At the end of 2016, Mike Collins, Market Director for Northwest Ohio Pepsi Beverage Company, retired after 39 years in the beverage business. Mike also completed his service on the Ohio Soft Drink Association board where he served as president the last two years. Reciting his resume doesn’t capture the wit and wisdom of Mike, so I will attempt to describe him and his contributions in another way.
Mike mixes sharp business acumen with folksy charm. These skills were on full display in our annual trek to Washington. Meeting with Ohio members of Congress, Mike always provided keen industry insight and real life ways in which DC issues could impact Ohio employers. He sometimes served as a “token male” on many Washington Fly-In trips with me and other female colleagues. This meant listening to lots of fashion talk, complaints about painful high heels and makeup tips in between appointments on the Hill. Through it all, Mike was a charming, funny and indulgent team player.
Leading our OSDA board, Mike skillfully guided policy discussions, involved all of these fellow members and always found the best in them—even fierce competitors from other beverage companies. As proof of Mike’s “nonpartisan” leadership, his colleagues at Coke and Dr Pepper Snapple honored him along with fellow Pepsi members. Everyone agreed that Mike’s inclusive, thoughtful leadership will be missed as he retires from our industry.
In his adopted hometown of Toledo, Mike served on the Toledo Chamber of Commerce board, Toledo Rotary and many charitable organizations. His love of Toledo permeated all discussions with legislators, mayors and anyone he met. And happily, he had an opportunity to present an industry gift to Toledo before his retirement (see separate NEOS 360 story for more details).
Of course, I will miss Mike, but I also rest easy knowing he is spending more time with his family, golfing like it’s a full-time job and chasing the ever-elusive tumbler of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. It was an honor and a privilege to work with Mike.