Staff Spotlight: Park Ranger Mike Gonzalez
Ranger Mike was born in New York. At the age of 15, his family moved to Lehigh Acres, Florida. As a young man he started a career with the Division of Forestry and quickly slid into a position with the Lehigh Acres Fire Department where he served for 28 years until his retirement.
As so many of us do, after retiring he returned to the work force, starting with Division of Forestry. Soon thereafter he found an advertisement for a Park Ranger position at Koreshan State Park and successfully applied. Since he joined the Florida Park Service, he has held several positions: Park Ranger, Interpretive Chair, Safety Officer and Park Service Specialist. What Mike enjoys most about his job is giving settlement tours, participating in the 1929 Fairbanks Morris Diesel engine start-ups and helping visitors.
Mike is also an amateur radio hobbyist and communicates with people all over the world with his ham radio. His furthest radio communication was with someone on Pitcairn Island, one of the most remote places in the world. His affinity for communications has proved invaluable to the park. Mike played a key role in improving and expanding park communications by setting up the park’s WIFI repeater and programming the park radios with all the D-4 park channels and pertinent fire channels.
Teamwork and the camaraderie of the staff at Koreshan is what Mike values most about working for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.