Congressman Chris Collins represents New York’s 27th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. The 27th District of New York includes 105 towns spread out over eight counties in Western New York and the Finger Lakes. The residents of NY-27 elected Mr. Collins to Congress in November of 2012.
Congressman Collins serves as a member of the House Small Business, Agriculture and Science, Space and Technology committees. He is also the Chair of the Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology, which is charged with examining how the cost of healthcare is impacting American small businesses.
Chris comes to Capitol Hill with both private and public sector experience. Before serving as Erie County Executive, Chris built a career as a business owner and entrepreneur, creating and saving hundreds of American jobs.
Private Sector Businessman
Chris Collins is a successful small businessman with 36 years in the private sector, saving and creating hundreds of good paying jobs in Erie, Niagara, and Monroe counties. His current companies include:
- Bloch Industries – Kitchen cabinet and commercial casework company
- Easom Automation – Automation systems including conveyors and lifts
- Innate Immunotherapeutics – Pharmaceutical (Secondary Progressive MS)
- Mead Supply – Equipment rental company
- Oxygen Generating Systems Intl. (OGSI) – Oxygen generation machinery
- Schlyer Machine – Custom design of vivarium cage and bottle washers
- Volland Electric – Electric repair shop, crane & hoist and electrical distributor
- ZeptoMetrix Corporation – Biotechnology (infectious disease)
The key to success at all of these companies is the implementation of Lean Six Sigma to drive efficiency and quality. Continuous improvement and focus on customer service is what makes these companies successful.
The Congressman began his professional career with Westinghouse Electric in 1972, spending eleven years with the company in various positions of increasing responsibility including Manger of the Westinghouse Gear Division. When Westinghouse announced it was closing its Buffalo facility, Collins purchased the assets of the Gear Division and founded the Niagara Falls based industrial gear manufacturer Nutall Gear Corporation in 1983.
Erie County Executive
In 2007, Chris Collins was elected Erie County Executive despite a voter enrollment of almost two Democrats for every one Republican. He took over the largest county in Upstate New York with a $1.2 billion budget and 5,000+ employees that was effectively bankrupt. It had a state imposed control board, no cash surplus, runaway debt, and many roads, bridges, parks and beaches were closed. By running Erie County like a business and implementing Lean Six Sigma, Collins achieved staggering results. In 4 years, Erie County was transformed from a county in the worst financial shape of any county in New York, to one with these results:
- Reduced overall debt by over $120 million
- Created a cash surplus in excess of $100 million
- Reduced county employment by over 1,200 employees (22%) saving $72 million per year
- Reopened every bridge, road, park and beach that was closed and even rebuilt the historic toboggan runs
- One of the few large counties to fully pay state imposed pension costs without borrowing
- Got rid of the State imposed fiscal control authority in 18 months and got approval for a 4 year plan (2012-2015) that would further reduce county debt by another $100 million
Chris Collins articulated 6 core values that formed the basis for decision-making in Erie County and will carry these core values to Washington as the Congressman for the 27th Congressional District:
- Smaller Government – reform the tax code lowering rates and eliminating loopholes
- Personal Accountability – never increasing entitlement programs
- Local Decision Making – stopping Washington from telling us how to live our lives
- Fiscal Discipline – balance the federal budget in 10 years
- Government that Serves Taxpayers – not a government that serves the special interests
- Respecting Future Generations – not robbing our children and grandchildren of a bright future
Leadership in times of emergency
In February 2008, Erie County experienced a Hepatitis A emergency when an infected employee handled produce at a popular supermarket. Over the course of several days, the County vaccinated and inoculated 10,000 people to protect the public. The event was one of the largest vaccination events in the history of the United States.
One year later, tragedy struck Erie County when Continental Flight 3407 crashed in a residential neighborhood, killing all 49 passengers on board, one person on the ground in Clarence Center. Collins was one of the first public officials on the ground and immediately declared the situation a State of Emergency. Throughout the night and over the next several days, Collins worked to ensure the cooperation of Erie County departments and other government agencies in the recovery, investigation and family support efforts.
In the summer of 2009, parts of southern Erie County were devastated by flooding. Dozens of homeowners lost the contents of their basements and first floors. Collins mobilized the County’s Emergency Services and Public Works departments to assist local governments in their recovery efforts. Erie County also successfully lobbied the Federal government to provide FEMA aid dollars to both local governments and individual homeowners.
Chris lives in Clarence, NY with his wife Mary. He has 3 children and 3 grandchildren. He has a BS Mechanical Engineering from NC State and an MBA in Finance from University of Alabama – Birmingham. He is a life-long member of Boy Scouts, an Assistant Scoutmaster, an Eagle Scout, a member of the Executive Board – Greater Niagara Frontier Council (GNFC) and chairman of the GNFC National Jamboree for 2001, 2005, 2010, and 2013 as well as the World Jamboree for 2007. Chris is the recipient of the prestigious Silver Beaver Award for service to scouting and named 2005 Horizon Citizen of the Year.