Communication Builds Our Community

Ken Suarez Comes to Lake Wales

Former Television Journalist Hired to Produce Informational Videos for City

A face and voice familiar to most Polk County residents will soon be sharing lots of information about Lake Wales as Ken Suarez begins his duties.

No stranger to the camera, the long-time Tampa Bay-area broadcaster recently left his full-time job as a television journalist to begin serving the City of Lake Wales as part-time host of a video series about events in the area.

Suarez worked for years at WINK TV in Fort Myers before moving into the Tampa market almost 35 years ago, first at WTOG 44, before spending 25 years at Fox 13. He is excited about the opportunity to share with Lake Wales residents.

Suarez attended Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania before obtaining his master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University in New York. Having covered a multitude of stories in Lake Wales over the past 24 years, Suarez said he looks forward to becoming involved with the city on a deeper level. He expressed admiration for the ongoing Lake Wales Connected and Lake Wales Envisioned projects.

"I've done all these stories about Lake Wales getting bigger," Suarez told Lake Wales News, "but if you set the course now, you're going to shape it. The potential is so great."

Suarez recently completed his first video production, working with Communications Department Director Eric Marshall, explaining the city's ongoing water line replacement effort. Others underway include topics such as the new CRA community garden, designed to help alleviate a "food desert" in the Northwest Neighborhood..

"I'm thrilled to be part of a dynamic team to help Lake Wales reach its potential to become an even more vibrant and special place than it is now," Suarez said.

Suarez, a self-described "animal freak," keeps a small menagerie at his residence in the Dover community east of Tampa, which includes his prized collection of 70 parrots. He has eight different species of the colorful birds, and also keeps two miniature stallions, a Percheron draft horse, a goat, a duck, and a Sulcata tortoise, also known as an African Spurred tortoise.

"I'm the ringmaster," he says of opportunities to show off his horses and other animals.

Suarez had previously reported on a Sulcata tortoise that was donated to McLaughlin Middle/High School. "I told (school principal) Debra Wright-Hudson that when I die or get put in a home, I'm donating mine to the school" so they'll have a pair, he said. The animals at McLaughlin are raised and nurtured by students, strengthening emotional bonds among students.

"There are a lot of strong spirited people in Lake Wales doing amazing things for each other and the community," said city spokesman Eric Marshall. He explained that the communications strategy for the City is to inform, engage and connect with citizens.

"Ken has a great ability to connect with people, and he's going to help us propel these stories forward," Marshall added.


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