Dirk Gleysteen, age 50, grew up in Rockville, MD, just outside of Washington D.C. He attended Villanova University where he graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. Dirk has been involved with manufacturing his entire working life, starting with his first job in oil and gas in Northern Texas and then soap and detergent with Lever Brothers in Baltimore.
Dirk met his wife, Diana in Baltimore. They have 3 children, Tara and John in Milford High School and Angela in the Milford Academy. In 2001 Dirk opened Delmarva Plastics Co., an engineering thermoplastics (pellets) business, manufacturing and distributing plastic materials. The family is members of St. John’s Catholic Church and Dirk is a member of the Milford-Mispillion Rotary Club, and am a Paul Harris Fellow.
Q. Why are you running for Milford City Council?
A. I’ve decided to run because I have an ongoing commitment to serve the town of Milford. I have served on the Planning and Zoning Commission since 2007, and am ready to serve Milford at a higher level of responsibility.
Q. What do you see as the future of Milford?
A. I see Milford’s future as a dynamic mix of old and new. We all enjoy Milford’s charm as a small town community, rich in heritage and potentially full of opportunities. The challenge facing the town is how to control growth, both residential and business, at the same time maintaining the small town, close knit community atmosphere which attracts us here. I believe in property rights, tempered however by both the surrounding zoning of proposed development, and the impact on the neighbors of proposed development as supported by the concerns and comments of those affected. We do need to grow, and control that growth, or we will stagnate and our local economy will begin to decline. It’s critical for Milford to develop and promote our natural assets and resources, so that future generations have the same and potentially better opportunities here than we have enjoyed. I look forward to working with the Economic Development Committee, the Chamber of Commerce, and DMI in promoting all aspects of our town.
Q. What needs to be improved?
A. My first thought when asked what needs to be improved would be something along the lines that I like Milford just the way it is, don’t change anything. But I know that is not realistic as there is always room for improvement. The basics, such as the safety of our citizens are always job 1. Secondly, we can’t grow if we don’t maintain our infrastructure. I applaud the city for being proactive and repairing/replacing the decaying sewer lines. What I see as the area for greatest improvement is how we promote existing business in Milford, and how we attract new business. For instance, Milford can be more than a pit stop for vacationers heading to the beaches, but they have to know what is here and have a reason to do more than get a tank of gas. We can do a better job of promoting our heritage and culture to make Milford an enjoyable day trip from the beaches. This will take a team effort with the City Council in partnership with the Chamber and DMI. The establishment of the Economic Development Committee is a great start. I’m proud that Milford was able to attract the Veteran’s Home and be home to an excellent Boy’s and Girl’s club facility. We need to continue the trend, think big, outside the box, and always look for opportunities to promote Milford as a great place for business. Often, it just takes a phone call.
Q. What would you like to accomplish over your next term?
A. During my term, I would work to promote existing business in Milford. The issue we face is how to keep and attract good paying jobs. It’s a moving target, but as a community our goal should be that everyone who wants a job has one, and if they wish it is in Milford! I believe that I can contribute to the Economic Development Committee with my background in manufacturing. Our local economy seems to be on the right track with health care, service, and retail jobs, but manufacturing has been on the decline for years. If we put a focus on that, where there is significant opportunity, we can attract solid blue collar and white collar jobs. I’m also concerned in keeping Milford a beautiful city. There are several vacant store fronts in Milford. The Economic Development Committee could be a resource in finding tenants and help us avoid the small town “urban blight”. There are also several residences that are eyesores. I am interested in learning more about code enforcement to address these issues, with a minimal intrusion on homeowners’ rights. On another topic, electric rates are a huge issue for many Milford residents. I will work with the Council to explore all opportunities and efficiencies. We should strive to have the lowest cost electric rates in the state. Not only great for our residents, but great for business too.
Q. Why should residents of Milford vote for you?
A. Residents of the 2nd Ward should vote for me for a few reasons. Having served on the Planning and Zoning Commission for 4 years now, I’m well versed in these issues, which are an integral part of the City Council’s responsibilities. In serving on the Commission, I have good working relationships already with members of the City Council and the Mayor. I bring a different background and experience with manufacturing, which is unique on the Council. Being a small businessman, I’ve worked with DNREC and DELDOT for permitting issues, which are important aspects in getting many businesses off the ground. With my background, I believe I can help facilitate both keeping and attracting good paying jobs to Milford. Most importantly, I’m a fiscal conservative, and will make sure our tax dollars are well spent.