Jake Petras came to Frisco for family and has a strong belief in giving back to the community. He was appointed to the Place 1 spot on the Frisco Planning and Zoning Commission in June.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in a small town in Illinois to a loving mother and father alongside my younger sister. I started my career while in college in Illinois that would inevitably lead to a life in Texas. I moved to Texas in 2008, working in commercial real estate development for a Fortune 100 company and, after 13 years, took a leap of faith and started my own retail commercial real estate development company with my business partner. We now develop retail projects all over North Texas. More importantly, I’m a father to two beautiful daughters, a husband to my wife of 10 years, Katie, a friend to some incredible folks in Frisco, a stage 4 cancer survivor, and an avid golfer.
What brought you to Frisco?
My wife Katie and I wanted to start a family immediately after getting married. We have some family that lives here and we loved the family-centric mentality of Frisco and decided it was where we wanted to raise our family. Luckily, we got pregnant within a month of getting married and Katie told me, “you have nine months to get us to Frisco”, and I said what any smart husband should say at that time, “Yes ma'am!"
What made you want to join the Planning and Zoning Commission?
Frisco is an incredible place to live, work, learn and play, and I truly believe that every member of the community needs to try and serve in some capacity. My experience in the commercial real estate business has given me a moderate understanding of municipal planning and land use. That background, knowledge and experience will hopefully add value to the Commission as we advise our great City Council on new projects that will shape the landscape of our great city.
How do you plan to approach your new role?
I am replacing Chairman Rob Cox, so I have some enormous shoes to fill. Rob was a valuable member of the Commission, and Frisco lost a breadth and depth of experience with his resignation. My goal in the first few months is to listen and learn from City Staff and the other Commissioners so as to better understand projects that are in process and those that are forthcoming. Those that know me are aware that I am a rather opinionated person but I pride myself on being a critical thinker and problem solver. I’m not one to ever sit around and complain, but rather I seek to find innovative solutions as I navigate challenges. I believe that it is paramount in any role to not let your personal biases get in the way of making good decisions. To achieve that, one has to understand as much as possible about a topic, project or position and then formulate an opinion based on that body of research prior to making a decision. I intend to do just that as I on-board into my new role.
Tell us about your previous involvement in the Frisco community.
First and foremost, I try to be a very active volunteer in Frisco. I have been involved in the WatchDog program at Fisher Elementary, served on several boards for Stonebriar Country Club, and I have helped tirelessly on many local political campaigns over the years.
What is your favorite part of Frisco to spend time in, and why?
I am a passionate golfer and have spent a lot of time at Stonebriar Country Club. Now, with the PGA coming 3.25 miles from my house, I have a strong feeling I will be spending a lot more time at one of their two championship courses.
Tell our readers about your family.
I am the luckiest guy in the world. My wife Katie is smart, kind, funny and absolutely beautiful. I have two beautiful girls, Evelyn (9) and Audrey (8), who attend Fisher elementary school in FISD. My girls are spoiled, sweet, sassy, smart and funny, and being their dad is the greatest part of my life.
What TV show are you bingeing these days?
I love mob movies and just finished “The Offer” on Paramount+. I am also a huge “Yellowstone” and “Ozark” fan.
Do you have a favorite Frisco restaurant?
Eddie Napoli’s in West Frisco and Best Thai in Frisco Square.
Tell our readers something about you that they would never guess to be true.
In November of 2013 I was diagnosed with a very rare cancer called sarcoma, with a large tumor in my upper thigh. After a year’s worth of surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy, I went in for a follow up CT scan and discovered the cancer had spread to my lungs and had the “Talk” with my Oncologist and was given six months to live. After months of very technical genetic biomarker evaluations, lung resection surgery, and customized medications, a follow up CT Scan revealed the cancer in my lungs was shrinking. I have been cancer free for 7-and-a-half years now. I learned two very important lessons from that experience: 1) Never give up, and 2) Cherish every day and spend time with those closest to you. Life is too short and too precious.
What do you want your legacy to be?
My primary focus is to be a great father, husband and friend, and I will always work towards achieving that goal. I would also love to be known as a great golfer, but I have a long way to go to achieve that legacy.