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:
Darrin Edward Gordon
General Manager, Lewes BPW Darrin Gordon 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 assumed this position in May 2011 following two years as the Assistant General Manager of the Lewes Board of Public Works.
Prior to joining the Lewes BPW, he was the Assistant Utilities Director, Safford Municipal Utilities, Safford, Arizona, from February 2007 to April 2009. From 1998 to 2007 he held a variety of increasingly responsible positions as the Water Operator, Waste Water Chief Operator, Key Account Representative and Customer Service Manager at utility enterprises in Arizona. He is qualified to operate any wastewater treatment facility. Prior to his career in utility services, Gordon was employed by the State of Arizona Department of Corrections and Federal Bureau of Prisons.
A native of Miami, Arizona, Gordon holds a B.S in Natural Resource Management from Arizona State University and a Masters of Administration from Northern Arizona University. In March 2010, he completed the American Public Power Association Public Power Managers Certificate Program. He is married to Marcie Udall, and they have four children: Dallin, Emily, Sarah and Jesse.
Board of Public Works Officials:
D. Preston Lee, P.E.
President, Lewes BPW Board Pres Lee was elected to the Lewes 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 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.
Jack R. Lesher
Treasurer, Lewes BPW Board Jack R Lesher was first appointed to the BPW Board in 2011. He currently serves as the Treasurer.
Lesher, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) (retired), served as managing partner of Reinsel, Kuntz, Lesher in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for the last ten years of his 29 year affiliation with this firm. Prior to joining this firm, he served as the office and personnel manager for the John W. Eshelman & Sons and before this position served as in house accountant for the Crown Central Petroleum Corporation, Baltimore, MD.
Lesher’s past professional associations and leadership roles therein are numerous. He was appointed to the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy as its Vice Chairman of the Board that operates as the licensing and governing bureau for all CPA’s and PA’s in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was an active member of the American Institute of CPA’s, Pennsylvania Institute of CPA’s, Lions and Rotary Clubs of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Lancaster County Mental Health Association, and as an instructor at Elizabethtown College and Franklin and Marshall College. He was also actively affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America as an adult leader, a member of the Lamberton Lodge #476 Free and accepted masons, and the Delta Sigma Phi Social Fraternity.
Since moving to Lewes, he has been likewise involved in many local organizations. In addition to serving on the Lewes BPW, he serves as Treasurer of the Overfalls Foundation, a docent at the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean and Environment and serves as the treasurer of the Lewes Presbyterian Church. He serves on the Finance Committee of the Lewes Yacht Club and served as Treasurer and Trustee of the Lewes Historical Society. You can email Mr. Lesher at JLesser@LewesBPW.com
Robert J. Kennedy, III
Secretary, Lewes BPW Board Robert J. Kennedy, III was elected to the Board in May 2016.
Robert J. Kennedy, III retired in 2010 from a career that included both public service and private employment. The last 15 years of his working career were spent as the Director of Management Information Systems and Comptroller of Kent-Sussex Industries, Inc., an organization providing rehabilitative services to individuals with disabilities in Kent and Sussex Counties.
Prior to joining KSI, he was the Director of the Division of Public Utility Control and Executive Director of the Delaware Public Service Commission for 21 years. In his capacity as Executive Director, he supervised and directed a technical staff of accountants, auditors, engineers, lawyers and consultants who provided analysis, expert testimony and policy recommendations to the Delaware Public Service Commissioners assisting them in the regulation of investor owned public utilities throughout the State of Delaware.
Kennedy has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the College of William and Mary and a Master’s degree in Management and Supervision from Central Michigan University.
He was born in Lewes and resided in Lewes until entering active duty with the United States Army. After completing two years of active service, he spent an additional 28 years in the Army Reserves retiring from the Delaware National Guard with the rank of Colonel and was subsequently promoted to Brigadier General (DE).
Kennedy served for three years as a member of the City of Lewes Board of Adjustments until resigning to run for the Board of Public Works.
Kennedy and his wife Jan have been full time residents of Lewes since 2004. You can email Mr. Kennedy at RKennedy@LewesBPW.com
Assistant Treasurer, Lewes BPW Board Tom Panetta was elected to the Board 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 1981from 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
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.