Tony Collins has built his career on successfully guiding major civic projects and communication efforts into port. In his latest effort, Collins played a key role in setting the course for Greenlight Pinellas, a comprehensive transportation plan for Pinellas County Florida’s most densely populated county. As senior vice president of the Florida public relations firm Tucker/Hall, Collins helped create a foundation of political, business and civic support for the transportation effort. Collins’ work with Tucker/Hall also included steering clients through turbulent crisis management storms and crafting strategic communication paths for new businesses. During previous stints with the cities of Newark, N.J., Miami and St. Petersburg, Fla., Collins commanded the helm for a number of critical efforts. He headed St. Petersburg’s Department of Economic Development, launching several successful downtown redevelopment projects for Florida’s fourth-largest city, including construction of a new major league baseball stadium and a mixed-use urban retail center. As director of economic development, Collins recruited new businesses and designed and implemented a strategy for urban revitalization and economic development. Collins’ other public-sector experience includes working on economic development projects in Tampa, including the development of the Tampa Convention Center. Collins will tell you navigating through the challenging waters of such projects requires a vast understanding of leadership, community impact and communication strategies. At the same time, he also emphasizes establishing trust and helping the Blake Collins group gel with its clients. Whether he’s dining with a company CEO, sitting in a boardroom full of directors or standing in an auditorium before a corporation’s most important employees, Collins’ approach always involves framing issues and creating mutual understanding among clients. “It’s not about having all the answers,” Collins says. “It’s about working together to ensure we’re asking the right questions.
Stacie Blake Collins’ possesses the leadership ability and strategic thinking to make her a high-ranking fixture in any corporate boardroom, but she always chooses a path that allows her to utilize those skills to help people instead of businesses. Stacie currently serves as the director of government and community relations for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. In this role, she builds and maintains strong relationships with government, elected and community supporters for an organization that strives to protect the rights and address the needs of forced or voluntary immigrants around the world. The position represents a sort of return to her roots. From 2002-2005 Stacie led the USCRI Vermont field office, welcoming hundreds of new refugees and their families to the state. The Vermont Legislature recognized Stacie with a Joint Resolution of Appreciation for her work with the refugees. Stacie also twice earned a seat of the Mount Mansfield Union School District while in Vermont, displaying the ability to gain the trust of the electorate and the drive to represent the interest of the people. That skill set proved pivotal during her three-year tenure as head of the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture. Not only did she help bring a sense of calm and stability to the center’s clients, she launched the National Partnership for Community Training, a research-based collaborative that shared best practices for communities with limited resources for torture survivors. Collaborative work continued to be a hallmark for Stacie during her stint as the executive director of Community Tampa Bay, an organization committed to ending discrimination of all forms. Leading the nonprofit required Stacie to engender support from business chiefs, elected officials and civic leaders while crafting programs that promoted diversity and specifically educated teens on the dangers of bullying, stereotyping and hatred. At every stop on her career path, Stacie devoted time and energy to improving the lives of people, and she successfully solicited others to join in her efforts. It’s a brand of leadership that can help any business complete a mission that requires the support of a community and its most influential principals, and it’s a skill that will ably assist the clients of the Blake Collins Group.
With 35 years of experience in international and domestic bank regulation and multiple degrees in economics/marketing and banking, you may think Michael Collins has a lot of numbers dancing inside his mind. However, Michael actually has all those figures and formulas lined up in orderly fashion and ready to aid a company’s specific objectives. His background makes him so much more than a number cruncher. As a former executive vice president of the Federal Bank Reserve of Philadelphia, Michael brings a deep understanding of how financial institutions manage assets and associates. During his tenure with the Federal Reserve Bank, Michael managed a $30 million annual budget and crafted and implemented a strategic vision for the Supervision, Regulation and Credit departments. He coached and mentored a diverse team of nearly 200, including commissioned bank examiners, economists, treasury professionals, information technology personnel, attorneys and certified public accountants. Applying his financial knowledge to managerial tasks was nothing new for Michael. From his days as an undergraduate economics/marketing major at Susquehanna University to his most recent role as president and chief executive officer with TD Bank, Michael always has taken an interest in economics and business because of its impact on the lives of individuals, communities, employees, customers and shareholders. “Financial statements tell a story about the risk appetite, priorities and strategy of a firm and how they impact multiple stakeholders and inform policy initiatives,” Michael says. In addition to his financial acumen and managerial experience, Michael possesses a proven track record as a strategic thinker and innovator. He brings these perspectives to the Blake Collins Group to assist in ensuring client expectations are exceeded.
Adam Blake, Vice President of CountyCorp in Dayton, Ohio, has overseen the development and management of a $20M residential property portfolio. He has the proven ability to leverage technology and develop and deliver impactful career‐related content. Adam is a high‐performing, strategic‐thinking professional with more than twenty years’ experience in affordable housing in the non‐profit and market rate sectors. He is skilled at relationship building with clients and across organizations and teams; exceptional writing, presenting, and interpersonal communication skills. Adept at assessing needs, generating options, and implementing solutions in collaboration with clients and stakeholders. Well‐versed in all phases of project management and execution, including defining roles, assessing needed skills and qualifications, and evaluating options. Experienced at managing projects from the requirements gathering/needs identification phase through to completion.
From the bright lights of Clark County (Las Vegas), Nevada to the sandy shores of Sarasota, Jim Ley has provided strategic leadership in two of the most unique locations in the United States. In these communities, complex and always changing and adapting, it takes patience and a relentless focus on outcomes to achieve solutions that make a difference.
With a background in planning, Jim achieved executive prominence in Clark County by managing the urban services, developing the infrastructure and matriculating the legislative program in arguably the most unique community in the United States.
“When you put all of the glitz aside, Las Vegas is like every other place in the country,” Ley said. “But the challenges had to be addressed rapidly. I learned to be strategic, flexible, adaptive and focused.”
During his Clark County tenure, Jim developed and implemented a master transportation plan that led to billions in road investment, several more billions in airport improvements and one of the largest public transit startups in the United States. Jim also coordinated the upgrade of water and sewer systems, and he stood out as one of the early players in the formation of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, one of only a few regional water supply authorities in the country.
In Sarasota, Jim devised engagement schemes that brought together “thousands of interest orbits” to address complex problems such as growth management, housing and substance abuse. Jim led the development of another master transportation plan in Sarasota by diversifying funding and overseeing improvement plans that resulted in many complex, sensitive roadway improvements using techniques like roundabouts and low-impact storm water design.
“But the heart of these projects involved the surrounding neighborhoods who came together to help make our projects,” Ley said.
In all of his positions, Jim successfully grew the organizations he led, improving their performance through the application of leadership principles and a grasp of how to design an organization and a culture that works.
“If your primary focus is on making your community a better place every day, the pathway to solutions and collaboration becomes evident.”
A generalist with experience in the private and public sectors, Trisha Irons has managed projects in the areas of marketing strategy and communications, strategic planning, and market feasibility. With an MBA from MIT, Irons is able to change chaos into order with a technical mind that is also process oriented. A management consultant in private industry and not-for-profits, Irons has provided strategic planning for Boards of Directors, developed business plans, and designed feasibility studies for private industry. As a product manager for a Fortune 100 with P & L responsibility for a $30 Million budget, Irons managed large-scale projects, coalesced key stakeholders in a matric corporate environment, while exceeding all operational and financial objectives. Her passion for education and a desire to make an impact on the lives of many families are the reasons she involves herself in community development. A “team player using creativity, tenacity, and integrity”, is how Irons describes her approach to solving the complex problems facing businesses and communities today.