Illinois Park & Recreation Magazine - People and Places
The Des Plaines Park District is
pleased to announce the hiring of Chris Leiner as Assistant Superintendent of
Parks and Planning,
Leiner comes to Des Plaines with twelve years of experience as the Revenue
Facilities Maintenance and Operations Manager for the Park District of Oak
responsibilities include managing the full time and seasonal park staff as well
as planning and overseeing the maintenance, repair and upkeep of all park
district facilities, parks, ball fields, golf courses, and pools, to ensure
they are functioning according to District standards. "Leiner is perfectly suited to step into this
position because of his strong background coordinating the needs of different Park District
departments, along with his risk management experience, his expertise in systems
and operations, and the training of facility maintenance staff,” said
Paul Cathey, Superintendent of Parks and Planning. "His years managing the
maintenance of revenue generating facilities, and developing and implementing quality
control practices make him a perfect fit here in Des Plaines.”
Desiree van Thorre Promoted to human resources & risk manager
The Des Plaines Park
District announced today that Desiree van Thorre has been promoted to the position
of Human Resources and Risk Manager, effective September 30. Van Thorre
graduated from Purdue University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in
Management and an Associate of Science Degree in Technology, with minors in
Organizational Behavior/Human Resources and Psychology.She began her
career at the Des Plaines Park District as the Aquatics and Youth Programs Supervisor
with over five years of on-the-job experience at the Park Ridge Park District. Since March of 2011, she has managed Iroquois and
Chippewa neighborhood pools and Mystic Waters Family Aquatic Center during the
summer, overseeing a staff of 200.
Holly Cabel has been named director of
parks and recreation for the St. Charles Park District.
Cabel has served as the
District’s superintendent of recreation for eight years, assistant superintendent
of recreation for five years and a recreation supervisor the previous four
As Superintendent of Recreation,
Cabel’s responsibilities included management of the recreation budget, which includes
1,500 annual programs and a multitude of services at Pottawatomie Community
Center, Otter Cove Aquatic Park, Swanson Swimming Pool, River View Miniature
Golf Course and the STC Underground Teen Center.
Cabel has been directly involved in
the District’s facility and park improvement projects, most recently the
construction and grand openings of Otter Cove Aquatic Park and Hickory Knolls
Discovery Center and the renovation of Swanson Swimming Pool in 2011.
Cabel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree
in elementary education from the University of Iowa in 1992. She is in the
process of acquiring a Masters in Public Administration.
Decatur Park District
Announces Director of Operations
The Decatur Park District
is pleased to announce the promotion of Ryan Raleigh to director of operations.
During his 11-year tenure at the Decatur Park District, Ryan has served as risk
manager and human resources manager. Prior to these roles, he was corporate
safety manager at K’s Merchandise (Decatur, IL) shared safety coordinator at
Bloomingdale, Itasca, Wood Dale, and Medinah Park Districts, and loss control
consultant at Loss Control Services (Davenport, IA). He holds a bachelor’s
degree in occupational safety from Illinois State University and serves as
chairperson of the PDRMA claims committee and member of the PDRMA risk
management committee. In his new position, Ryan will oversee the Park District’s
maintenance, construction, electrical, fleet, safety and horticulture staffs.
Champaign Park District Executive Director
The Champaign Park District announces the
retirement of Bobbie Herakovich, as its executive director. Bobbie has served
as executive director for the last 12 years.
Achievements by the
Champaign Park District under Herakovich’s leadership include building a new
Sholem Aquatic Center, renovating the historic Virginia Theatre, development of
five new parks, construction of 15 miles of trails, restoration of over 35 acres
of prairie, and success in many programs that promote fun and healthy
lifestyles. The Champaign Parks Foundation was also created and has helped to
add to the quality of life of Champaign residents, neighborhoods, and the city
through generous donors. Bobbie has worked in local
government for over 39 years throughout her career.
Winnetka Park District Announces Retirement of Dr.
