Jackson leaders pick Frank
By Benjamin Graham, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
January 18, 2013
Jackson leaders say they sought out development experience when picking construction manager and former beer brewer Don Frank to fill an empty slot on the Jackson Town Council.
They cited Frank’s professional background Thursday afternoon as part of the reason he rose to the top of a field of 11 applicants. A 22-year Jackson resident, Frank was a longtime carpenter before becoming a project manager and president of Dembergh Construction.
“I suppose one of the main things is it gives us a businessman and a contractor,” Councilman Bob Lenz said of the selection. “Mark Obringer was a contractor and Greg Miles was a developer. We lost that expertise on the council.”
Frank will serve the remaining two years left in the term of departed Coun-cilwoman Melissa Turley, who was elected to a seat on the Teton County Board of Commissioners.
The four sitting council members unanimously voted to appoint Frank on Thursday morning, after two days and nearly three hours of closed-door discussions.
His experience will be helpful when rewriting the town’s new land-development regulations, Lenz said.
“These guys that are contractors and out in the trenches dealing with our LDRs and policy, they give you the other side of the story,” he said.
Because Frank wasn’t well known by most of the council, aside from Mayor Mark Barron, his interview was key, council members said.
Topics he touched on during the interview included affordable housing and transportation planning.
“I was impressed by his thoughtfulness,” Councilman Jim Stanford said. “To me that was obvious.”
Still, council members said the choice was a hard one because of the crowded pool of applicants.
“I could live with any of the 12 people that [originally] applied,” Lenz said.
Along with Frank, Phillip Cameron, Lisa Carranza, Chandler Church, Kari Cooper, Emy diGrappa, Kelly Egan, Mike Gierau, Stephen McDonald, Mark Nowlin, John Stennis and Jon Stuart applied. Cooper withdrew her application before interviews began.
While the selection made sense to the council, Frank said he was surprised when Mayor Mark Barron’s number flashed on his cellphone screen a little after 9 a.m. Thursday.
“I thought it was the ‘Dear Don,’ phone call,” saying the council had chosen someone else, said Frank. “I have to tell you, I was mystified. It’s not that I’m diminishing my qualifications. It’s just that I saw a lot of [applicants] who were bright and sincere.”
He said he decided to apply out of a desire to serve the community and to provide a role model for younger generations.
“I’m humbled,” Frank said. “On the one hand, I feel prepared. On the other hand, I know that I’ll depend on other councilors and all sorts of town employees to help mentor me and bring me up to speed.”
Among other interests, Frank, 61, studied microbiology and beer-brewing techniques at UC Davis. He then helped form Grand Teton Brewing Company and was an equity partner for 16 years.
He and his wife, Mary Ellen, have two teenage sons.
Frank will be sworn in at the beginning of the town workshop scheduled for 2 p.m. on Jan. 22 at Town Hall.