TAVARES — Fred Martin, Senior Plans Examiner with the Lake County Economic Growth Department, has been named the statewide Plans Examiner of the Year. The honor was given June 8 in Clearwater during the Building Officials Association of Florida’s Annual Awards Program.
The award is presented to a planning professional who “consistently demonstrates the qualities of integrity, professionalism and dedication in his or her service to the profession and whose personal standards represent the spirit of public service to the enforcement of codes and standards in the interest of public safety.”
Martin was nominated by his Lake County co-workers, who described him as “the most helpful colleague,” and “always willing to share his extensive knowledge.”
He began his career in 1976, building 27.5 million square feet of high rises in 10 years, before opening a custom commercial modular manufacturing facility in Tavares, constructing more than 800 one-of-a-kind structures in 25 years. His later work took him from a gold mine in the Dominican Republic to a Canadian Embassy, but all paths led back to Lake County, where he returned to work as a senior plans examiner in 2013.
“As a boy growing up in South Florida with Hurricane Donna approaching, I was helping my father install plywood on our second floor windows,” recalled Martin. “When I asked him what if the storm turns and we’re doing this for nothing, he looked at me and said he hoped we were doing it for nothing. I didn’t understand it at the time, but during months of cleanup after the storm, it then made a lot of sense. What we require as plans examiners based on the building code, we only hope is never needed.”
The Lake County Economic Growth Department is responsible for short- and long-range planning; review, permitting and inspection of land development; and monitoring of the environment in unincorporated Lake County under the county's Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations, as well as provides assistance and manages services for both the businesses of Lake County and Lake County visitors.