Terry G. Schwartz
the past four years, the Winnetka Park District has been fortunate to be guided
by the professional leadership of executive director, Dr. Terry G. Schwartz;
therefore it is with sadness that the Board of Commissioners announces his
his tenure at the Winnetka Park District he has led the District through
agency-wide business plans, the current strategic plan, Gold LEED Certified
Parks Service Center completion, Intergovernmental Cooperation Award with the
Village of Winnetka through the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD),
Parks Service Center Outstanding Facility and Parks Award from the Illinois
Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA), IPRA/IAPD Distinguished Accredited
Agency Award and more.
has recently been elected into the
American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA). Terry
has also served as director of the Glen Ellyn Park District and the South
Barrington Park District, revenue facilities superintendent of the Arlington
Heights Park District and superintendent of recreation for the Champaign Park
Donald W. Burns age 78 late of
Tinley Park, IL formerly of Oak Forest, IL and Chicago "East Side". Korean War
Veteran. Don retired from Local 17, and from the Oak Forest Police Dept. He was
very active in the Oak Forest Community, serving as an elected official on the
Park District, director of the Park District, vice president of the Oak Forest
Baseball Association, founding member of Oak Forest Flag Football League, president
of the Gingerwood Homeowner Association, alderman of the 3rd Ward in Oak Forest
for 8 years, served on the Executive Board of Illinois Association Park
Districts in 1991. Don also volunteered countless hours as a coach for a
variety of sports, member of St. Damian Men's Club, and a member of the Mason
David James (Jim) Brademas, Ph.D., 83 passed away on August
19, 2013. After the Navy, Jim spent the next five years at the University of
Illinois Urbana-Champaign, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1954 and a master’s
degree in 1955, both in recreation, sport and tourism management.
Upon his return to the U.S. in 1956, he was
appointed the first superintendent of recreation for the Rockford, IL Park
District. He returned to the University of Illinois as a doctoral student,
earning his Ph.D. in recreation management in 1976. He stayed at the University
and taught for 26 years. In 1982, he was elected as a member of the American
Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. In 2005, he was selected as one
of the American Academy Legends for having made outstanding contributions to
the field of Parks and Recreation. Jim was honored with the Charles K.
Brightbill Alumnus Award in 2010 for his scholarship and leadership in Parks
Grove Park District is pleased to announce the appointment of Ben Curcio as the
director of parks and planning.
been the superintendent of parks and facilities for the Elk Grove Park District
since 2011. He has a bachelor of science
degree in recreation administration from Eastern Illinois University in 1997
and his masters of public administration from Roosevelt University in 2002. His
previous work in the field of recreation includes superintendant of parks and facilities
at Barrington Park District and the director of operations at Lake Barrington
Park District of Oak Park Announces Staff Changes
Mitch Bowlin has been named the new Finance Manager
for the Park District of Oak Park. Mitch started his career at IPRA in
2010, and is now returning to Parks and Recreation after a brief stint in the
private sector. Mitch has been tasked with cash handling, book keeping,
financial reporting, overseeing payroll and payables, along with aiding in the
budget and audit processes.
Mitch graduated with an MBA in Finance from North Central
College in 2013.
Kyle Cratty joined the Park District of Oak Park in
2010 serving as the Finance Manager. In that role, Kyle managed the
day-to-day financial activities for the Park District including general ledger
maintenance, investing, and oversight of accounts payable and payroll. In
May of 2013, Kyle was promoted to the Director of Finance where he is
responsible for annual budget, audit, and tax levy. Kyle is a graduate of
St. Ambrose University with bachelor degrees in Economics and Finance and
Northern Illinois University with a Master’s in Public
Maureen McCarthy has been named Superintendent of
Recreation for the Park District of Oak Park. Maureen’s responsibilities
include administrative planning and management of the overall operation of the
recreation department. Including sports, fitness, childcare, day camp,
family activities, teens and more. Maureen has spent the last 23 years
working for YMCA’s in Florida, Wisconsin and the Chicago land area. Most
recently she was the Senior Executive Director of programming for the YMCA of
Metropolitan Chicago and prior to that the Executive Director of the Elmhurst
Mike Mockler has been named Program Supervisor-Sports
for the Park District of Oak Park. Mike's responsibilities will include youth
and adult athletic programming including leagues, classes, and camps. Most
recently, he was the Athletic Supervisor at the Itasca Park District and prior
to that, he was the Youth Athletics Coordinator for the Park District of Oak
Park. Mike is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a bachelor
degree in Recreation, Sport and Tourism.
