected], which will focus on elevating young voices in the community, as well as sharing ideas pertinent to the next generation,” she explains.
Bob Campbell - A Heart for Philanthropy
Bob Campbell is highly-active in the community and is a local artist who shares his work with community members. As a graduate of the University of Tulsa, Mr. Campbell pursued art and community advocacy, and after a varied, decorated 30-year career with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, SBC, AT&T and consulting for a large systems integrator and a software network provider. Mr. Campbell’s career took his family from Texas to Mexico City, then from Las Vegas to Sacramento, and eventually back to Texas.
Mr. Campbell recalls, “I got into painting on a whim. I had been named the March of Dimes Chairman in Sacramento in 2005. I decided to paint 30 paintings and sell them to my co-workers as a way to raise awareness for the campaign. The art was less than stellar, but my kind employees bought every painting. I have never really taken a lesson, but some great artists, like local Carol Jones, have helped me a great deal.”
As Frisco’s efforts to build a performing arts center ramp up, his hope is to continue to support the arts locally, and he has recently donated several of his original paintings for auction. Mr. Campbell is a philanthropist and community activist. He does not hold a civic role, but he is an active volunteer at St. Andrew Methodist Church’s food distribution center, Seven Loaves, and is part of Stonebriar Country Club’s “The Briar Club,” which is a group of 70 men who play golf together and support local charities like Small World and Frisco Fastpacs. Mr. Campbell also served as the president of the Stonebriar Park Home Owners Association (HOA) until last year. Mr. Campbell and his colleagues on the HOA have stayed busy representing neighborhoods with all the development exploding at The Star, Frisco Station and HALL Park.
Sadaf Haq - A Heart for Leadership
Sadaf Haq’s heart for ensuring Frisco grows and changes for the better, just like the people at the heart of it, is what makes her special. Born and raised outside of Bronx, N.Y., Ms. Haq and her family moved to Frisco after a gut feeling Ms. Haq had that North Dallas is where she and her family needed to be. She recalls, “Back in 2014, my husband had a fellowship opportunity in Pittsburg. The whole year we lived there, I kept telling him I really felt like North Dallas was where we needed to be. In 2015, I mentioned that if we ever planned to move to Texas, he would have to get his medical license to practice in Texas, which can take up to six months. I told him to go ahead and start on that, and he did. During those six months, multiple family members moved to Texas out of happenstance, and when we came to visit them, I instantly knew this was the place. My husband still looks back and does not understand how I had that sense.”
Ms. Haq has her master’s degree in public health and is back in the workforce with her husband at his practice, Pain Management of North Dallas, where she does business development and administration work. Ms. Haq has always had a love for civic engagement, and she credits Frisco for making it easy to be civically engaged. “Once we got settled in, I got involved and the trajectory of the city has just skyrocketed. This level of service has been so fulfilling. I am now in my second term on the Social Services and Housing Board and that really opened up my eyes to the soft underbelly of Frisco,” she shares.
Ms. Haq sits on a board for a Collin County Impact Council that also deals with mental health, social services, etc., and roles on those boards led her to apply for Leadership Frisco, where she now sits on the Advisory Council and has just been appointed to the Frisco Census Committee. After her time in Leadership Frisco, others began approaching her about future leadership opportunities and encouraged her to run for City Council, and she has since formed an exploratory committee. Ms. Haq shares, “It is a matter of realizing that no matter where you come from, no matter who you are, you are serving the people of Frisco. My message has always been one of inclusion and how we are not only American first, but we are Frisco first here.”
The future is bright for Ms. Haq as she figures out a possible run for City Council and keeps venturing out of her comfort zone. “I believe God placed me in this position to make this decision and that He will guide me further.”
Daniel Stein - A Heart for Empowerment
Daniel Stein is a true champion for adults and children. At a young age, Mr. Stein was diagnosed with severe ADHD and put on medication. He started having a lot of trouble with behavior both in school and at home. He remembers, “My parents decided to enroll me in sports, and they started noticing an improvement in my behavior and ability to focus. Eventually, they bought me a gym membership to the YMCA, where I discovered my passion for fitness. I started learning everything I could about fitness and made it a hobby.”
On November 11, 2011, Mr. Stein met with his mentor. During the meeting, his mentor suggested that Mr. Stein become a personal trainer to focus on helping children and adults with special needs, considering his background with ADHD and passion for fitness. “As I continued working as a personal trainer for the general population, I had the opportunity to work with Dakota, who was a quadriplegic. After working with Dakota for more than a year and seeing his progress, I was inspired by what fitness could do to help those who face physical or mental challenges. I was also concerned that there were no services out there for people like Dakota. To help solve this problem, I started Special Strong in 2016,” Mr. Stein shares.
Special Strong provides nutrition and adapted fitness for special needs children, adolescents and adults with autism, Down syndrome and other disabilities. They take a unique approach to fitness by using behavior therapy techniques combined with brain integration exercises. The company offers online courses that do not require fitness experience for parents and professionals to learn how to implement fitness with the special needs population.
Frisco holds a special place in Mr. Stein’s heart as it is where the idea for Special Strong started and also where he later met his wife. Special Strong services Frisco at several different gym locations, making it one of the largest areas where the company helps the special needs population.
Of his legacy and mark on the community, Mr. Stein feels the biggest thing he is able to give others is hope. “There are so many parents who have special needs kids who often feel hopeless because there are not many services available to solve the problems they face. When we come in and offer our services, people are completely transformed – mind, body and spirit. This often impacts the entire family,” Mr. Stein says.