My true passion is wilderness travel, protection and adventure travel. My experience began with my parents taking me ﬁshing in Wisconsin and on summer vacations to Sun Valley, Idaho ﬁshing, hiking and horse back riding. Then on to summer camp at age 9 in Minong, Wisconsin (near Hayward) where I fell in love with camping out and canoeing (on the Flambeau, St. Croix, Namakagon and Brule Rivers and in the Boundary Waters Canoe area and Quetico Provincial Park) as well. Then in college I began to backpack: ﬁrst on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park then on to wilderness areas Linville Gorge in NC and The Dolly Sods Wilderness in WV before heading west and hiking, kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, snow camping, back country skiing/camping and ice climbing in virtually every western state, Alaska, Hawaii, Patagonia (Chile), and Thailand.
In 1976 I joined the Sierra Club to help protect the wild lands that I loved becoming a life member with my wife in 1989. In 1996 I joined the Sierra Club’s National Advisory Committee (NAC) and then the Sierra Club Foundation Board in 1998 where I served four three year terms. On my second attempt in 2013, I won a seat on the Sierra Club National Board of Directors. I have done a myriad of volunteer activities with the Club beyond my services on the two boards. I have testiﬁed before Congress and the EPA, lobbied at the White House and with Senators and Congresspeople and assisted in raising millions of dollars for the Club as well as being a major donor myself along with my wife since 1979, Debbie. We helped found the coal campaign in the late ’90’s and have been vocal advocates for higher fuel economy standards (CAFE) and green energy solutions.
I grew up in Winnetka, Illinois. After attending New Trier High School East I earned a BA at George Washington University majoring in English/American Literature. After that I earned an MBA from the University of Chicago concentrating in Finance and Accounting and minoring in marketing achieving the Dean’s List every quarter. I entered the family automobile business in 1976 founded by my father, the legendary Zollie Frank, (Z. Frank) in 1936. I worked in the car dealership business from 1976 until 2009 becoming a Chevrolet dealer in 1982 at age 29 and subsequently owning and operating Subaru, Hyundai, Oldsmobile, Mazda, VW, and Kia franchises. I also owned and operated Wheelco, Inc., an auto leasing company, from 1980 (aged 27) to 1998 and also served on the Board of Frank Consolidated Enterprises and Wheels, Inc. from 1976 until 1998.
In addition, I entered the commercial real estate business in the early 1990’s and am still active in this endeavor. These companies have owned and managed about 500,000 square feet of property and also invest in various other real estate funds.
In other not for proﬁt work, I joined the Jewish Community Center of Chicago local and then Citywide Board of Directors in 1976 where I have served as a Vice President for many, many years. In addition, I joined the YMCA Metro Board of directors in the early 1990’s and am still active on this Board today. Debbie and I were Chairs of the Parent Advisory Committee at Lewis and Clark College when our youngest daughter was there and Co Chaired the Student Activities Committee of the Parent Advisory Board at Kenyon College for two years while our son attended school there. I was also Vice President of the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce in the late 80’s. And I was the founder and ﬁrst President of the Chicagoland Subaru Dealers Association back in 1982 at age 30.
I am also active with many political campaigns and served on the Environmental Advisory Committee for the Honorable Congressman Brad Schneider of the Illinois 10th Congressional District.