Jon Franko Joins Gateway to the Future posted 10/20/16

By Erin Willmann

Jon is a founding partner of Gorilla 76. Jon was named to the 2010 St. Louis Business Journal’s “30 Under 30” class and was named as one of St. Louis’ “Top Young Entrepreneurs” by the Small Business Monthly. He’s a passionate Missouri Tiger and loves to spend his spare time hunting ducks and fishing for fish. Jon is a founding board member of Launch St. Louis, Friends of Clifton Park and is a former board member for Brightside St. Louis. He’s a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

What’s the most exciting thing to happen to STL in the past year?

There’s all the growth that’s happening in the Central West End with the CIC and the loads of new construction. Ikea and Whole Foods. We dumped the Rams (finally). Ken Bone made the campaign bearable for a few minutes. Uber is alive and well… But I’m going to say LCD Soundsystem headlining LouFest. That’s the highlight of 2016.

What do you look for in young leaders you’d hire/work with in your organization?

Attention to detail in applications and resumes. Old-school values like firm handshakes and follow-up thank you notes. A desire to never stop learning.

What’s your secret to productivity?

I try to only work while I’m at work and between the hours of “9-5”. It allows me to enjoy my time outside of work, and it forces me to be more productive during the day.

What’s your most memorable experience as a leader in the community?

Working to build Gorilla 76 with business partner (and Launch alum) Joe Sullivan. It’s cool to think that we’re helping folks start their careers. It’s nerve-racking at times, as there’s a lot of pressure to succeed the bigger and bigger you get. But it’s totally worth it. I’m immensely proud of each and every one of our employees. It’s quite the honor to get to help lead such a group.

Pick 3 people, living or deceased, to have a meal with. Who are they, and where in St. Louis would you take them?

Honest Abe Lincoln, both my grandfathers and anyone out there with a line on a good duck hunting spot (sorry – I picked four). We’d go to Kreis’ for the best prime rib in town. 

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