Longtime community advocate Gene Collins, who has been instrumental in attracting many major developers to Odessa over the years, was recognized by the Odessa Development Corporation during its meeting Thursday.
Collins recently announced that he was stepping down from his ODC board seat due to health issues.
ODC Board President Tim Edgmon, who presented Collins a large plague in recognition of his contributions, noted that Collins has been a champion not only for attracting developers to Odessa, but also challenging the ODC and city to improve diversity efforts.
“You were very instrumental in the Nacero Project,” said Edgmon, referring to a recently announced plan by a Houston-based gas manufacturing company that intends to construct a $6.5-$7 billion natural gas processing and production facility in Penwell.
Collins thanked his peers on the board and encouraged them to continue working together even if they don’t always agree.
“Sometimes you have to butt heads, but butt heads in brotherhood,” said Collins, an ordained minister and local branch president of the Odessa NAACP.
“I thank you all for the opportunity to serve (on the ODC). I hope that I was able to a make a contribution.”
Collins, a self-avowed “environmentalist,” was active in development projects even before joining the ODC.
Some of those projects have included the development of the Gertrude Bruce Historical Cultural Center, Main Street Odessa, the Frederick Douglass Park, the West Texas HIV-AIDs Consortium and the creation of the Odessa Revolving Loan program.
In other ODC updates, Wesley Burnett, director of economic development for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, told the board that the Nacero project is quickly moving forward.
Nacero officials have informed him that they are close to having the project’s financing completed and are close to selecting a project developer.