CUBA CITY—The Cuba City Chamber of Commerce hired a director to help with the day-to-day operations and planning of events in the city. Doug Collins of rural Cuba City was chosen to fill the new position.
Collins grew up in Janesville and moved to Vernon County after graduation where he still has relatives. He moved back to Janesville and worked for General Motors for three years.
“I knew that wasn’t for me,” Collins said. “I wasn’t a factory guy. My dad was a 35-year retiree from General Motors. I tried to follow Dad’s footsteps. I made good money, but it wasn’t for me.”
From there Collins moved to La Crosse, was unemployed and was approached about the Trade Readjustment Act of 1976 where the government offered to pay for his schooling. He received his associate’s degree in auto mechanics.
During high school he had worked part time for a radio station. In La Crosse he took a part time job at a radio station while in school.
“That led me to my full radio career,” Collins said. “I started working in radio when I was 15 and that led into 30-plus years of radio fun.”
After La Crosse he moved to Sioux City, Iowa, to work and eventually relocated to Dickeyville to work in Dubuque, Iowa. Eventually, he and his wife at the time bought a restaurant at Apple Canyon Lake near Galena, Ill., which was a seasonal venture, allowing him to continue to work part time in radio.
Several years later, they sold the business and he went back to radio full time.
“I found out that I was doing a lot of different things,” Collins said. “I realized I had a lot of experience in a lot of different fields, so I thought why not start my own company. Doug Collins Productions was born.”
He started out doing voice over work as well as emcee work, which he continues to do. He also sells advertising, does marketing for local events and helps with digital marketing for companies and organizations.
Through his various connections he has worked with a number of chambers of commerce, giving him a good idea of how they operate.
“The whole idea of a chamber is to protect the assets of the business community, and that being helping those businesses thrive and survive,” Collins said.
He plans to help reactivate the membership and create more involvement of the core group.
“We need the village to grow,” Collins said. “The business owners and residents need to work together. We have a great Main Street for the size of the community.”
Collins said he’s surprised at the number of businesses he’s found that people don't know are available in Cuba City. He wants to help promote all businesses in the community, not just the well-known ones.
Collins said the Hometown Festival has been a family favorite for years, although he has seen that there has been a lack of growth of that event in the last few years.
“It’s slowed its pace, but it’s still a great event,” Collins said. “I’d like to get it back to where it’s exciting and people look forward to it.”
Collins plans to work on networking with local businesses to help build communication. He also will take over a lot of the chamber’s responsibilities to allow the busy business owners more time to run their businesses. He also hopes to add a few small events to bring more people to the community.
“Nobody likes change,” Collins said. “I’ll try to take small steps to build on things and grow the community.”
He also hopes to see improvements in the service groups getting involved, President’s Park improvements and adding fundraising ideas. He plans to start a city newsletter for chamber members to improve communication. He will also create and maintain Facebook and Twitter pages for the chamber.
Collins has lived just outside of Cuba City for the last six years. He has two children, Christian, 20, and Veronica, 15.