Michael Collins is vice president of public affairs for Recreational Equipment, Inc., commonly known as REI. The company is the nation’s largest consumer cooperative and a highly regarded national retailer of outdoor gear and clothing. Michael leads the co-op’s public affairs group, which includes corporate communications, community relations and giving, business operation sustainability and government affairs. During his 25-year career with the REI, the company has grown from 15 stores and approximately $250 million in sales to 122 stores, a leading outdoor website, rei.com, and sales approaching $1.8 billion.
Michael is also the president of the REI Foundation, the company’s charitable foundation dedicated to connecting youth and families to nature and the outdoors, and past president and current board member for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. The coalition brings multiple stakeholders together to educate and support the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, which identifies and funds critical outdoor and habitat projects in the State of Washington. He is a current participant on the advisory committee to the “Get Out West” initiative of the Western Governors’ Association. Michael also represents REI on the steering committee of OAK (Outdoors Alliance for Kids), a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with the common interest in expanding the number and quality of opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors. His previous board and volunteer service includes membership on Washington State’s “No Child Left Inside” grant review committee, participation in the National Forum on Children and Nature and service on the board of Girl Scouts of Western Washington.
Prior to joining REI Michael’s background included working as communications director for a consulting firm specializing in capital project fundraising for non-profit arts and social service organizations, and a five-year stint reporting and editing for a newspaper in Colorado.
He is a graduate of the University of Southern Colorado and currently lives in Seattle. His activities include bicycling, photography and travel.