|Dizzy Dean at his Bradenton service station. Keep|
reading for the Lakewood Ranch connection.
By JIM JONES
Paul Chetlain, maintenance manager at Lakewood Ranch, is not the first of his family to enter the public eye in Manatee County.
His father, Kent Chetlain, was a three-term Manatee County commissioner, and former sports editor of the Bradenton Herald.
I was unaware of the connection until a few months ago when former county attorney Chip Rice spotted Paul Chetlain at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall and publicly praised his father.
Curious about Kent Chetlain, I went into Herald archives, and found Kent's name in hundreds of county commission stories.
I also found an article Kent wrote for the Bradenton Herald in the mid-1990s and learned that Dizzy Dean, the great pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, at one time had a gasoline station in Bradenton. A photo from that article in reproduced here, showing Dizzy in his gas station outfit.
"He’s got encyclopedic knowledge of sports and local history. He will be 85 in September," Paul Chetlain said of his father.
I believe it. Dizzy Dean in Bradenton, huh? I remember Dizzy calling baseball games on TV back in the 1950s and he was still the character he had always been, but he was no longer the string bean of his playing days.
Paul Chetlain joined the Lakewood Ranch Town Hall staff in August of 2009.
Prior to joining the public sector, he was in facilities management for the horticulture industry, notably Yoder Brothers.
He also worked witha technology company that supplied horticultural companies with environmental and irrigation control technology for their greenhouses.
He graduated fromManatee High School in 1982, and served in the U.S. Navy. After his naval service, he returned to Bradenton and attended Manatee Community College, which was renamed State College of Florida a few years ago. He graduated with an Associate of Science in electronic technology.
He met Ryan Heise, operations manager at Lakewood Ranch, who was searching for better solutions to the pond maintenance problem.
From that meeting, he learned of an opening in the maintenance department at Lakewood Ranch.
"I thought this was a good opportuinty to take a job closer to home," he said.
There were family considerations that were making travel less attractive. He and his wife Cynthia have three children, and Kent Chetlain was getting along in years, too.
At last week's community development meetings, Paul Chetlain filled in for Ryan Heise and calmly and professionally answered all the questions supervisors fired his way.
Maybe that deftness comes along with the family bloodlines.