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National Council on Disability Selects California's Mike Collins as its Executive Director

Monday, April 30, 2007

April 30, 2007

WASHINGTON—The National Council on Disability (NCD) today announced that Michael C. Collins of Sacramento, California, would become NCD’s new executive director on June 18.

NCD is an independent federal agency making recommendations to the President and Congress to enhance the quality of life for all Americans with disabilities and their families. It is comprised of 15 members who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

In making the announcement, NCD chairperson John R. Vaughn commented, “NCD continues to reach out to local communities to identify and promote best practices, policies, and programs that help people with disabilities lead independent and self sufficient lives and enjoy full inclusion in all aspects of their community. Mike shares this approach, and NCD believes we can leverage his excellent reputation and existing relationships with the many diverse stakeholders that are involved with disability issues at both the local and the national level.”

“Mr. Collins was selected after an exhaustive national search, but quickly rose to the top of the list as the most qualified candidate with business experience, leadership in the disability advocacy arena, and personal experience with disability.”

Mr. Collins was the first executive director of the California State Independent Living Council, which was created in 1997 and comes to NCD from this position. He is a long-time disability advocate who is very familiar with disability and long-term care-related programs and services, the wide variety of disability civil rights laws, and vocational rehabilitation practices and regulations at the federal and state levels. Mr. Collins is also very familiar with the concerns and characteristics of people with all types of disabilities, as a peer, consultant, trainer, and through administration of a statewide agency addressing their needs on a daily basis.

Mr. Collins was a key participant in California’s efforts to implement changes in state policies resulting from the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision that has increased the demand for community-based services. He is an expert in emergency preparedness and homeland security for people with disabilities—active at local, state, and national levels.

Mr. Collins is also a highly rated trainer, speaker and consultant on the Rehabilitation Act, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related state and national civil rights laws for people with disabilities. He provided initial input during development of ADA regulations, ADA Architectural Guidelines, and the recent Workforce Investment Act and Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act. He is a member of the team that developed Washington State’s barrier-free building codes. He is also an experienced public speaker and professional writer, with over 250 presentations and 30 published articles.

Prior to a skiing accident in 1988 when Mike received a spinal cord injury, he had a successful 23-year career with the Burlington Northern Railroad, advancing to the position of assistant superintendent. Prior to joining the California State Independent Living Council, Mr. Collins had served as regional terminals manager for Washington State Ferries; assistant director in the Washington State Department of Licensing; and as an independent business owner serving as a consultant on cost effective implementation of the ADA and numerous other disability related issues.

Mr. Collins is a graduate of the University of Washington.

An official website of the National Council on Disability