ABOUT AL FRENCH
I was born in 1951 in Belton, Texas, a small community in central Texas just outside of Waco. My father served our nation in the US Army for 20 years. We traveled across the United States and Europe with him. When he retired 1966 we moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where I attended high school. I graduated from Western High School and immediately enlisted into the US Marine Corps and served 3 years of active duty during the Vietnam Era (1969-1972). I was promoted quickly to the rank of Sergeant within my first 2 years in the Marine Corps. I was honorably discharged in 1972.
My lifelong goal was to be an architect and at the time one of the best architectural programs on the west coast was the College of Art and Architecture at the University of Idaho. The architectural degree is a 5-year program and during the last 2 years I also pursued a minor in Business Finance.
In 1974 I was elected by the architectural students at the University of Idaho to serve as the President of the local chapter of the Associated Student Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. I served in this capacity for 3 years. In 1975 I was elected to serve for a 2-year period as the Northwest Regional Director for the national organization by the students in the architectural programs in the states of Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii.
During my college career I received the single national Alpha Rho Chi Award as the Outstanding Architectural Student of the Year in 1977.
As a frequent visitor of the 1974 World’s Fair I immediately fell in love with the area. I knew at that time I would live in Spokane and nowhere else. When I graduated in 1977 I moved to Spokane and have pledged that I will die in Spokane, some like to think sooner than later, but this is home. There is nowhere in the world that I have been that equals the quality of life that Spokane offers.
I immediately began the process of securing my professional licenses in several states as both an architect and as a real estate agent and then real estate broker. I founded PFI Architects in 1981 and this was my first business. In 1986 I started a real estate brokerage company, a property management company, a property maintenance company, and was a partner in a construction company. I went from a 2-man office to having over 100 employees between the different companies.
As an architect and real estate developer, my most notable project in the area was the original enclosing of Northtown Mall and the eventual addition of the second level. In 1988 I sold a couple of my companies to the Sabey Corporation and became the Vice-President for the Retail Development Division. In 1990 I started the architectural firm of International Design and practiced architecture in the northwest and Western Canada. That firm was acquired in 1997 by a Nevada Corporation and I became their Senior Vice President of architecture and development consulting.
In 2000 I left Nu-Arch Developments, Inc to form Al French Architect as a sole proprietor and then converted it into a professional limited liability company in 2001. In 2004 my partner and I formed the Franklin Park Management Company and we managed medical office building property.
I started my civic activities in 1990 as a Board Member of the Holy Family Hospital Foundation to help fund needed medical equipment and expansion of the hospital.
In 1994 my neighbors in partnership with the Police Department’s NRO (Neighborhood Resource Officer) came to me and asked for my help in funding and constructing a COPS Sub-station to increase the police presence in the neighborhood. I ultimately lead that effort resulting in the construction of the Neva-wood COPS sub-station and the Nevada-Lidgerwood Neighborhood Council and community meeting room located at the northwest corner of Wellesley and Lidgerwood streets.
The members of the Nevada-Lidgerwood Neighborhood Council elected me to serve as their President in 1995 and I served in that position for the next 6 years. Under my leadership, our neighborhood council became the first to achieve a non-profit, 501(c)3 charitable organization designation from the IRS. We developed a number of programs and partnerships to benefit the neighborhood, one of which received national recognition from NUSA, Neighborhoods USA. In 1999 we placed 3rd in the nation as Neighborhood of the Year from NUSA.
In 2001, I was elected to serve on the Spokane City Council representing District 1, the northeast district of Spokane. I served on the Spokane City Council for two terms until being term-limited off at the end of December 2009. During that time, I served on a number of local, regional, and statewide committees, many of which I lead as their chairperson.
In 2010, I was elected to serve as your County Commissioner. My resume lists all of the boards and commissions that I have or am serving on to promote the interest of you and Spokane County locally, regionally, and at the state level. There is more work to be done. It has been one of my highest honors to serve you and a privilege to continue to be your County Commissioner for another two years.