Former Vice President of Corporate Development for Florida East Coast Industries (FECI), Francois Illas was responsible for pre-development project issues including land use.

Former Vice President of Corporate Development for Florida East Coast Industries (FECI), Francois Illas was responsible for pre-development project issues including land use, environmental, traffic and general governmental regulation, as well as property acquisition and seller issues.

Mr. Illas’ involvement while at FECI spanned many projects for FECI and its subsidiary companies including a $3 billion transportation and commercial real estate investment known as Brightline aka Virgin Trains USA , which also represents the United States’ first privately owned and operated intercity passenger rail system connecting Miami and Orlando; Flagler Global Logistics, the largest industrial developer in Florida and an integrated logistics company; Parallel Infrastructure, a nationwide developer, owner and operator of telecommunication towers; and Flagler, a full-service real estate company focused on the commercial office sector.

In 2004 he opened his own consulting firm, Metropolitan Strategic Consulting, Inc., and focused on governmental and political consulting throughout Southeast Florida.  In 2011 he merged his efforts with Strategic Access Group.  His governmental practice specifically focused on procurement, regional and local legislative matters, land use, transit oriented development and permits processing. He is accomplished in the areas of campaign management, fundraising, statistical research, and media production/ placement for numerous campaigns throughout his professional career.

Francois was appointed Chief of Staff by City of Miami Mayor Manuel A. Diaz in 2001 where he served until 2004.  During his tenure with this administration he worked on some of the most impactful projects to be achieved by the City of Miami, including the agreement which realized the Port of Miami Tunnel with the Florida Department of Transportation and Miami-Dade County.

He also served as the Campaign Manager for the 2000 Re-election Campaign of Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas. Following the successful re-election of Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas, Francois joined the Office of the Mayor where he served as a Senior Advisor and Political Director.

François has also worked for Miami-Dade County Public School System, one of thelargest school system in the United States, as the Chief of Staff to School Board Member and former Chairperson Perla Tabares-Hantman.

He brings extensive public relations and advertising experience from his work with the firm BVK McDonald headquartered in Milwaukee.  As a senior accountant executive for campaigns and government relations, he worked on such accounts as the 1998 Jeb Bush Campaign for Governor (Statewide Hispanic Media and Public Relations Campaign), the 1998 Referendum on Statehood for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and a host of other international, Federal, state, county and municipal elections during his years at BVK McDonald.

François Illas attended Boston University and graduated from Florida International University.  During his postgraduate academic work at Florida International University, he completed his Scholars Certification at George Washington’s Graduate School of Campaign and Political Management.

He was appointed to the Miami Dade County Public Schools 21st Century Bond Committee, the Miami Dade County Charter Review Committee (2008) and City of Doral Charter Review Committee (2009 & 2010).