Centerville hires longtime county official as new development director

Centerville’s new development director will be someone who served in the same role for Montgomery County for more than two decades.

Erik Collins, who starts with Centerville in January, since 1999 has led the day-to-day functions of building regulations, community development, planning and economic development as the county’s director of Community and Economic Development.

Collins, in his position with Centerville, will be paid an annual salary of $134,348.

His predecessor, Michael Norton-Smith, who was hired in 2019, left the position Oct. 21 to become city manager of Madeira, a Cincinnati suburb. Filling in as interim economic development administrator since then has been Joey O’Brien, Centerville’s assistant city planner.

Collins made a career of “exceptional service, developing millions of square feet of manufacturing, e-commerce, retail and service space and crafting an internationally-recognized business retention programs with proven success,” the city said in a release.

“Bringing Erik Collins to the Centerville staff is a huge victory, not only for his deep roots in economic development, but also because his values align with the city,” City Manager Wayne Davis said in a statement. “He is focused on making communities stronger by supporting business owners and incentivizing growth.”

Collins, who resides in neighboring Washington Twp., helped to develop the county’s BusinessFirst! retention and expansion program, which since 2001 has been implemented in 30 communities and counts more than 10,000 local companies visited and approximately 100 regional resource partners. The project to revitalize Uptown in Centerville, for example, was launched as the result of a BusinessFirst! business walk, a tool to create conversations between business owners and local leaders, city officials said.

ExploreCornerstone Park in Centerville to be open longer hours

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

“Not only is the Centerville community my home, I have worked closely with the Centerville team for several years,” said Collins. “I have seen firsthand the hard work leading to powerful change in key areas like Uptown and Cornerstone. I look forward to joining the team and continuing to build on that momentum.”

Collins also serves in several board and leadership roles, including the Entrepreneurs’ Center (Board of Directors), Greater Dayton Foreign Trade Zone (chair, Board of Directors) former Board Member I-70/75 Development Association (past president), the Dayton/Montgomery County Port Authority and the Ohio Economic Development Association (past board member).

Collins also sits on the Board of Directors for the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute and is an instructor for the International Economic Development Council. Additionally, his service as a board member with the City of Centerville’s Community Improvement Corporation has been “an excellent introduction” to Centerville businesses and key players, as well as the incentives available to them, the city said in a release.

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