Why I Love Hoover: Mayor Frank Brocato
“The citizens have a lot of pride in the city”
Frank Brocato, Hoover’s incoming mayor, grew up on the south side of Birmingham, across the street from St. Elias Church around Gable Square. He attended St. Paul’s grammar school and graduated from John Carroll High School. In 1974, he received my paramedic certification from UAB, graduated from Jefferson State Community College in 1978 with a degree in Fire Science and in 1982 from Birmingham-Southern College with a degree in psychology and sociology.
Brocato and his wife, Frances, were childhood sweethearts and have been married 45 years. They have three married children and nine grandchildren. They raised their children in Hoover, and today, two of their children and six of their grandchildren live in Ross Bridge. The couple’s middle son and his wife and three children live in Fairhope. Frank and Frances live in James Hill in Ross Bridge. Frank has served on a number of local and state boards, and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for The Literacy Council and the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama.
What do you love about Hoover?
The quality of life is outstanding! The citizens have a lot of pride in the city. We have outstanding public services; our schools are the best. We have great recreational assets such as Veterans Park, Aldridge Gardens, Moss Rock Preserve and the Cahaba River. We also are the sixth largest city in Alabama with great opportunities ahead and our citizens are keyed in and ready to continue our upward trend.
What are your goals as Hoover’s new mayor?
It’s no secret that I believe the schools are one of the cornerstones of our city. I want to work closely with Dr. (Kathy) Murphy and the school board to help them keep our school system ahead in every category. One other very important issue facing Hoover is Master Planning. We want to look at the growth in our future and not stifle it but mange the way it fits into our neighborhoods and commercial areas. Finally, I believe it’s very important to diversify our economy. We are a major retail engine and certainly we will continue to encourage retail. However, I believe we should recruit more STEM companies to our area, and I believe we have everything those types of companies are looking for.
What motivated you to run for mayor?
I came to Hoover in 1973 to join the Hoover Volunteer Fire Department. Among the members of the department at that time was the current mayor and two future mayors. I spent the next 42 years serving my community and I am honored. Most of my adult life I’ve known I wanted to run for mayor. I’ve always loved being an ambassador for our city. That is a major role along with establishing a vision for the city. I am the fourth mayor whose roots started in Hoover Fire Department.
How do you think your years of service with the Hoover Fire Department prepared you for this new role?
I’ve often said if you are a firefighter or police officer that rose through the ranks to a command position, you acquired the skills to lead the city. Serving in public safety gives you a unique opportunity to interact with every single aspect of the city under the best and worst circumstances. Every day of your career you are put into a situation where you have to make difficult and complex decisions that literally affect the lives of our citizens. I would not trade that experience for any other.
What are your thoughts on the new sports facility under construction next to the Hoover Met? How will the facility impact the city and its residents?
The new facility is going to be a wonderful asset! We definitely needed the additional fields for our current residents and this facility should ease some of the time constraints many coaches have been faced with. It will also continue to make Hoover a regional attraction with opportunities to host a variety of events that will benefit our city. I’m excited about it and will work hard to make it a huge success.
In what other projects or aspects of city government are you looking forward to being involved?
I’ve already had several talks with staff about sidewalk projects, bike trails and other large park initiatives. As part of the master plan, I’d like to see us develop a “downtown” Hoover. We can do that. It’s just never been on our radar screen.
What are your interests and hobbies?
My hobbies include fishing, and I love fly-fishing out west. I have been an avid runner for about 40 years.
What is the last book you read?
Killing Reagan by Bill O’Reilly
What well-known people do you consider to be great leaders?
Pat Sullivan made an impression on me when we were at John Carroll. He was a leader on the field and in the school and very humble. I’ve always admired him for that. Fire Chief Tom Bradley led not only the Hoover Fire Department but the city of Hoover. He taught me more than I could ever repay him for. George W. Bush reminds me of a great fire chief who, when faced with a difficult emergency, never got rattled, calmly handled the job and led with dignity.
Do you enjoy traveling? If so, what have been your favorite places to visit, and why?
We have been blessed with the ability to travel. I love going out west to fly-fish. New York is a favorite because of the Yankees, Broadway, Central Park and the subway! Finally, Italy is where our families came from. It was incredible to go there twice and enjoy the history, culture, landscape and food!