by Mollie Page
Would you travel 1600 miles to buy a BBQ grill? Have you ever been chased by a mob of angry carnival workers? Ever bump into Bill Murray at a local bar? No? Well then, you’re obviously not a Russell.
Connected by more than just the same first name, three local Russell’s shared stories over lunch recently and found out they have more in common than just a high level of community pride. Russell Budd, Russell Burland and Russell Tuff are three long-time Paradise Coast residents whose paths have crossed multiple times over the last 40 years.
Budd is the founder of PBS Contractors, and as many already know, the biggest Florida Gators fan this side of the Alafia River. He graduated from Naples High School in 1976. One of his first jobs was selling appliances at Kmart before attending the University of Florida where he met his wife of 33 years, Katie. He’s the only Russell that has grandchildren.
Burland, who witnessed the Chicago race riots from the backseat of his grandmother’s car, graduated Naples High School in 1977 and attended the University of South Florida. He returned to Naples to help run the family business and started a family with wife, Marcie. Burland has worked in the for profit and non-profit sectors for 30 years and was a Senior Vice President of The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce. He is now the Business Development Manager at Hilton Naples. He’s the only Russell not born in April.
Tuff grew up in Blackduck, Minnesota, and attended the University of Jamestown in North Dakota. He worked as a press operator at his hometown newspaper until 1988, when he and high school sweetheart turned wife Kaydee purchased the Everglades Echo newspaper. In addition to running Social-Impact, a public relations and internet marketing firm, Tuff is also the newly-elected Chairman of the Collier Republican Committee. He’s the only Russell that reads fictional crime thrillers.
All three men are graduates of the Leadership Collier program –Budd and Tuff are from the class of 1994. All three men have children who played youth sports – Tuff and Burland coached youth baseball.
All three men listen to talk radio – Burland and Budd tune in to Dave Elliott’s show on 98.9 WGUF daily. But each share one special quality that makes them rise to the top: All Russells have a compassionate community-centric heart.
Russell Budd has dedicated much of his time to community and industry advancement. He currently serves as Vice-Chairman of David Lawrence Center, President of the Collier County 100 Club, Director for Drug Free Collier, Director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Collier County, and Director for Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida.
Budd was an elected Fire Commissioner for the Golden Gate Fire Control and Rescue District, past Chairman of the Collier County Planning Commission and the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, as well as a past President of the Collier Building Industry Association.
His community involvements earned him a Man of Distinction honor by the Education Foundation of Collier County. Recently, PBS Contractors was named Employer of the Year by Collier Child Care Resources. It was also recognized with a Business Ethics Award from Uncommon Friends Foundation and earned 2018 Builder of the Year from American Institute of Architects Florida Southwest. PBS received accreditation as a Blue Zones Approved Worksite™ as well.
While Budd’s boots are most often covered in dirt, Russell Burland’s feet are usually wet. He’s become a thoughtful voice in all the dialogue surrounding local water quality projects and participated in the ambitious Collier County Artificial Reef Project. For over a year, he traveled miles offshore on large barges carrying concrete blocks that were used to build the reefs.
As Vice President of Marine Industries of Collier County, which addresses water access and quality, Burland said, “I am particularly proud of the MIACC Board’s ongoing commitment to support ongoing work in projects that address water quality, as well as its outreach efforts with the Ricky King Foundation, Neighborhood Health Clinic and Farm City BBQ. Burland is always on the move and juggles participation in three or four community projects at once.
“I like to be on the front lines of progress so my nights and weekends are typically spent on boats or representing Hilton-Naples at many important local events and meetings.”
After spending 30 years closely reporting and delivering news to the community’s residents, Russell Tuff is now making the news by leading by example.
Inspired by an evangelical preacher at 12 years old, Tuff’s life direction took solid footing early towards enlarging the light in his own heart and the heart of the community.
“I cannot sit idly by and witness the struggles of individuals to overcome obstacles in life, and the inability of government to help these people find paths that provide relief.”
In addition to Chairman of the Collier GOP, Tuff is the national delegate for the local Gulf Coast Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and Secretary for the Sunshine District PRSA. He also currently sits on Naples Airport Authority Noise Abatement Committee, the Collier Citizens Council, Metropolitan Planning Organization Citizens Council, Golden Gate Civic Association board, and is an Ambassador for the Naples Area Chamber of Commerce.
There are many Bobs, Kathy’s, and Pats that deserve praise in ink too. But if you meet a Russell in our community, there’s no question you’re witnessing true public spirit in action.
Answers: Budd is a grillmaster. Tuff avoids carnivals. Burland met Murray at a nightclub on US 41.