Announces Selection of the Next Executive Director
The Des Plaines Park District has
announced the selection of their next Executive Director by the Park Board of
Commissioners. Mr. Don Miletic, the current Superintendent of Business &
Golf Operations, was appointed to a newly created position of Assistant
Executive Director at the Park Board meeting on June 18. "The Park Board has
taken a proactive approach to the succession process, which is clearly in the
best interest of the District. We are very pleased that Mr. Miletic has
accepted the new position, and we’re confident that this will provide the
District with the consistently fine leadership we have all come to expect,”
said Park Board President Joe Weber.
IN MEMORIAM: RALPH
Cianchetti, 87, US Army WII Purple Heart
veteran, former board member of Highland Park District and former board member
NE Illinois Agency of Aging, passed away peacefully June 25, 2013.
Beloved husband of the late
Barbara Cianchetti (nee Harris); loving father
of Carrie Cianchetti of Oakland, CA and Angela
(Len) Krietz of Chicago; proud grandfather of Michelle (Don) McKinney and Eric
and Daniel Krietz; dear brother of Sam (Marilyn) Cianchetti.
was a Highland Park High School English teacher, golf coach, faculty advisor to
the yearbook, past president of the Illinois Association of Park Districts,
former trustee (9years) of the National Recreation and Park Association, in
addition to being heavily involved with the State of IL Commission on Aging and
the Holiday Meals on Wheels program. Ralph will be dearly missed.
Geneva Park District Announces Staff Additions and Promotions
Nicole Vickers (promoted)
Nicole Vickers is the new
Superintendent of Recreation for the Geneva Park District. As
Superintendent, Nicole oversees all aspects of the recreation department,
facilities and marketing department.
Nicole started at the Geneva Park District in 2004 as the Aquatic/Recreation
Coordinator and in 2008 was promoted to Facility Manager.
Mike Younie (new
Mike Younie joined Geneva
Park District in May 2013, as the new Director of Facilities. He is
responsible for the planning, coordination and supervision of Sunset Community
Center, Sunset Racquetball and Fitness Center, Stephen D. Persinger Recreation
Center and Sunset Pool. Mike previously worked for Fox Valley Special
Recreation Association as their Senior Manager and has 10 years of experience
in park and recreation field.
Matt Netrefa (promoted)
Matt Netrefa joined the
Geneva Park District in 2008 and previously held the position of Recreation
Coordinator and has since worked with their before/after school program, summer
camps, birthday parties and teen programs. In 2013, he was promoted to
Recreation Supervisor, where he is responsible for supervising the before/after
school program, pre-school, camps, birthday parties, teen programs, and summer
Jan Parcell (new
Jan Parcell joined Geneva
Park District in August of 2008 as a site coordinator for the new
before-and-after school program. In 2010, she developed and supervised the
KinderZone program, a before-and-after school program designed specifically for
the Kindergarten student. In February of 2013, Jan became the Recreation
Coordinator. As a Recreation Coordinator she is responsible for supervising all
before-and-after school programs, summer camp, and various other events.
