Earl Webb has been appointed to the Lewes Board of Public Works to serve out the remaining term of Jack Lesher.
Lesher resigned in July after nearly 10 years of service. His term was set to end in May 2021.
Webb said he’s talked with Lesher several times on the phone in the weeks leading up to his official appointment.
“He’s the real deal,” Webb said. “He’s done a fantastic job. He’s kept them financially safe for over 10 years; I’ve got some big shoes to fill.”
Lesher has offered to help Webb as he gets up to speed.
Webb is a sixth-generation Delawarean, and he believes he has a good feel for the state. But he’s also lived in 10 different states and two foreign countries, so he brings a broader perspective to the table.
Webb began his career with AT&T in Georgetown. He started as a temporary, part-time employee and worked his way up the ladder before taking an executive-level position with General Electric.
“I’m hoping to carry on Jack Lesher’s legacy of fiscal responsibility,” he said.
As a businessman, he said, he also believes he can add his expertise in terms of profitabilities and customer satisfaction. During his career, he was a chief marketing officer and customer experience leader over five different businesses within GE.
Although his term will expire in just nine months, Webb said he plans to seek reelection.
“I’m very mindful that I wasn’t brought in through an election,” he said. “I met with each member of council. I wanted to make sure I had their support because the city also has a vote in that process. I wanted to make sure that I had their understanding of the position and where I could add value.”
He retired two years ago and recently felt a desire to get involved with the local government.
“I think everyone has the desire and passion to want to give back,” he said. “I really loved work, but what I loved about it wasn’t the day-to-day; it was camaraderie in working with people.”
He and his wife Kristi bought a home in Lewes in 2015, moving to the town full time about three years ago. When looking for a place to retire, he and his wife created a spreadsheet of all the places they were considering. They developed weighting factors and criteria. In the end, the spreadsheet didn’t matter.
“My wife called me and said, ‘I’m sitting here in Half Full. We’re home,’” he said. “We literally deleted the spreadsheet and came down here and bought a place.”
Lewes was not foreign to Webb. He had visited many times over the years as a kid and later as as new father, taking advantage of the small waves on Lewes Beach.
“There’s just something about this community we really love,” he said.
Under normal circumstances, he and his wife enjoy traveling and often visit their son Tyler in Detroit.
Lesher is known for his big personality, so it was appropriate the BPW board members and staff went around the virtual table Aug. 26 for a grand send-off.
“There’s a saying I’ve learned recently that says, ‘There’s no limit to what you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit,’” said General Manager Darrin Gordon. “Jack is one of those rare people that’s able to go and do something without looking for anything for himself. He’s truly been a selfless servant to the community and to the BPW.”
BPW President Pres Lee agreed with Gordon’s comments and all of the other positive things said by others. He added that Lesher has also committed himself to the Lewes Historical Society, Lightship Overfalls and his church.
“You’ve been doing so much for this community as a whole,” Lee told Lesher. “Even though you’re no longer a board member, you’re still part of our team.”
Lee said he’ll miss watching Lesher walk into a meeting, shaking hands and working the crowd.
“You’re like a politician in an election year,” Lee said.
Mayor Ted Becker said Lesher acquired the nickname Tumbleweed because they never knew where he was.
“Maybe you’re going to settle down and spend a little bit more time in Lewes,” he told him.
Lesher, who attended the virtual meeting from the BPW office, was presented with a BPW hoodie embroidered with the name Jack Tumbleweed. He was also given a cartoon created by local artist Jim Paterson depicting Lesher with his feet kicked up on top of a BPW truck and the water tower off in the distance. The truck is named the Tumbleweed Express, and a flag thanks Lesher for his 10 years of service.