BRADENTON, Fla. — As he prepares for upcoming trips to Dubai and China, Mike Levinson is focusing on his new day job as senior vice president and consultant with the Florida-based financial advisory firm Dunlap & Associates Inc.
The 59-year-old former Coral Springs city manager has won prestigious presidential and gubernatorial awards that opened doors to consult with state and local governments all over the world. Part of his new job entails identifying opportunities for new-money and refunding bond deals.
“That’s part of a comprehensive effort to improve local government performance and bottom-line results,” he said, “and to work with local governments on leveraging their assets with the private sector and other entities to accomplish what they otherwise financially can’t afford.”
Through public-private partnerships, Levinson said state and local governments may not have to issue as much debt to achieve objectives — and in some cases may not have to issue debt at all.
Working with the private sector while he was manager of Coral Springs, Levinson said he lured a private firm to build and operate a public ice-skating facility on city-owned land at no cost to the city.
The facility eventually became the practice home of the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers but it remains open to the public.
“To this day, we get a percentage of the gross revenues from this highly successful operation so the return on investment to the city is excellent,” said Levinson, who still lives in Coral Springs. “It helps hold property taxes down.”
Levinson left the city government in October after 15 years as manager and two years as assistant city manager.
During his tenure, Coral Springs, which is 20 miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale, earned and has kept triple-A ratings from all three major credit rating agencies.
Coral Springs also became the first local government to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a presidential honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence, which it earned in 2007.
The city in 1997 and 2003 won the Florida Governor’s Sterling Award, a statewide award program modeled after the Baldrige program.
With his background as a city manager, the awards, and his worldwide consultancy with governments, Levinson brings a unique perspective to his work with clients at Dunlap & Associates, according to the firm’s president, Craig Dunlap.
Dunlap has been the financial adviser to Coral Springs for about 20 years, he said.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mike and his knowledge and what he’s done for Coral Springs,” Dunlap said. “He can implement and share with other governments the procedures and innovations he implemented in Coral Springs.”
With Florida’s stressed economy continuing to affect budgets, Dunlap said municipalities must be creative, and Levinson’s experience privatizing municipal services should prove helpful.
While working with the firm, Dunlap acknowledged that Levinson would continue to pursue consulting nationally and internationally.
Before moving to Coral Springs, Levinson was managing director and vice president from 1989 to 1993 at Innovative Financial Services Inc. in Dallas. The firm specialized in real estate-based public-private partnerships, special district financing for infrastructure development, sports facility financing, and mass transit financing.
Levinson was assistant executive director for real estate and development from 1987 to 1988 for Dallas Area Rapid Transit and economic development director from 1983 to 1986 for the city of Dallas.
In earlier years, he worked in finance for Miami and in housing and economic development for New Haven, Conn.
Levinson received a bachelor of science degree in economic and business administration from Quinnipiac University and a master’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University Graduate School of Economics.