City of Paramount Recognizes Frank Tripepi

The City of Paramount recognized the passing of Frank Tripepi when Mayor Cuellar Stallings conveyed a letter to the Tripepi Family on behalf of the Paramount City Council. See the letter here.

City of Bellflower Recognizes Frank Tripepi

The City of Bellflower adjourned their council meeting in honor of Frank Tripepi on June 27, 2022. Rhonda and the entire Tripepi Family appreciates the honor and recognition of Frank by the City Council.

The City conveyed a letter to Rhonda regarding the adjournment. Read that letter here.

Willdan Memo on Frank’s Impact

Willdan circulated an internal memo to its staff on Frank Tripepi and his impact on the history of the firm. With Willdan’s permission, that memo is available to reach here.

A Man Who Liked People – Steve Harding

He sure had a presence about him. Certainly professionally, but more importantly personally. There was a genuine warmth about him. That smile, that laugh, and that outstretched hand were all one really needed to know about Frank. He just liked people, and people liked him back. Yet, as one of his best friends, you know that better than most.

Steve Harding, Retired City Manager

A Life Worth Living – Robert Smith

Frank created a lasting legacy. That’s not easy to do. While being a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, Frank added value to people’s dreams, aspirations and lives. People remember someone that lent a helping hand and provided encouragement and substance to them. Frank did all these things and made it look simple. Through it all he remained humble. Good job Frank!! Your’s was a life worth living.

-Robert Smith, Fellow Dad, Father to Frank’s Son-In-Law

San Gabriel Valley Tribune Recognizes Frank’s Service to Rosemead

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune recognized Franks’s service to the City of Rosemead in a wonderful articles dated 6/29/2022. It includes wonderful quotes from Rosemead council member Margaret Clark and Frank’s daughter Nicole.

His daughter, Nicole, couldn’t say enough about the character of her father.

“Everyone loved my dad,” she said. “There isn’t a person out there that he wouldn’t help however he could. ‘Let me make a call’ was one of his favorite phrases, because he always knew someone he could call to help you out. I’m still in disbelief that he’s not here anymore.

You are encouraged to read the article on the SGVT website. But if the link does not work, try this link to a PDF of the article.

Tom Brisbin’s Eulogy for Frank

Mark Risco and I are here to talk about Frank’s second career with Willdan.  Of course, he was well known amongst the California cities and when I met him, he was either the longest serving city manager or the second.   

Frank joined Willdan in 2002 as the President of Willdan’s subsidiary, MuniFinancial.  He knew Will Stookey and Dan Heil very well.  Will and Dan started the firm in 1964.  It was a creative evening when they named it Willdan.  I am sure alcohol may have been involved.  

I did not meet Frank until 2007.  Willdan’s founder, Dan Heil, had passed away. They had just gone public, there were many unhappy partners, and the country was at the beginning of the subprime loan crisis, or the great recession.  Willdan was about to lose 65% of our business.  Frank was a major player at the company and we were faced with major adversity.  The welcome mat for the new guy (me) was unfriendly at best.  I’m sure they were thinking, “Who is this guy that didn’t grow up in Willdan and knows almost nothing about our business?”  

Who could know what Frank knew about our client cities?  No one.  Over the next few years, I had several trips to the principal’s office. Of course, the principal was Frank.  We had a rough start to a 15-year relationship.  I learned that everyone should listen when the principal is speaking.  Frank was direct (maybe even blunt), not shy about his thoughts, and often quick to point out the mistakes I was going to make.  Now, here is the odd part…through this rocky start, I respected Frank because his advice was based on his experience and genuine care and concern for people.  The delivery took a little getting used to, but the content was solid.  The King, the Mafia Boss, el Jefe, the bigger-than-life Frank really cared about the company, the impact of his contributions, and the people he worked with.  This was clear and it made getting to know Frank worth the journey.  After a few years, Frank calmed down a little about all the changes and problems we were facing and made that very hard transition to fixing the entire company.  Being in charge didn’t matter.  He could still accomplish his goals by being the trusted advisor to everyone.  Especially to me.  There were so many times that the answer was always the same, “You better call Frank”.  The company stock had gone from $10.00 a share to $1.00. The partners had lost a lot, and many employees had lost their jobs. This recession was the worst, and Frank was at his best.  He poured his heart and efforts into keeping the company solvent.  Though these were tough times, I started to admire, appreciate, and trust Frank Tripepi.  The number of visits to the principal’s office was going down and we were building a better relationship.  In practice, Frank’s efforts were saving the company. A challenge like this really motivated Frank.  The worst thing one could do was tell Frank, “That’s not possible”. 

Well, the company survived the recession and Frank became the trusted advisor to everyone.  This role continued through the pandemic as our business was reduced now by 40%, this time due to Covid.  We are now coming out of Covid.  Frank never paused, he never stayed home, he never let the phone rest.  I am curious with everyone here; did anyone ever have a WebEx, Teams, Zoom, or a virtual meeting with Frank? He remained “old-school” with telephone and in-person meetings with people! 

