Former supervisor Tom Merrell was promoted to Assistant Director of Operations Sept. 29.
The search is underway to fill a specialized position for utility supervisor at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall.
After Ryan Heise, former director of operations, left his position Sept. 24, Town Hall management shifted upward from within. Paul Chetlain, who was previously the maintenance manager, stepped into Heise’s role. Tom Merrell was promoted to assistant director of operations Sept. 29, leaving the role of utility supervisor vacant.
“It’s a specialized position. It was tailored to my background — we’ll see how it goes,” Merrell said.
The supervisor is responsible for both overseeing utility services and work and also coordinating with Town Hall to help develop the Lakewood Ranch geographic information system (GIS).
On the utilities side, the supervisor handles utility location requests when someone wants to do construction or responds to stormwater drainage back up, for example.
“Often, you don’t really know there’s a problem until there’s a problem, then it’s an immediate problem,” Merrell said.
The Lakewood Ranch GIS is in infant stages. The system, when complete, will help staff identify, locate and manage Lakewood Ranch’s assets, everything from light poles and benches to weather stations and irrigation valves.
“We’re getting into preventative maintenance,” he said.
With his engineering background, Merrell was able to focus on the GIS while learning more about the utilities side of the job. But, it’s a little unusual to find a candidate who has both managerial skills and a strong GIS background. Town Hall has already gotten a few applications, but will look internally to move someone up before recruiting heavily outside of the organization. A deadline for applications has not been set.