Sheri Collins is a strategic business advisor with the McNees Strategic Solutions Group, a diverse team of professionals who are laser-focused on delivering results for their clients.
MSSG’s lobbyists, government relations specialists, grassroots professionals and non-profit experts have the experience and relationships necessary to deliver results for public sector, private sector, and non-profit clients alike. Together, we understand the inner workings of each level of government and have the unique and direct perspective of how the various levels and branches of government work together.
Sheri’s years of experience in state government allows her to support her clients as they seek to identify new and strategic opportunities to advance their work.
What does Sheri do for Clients?
Sheri leverages more than three decades of leadership experience in state government, including nearly 20 years in economic development roles. Prior to joining McNees, Sheri served the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in a range of roles, most recently as the Senior Director for the Office of Corporate Relations at the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED). Her experience in state government gives her a unique advantage and allows her to support her clients by providing sound, strategic guidance and advice as they seek to identify new opportunities.
Sheri began her state career in 1986 with the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System, where she spent 18 years in various roles, including as Special Assistant to the Chief Counsel. In her role, Sheri served as the agency’s liaison with the Governor’s Office of General Counsel and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. Working side by side with the agency’s in-house counsel, Sheri developed a love of the law and was often found at the negotiating table with in-house counsel and the agency’s investment professionals. In 2004, Sheri transitioned to DCED and embarked on what would become a nearly two-decade economic development journey.
Appointed by Governor Wolf in 2015 to serve as the Deputy Secretary for the Office of Technology & Innovation, Sheri was responsible for deploying $150M+ to various programs and strategic partners. Sheri was instrumental in the development of several new programs including Innovate in PA, a new and innovative program designed to fund Pennsylvania’s tech-based economic development partners including the award-winning Ben Franklin Technology Partners. Sheri worked closely with Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities, providing strategic input as they sought to secure funding for new and innovative initiatives. In her capacity as Deputy Secretary, Sheri sat on various boards including the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center and the Pennsylvania Life Sciences Greenhouses. She was often found participating on panels or leading round table discussions at conferences, bringing greater awareness to Pennsylvania’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Much of her career has focused on supporting early stage technology companies succeed in Pennsylvania, encouraging investments across the commonwealth – from administering the Keystone Innovation Zone program to leading the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority and eventually her deputy secretary position, where she helped launch several high-profile programs to boost business and economic investment in Pennsylvania communities.
Sheri has been a leader in Pennsylvania’s efforts to help rural communities by investing in increased access to high-speed Internet service and was instrumental in the signing of new legislation that established the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority in 2021. She served as Pennsylvania’s State Alternate to the Appalachian Regional Commission, an economic development partnership between the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on rural communities across the Appalachian region. In her capacity as State Alternate, Sheri was instrumental in the Commission’s fight against efforts to reduce funding and eliminate the Commission. She delivered compelling testimony to Congress on the importance of funding and the role that the Commission plays in advancing opportunities in Appalachia and supporting those individuals and communities have been left behind.
How does Sheri spend her free time?
A life-long resident of Central Pennsylvania, Sheri lives in Lower Paxton Township with her husband, Kevin, and two of their four children. Actively engaged in her community, she serves on various boards, can be found supporting multiple charitable organizations and has coached her children’s athletic teams. While she hung up her soccer cleats a few years ago, Sheri now likes to stay active by lifting weights, walking and has a new found appreciation for the benefits of daily meditation.
Sheri recently sat for her Pennsylvania Real Estate License and looks forward to helping individuals as they make one of the most important decisions of their lives.
Harrisburg Area Community College, Business Administration and Management (22 credits)
Penn State Harrisburg – Economic Development Program Certificate (2005)
The Technology Council of Central Pennsylvania – Impact Award for Public Sector/Government (2022)
The Technology Council of Central Pennsylvania – Moxie Award Finalist (2019)
The Charles H. Coder Entrepreneurial Award, Bucknell University (2018)
Influential Leading Women’s Delegation to Israel – America-Israel Friendship League (2018)
Harrisburg University’s Dedicated Government Representative (2017)
Pennsylvania BIO’s Sixteen to Watch in ‘16 (2016)
Urban Innovation 21 Leadership Award (2012)
The Salvation Army Harrisburg Capital City Region Advisory Board Member
Friendship YMCA (Board Chair for 2022)