When Frank was diagnosed, he called me and gave me the news.  He had one request.  He wanted to keep working.  Is anyone surprised?  During this time, I got to see Frank more.  Not for business, but as friends.  We talked about the world, his life, work, and family.  Frank was a patriot; he loved this country.  And we all thank him for his service. He did everything he could for his family, his coworkers, and his friends.  Willdan will always remember Frank as the man that got us through some very tough times.  His efforts to teach us all about the cities we live in was invaluable.  Frank always said to me, “Brisbin, all problems are solved at the city, remember that”.  

We will remember Frank.  He helped all of us at Willdan.  We will remember how he made that transition from running a subsidiary to being the trusted advisor for the entire company.  He made a much bigger impact in this role. We grew to 60 offices nationwide and we are becoming a leader in climate change.  Frank embraced all the change and brought it to the cities.  

I would close with “Rest in Peace, Frank”, but wherever he is, he does not know the word “rest”.  On behalf of Willdan, thank you Frank and thank you for the relationship that turned into a friendship. 

Mark Risco’s Eulogy for Frank

Frank joined WFS in 2002 and at that time, we were a small firm that worked for city finance departments and actually had no idea how cities worked. So Frank being Frank, went through the company org chart and sorted through the team and got those out of the way that were not open to change and identified those that would embrace his transformative approach of learning about cities and getting to know city managers.

Of course, this meant taking to heart the importance of establishing and maintaining relationships, which meant countless road trips to city halls, dinners, conferences and other events up and down the State, while Frank made introductions to city officials, staff and city managers he had come to know from his tenure as CM in Rosemead.

By leveraging his connections and teaching his team the importance of relationships and learning about our clients, Frank built WFS into the company it is today with twice as many employees and several offices across the country.

Now, as valuable as his relationships and knowledge of municipalities was, I believe the most important gift Frank provided was that of making people feel valued. In today’s world, some might find this to be trivial, but I’ve decided it is one of the greatest strengths a person can possess.

There have been so many people that told me Frank called to wish them a happy birthday, congratulate them on their daughter or son’s graduation and let them know that his thoughts and prayers were with them prior to a medical procedure. How he could remember all of this for thousands of friends and colleagues, I’ll never know.

My personal experience was when my son was young. I was reading a book to him in his hospital room when Frank showed up in his three-piece, pin striped, suit, lavender tie and a bundle of balloons wishing Travis well. This is when everything changed, Frank became so much more than my boss, over the next 15 years he became a friend that I grew close to and came to love as a family member.

In my opinion, the true measure of a man is not what he has achieved or the material possessions he has acquired; it is how much he has given. During my time on this earth, I have never met an individual that spent his life continuously giving his time, sharing his wisdom and experiences, building relationships and teaching others so they could grow both professionally and personally, all without expecting anything in return.

This leads me back to my conversations with Frank where he told me he thought about joining the seminary and becoming a priest. I know he would have had a tremendous impact on thousands of lives over the years. However, when I think about how many people Frank has mentored, taught, helped and encouraged over the past five decades, I can’t help but to think that God’s plan was for him to serve in local government, where he has had an even greater impact on the lives of those he has worked with, helped and known.

Thank you Frank, for all that you have done.

Don Wagner’s Eulogy for Frank

After my interview for the job at the City of Rosemead, Frank invited me to lunch at,
naturally, Charlie Browns in Rosemead. In those days it was almost a City Hall Annex.
So during lunch he did most of the talking, At that point I figured I stood a good chance
of him hiring me. Midway through the conversation he asked me for a three by five
card. Of course I didn’t have one, but that was the last time I was without a three by five
card with a pen!

Just to give a sample of his management style, he suggested that I rearrange the desk
in my office inorder to let staff know there was a new guy on board. Also he wanted me
to know where all the councilmembers and commissioners lived. Maybe the map is still
on the backdoor of the closet in that office, but Frank always kept on top of
communicating with members of the City Council.

Frank was very supportive of staff, not only at work but in their private lives. Karen has
referenced the fishing trips, which were truly morale builders and very enjoyable. He
also made sure I gave my two oldest sons a tackle box and fishing pole…he was also
along for their first time at a lake.

I have lost count of the number of City Managers Frank has trained and mentored. The
benefit of working for Frank was that he was always just a phone call away when
advice was needed. It’s important to remember that he was both a friend and a mentor
to all of us. He also had a wide network of friends on City councils, State Assembly,
State Senate as well as elected officials at the federal level. I think silicone valley had
to upgrade their cell phone software so that they could accommodate Frank’s constant
need to increase the number of contacts on his phone.

While City Manager of Rosemead he provided staff with the opportunity to develop and
recommend new programs that would benefit the residents. I do not believe he was a
micro-manager at all. Senior housing, community centers and Public safety come to
mind. Rosemead still has the best streets in San Gabriel Valley.

After he retired from City Government, nothing changed. He always knew what was
happening in local and state politics and government. Frank’s network of people in all
levels of government and for that matter the private sector expanded even more.
He was a good friend and mentor who always encouraged me to try harder, learn more
and to keep up with current events. On a personal note, he got me smoking better
cigars, got me into actively pursuing my passion for motorsports and greatly improved
my fishing skills. I will miss him greatly.

Let me leave you with this….he always said, in reference to working in local
government, “Don’t do anything you can’t explain at a public meeting.”