After nearly 22 years of serving as the Frisco Economic Development Corp. president, Jim Gandy is retiring.
Gandy said he plans to phase out of his role by Nov. 30, at which point Assistant City Manager Ron Patterson will take over as the interim president. The FEDC board of directors will conduct a national search for the next president. Gandy will serve as a special adviser to the interim president or the new president until March 31.
Gandy began as the FEDC president in January 1996. At the time Frisco was still considered a rural town, and Gandy said the FEDC struggled to attract even restaurants to the city.
In 2000 the game changed when Stonebriar Centre opened.
“Stonebriar mall was the project that launched Frisco’s economic engine,” Gandy said. “I often refer to that as the economic tsunami that hit the southern border of Frisco that created an economic wave that came through our community like nothing that had ever been done anywhere else.”
Since then Frisco has attracted the Dallas Cowboys headquarters, Jamba Juice’s headquarters, IKEA and numerous other developments. The FEDC has also coined the $5 Billion Mile, which has received international attention.
“Frisco has grown and risen to the point where we generally always have some major projects in our pipeline,” Gandy said. “That just doesn’t happen overnight. That’s been building and growing in the city for probably the better part of over 30 years.”
Gandy said his favorite part about serving as the FEDC president is knowing that many people were positively affected by the jobs created by FEDC projects. According to a recent FEDC study, of the more than 300 projects the FEDC has done, about 27,000 direct jobs have been facilitated.
“The interesting part about that is we were able to impact those people in a positive way, and the majority of those people we’ve never met and probably will never know,” he said. “In doing that, you’re hopeful that you’re able to enhance the standard of living and the quality of life for those people and their families. That doesn’t make headlines, but from my perspective, that’s one of the most rewarding things in this job.”
Gandy said he hopes the next president will continue building on the foundation the FEDC has created over the years. The public-private partnership model has been what Frisco is known for, and Gandy said he hopes that model continues.
After retirement, Gandy said he still plans to work either helping his son with his landscaping company or exploring opportunities in real estate.
“It’s been fun, exciting, challenging and an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of Frisco and working for the Frisco EDC,” he said.