Dr. Michael Dreikorn
MY LEE COUNTY LIFE
I moved to Lee County in 2004, six months before Hurricane Charley decided to visit our community. Living in northern Pine Island, in Bokeelia, and along with the other Lee County Islands, we saw some of the hardest impacts of the hurricane. I lost my house, boat, and most of my personal possessions, but still believed that our area represented something unique in America and I was determined to stay and rebuild; and, I did. In the process, I gained first-hand experience as to the challenges of coastal living and insurance in SWFL, as well as, an appreciation for the resilience of those who live here.
As Pine Island is unincorporated, our governmental representation is primarily through the Lee County County Board of Commissioners, as well as, through our independent fire control district (MPIFCD). In addition to formal government, our island community also has several civic associations, representing the major enclaves. In 2007, I was elected to the position of President of the Bokeelia Civic Association, a position I continue to hold today. In addition to many local issues such as the development of boat launches and sidewalks, I have actively engaged with issues related to land-use planning and policy.
It had never been my intent to run for political office, but in 2014 I decided that I was tired of yelling at an unresponsive TV, and threw my hat into the Congressional Special Election. I have to say, despite being out-spent by very significant margins, I held my own and turned out a respectful showing. I found two things through that process, everybody can make a difference if they wanted to, and... I wanted to. I immediately jumped into the Florida State Senate race, returning 42% of the vote. Even though I lost both of my initial
elections, I found my voice and was using it to advocate for civic issues that I believed in. The day after my Senate loss, I was standing in front of the Lee County School District Board, as I had often before, advocating for the removal of Common Core from our schools. My civic activism continues in advocating for veterans, clean water, public safety, and several other issues.
In 2015, I was appointed to fill a vacated seat on the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control Board (MPIFCD), and shortly thereafter on the community-owned island water utility, Greater Pine Island Water Association. I have been subsequently reelected to both of those positions and currently serve as the vice-chair for the fire district. It has been an absolute delight and honor to serve with both of these agencies, as they serve the people at the most local of levels. As a community leadership team, we have upgraded much of our water service infrastructure and done so utilizing processes of measured priority. We have also increased the bench strength of both agencies, by emphasizing employee development and rewarding employees for their increased value to the community. One of the accomplishments I am most proud, is the construction of fire station number 4, which increases emergency response capabilities to Matlacha and parts of Cape Coral. That was only made possible with the support of our community.
Since I found my public voice, I have made good use of it and intend to continue to do so. Whether it’s offering up a bucket-list motorcycle ride to an elderly citizen, standing on bridges with signs for a just cause, or authoring proposed legislation to address our at-risk veterans (Camo Alert), I continue to engage because I want to and because I know if I don’t it might not get done. Civic engagement is an important principle for me, one I hope to continue as your Lee County District 1 County Commissioner.
THE REST OF MY STORY...
I am originally from Southern California, and grew up during interesting times (60's-70's). Joining the U.S. Army at the age of 18, I was afforded the opportunity for education and practical experience, but more importantly, the opportunity to serve. Responding to what I felt was my call to service, I joined the Army days after Iran took our embassy in 1979. Spending more than 7 years in Army helicopter operations in West Germany, at the height of the cold war, I spent much time living in tents near the Czechoslovakian and East German borders. Unfortunately, an injury took me out of the game, otherwise I am confident I would have made a career of the military.
Returning to civilian life, I chose to apply my knowledge of military equipment as a profession and went to work for several of the large aerospace companies. Starting as a quality engineer, I seized opportunities of advancement that gave rise to positions of increased responsibility, and lived across the USA and around the world, eventually becoming an executive at Pratt & Whitney. Just prior to Pratt, I worked at the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington DC as the Assistant Division Manager for Production and Airworthiness, establishing national policy and managing national oversight of our civil aviation manufacturing industry. In 2002, my years of private and public sector experience readied me to start my own aerospace engineering and consulting firm, which I still run today.
Educationally, I am a product of Governor Reagan’s public school system. Through my own motivation, I have been able to parallel process my advanced education while working and raising a family. My thirst for continued learning will never end, and I am proud to say I paid for every bit of my education myself (of course I leveraged student loans that have been paid back). I hold several degrees and professional certifications, including:
Doctorate of Education in Human Resource and Organizational Development; The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. (2009)
UTC Executive Program (Certificate); Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA (2002)
Masters of Science in Management; Friends University, Wichita, KS (1994)
Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL (1988)
And, I have written several books on leadership and management, as well as, numerous professional journal articles. In my current role, I frequently consult to companies and governments on issues of aviation safety and process improvement. Taking on challenging and complex issues is my every day, and I thrive on the mission to make a difference.
All that being said, I have balance in my life through working on my properties, gardening, playing with my dogs, riding my motorcycles, tinkering on my antique cars, spending time in and on the waters of SWFL, traveling, and loving my family with all my heart.
My life story has been exciting, and I am hoping to add to the richness of my story as your county commissioner.