Anna Mayor Nate Pike hoping for one more term

By Joshua Baethge
For the Anna-Melissa Tribune
Nate Pike

This is the first in a series of articles profiling candidates for the upcoming May 1 elections.

Anna Mayor Nate Pike has a simple vision for the city: to become the premier city in Collin County. When he was first elected in a November 2017 special election, he set out to recreate the culture of the city staff that he believed was needed as Anna transitioned from a small rural town to a booming city in the nation’s fourth-largest metropolitan area.

While many longtime residents were not keen on seeing their hometown transform into an urban hub, Pike likes to think of himself as a forward thinker.  With families continuing to move north from Dallas and US 75 expanded to accommodate more traffic, growth was an inevitability.  He says the key for Anna is managing that growth property.

“We had to recreate the culture of city staff and the message we were putting out there to let people know that we’re open for business,” he says. “We want to embrace that growth and do it with planned managed growth.  We don’t just want to throw things in the community to grow but do it in a planned, managed way.”

According to Pike, one of the keys to doing that was helping recruit City Manager Jim Proce who had experience with other cities experiencing similar compounding growth.  Since he came to Anna, nearly the entire city staff has turned over. Many of those new staff members also came from cities where managing unprecedented growth was the singular challenge.

Between 2018 and 2020, Anna issued more than 2300 single-family home permits.  To put that in perspective, the city only issued 2300 permits in the previous eight years between 2010 and 2018. Anna issued 833 permits last year and is on pace to top 1000 in 2021.

With so many people coming to town, Pike believes it is time to diversify Anna’s housing options.  Gone are the days when the city had to incentivize builders to come there.  Now he believes it is in the position where city leaders can dictate what types of homes are built.  This likely means higher quality homes sold at higher price points.

The population growth has put Anna right at the point where it will begin attracting a much larger number of commercial businesses. Pike says residents are constantly asking about getting entertainment venues, restaurants and retailers.  He says that as the city reaches 20,000 to 25,000 residents in the next few years, more companies will begin seriously considering doing business in Anna.

Pike believes that the city will be able to fill its 85-acres business park within the next three years. In fact, he says that some major announcements may be coming soon thanks to the work of the Economic Development Corporation.  Plans are also in the works to bring a Collin College campus to Anna.

“I’ve always been very big on economic development,” he says. “We’re going to add 1000 jobs to Anna in the next three years. Good quality, good paying jobs.”

According to him, balancing commercial growth with residential growth is the key to keeping city taxes low. Since fiscal year 2018, sales tax revenue is up 51 percent.  However, the sales tax rate has not increased, a fact Pike is especially proud of.

One thing Pike likes to point out is that Anna is the final blank canvas in Colling County. He sees his role as building regional relationships and following the servant leadership model. Among the relationships he believes have improved the most is the one between the city and Anna ISD. According to him, the two entities must continue to be on the same page in order to manage future growth properly.

Pike works as a financial advisor and senior vice president of Wells Fargo Advisors, splitting much of his time between Sherman and McKinney.  He and his wife Lacey grew up in Denison. Today they have a 12-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter. In 2012 the family decided to move to Anna. 

At the time Pike was active in several organizations in Grayson County and McKinney, but not Anna. Four years later he says he felt a calling to raise their children in the city. After praying about it, he says he realized he needed to get involved in the community.  

He filled out a board and commissions application at City Hall and was appointed the Economic Development Corporation/Community Development Corporation board. Within three months the City Council unanimously chose him to lead the board after the previous president resigned.  Before long, several council members suggested he run for mayor.  Pike thought they were crazy.

Despite this, he won the 2017 special election and was re-elected to a full term in May 2018.

“I truly believe in giving back.  It’s always been something near and dear to my heart to give back to people,” he says. “I just never imagined I would do it in government, but it’s been a great experience. I’ve truly learned a lot.”

While he still enjoys the job, Pike says he believes that effective leaders need to know when it’s time to pass the torch.  That’s why he vows to only serve one more three-year term if re-elected. 

Challenging Pike in the mayoral race is Anna resident Glen Johnson.  Early voting begins on April 19.  Election day is May 1.