Chad A. Gamble does not see the sky as a limit for DeLand’s potential.
As DeLand’s new public services director, he is excited to get involved in maintaining and helping in all ways possible to support the city’s baseball stadium, address housing developments and partnering in economic development around the airport, both its land and its sky.
“It’s a super fun opportunity,” Mr. Gamble said, regarding the boom in growth and thriving amenities throughout the city. He also liked the city’s small town feel despite a growing population of more than 40,000 people.
One challenge will be trying to stay ahead of new developments, he said.
Mr. Gamble is expected to oversee everything from water, sewers and refuse collection to roads and sidewalks for projects old and new – “so it seems seamless” – to residents, visitors and rate payers, he said.
According to City Spokesman Chris Graham, Mr. Gamble started the job July 5 after the observance of Fourth of July weekend. His annual salary is $140,000. He was hired by the city manager, who received a report on several candidates from a hiring committee. A national search was conducted.
Mr. Gamble came from Lansing, Mich., where he served more than 25 years in a variety of positions, including chief operating officer, director of public services and assistant city engineer.
He earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Michigan State University. He also has a professional engineer’s license in Michigan.
“Chad (A. Gamble) has the experience,” said Mr. Graham, acknowledging a loss of institutional knowledge when an important job changes hands. He added, “He is a really stand up guy and we are looking forward to working with him.”
Mr. Gamble replaced now retired and longtime Public Services Director Keith Riger, who was honored at the July 6 commission meeting. He worked for 28 years for the City of DeLand until his last day July 2.
Mr. Riger was first employed from April 1990 to March 1995 until he left for employment in the private sector, the commission’s resolution explained. He was rehired in February 1998 as the utilities director/city engineer. He told city officials, he returned because “I missed DeLand and I missed the people.”
His title changed in October 2003 to public services director/city engineer/airport manager; and was named director of public services in March 2005.
Mr. Riger acted as the city’s representative for all capital projects and had oversight of the utilities, engineering, public works and airport departments. “He worked to control costs and maintain good relations with contractors, engineers and architects,” the resolution stated.
On his first day, Mr. Gamble praised city leaders for keeping a small town feel downtown during his initial visit to a City Commission meeting, calling DeLand warm, close-knit and welcoming, a city news release stated.
His first day, at the July 6 City Commission meeting, Mr. Gamble witnessed some of the city’s latest projects approved by the panel, including upgrades to Melching Field at Conrad Park.
The $5.78 million project will be split between the city and Stetson University, which uses the field for baseball games. The agenda listed a long line-up of improvements, including new seating, LED stadium lighting, irrigation upgrades, and renovations to concessions and maintenance areas.
Mr. Gamble listed Stetson University, Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, St. Johns Water Management District and Volusia County as some of the many partners he will work with to continue the previous excellent stewardship of DeLand’s many miles of pipes and pavement.
“A city is not fun by one, it’s an army,” he said.