Family: Married to Gale, and they have seven children: Stephen, 35, Jessica, 32, Cliff, 31, Mary and Amanda - twins, 30, Chance, 21, Katie, 18.
Occupation: Retired from TubeTec, a company he co-owned that manufactured stainless steel pipe fittings. “We were the second largest domestic producer in the country of stainless steel pipe fittings and were we based in Central Florida in Sanford, between Orlando and Daytona.”
Steve Frana has a piece of advice for those who moved to this area for the reasons he did: The great quality of life.
“To all the new people coming here, I say, Leave the county alone and don’t try to change it. You can’t improve on people from here. That’s why I came here. They are perfect,” he says. “My message is to those who come here like I did for quality of life: Leave it alone. Don’t try to change it.”
Frana grew up in New Jersey. His father, Frank, moved the family to Central Florida and started a company in the early 1970s.
“My dad invented a machine that made spiral pipe, and he started the business in his 40s. He poured everything he had into it,” Frana says.
“The business started in 1972, and I started working there in 1973. My brothers joined in 1982, and it grew from there.”
Along the way, Frana and one of his brothers bought out his younger brother and their father. Then in 2001, Frana and his brother sold the company.
Because of customers like Eastman Chemical, Bristol Metals and Davis Pipe in the Tri-Cities, Frana got to see a lot of East Tennessee, and this is where he and his wife decided they wanted to live. They moved here in 2002.
“We knew absolutely no one in Tennessee, but I knew I wanted to live in East Tennessee. My wife did research on East Tennessee as to where the best schools were, and Alcoa and Maryville kept popping up. That’s how we ended up in Blount County,” he says. “If you have good schools, everything else falls in place.”
Frana is treasurer of the Kiwanis Club of Maryville and says he enjoys volunteering with Kiwanis Club members. “They’re very positive -- Get it done, no nonsense leaders. It’s a good group to be involved in. They do a lot of stuff without having to have recognition. They don’t do it to say, ‘Look at what I’m doing.’”
Here is Steve Frana:
Who are you most like, your mother or your father and why?
“My father, who was a very ‘black and white’ kind of guy. There was no ‘gray’ to him.”
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
“‘I love it when a plan comes together,’ Hannibal Smith from ‘The A-Team.”
What are you guilty of?
“Lack of patience. I’ll give everybody a chance, but I could probably have more patience.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“An 1843 Colt Navy cap and ball pistol. I’m a gun collector. I like shooting, but I’m not a hunter. I like history, and I’ve always been interested in guns.”
What are you reading currently?
‘“Liberty and Tyranny,’ by Mark Levin. I’m a very political guy. What I like about this book is he is explaining things I already know, but reading his thoughts helps me when I try to teach my children. The book helps me be able to express these views and helps me be a better debater.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“Slipping in a puddle of water in a grocery store and taking down an entire display rack of donuts and pastries. I was in my late 30s and had all seven of my children with me. I hit that water, my feet went over my head, and I knew coming down it was going to hurt, so I grabbed a hold of a rack. Instead of breaking my fall, I took the whole rack down and all the racks going all the way down the aisle fell, too.”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“I don’t have one. I’ve pretty much done everything I ever wanted to do and am very content with my current status. I’ve worked hard all my life, and if there was something I wanted to do, I’d plan and save up. I’m still frugal. If something costs a fortune, that takes away from the enjoyment.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Happy. I don’t dwell on negatives. If there is something I don’t like, I try to fix it and if I can’t I just make the best of it.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“Controlling my weight.”
What is your passion?
“Having fun with family and friends.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“Einstein. I would like to know how he thinks. Maybe I could learn different ways to approach a problem because he was such a smart person.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“A Colt Python with a 6-inch barrel, a bright stainless steel finish, a .375-Magnum. My wife gave it to me as a Christmas present.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
‘“Stay away from that girl,’ who was just about every girlfriend I ever had.”
Other than your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
“My great-uncle Pete. He grew up during the Great Depression and always had a unique way of evaluating situations. Maybe this is where I get my frugalness from.”
Do you Myspace, Facebook or Twitter?
“Facebook. When I first got on, it was because somebody came to visit me, and I posted all my pictures on Facebook. Now I look at it once a week.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“Picking citrus fruit. That was a hard job. We lived in Leesburg, Fla., near Orlando, and you showed up at a packing house at 5 in the morning. This was in 1968, and I worked from sun-up to sundown and earned $5 a day. They give you a row, but you can’t pick just the easy-to-get ones. You have to get the ones all the way to top. We used long, solid wood ladders that were the length of the bus. It was hard moving a heavy ladder that big. Also, most citrus trees have thorns on them.”
What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon and why?
“Bugs Bunny. He is incredibly cool and savvy. He was in control of everything.”
What irritates you?
“I don’t like inefficiency or incompetency.”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“Becky’s Grocery and Grill. I still can’t find it without my GPS.”
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at 18?
“Make sure you recognize your opportunities and don’t squander them, which is what I did. You only get one shot and, as you get older, your opportunities become fewer. You squander them when you’re living like there are plenty more coming, but there aren’t.”