Rex Jensen may be called “Mr. East County,” and Don O’Leary may be known as East County’s titular mayor, but if there is anyone to rival them in their knowledge of and roots in East County, it would be East County Observer Managing Editor Michael “Mike” Eng.
Eng has covered every aspect of the East County for 12 years — first as a reporter in 2000, then as managing editor ever since 2003.
Earlier this year, Eng took on the additional role of managing editor/features for the Sarasota Observer and the Pelican Press. And now, Eng will take on establishing and building the Plant City Observer, a new weekly Observer newspaper scheduled for publication July 4.
Eng will be managing editor of this startup. His wife, Jessica Eng, assistant managing editor of the East County Observer, will continue to design the East County Observer and will design the Plant City Observer. The Engs and their two children, Lyric, 4, and Aria, 2, will move in June to Plant City.
Longtime News Editor Pam Eubanks will succeed Eng as managing editor of the East County Observer. Eubanks joined the newspaper in June 2005 as a staff writer and was promoted to news editor in 2007.
“We are saddened and thrilled at the same time,” said Matt Walsh, editor and CEO of The Observer Group. “Mike is an institution in East County and a walking East County encyclopedia. We hate to see him leave there. At the same time, he knows so well how we operate that he is the perfect person to help us launch the Plant City Observer and create another successful community newspaper.”