Wes Pierson was selected from a nationwide search to fill the role of Frisco’s city manager. Pierson began in his new role for Frisco Aug. 2. Pierson has more than 13 years of city management experience, including nearly seven as city manager in the town of Addison, where he previously served. Pierson also has other experience serving in the cities of Corpus Christi and Allen. Frisco’s first and only City Manager George Purefoy retired June 30. Community Impact Newspaper sat down with Pierson to learn more about what he hopes to accomplish as he steps into his new role.

For those who don’t know, can you explain what a city manager does and why they are important to a city?

In this form of government, the city council operates as the board of directors, and the city manager operates like the CEO. So city managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city; provide leadership, vision and things like that for the staff; and then council and the manager work together closely to accomplish the priorities of the community.

Can you talk a little bit about your education and relevant past experiences, and what you feel you will bring to this new role?

I’ve been in city management a little over 13 years. I’ve experienced leading teams and achieving results in complex operating environments, and that’s either in a small community or medium-sized community or a large community. And what I think I bring to this role is I care passionately for people. So I really want to focus on people. I’m a strategic thinker. I’ve got some pretty good experience with financial matters and things of that nature. And then I really enjoy building relationships. And I think all of those things will be helpful to this role.

What interested you in the Frisco city manager position?

It’s an amazing community. The opportunity to do meaningful work with and approach the challenge of helping Frisco with where it is now and prepare for what Frisco will be in the future was pretty awesome. And that is really important work. So that really attracted me to it. Plus, this is a great place to raise a young family, which I have.

What do you feel will be the most challenging aspect of this role?

The most difficult thing about being a city manager is probably first balancing competing interests. Here’s a quote that I like: ‘There are two things that people hate: change and the way things are.’ And so an example of a competing interest might be some people want to say, ‘Let’s grow,’ and some people go, ‘No.’ So when you have to deal with those types of competing interests as a city manager, navigating and balancing all of that can be challenging. The other challenging thing is managing expectations. Sometimes folks have great expectations, and you have to align expectations with resources. So, for city managers, those are in general our two challenges, but I’m looking forward to seeing how that applies here as I learn more about the community.

What are some of your goals for Frisco during your first year?

First and foremost, it is my mission to build trust with the council, with the community, with staff, with our partners and stakeholders. I firmly believe that with trust you can accomplish almost anything, and without it you can’t get anything done. And it’s very precious and can be easily lost. So building trust is No. 1. Next, I’ve got to learn about this community and the organization, and I also need to connect with our people. That’s really important to me. I already know there is a great team in place, and I need to be part of that great team so that I can help lead them to where we want to go. And then [finally] just executing on the council’s and the community’s priorities.

Are there any initiatives or programs that you’d like to highlight or talk about?

Council’s 10 priorities for the year—all of those are important, but really, it just comes back to our people. I’m excited to work with an amazing group of staff who are dedicated and talented and professional. When I wake up in the morning, that’s what gets me excited about coming to work.

Is there anything else you think the community should know?

What George Purefoy has done here is special. And what Frisco accomplished because of his leadership during his tenure is remarkable. It’s not something that happens a lot of places. So I hope people understand that. As a city management professional, it should be celebrated.