Frisco | March 2022

PEOPLE Jason Cooley Frisco chief innovation ocer


Jason Cooley has been Frisco’s chief innovation ocer since fall 2020. Cooley’s role involves a diversity of projects from capital improvement to robot testing. Community Impact Newspaper sat down with Cooley to learn more about his job and what Frisco residents can look forward to from his department in the future.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MAIN RESPONSIBILITIES? It’s really composed of two differ- ent main pieces. The irst piece is still the project management ofice. So I’ve always administered the project management ofice. We’re out of the city manager’s ofice, and we administer and run the capital improvement projects, the vertical construction projects for the city. We have several projects that are ongoing right now. One of them is the new library, and we are also doing a public works renovation expansion in a police department renovation and expansion. So, part of the job is still managing those capital projects, bond-funded construction projects. The other part is what my deputy city manager and I have coined “organic innovation,” really looking at innovations that will help us be more eficient and effective and productive for our citizens. That’s our main goal. And so we do that in the variety of different ways. Some of it’s internal, and you might not see that, and then others are the more visible things, like pilot programs. I align resources for some of the pilot programs. So for example, Wing drone delivery, we are working closely with Wing on a

daily basis to make sure that they have everything they need from the city, whether it be permissions or regulatory issues that we deal with. We work with them to make sure that they’re able to be success- ful in deploying their technology in the community. But we also do some things on the internal side. Part of the innovation is our Lean Six Sigma Academy. We have a Lean Six Sigma Academy; we train several departments on a rotating basis on the concepts of Lean; we have a Lean trainer; Elizabeth Chase is a material services man- ager in the library. She’s a master trainer on Lean. And what we’re really trying to do is implement the knowledge, if you will, within the organization of how to do things better, be more eficient, more productive with the resources that we have, and we consider that to be a major part of innovation. HOW HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH THE NEW LIBRARY PROJECT? I am the project manager for that, working directly with Shelley Holley, our library director. My involvement is really dealing with the service providers—the architect, the construction

Frisco Chief Innovation Ocer Jason Cooley is also the project manager for the city’s new library. (Courtesy city of Frisco)

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT PEOPLE CAN LOOK FORWARD TO WITH WING’S DRONE DELIVERY? Wing is moving forward very quickly. They’re in the process of testing now to get their full [Federal Aviation Administration] approval. I anticipate very soon, within a month or two, if everything continues to go well, they actually can start making deliveries in targeted areas within their service zones. And just to be clear about that, we will be the irst city of our size in the United States to have commercial drone delivery of that type. So they’ve been piloting and operating it for two years in a smaller community, but this will be the irst suburban community over 150,000 [people] where they’re actually being able to operate. So it’s a big deal, and we’re excited to be partnering with them to do that.

manager—and making sure that we are on time, on schedule, on budget on the project. So we meet almost daily. They’re in the process of construction right now. They’re moving along at a good pace, and we look forward to being able to open later on in the year. WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING PART OF YOUR JOB? I think it’s probably the variety of things that I get to do. Some days I’m working at the library, so actually on-site in an active construction project with my hard hat and work boots. But then [I’m] working with someone like Wing, who is trying to pilot commercial deliveries with a drone. So there’s a lot of variety in my job, and that keeps me energized and always learning something new and doing something new. So it’s a lot of fun.


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