Medinah Park District announces the retirement of Tom Connolly, CPRP, as its
During his tenure of
more than 20 years, the Park District acquired 35 acres of open space through
donations and grants, completed a 5 acre wetland restoration using a developer
mitigation grant, added new facilities and amenities to the park system,
renovated and expanded its recreation center and increased program and service
holds BS and MS degrees from Indiana University. Beginning in 1973, he worked for the Cary Park
District, the Peoria Association for People with Disabilities, the Northeast
DuPage Special Recreation Association, and the South Suburban Special
Recreation Association, prior to joining the Medinah Park District in 1992. From 1985 to 1990, he served as a freelance
writer/photographer/consultant for more than 25 park districts, school
districts, special recreation associations, and non-profit organizations.
active professional, Tom was president of the Special Recreation Associations
of Northern Illinois (SRANI), served on the ITRS Board of Directors, chaired
the IPRA Awards & Recognitions Committee, and served as a member of the
NEDSRA Board of Trustees for over 20 years.
Glen Ellyn Park District
announces new Facility Manager and Aquatic & Fitness Facility Supervisor
The Glen Ellyn Park District Welcomes Sean Nelson as its New Facility
He will be overseeing Ackerman
Sports & Fitness Center and Sunset Pool. Nelson holds a Bachelor of Arts
with a concentration in Marketing and Public Relations from Louisiana State
University. For the past 14 years, he has worked at YMCAs in DuPage and McHenry
counties, including B.R. Ryall in Glen Ellyn. His most recent position was with
the Sage YMCA in Crystal Lake as Executive Director, where he managed more than
100 full and part-time staff while coordinating a $19 million capital campaign
to build a new facility.
Anne Bennett has Been Hired as Aquatic & Fitness Facility
Assisting Nelson in the management
of Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center and Sunset Pool is a lifelong Glen
Ellyn resident, Anne Bennett. Her experience at GEPD began as a summer
lifeguard and swim instructor in high school and college. She went on to earn a
degree in Recreation and Park Administration from Illinois State University.
While a student, she interned at GEPD. She has held supervisory positions in
aquatics and facilities at Barlett, Itasca and Roselle park districts, hiring,
training and managing staff, swim lessons, concessions, rentals and parties. In
addition to assisting at Ackerman, Bennett will oversee Sunset Pool during the
Oakbrook Terrace Park District Welcomes New Recreation
The Oakbrook Terrace Park District
has named, Hannah Boehm, as the Recreation Supervisor. Hannah is a 2011 graduate from Illinois State
University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation and
Park Administration. She is responsible
for the Before & After School Program, Day Camps, Adult Athletics, Special
Events and programming for Youth, Teens, and Adults. Hannah is a resident of Homewood,
Itasca Park District
Welcomes New Recreation Supervisor
Katie Mendez is the Itasca Park District’s new Recreation
Supervisor. Katie holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from
Illinois State University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Resort &
Hospitality Management from Florida Gulf Coast University.
of McHenry County Conservation District Elected Vice Chair of
Regional Conservation Alliance
Chicago, IL—The Chicago Wilderness alliance announced today that
Elizabeth S. Kessler, Executive Director of the McHenry County Conservation
District, has been elected as its new Vice Chair. Chicago Wilderness is a regional alliance of
more than 300 organizations working to protect land, water and wildlife in our
In her role as
Vice Chair, Kessler will work with conservation, government and corporate
leaders to develop and guide regional conservation initiatives. She has been
active in the Chicago Wilderness alliance since 2006.
currently a member of the American Academy for Park & Recreation
Administrators and Ex-Officio Director of the McHenry County Conservation
Foundation. Kessler holds an MBA with distinction from the Keller
Graduate School of Management and is a certified park and recreation
Charles Park District Board of Commissioners Welcomes Brian Charles
Charles resident Brian Charles was
elected to the St. Charles Park District Board of Commissioners. Charles
manages manage Dell’s Mobility Solutions practice in the Americas, providing
mobile application-engineering and business-consulting technology services to
large enterprise customers.
are elected to four-year terms. This governing body is responsible for, among
other things, passing ordinances, adopting the budget, appointing committees,
and hiring the Park District Executive Director.
