Frisco Economic Development Corp. President Jason Ford said he is out to spread the city’s “economic gospel.”
Ford moved into his role as EDC president following the departure of former President Ron Patterson, who returned to Frisco City Hall in June as deputy city manager. Ford has been on the EDC staff for the last two years and was previously vice president.
He described Frisco as a tech-driven hotspot for venture capital, sharing his vision for the city’s future and how the EDC plays into that end. Replies to questions have been shortened for space.
Question: What are some of your top priorities in these first months as president of the EDC?
“Coming out of the vice president role, which was heavily focused on business development, we have a number of really exciting projects that are currently underway. ... We are under consideration right now for a number of corporate and tech-related jobs. Some of these are headquarter relocations; some of them are corporate offices that may be moving from out of state; some may be some local business expansion opportunities. We're very fortunate in Frisco that despite what's happened over the last 18 months, many companies are focused on Frisco as a great place to expand or relocate their business.”
Q: What are some examples you give to residents when explaining how the EDC helps the city grow?
“The Frisco EDC plays a big role in promotion and marketing of the community in order to attract jobs to Frisco. Simply put, sometimes that means we are hosting in-person meetings or virtual meetings or traveling from coast to coast to spread the economic gospel of Frisco, and sometimes it means we are hosting delegations in town to help spread the message about Frisco. We spend a lot of time on corporate site selection ... if you think of all of the things that a company needs in order to undertake a relocation or expansion into any given market, everything from real estate, understanding the local workforce and how to access talent, taxes, incentives, business costs ... we are a one-stop-shop for helping companies during their site selection process.”
Q: From a developmental perspective, how would you describe the city's identity?
“Frisco is a city of high expectations. You often hear the term, ‘flight to quality.’ We want to be the destination for the flight to quality. That means we have higher standards around architectural standards, but also around safety within the facilities, the amenities, making sure we have more green space in parks and we are continuing to offer great corporate entities and amenities for our residents as well. ... We work very collaboratively with companies, developers and designers in order to come up with world-class projects and do it in an expeditious fashion without adding a ton of cost. ... Being able to solve their problems is one of the things that helps us to win a lot of deals, even without incentives.”
Q: Out of all the Frisco projects going on, from the performing arts center to the PGA headquarters, which will be the most consequential?
“I believe PGA will have an impact that lives for generations in this community. We are going to be bringing some of the world's top athletes, obviously, but also many of the world's top corporate executives and investors. The PGA and Omni Resort will be hosting numerous business conferences and hopefully bringing many decision makers to Frisco. So, whenever we talk about traveling to spread the economic gospel of Frisco, there's a limited amount of impact you can have. But when you bring all of those high-level decision makers ... to visit Frisco firsthand, it's a powerful selling tool. That's going to be one of the biggest selling tools that we have next to The Star District and many of our other sports amenities.”
Q: What do you think Frisco is going to look like 10 years from now?
“There's a huge focus on innovation across all industries today, and Frisco is taking that very seriously. We are leaning into the future. We have set a goal to attract more venture capital and venture capital firms into Frisco. I believe, given all the momentum we see right now around tech and innovation, sports tech, health care, fintech, cyber, military technologies and others that you will see a shift toward even more diverse and younger talent moving to Frisco. ... [You will see] an explosion of startups, entrepreneurship, support organizations and innovation-driven enterprises, all seeking to be in Frisco as the hotspot for tech in North Texas.”