It was about 10 or 12 years ago and I was attending a breakfast event in Flower Mound, probably one of the Leads Breakfasts of the Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce. A clean-cut, smartly tailored man walked in and looked a bit uneasy as he made his way to the back of the crowded room and poured himself a cup of coffee from one of the piping hot urns.
He appeared to be new to the assembled group, but soon became engaged in several conversations as he pressed the flesh with most of the regular members. I remember thinking that he had a very pleasant demeanor and seemed to be genuinely interested in learning about the various people and their occupations.
Of course, there’s nothing unusual about that, inasmuch as it was a business networking opportunity. Yet, after introducing myself as a writer for a local newspaper, I noticed that he was asking many questions about me, while saying little about his reasons for being there. In fact, aside from getting his name, I didn’t remember what type of work he did. I know I was left with an impression of a man who handled himself professionally, while exhibiting a refreshing image of modesty.
Soon thereafter, having run into him numerous times, I discovered that he is a financial advisor, working for Edward Jones. I also learned that, due to his natural charm and easygoing personality, he was making friends rapidly and becoming well-known for his willingness to get involved in a multitude of volunteer positions that help to add value to our community. In fact, after several weeks of seeing him at every gathering I attended, I dubbed him “Mr. Ubiquitous.”
If you don’t already know that I’m referring to Bill Collins, it’s very likely that you haven’t been very engaged in local business and social networking groups. He’s undoubtedly one of the nicest guys you’re ever likely to meet. Flower Mound residents for 19 years, Bill, and his lovely wife Annette, have two grown sons and five grandchildren, all of whom live nearby. “I was here before the shopping centers and Tom Thumb. I remember during the first couple of months, we would drive along 2499 looking for this little green sign that indicated where we could turn left to find our neighborhood,” he said.
Securing sound financial advice is a wise move for everyone, but especially if you’re planning to raise a family and save for your children’s education. “My job is to give direction and guidance to help people make decisions that are in their best interests. I know how to work with people, so I suppose my strength as an advisor is in letting people know that, although I don’t have all the answers, my job is to use the resources I have through Edward Jones to obtain the answers that will help them decide what their needs are,” Mr. Collins said.
He joined the FM Chamber of Commerce and sometime later served in the position of Chairman. “I recognized how important the Chamber is to the business growth in the area, so it was a no-brainer to join,” he said with a smile. “I did it for a few reasons; to meet people, build relationships and look for opportunities, in that order,” he added. Bill said there are many advantages that come from knowing people, not the least of which is raising funds for worthwhile charities and using your influence to spread the word about important causes.
As for the way the town has changed since he arrived, Bill said he’s very comfortable with the growth. “I really like the group of people we have running the town today. I think the Mayor and Town Council are doing an outstanding job of planning and managing the growth. Also, I think they made an excellent choice when they hired Jimmy Stathatos as our Town Manager.” Bill and I reminisced a bit about the many years of political conflict in our town and we both agreed that it was unprecedented for the mayor and council members to run unopposed this year. “After so many years of controversy, I think the politics are starting to settle down,” he said wistfully.
Because he has such a well-known and respected name in the area, I asked if he has ever considered running for office. “Actually, I have thought about it, but, given the rancor and bitterness that usually accompanies these campaigns I think it would be so out of character for me that I’d rather not deal with it. Besides, I think, in my own way, I can be just as much an influence for the improvement of the community by staying out of the political arena,” he said.
I agree with Bill, although it’s sad that so many good people are loath to run for office because of the vicious attacks that often distort the real issues that voters need the candidates to address. However, I’m glad there are still enough people willing to take the abuse of a political campaign in order to make a positive contribution to the body-politic in their orbit. In the meantime, Bill Collins will continue to be the quintessential nice guy that anyone would be thrilled to have as a neighbor.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.