The Lewes Board of Public Works was authorized by an act of the General Assembly on March 15, 1901 to establish, control and regulate an electric light plant, water works, and a sewer system for the City of Lewes. The General Manager of the Board of Public Works is appointed by the Board’s elected officials to administer all of the administrative affairs of the Board.
Board of Public Works:
Austin Bennett Calaman
General Manager, Lewes BPW Austin Calaman is the General Manager of the Lewes Board of Public Works (BPW). He manages all facets of the Lewes BPW including the electric, water, wastewater and stormwater systems, as well as all interfaces with local, state and federal officials. He was selected for this position in August 2021 following five years as the Assistant General Manager of the Lewes Board of Public Works.
A native of York, Pennsylvania, Austin holds a B.S. in Supply Chain Operations Management from York College of Pennsylvania. In 2018, he completed the American Public Power Managers Certificate Program and in 2019 he completed the American Public Power Customer Service Management Certificate Program. He also holds a Stormwater Blue Card for the State of Delaware. He is married to Shelby Calaman and resides in Ocean View, DE.
Board of Public Works Officials:
D. Preston Lee, P.E.
President, Lewes BPW Board Pres Lee was elected to the Board of Public Works (BPW) in May of 2011. He was elected as President May 23, 2018 and had served as the Vice President of BPW since May of 2011. He also serves as the BPW’s representative on the City’s Capital Improvements Committee.
In addition to his position on the BPW, he is a member of the City’s Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC) and has primary responsibility for overseeing the operation and maintenance of the Canalfront Park. He also serves as the PRC’s representative on the City’s Marina Committee and as an ex-offico member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Canalfront Park.
Pres is a member of the Board of Trustees of The Children’s Beach House Foundation and serves on its Executive Committee and as Chairman of its Property Committee. He presently serves on committees of the Lewes Historical Society.
Pres is a lifelong resident of Delaware and graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Delaware and surrounding states and has practiced as a consulting engineer serving municipal, corporate and private clients throughout the Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland region. In 1979 he founded the consulting engineering firm of Tatman & Lee Associates, Inc. in Wilmington with D. Russell Tatman. The firm provided civil, public works, structural, and site engineering as well as planning and landscape architectural services.
Pres and Russ continued to own and operate the firm until 1993 when they agreed to be acquired by an international engineering firm. Pres continued to manage the Wilmington office, as Vice President, until 2001 when he went into private professional practice as a sole proprietor.
Pres has been a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) since 1968. In 2009 the Delaware Chapter of the ASCE nominated him as Delaware’s Engineer of the Year.
Pres also was elected President and then served as National Director of the Delaware Chapter of the American Consulting Engineers Council on two occasions.
Pres and his wife Linda, have owned homes in Lewes since 1988 and have been full time residents for over a decade.
A. Thomas Owen
Vice President, Lewes BPW Board A. Thomas Owen was first elected to the Board of Public Works (BPW) in 2013.
Owen’s career in insurance underwriting began in New York City where he worked as an insurance underwriter at Chubb Group following his service in the US Army where he achieved the rank of First Lieutenant.
In 1970 he returned to his home town of York, Pennsylvania and joined an independent insurance agency. In 1973 he started his own company, Owen Incorporated, where for over 30 years he grew this enterprise specializing in commercial property and casualty insurance. As a result of this business experience, he brings the ability to evaluate risk management exposures and analyze financial risks from various contingencies.
During his tenure in York, Pennsylvania, he was a member of the York Chamber of Commerce, York Rotary Club as a Paul Harris Fellow and served on the boards of the YMCA, Historic York Inc., York Health Corporation, York Insurance Agents Association. Owen holds a Bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University. He and his wife Libby moved to Lewes in 2006. Prior to this move, they spent many summer vacations here. Since moving to Lewes he has been a member of the Lewes Chamber of Commerce, served on the fund raising committee for the Canalfront Park Phase III project and served as a member of the Board of Adjustments until his election to the Lewes Board of Public Works.
Secretary, Lewes BPW Board Tom Panetta was elected to the Board of Public Works (BPW) in April 2018.
Tom also serves as BPW representative to the City of Lewes Mitigation Planning Team and as the Division Chair for Electric.
In addition to his position on the BPW, he has been a member of the City of Lewes Planning Commission since 2015.
Tom lived on Long Island before leaving for college. He received a BS in Civil Engineering with a minor in Nuclear Engineering and Economics in 1981 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He worked toward a MBA at Stony Brook University and Villanova. For 25 years, he worked for General Electric (GE) Power in the design, construction and operation of nuclear power plants and in GE’s substation automation division.
