J. Bernard (Tanny) Collins
It takes a committed leader and entrepreneur to make a family business thrive into its fourth generation. Bernard J. (Tanny) Collins is such a leader and entrepreneur. His grandfather, Patrick Francis, founded PF Collins in 1921 as a one-man operation; Tanny’s father, Bernard Sr., developed the business into a small customs firm.
Shortly after graduation from St. Francis Xavier University in 1971, Tanny joined the business. When Tanny took the helm in 1981, PF Collins employed twelve people and was principally an import brokerage and warehousing operation. During his tenure, Tanny transformed PF Collins into a trade solutions powerhouse with offices in St. John’s, Halifax and Calgary employing over 100 staff. In his current capacity as board chair, Tanny continues to provide expertise and advice to those he has cultivated and positioned for future success.
From the outset, Tanny aspired to expand the firm’s services, develop a specialized workforce and establish himself as an expert in Canadian trade, specializing in ocean industries. Today, offering a single-source solution for customs, freight, warehousing, marine agency, consulting and immigration services, PF Collins boasts a diverse client base ranging from the smallest retailer to the largest mega-projects.
Tanny’s trade solutions have achieved efficiencies for clients from every economic sector. He has developed technology and procedures that keep PF Collins at the forefront of industry innovation. As an advocate, he has petitioned regulatory agencies to make major improvements to the legislative environment in Atlantic Canada.
In the 1980’s, offshore oil was a new frontier for Newfoundland business. While legislators were drafting new laws to regulate international trade offshore, major oil companies were setting up shop in Newfoundland for the first time. To meet the customs challenge, Tanny mastered the emerging legislation and sponsored staff education to maximize his team’s knowledge of the new trading environment and worked tirelessly to gain the confidence of international oil companies. Tanny positioned PF Collins as a highly valued trade and logistics provider.
By emphasizing staff training and working to his business philosophy of quality service and community support, Tanny has overseen steady, measured growth. Now celebrating over ninety years in business, PF Collins is internationally recognized for its team of trade experts.
A key component of Tanny’s philosophy and values is to give back to the community. He has participated actively as a volunteer with YM/YWCA Capital Fund, Junior Achievement of Newfoundland and Labrador, Legends Swim Club, Scouts Canada, Canadian Red Cross, Prostate Canada and Flight 491 Legacy Fund. He has assumed significant leadership responsibilities with Royal St. John’s Regatta, Canadian Society of Customs Brokers, St. John’s Board of Trade, Halifax Chamber of Commerce, NOIA, The Maritimes Energy Association in Nova Scotia, Memorial University’s Business Faculty Advisory Board and Canada Border Security Agency Licensing Advisory Board.
His entrepreneurial acumen has been recognized by St. John’s Board of Trade, Purchasing Management Association of Canada, NOIA and Newfoundland & Labrador Employers’ Council with their Employer of Distinction award. He was also a finalist for Ernst and Young's Entrepreneur of the Year in Atlantic Canada twice and has been named as one of Atlantic Business Magazine's Top 50 CEO’s in Atlantic Canada.
Tanny has earned respect within his business and the community. He is, indeed, a worthy inductee for the Junior Achievement Newfoundland and Labrador Business Hall of Fame.