Carol K. Dougherty, Community Services Coordinator, New Castle County
Carol has been a Community Services Coordinator with New Castle County since 2003. She has worked with Sports and Athletics, Recreation Centers, the Absalom Jones Senior Center, the Art Studio, and the Safety Town program. She has assisted with planning for special events such as the Hockessin Art and Book Fair, and Anime Day at the Art Studio. Previously, she was a museum educator at Rockwood Museum and the South Carolina State Museum. She has served on the DRPS board as Secretary.
President – elect
Heather Mergenthaler, Community Services Coordinator, New Castle County
For eleven years Heather has worked as a community service coordinator for New Castle County Government During her first 10 years she worked in the Sports office and was responsible for developing, implementing and overseeing youth camps, afterschool and adaptive programs. This past September she transitioned to new locations at the Hockessin and Appoquinimink Community Recreation Centers. In her new position she oversees these recreation centers and implements programs for active adults and the 55+ population.
Mika Drake, Assistant Park Superintendent, Fort Delaware State Park
In April 2018, Mika celebrated her 5th year anniversary with DE State Parks after making the transition from Vermont State Parks, where she worked for 4 years prior. Her career with Parks began while she was in college in Vermont. Mika quickly feil in love with the Parks System-concepts from school made sense and she felt like she belonged to a community of like-minded people who wanted to inspire people to reconnect with the unique natural resources within their home state. When she is not out in the park for work Mika enjoys walking her dog Suki with her husband on the trails of White Clay Creek.
Chris Natrin, Maintenance Supervisor, New Castle County
After Delcastle high school with my major study in Engine Technology I joined the United States Marine Corp and served as a Combat Engineer. Upon being discharged, end of Contract, I started work at Westwood’s Garden Center in West Chester, Pa I worked mainly with plants and hardscapes and I started doing landscaping, equine, and hay and straw work on the side. Eventually I started a Landscaping and lawn business of my own treating and maintenance of lawns across 2 states. Then in my free time my wife and I started an Equine Boarding facility. In 1999 while picking up some fall winter landscape work, I contracted with New Castle County and came into NCC’s Carousel Park doing Farm maintenance and Ground Maintenance. I enjoyed what I was doing so I folded the landscaping business in 2000 keeping the Horse boarding business until 2009. In 20011 started full time work at New Castle County as a Farm Specialist with a leading roll over the horse operation at Carousel Park till 2009 while in a temporary position. During that time I held the New Castle County positions of Specialist 2, 2001-2007, Crew Chief 1 2007 to 2016, Property Maintenance Technician 2016 to Present. In 2009 I left Carousel Park and transferred to the New Castle County Churchman’s road building managing groups of landscaping crews, both employed by NCC and those Contracted by NCC. I feel the Delaware Recreation and Parks Society is a great benefit for all parks professionals and I hope to contribute more to this group.
Grant Melville, Park Superintendent, Cape Henelopen State Park
Grant Melville is the Park Superintendent ofCape Henlopen State Park. Cape Henlopen State Park consists of over 5,000 acres including over 4 miles of beaches along the Atlantic, multiple coastal marshes, and dense pineland forest Grant has been with Delaware State Parks for 4 years. Before that Grant worked as an environmental educator for non-profits such as The Marine Science Consortium located outside of Chincoteague, VA, and the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art in Salisbury, MD where he became a Certified Interpreter. Grant has an Environmental Studies degree from the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Grant joined AmeriCorps NCCC and worked with San Diego County Parks and Recreation to rebuild trails damaged after the 2007 wildfires and with Orleans Parish Parks and Recreation to remove non-native species brought into parks after Hurricane Katrina. As a former small group adventure tour guide, Grant loves to travel and has been to almost all of the national parks and 47 states. Grant can bring a lot of experience and insight managing and running large events, as well as working with and leading a variety of groups.
Tom Smith, Park Maintenance, Auburn Valley State Park
Tom has a 22-year maintenance career with Delaware State Parks during which time he helped open two new parks (Wilmington and most recently Auburn Valley State Park). His maintenance experience includes both natural areas and historic sites. Starting his career as a trades helper restoring historic doors and windows at Fort Delaware, he then advanced to a full-time Conservation Technician position at Wilmington State Park. He then moved up to a Physical Plant Trade Mechanic I (facilities) at Killens Pond State Park, climbed the career ladder to a III, before transferring to Fort Delaware on a full-time basis. In 2016 he transferred to Auburn Valley. From athletic fields to historic forts, Tom has a wide array of experiences. His work prior to Delaware State Parks includes cabinetry and countertops, pest control, grain elevator, and factory work. Tom holds a carpentry certificate, 4 years of electrical apprentice, industrial maintenance, waste water operator, and maintenance management certificate [Oglebay].
Tom also is an instructor at Polytech Adult Education, teaching 1st year electrical apprentices, the Delaware custodian course, DelDOT basic electrical class, and he also serves on the Trades Advisory Committee. His occupational licenses include Certified Pesticide, Apprentice Electrician, and Universal Refrigerant Technician. He also previously held Waste Water Operator I certification as well as a Certified Swimming Pool operator. Awards include the 2011 Achievement Award (DRPS) and 2012 Employee Recognition Award (Division of Fish & Wildlife].
Tom got involved with DRPS conference planning in order to help increase maintenance opportunities. He is running for the position because he has a lifelong love or parks and wants to give back by sharing his acquired knowledge. He is retiring from Delaware State Parks in 2020 but wants to continue to contribute his time and talents with DRPS after retirement. His goals include re-engaging with some of the former municipai parks members to help bolster DRPS membership, and continuing to increase the diversity of maintenance offerings provided by DRPS.