MB: So how long have you served with the Foundation’s Board of Directors? And, what has your experience been like?
BF: I’ve had a unique opportunity with the Foundation. I’ve been on the board for eight years, mostly with the Allocations Committee. Working with so many amazing and dedicated people has been a great experience.
MB: Are there any board members you have come to admire during your time on the board?
BF: Absolutely! Every time we [the board] get done with a meeting and Karen Osborne is there, I have learned something new. Karen actually looks through everything and grinds the numbers. She is just a great board member… I always use her as my example. She is my litmus test when it comes to board members.
MB: Are there any other past or current members of the board that have made an impact in your life?
BF: [When I first came on the board] I got to start with really good members like Mark Schwendeman. Just a really sharp guy, he is one of those guys who has 26 hour days… he gets so much done! I am grossly inefficient when compared to somebody like that.
Eric Erb, has a great knowledge of investments and has great people skills… the guy might know everybody, really.
Chip Riggs, he has a legal mind that is thoughtful. You know he doesn’t talk a lot, but it’s because he is listening. Then when he says something, it's relevant because he doesn’t talk just to hear himself talk.
Teri Ann, she is a talented person that brought a very caring, Christian perspective to our decisions. She is also very business-minded and practical.
Kin Brewer, he is a good example of a leader that “just asks better questions”. He drills down on information like a bulldog.
Of course my predecessor as Chair of the board: Jennifer Christy. She is just a great example of someone who wants to engage and change this community for the better.
Honestly, there are just so many I could mention, but those are the few that come to mind. There has not been one board member that I have worked with, so far, where I think, “What do they add?” None of these people just "fill a seat."
MB: It’s great to hear that our board is very active. What are your thoughts about the other major component of the Foundation, the staff?
BF: This all filters up to Heather [Allender]. Heather has been the best thing that has happened to this Foundation. In terms of leadership, she has usually thought about every possibility about a decision before we even ask her. She's incredibly intelligent and has unique people skills. She does a great job of being strong and firm without being off-putting. In this position you can’t be a ‘bull in a China shop’ so to speak… you can’t be like me… She does a fantastic job for the Foundation and our community.
Britani [Merritt] does a great job of making sure everything is running smoothly and orderly, she is a hard worker.
And, I'm excited by you being hired. I look forward to seeing how your talents benefit the Foundation and our community.
For our community to continue to grow and thrive, we need young and talented people. I think the staff at the Foundation fit that mold.
MB: I appreciate you saying that, thank you.
As I mentioned before, one of our main messages here is “leaving a legacy.” And from what I understand, this isn’t just a message you help promote, but something you have acted upon. Would you mind sharing a little bit about the funds you have established with the Foundation?
BF: We [my family] have a fund here, The Leslie Frye Foundation - Living with Cancer, in memory of my first wife who passed away due to complications with breast cancer. When she passed away we set up this foundation to send women, who have cancer, and their families on vacation. No expenses, we take care of everything.
It is important to create good memories for the family in such a difficult time. When someone goes through cancer, they are going to take a beating. Through chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, picclines, you name it, you are going to have some really tough days. So it is important to have something on your calendar that you can look forward to.
MB: Outside of your practice and serving with the Foundation, what other activities are you involved with?
BF: Well my kids go to St. Mary’s Catholic School and Williamstown. Two of my kids go to St. Mary’s so I coach the [boys] basketball team and I coach my son’s soccer team and my daughter’s soccer team. I’m real fortunate, we have five kids which make up our blended family.
I really enjoy spending time with my wife, Melissa, our 5 children, and our new puppy, Gracie.
MB: We will start to bring this to a close, I appreciate you being open to talk with me. One last question: What is your favorite thing to do in Washington Co.?
BF: I love to go to ballgames and go hiking out at Broughton’s. I enjoy spending time with friends and their families-we are really lucky to have this community. It's not perfect, but when friends from out of town come to visit, they are amazed at the closeness and friendliness we have here in Washington Co. It is still a great place to raise a family.
MB: Bret, I appreciate your time.
BF: Thank you, it was a pleasure.