Winter Park’s new town manager aims to be visible, engaged
Keith Riesberg knew he wanted to move his family of skiers to a resort town someday, so when the opportunity came up to be Winter Park’s new town manager, he couldn’t turn it down.
More than the call of the mountains though, Riesberg said he felt Winter Park was a unique community with a lot of budding opportunities that he wanted to be a part of.
“We’re excited about being part of Winter Park because of the many positive things that are moving forward,” he said. “For me as a professional manager, this is a dream job.”
On Tuesday evening, Riesberg introduced himself to the community at a meet and greet event in the Green Room at Hideaway Park. Residents, town staff members and business owners stopped by to welcome him to the community.
Mayor Jimmy Lahrman said the past five years have been critical for the community’s growth and he is confident that Riesberg will help the town continue on its upward trajectory.
“I do believe in my heart and soul that he is the right fit for our community and he is going to continue to take us in the direction we want to go,” Lahrman said.
Riesberg was hired in August, but started on Oct. 15 and took part in his first town council meeting on Oct. 16.
Previously, he worked as city manager for Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and has 23 years of experience in local governments. He said that while he plans to bring his knowledge to this job, he also knows that Winter Park has unique needs, especially as a resort community.
For his first few weeks in the position, Riesberg said he plans to spend a lot of time getting to know community members and stakeholders and listening to their ideas and key issues.
“It really is about meeting with individuals and key stakeholders in the community to, one, introduce myself, but, two, to also understand their perspectives, what issues and concerns they may have, recognizing that it’s not just the (town) that makes up the community but it’s all of our partners from the county, the fire district, the school district is a key partner, as well as businesses and the chamber of commerce,” he explained.
One of his main goals is to be available to the community and be a familiar face in town.
“As town manager, it is a very visible position in the community and in that I strive to be a visible, engaged leader,” he said.
So far, Riesberg said he has really enjoyed getting to learn about the culture and history of the area and is looking forward to working with an impressive town council and staff to accomplish the town’s goals.
“My goals are to work with the mayor and council to start executing a lot of the projects and things that are already in progress,” he said. “We’re excited about a lot of the things that are queueing up to get underway.”
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