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Collins Brings Experience, Commitment to AHCA Presidency

Kent Collins knows a thing or two about building things – structures, organizations, and relationships – experience he’ll draw from repeatedly during the next two years to the benefit of the AHCA.

At the AHCA Annual Meeting May 16, current President Lee Cooke will hand over the president’s gavel to Collins, who will begin guiding the AHCA through some foundational challenges, not the least of which is helping the Austin History Center realize the dream of expanding it campus into the neighboring John Henry Faulk Central Library building. While the AHCA is positioned as the primary support organization for the AHC, its role as a partner in the campus expansion project is not yet formal, and the ability of the AHCA to mount a citywide capital campaign to raise millions of dollars for the expansion is untested. The AHCA’s success in those two areas will depend heavily on Collins’ ability to steer the association through choppy waters.

Fortunately for the AHCA, Collins comes to the presidency backed by a solid 40-year career in architecture, construction management, real estate development, and historic preservation efforts. While he is currently the Owner/Principal of Centro Development, LLC; an Austin-based real estate development company that specializes in urban infill, mixed-use properties; Collins started his career as project manager for the City of Hillsboro’s Main Street Project, a public-private downtown revitalization project of the Texas Historical Commission and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In that capacity, Collins’ responsibilities included managing the organization, media, special events, and promotions, as well as design of a 16-block area of more than 200 historic commercial buildings. In the mid-1990s, Collins managed Dallas City Center, a 22-block downtown revitalization effort for the Central Dallas Association and the City of Dallas. Prior to founding Centro Development in 2002, Collins served as Senior Vice President for Development at Post Properties, Inc., where he led development of two multi-phase public-private mixed-use projects in Austin and Houston.

The challenges presented by the AHC expansion project, though formidable, seem to be within Collins’ comfort zone and within the vision he brings to his new role as AHCA president.

“I'm honored to follow in a long line of committed presidents of the AHCA, most recently Charles Betts and Lee Cooke, to continue to build an organization to support and expand the vision for the Austin History Center,” said Collins. “That vision includes building on the citizens of Austin's commitment of bond monies to rehabilitate the Faulk Library building and the current AHC, to raise private funds to mount even more exhibits and specialized collections that highlight Austin's history, which is the foundation for the city’s future.”

Collins sees Austin’s rise in the music, technology, and film industries, as well as citizens’ environmental awareness as historical pillars on which the city’s future is being built.

In addition to his work with AHCA, Collins has taken a leadership role as a current or past board member of many organizations focused on preservation, development and urban revitalization. He served as chairman of the Downtown Austin Alliance, UT School of Architecture Advisory Council, Heritage Society of Austin, (now Preservation Austin), and Preservation Dallas. Other board positions have included the Midtown Management District in Houston, The Real Estate Council of Austin, ULI Austin and the City of Austin’s Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee.

Collins’ wife, Reenie, is an Austin native and for the past 10 years has been executive director of HAAM, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. Reenie is also active on the Seton Development Board, Fayette Community Foundation, and the Junior Helping Hand Home. They have three children, Claire, Winston, and Tye.

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