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County Manager completes his senior leadership team with hiring of two key staff positions

RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2011

TAVARES — County Manager Darren Gray announced today, his final selections for two key leadership positions within the Lake County Board of County Commissioners. David Heath, formally with the Orange County Board of County Commissioners, will start this week as the Deputy County Manager and Scott Blankenship will be heading-up the Office of Economic Development & Tourism.

“It was very important to me that I select individuals who can help me carry out the Board’s vision for the County, and my goals for the organization,” said Gray. “I’m excited to bring these two very talented individuals on board to complete my leadership team.”

Heath comes to Lake County with over 28 years of County government experience, including 11 years as a Deputy County Administrator for Orange County. He has extensive knowledge of overall government operations, with a strong focus on growth management, planning, budget, public works and transportation. Heath played a key role in the establishment of “Innovation Way”, a high-tech corridor located between the University of Central Florida/Central Florida Research Park and the Orlando International Airport.

He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), has a Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Central Florida.

Blankenship has been tapped as the Director of the recently formed Office of Economic Development & Tourism. Formerly spread across two different departments, the economic development and tourism functions were recently combined into one office, which will focus on tourism initiatives and the implementation and management of the County’s new Economic Action Plan. The plan outlines nine key goals related to economic development, with a vision of making Lake County, “A prosperous local economy supported by a wide range of career opportunities, a diversified tax base, and an exceptional quality of life.”

Blankenship has served on numerous boards and committees relating to Economic Development, such as Lake County’s Economic Development Advisory Council and the South Lake Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Committee. He has a very broad knowledge and understanding of business development, planning and marketing. For the past 6 years, he served as President of Blankenship Consulting, where he assisted clients with new business development, operations management, sales and marketing.Blankenship previously worked for the United States Postal Service for 21 years in executive leadership positions in marketing, sales and customer service.

He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Business.

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Lake County media contact:
Kelly Lafollette
Information Outreach Director
Office: 352-343-9603; Cell: 352-455-0445
klafollette@lakecountyfl.gov

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