Lee Catlin, Assistant to the County Executive, Albemarle County
Where were you born (and raised, if different)?
I was born in Detroit, Michigan, spent my growing up years in the great cities of the Northeast – Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia – before starting high school in Richmond.
When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
I moved to the Charlottesville area in 1984, returning to the mother ship like all good Wahoos try to do, and to have my kids close to grandparents and other family in the immediate vicinity.
What neighborhood do you live in now?
I live downtown, about a mile from the County Office Building, which is incredibly convenient in many ways.
Family (spouse, kids, etc.)?
My husband, Wayne, who also works in the interesting world of local government, and together we have four kids between 24 and 28 years old. We’re also proud owners of perhaps the world’s oldest functional dog, Tilly, a lab mix clocking in at almost 18 years old.
What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I graduated from the University of Virginia in 1979, with degrees in English and Speech Communication.
What were you doing before you came to work for the county?
I worked for the James River Alcohol Safety Action program doing their public information, and prior to that I worked in the Corporate Communications Department of a consulting engineering and architectural firm in Pottstown, PA.
Your job title is Assistant to the County Executive – what, in your own words, would you say you do?
I try to serve as an informative and accessible link between county government and the many external stakeholders we work with and serve, including making sure that citizens are well-informed and able to participate in the issues and topics they are interested in and concerned about. I am also part of the County Executive’s management team so am involved in projects and efforts on a countywide level. My office works to encourage economic vitality by supporting local businesses in their start up, growth and expansion and also looks beyond the immediate boundaries of the county to promote Albemarle and its assets and attributes to prospective businesses and visitors.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
The best part of the job is working with citizens and businesspeople who are passionate about our community and its future, even if they don’t always agree with what the County is doing, but who care enough to get engaged and make a difference. That and working with the local wineries/breweries and food producers – no downside there!
The most difficult part of the job is trying to keep up with the incredible volume of information and communication that modern technology makes possible and feeling like I am being focused and responsive to important issues while also doing the critical day to day work of informing and engaging with the public.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
Hopefully my job helps the average person be aware of what is happening in the County that will affect them and to understand how to be involved in County issues if they choose to do that. Whether by community meetings, website, media, emails, Facebook, whatever the method, my office connects interested residents, businesses and visitors with Albemarle County and the information they are interested in obtaining.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the county?
I have been fortunate to have lots of really interesting work experiences, the filming of the movie Evan Almighty certainly created a lot of very novel situations, as did my first experience in dealing with a major media event – Bufo the killer toad on the loose in Albemarle County – it was a really big story way back in the summer of 1996, the world has changed a lot since then!!
What is a little-known fact about you?
I grew up as a huge Pittsburg Pirate fan, my autograph of Roberto Clemente on a Pirate’s program from 1967 is a prized possession.
What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc.?
Reading, traveling, inviting myself to my kids’ houses to visit, enjoying our amazing local restaurants, grazing at the farmers markets, the list goes on . . .