After leaving GE, Tom consulted in the nuclear power industry for 5 years including advising senior executives on Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and industry quality control standards in the design and manufacturing of nuclear power plant components.
Tom and his husband Richard have owned a house in Lewes since 2001. In 2007 they moved to Lewes full time and renovated their turn-of-the-century Victorian home. You can email Mr. Panetta at TPanetta@LewesBPW.com
Earl Webb, III
Treasurer, Lewes BPW Board Earl Webb III was appointed to the Board of Public Works (BPW) in August 2020.
Earl Webb III was born and raised in Delaware. His family roots trace back six generations in the First State. During Earl’s 38 years in corporate life, he held positions at AT&T, GE Capital and Bank of Montreal. Earl and his wife Kristi lived many places across the US and Europe. As they began planning retirement, they purchased a home in Lewes in 2015 and retired here full-time in 2018.
Prior to retirement, Earl was the Integration Leader for GE Capital Transportation Finance into the Bank of Montreal. The two year initiative employed 500+ people across the US and Canada with a budget of $150MM.
Prior to that, Earl held Executive positions across GE Capital including National Sales Manager where he led the increase in annual sales from $13B to $50B. He held roles as Chief Marketing Officer and Customer Experience Leader over 5 P&Ls and a balance sheet of $30B. As the CEO of joint venture in The Netherlands, Earl increased annual sales from $200MM to $3B.
Prior to GE Capital, Earl held leadership positions at AT&T in Sales, Operations, General Territory Management and Quality. Earl holds a B.S. from Shepherd University in West Virginia.
Earl’s hobbies include boating, traveling, and spending time with their son, Tyler, who lives in Detroit. Earl and his wife appreciate the history and community of Lewes and enjoy being part of this wonderful town. You can email Mr. Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Treasurer, Lewes BPW Board Richard Nichols was elected to the Board in May 2021.
Richard and his wife were both born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. After high school, he went to Columbia University and earned a masters degree in Architecture and a masters degree in Architectural
Technology. Not long after graduating, he earned his New York State Architectural license.
Subsequently, he switched to his career in construction project management lasting 36 years. During that time he was the manager of a variety of construction projects in New York City for Starrett Housing Corp.
and HRH Construction. The variety of projects ranged from high rise residential and commercial buildings to institutional and civic buildings including the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.
Also during this time he was posted to and spent 2-1/2 years in Iran as the project manager of 8 twenty two story luxury condominium buildings as part of a “New Town” development project in Tehran. In 2000 he was hired to be Director of Capital Improvements for a large real estate developer that owned, constructed and managed their own buildings—primarily high-rise luxury residential rentals — in New York City. During his 14 years as Director, he also managed capital improvements for several commercial buildings the company owned in Washington, D.C. During the time he and his wife lived in their 73 unit Manhattan co-op building, he was elected to the Board of Directors and served as President for 5 years.
His wife Madeleine (who is a retired New York State attorney) and he were married in 1965 and raised a son and daughter. Early in 2019 Richard and Madeleine moved to Lewes.
Michael J. Hoffman
Attorney, Lewes BPW Mike practices primarily in the areas of land use and land development. Having represented several Delaware municipalities on a wide range of issues, including land use matters, Mike has a keen understanding of the administrative process and a proven ability to manage sophisticated and sensitive matters. He also has experience in labor relations and employment law, and previously served as a legislative attorney for the Delaware House of Representatives and as an instructor with the paralegal program at Delaware Technical Community College.
A native Delawarean, Mike strongly believes in giving back to the community. He currently serves as an attorney volunteer for the Delaware Office of the Child Advocate and previously served as President of the Dover Art League. He is also a Board Member of the University of Delaware Men’s Crew Alumni Association and a member of the Leadership Delaware Class of 2014.
Education: Villanova University School of Law, Law School, J.D., University of Delaware, B. A., Honors, Political Science and Economics
Professional Activities: Delaware State Bar Association, Member, Terry-Carey American Inn of Court, Member
Bar Admissions: Delaware and Pennsylvania
Theodore W. Becker
Mayor, City of Lewes Mr. Becker has been a member of the City Council since May 2004. He was appointed Deputy Mayor & Treasurer in June 2011 and elected Mayor in May 2014. He is currently a managing partner of Stewart Becker Properties in Lewes. He has worked as a program manager for the US Division of Special Education; the U.S. Department of Education; and served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserves from 1978-1996. Mr. Becker has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Ohio State University in occupational therapy and attended George Washington University where he studied public administration. Mayor Becker is chair of the following commissions: Canalfront Park Marina, Capital Projects and the Mitigation Planning Team.