Francois Illas is known for his extraordinary grasp of the technical workings of local governments throughout South Florida and for his extensive relationships throughout the region. In his professional governmental and political consulting, he has supported significant national and regional clients in procurement, regional and local legislative matters, land use and permit processing. He has extensive experience in campaign management, fundraising, statistical research and media production/placement.
Francois’s service in local government has placed him at the center of some of the South Florida region’s most significant public matters. He served for three years as Chief of Staff to City of Miami Mayor Manel A. Diaz. During his tenure in that administration, Francois worked on some of the most impactful projects in the City, including the agreement that realized the Port of Miami Tunnel in combination with Miami-Dade County and the Florida Department of Transportation. Francois then served as Senior Advisor and Political Director to Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas, for whom he had previously served as re-election campaign manager. Francois also served as chief of staff to Perla Tabares-Hantman, school board member and former chair of the Miami-Dade County Public School System, the fourth largest school system in the United States.
Prior to joining Converge, Francois was the Vice President of Corporate Development for Florida East Coast Industries (FECI). At FECI, Francois was responsible for pre-development project issues including land use, environmental, traffic, general government regulation and property acquisition and seller issues. His involvement at FECI spanned numerous projects for the company and its subsidiaries including a $3 billion transportation and commercial real estate investment for an intercity passenger rail system connecting Miami and Orlando, which represents the first privately-owned and operated system in the United States. He was also involved in providing support for Flagler Global Logistics, the largest industrial developer in Florida and 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 sector.
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