Collins, who died of bile duct cancer, served as the parish’s first economic development director from May 1995 until October 2000.
He later served as an independent contractor with the City of Morgan City for approximately a year, pursuing economic activities under the administration of then-Mayor Tim Tregle. Tregle said Collins, along with others, was instrumental in securing Oceaneering International’s current site south of the Burlington-Northern Santa Fe Railway.
“That was a real big issue,” Tregle said today. “They were seriously contemplating moving that facility to Houston.”
Instead, with the help of many, including Collins, the company’s concerns were relieved.
Specifically, Tregle noted concerns about an access point to the facility — in addition to the lone access point across the railroad track — were solved with a small bridge on Youngs Road.
Collins also arranged meetings between city leaders, Oceaneering officials and the state as they worked to keep the facility here.
“He knew a lot of the people,” Tregle said. “He was very easy to communicate with.”
In addition to Oceaneering, Tregle said Collins “helped lay the groundwork” for other oil field-related businesses to come to the city along Railroad Avenue.
Longtime friend Glen Fuselier remembered Collins for the travels Fuselier and his wife as well as Collins and his wife Marion and others took to parts of the southeast. He also recalled Collins’ ownership of a coffee shop and bookstore, Cover to Cover, on Front Street in Morgan City.
Fuselier, who has known Collins for about 15 years, said his friend was “a great amateur historian,” too.
Collins, a Houma native and Morgan City resident, also had experience as an expert witness on regional planning and organization for the U.S. Senate, was a charter appointee for the Terrebonne Economic Development Commission and chairman of Expo de San Antonio Mayor’s Committee for marketing to Mexico.
His other employment included time as regional manager of the Alamo Area Council of Government, executive director of the Terrebonne Association of Retarded Citizens, CEO of Prescription Management Corp., president of Management Assistance Corp. and vice president of Family Medical Care Centers, which, according to his resume from the 1990s, was the second largest chain of emergency clinics in the U.S. at the time.
“He was just one heck of a fella, very astute, very politically oriented,” Fuselier said.
Collins also spent a year at the John Folse Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux and also was a graduate of St. Mary University in San Antonio.
Visitation will be held from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at Twin City Funeral Home in Morgan City as well as on Friday at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Morgan City from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11 a.m. Friday.
Collins will be buried in the Morgan City Cemetery.
See Page 12 for Collins’ full obituary.