PROFILE: Tech teacher (Part I)
Paul Frison must be a very patient man.
Ever since he was hired as the founding president and CEO of the
The ultimate selection and renovation of HTC''s proposed building - which is being funded by a government grant - has been slowed down by red tape.
But after much work and perseverance by the many individuals and entities involved, HTC''s building, located at 410 Pierce in Midtown, is scheduled to open its doors in July. HTC had been officing on the 29th floor of
Getting its permanent facility ready took about three and a half years, start to finish, but it might have taken even longer had Frison not been involved.
"Paul is a driver," says Robert Litke, director of the Planning and Development Department for the city of
The diplomatic and politically correct CEO begrudgingly admits that he was frustrated by the delays. He says it''s been difficult having an uncertain move-in date because he''s usually very organized.
"He gets frustrated with the process, and I can''t say I blame him," says Litke, who applied for the original grant for HTC and was instrumental in its creation. "I live with frustration. How can a bureaucrat get frustrated by bureaucracy?"
Frison, however, hails from the private sector. Operating in the nonprofit sector and relying on government timetables was a whole new ballgame for him.
Prior to joining HTC, Frison was chairman, president and CEO of LifeCell Corp., a public company that relocated from The Woodlands to
Because of Frison''s corporate background, Litke says he wasn''t sold on hiring him as HTC''s CEO. That is, until he met him.
"Paul had everything that made me say, ''This is the right guy for the job,'' " Litke recalls. "Paul is bouncy. He''s got a tremendous amount of energy. He builds partnerships all over the place, and then delivers on those partnerships. "
Frison spoke with HTC organizers off and on for eight months before accepting the position. Litke eventually helped convince Frison to take the job.
"I had my doubts whether this thing would really work," says Frison, who turned 65 a month ago.
Billy Ladin, an HTC advisory board member, is thankful Frison decided to lead the organization.
"He has done a wonderful job for our city," says Ladin, a longtime friend and former boss of Frison''s. "He certainly could make a lot more money doing something else as an executive."
Frison is a native of
Those experiences helped make him the good public speaker he is today.
After high school, Frison went on to earn a bachelor of arts degree in education with a minor in business from
Instead of being drafted into the armed forces, Frison decided to enroll in the Coast Guard''s officer candidate school. He spent a full year aboard a ship in the
As an officer in the Coast Guard, Frison was an admiral''s aide in
Frison handled all the PR in 1960 when Nikita Khrushchev, premier of what was then the U.S.S.R., toured the
On a lighter note, he also got to meet movie stars Debbie Reynolds and Fred Astaire when he was asked to arrange access to the admiral''s house for a movie they were shooting.