Wood Dale Park District
Announces New Executive Director
Ellmann has been named executive director of the Wood Dale Park District. As executive
director, Matthew will lead the agency through strategic planning for the
future while managing the day to day operations. Most recently, Matthew
was the superintendent of recreation with the Park District of Oak Park serving
in that capacity for over 8 years and leading the reorganization process of the
Recreation Department. Prior to Oak Park, Matt was the executive director
of the Park District of LaGrange and before that, the Warrenville Park
District. Matt received his bachelor’s degree from George Williams
College in Leisure Education Recreation Administration. Matt is
passionate about people and the profession.
District Announces Two Staff Changes
Rita Kruse was Announced
as the Director of Finance
The Batavia Park District recently ended an extensive
search for a new Director of Finance after the position was vacated in
November. The position is crucial to the park district due to its role with
budgeting, tax levies and payroll, and therefore, the task of finding a
replacement was not taken lightly.
Executive Director Allison Niemela announced that Rita
Kruse of Aurora had accepted the position. Kruse comes from the Village of Addison as the Assistant
Finance Director. Prior to that, she held a position as an Accounting Manager
with the Village of Downers Grove. Government experience was crucial in the
selection of a new Director of Finance for the park district. With nearly 10
years of experience in government finance and a strong financial background,
Kruse was an ideal fit.Kruse is a Certified Public Accountant and has a Master’s
Degree in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University.
Kari Miller was Promoted
to Director of Marketing and Public Relations
She oversees the marketing and public relations
department consisting of seven employees. Additional responsibilities include
being the webmaster for the district and developing and maintaining
comprehensive marketing plans and promotions for all recreation programs,
special events, the Depot Museum and the Hall Quarry Beach. She is in charge of
the District’s communications including publications, email blasts, video
productions, social media and public relations campaigns.
Miller joined the Batavia Park District in 2008 and holds
a Bachelor of Science degree from Bradley University with a major in
communications and has nine years of public relations experience. Miller was
promoted by Allison Niemela, the former Director of Marketing and Public
Relations who recently was promoted to Executive Director. The promotion will
be a smooth transition for the district. "Kari is one of the fastest rising
stars I’ve encountered, always looking out for the best interest of the
District,” said Niemela. "She is very talented and deserving of this
Arlington Heights Park District Announces Retirements
Huckstadt, Director of Park and Planning retires from Arlington Heights Park
has been a dedicated employee for seventeen years, beginning April 1, 1996.
He will be retiring June 28, 2013. During his tenure, Brian managed
a full-time staff of 44 and 35 part-time staff, overseeing 58 parks totaling
715.98 acres and was instrumental in administering capital projects of over $50
million and overseeing $5,647,000 in local, state and federal grant money for
the District. Brian was a pivotal member of the Memorial Park Drive to
Revive Committee dedicated to redesigning and reconstructing a central plaza to
honor the sacrifice of veterans. Additionally, Brian forged partnerships
with the Villages of Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect and many
others. His broad base of experiences, exceptional administrative
abilities and commitment to maintaining high standards of professionalism to
the District and the community will be missed. The Arlington Heights Park
District thanks Brian and wishes him and his family the best for their future.
Robert E. Smith has served as a commissioner of the Arlington Heights
Park District for sixteen years, and served with distinction as President of
the Board of Commissioners for two terms and as Vice-President for two terms.
He has been active in the advancement of parks and recreation on a state
level by serving in 2004 as sergeant-at-arms and in 2005 as trustee on the
Illinois Association of Park Districts’ (IAPD) Board of Trustees. During
his tenure, he was instrumental in the District acquiring over 19 acres of land
valued at $7,450,000 - and over $5,647,000 in local, state, and federal grant
money for the District. He was a founder of the Arlington Heights Park
Foundation and served on its board until 2003.
Robert L. Whisler served as a commissioner of the Arlington Heights
Park District for thirteen years,and served with distinction as President of
the Board of Commissioners for three terms. His expertise in the area of
business and real estate assisted staff in the purchase of numerous properties
for the expansion of District parks and/or operations. A life-long
resident of Arlington Heights, Whisler also played an active role as a member
of the Arlington Heights Rotary Club, president of the Arlington Baseball
Boosters, and coach for over 20 years of the Arlington Heights American Legion
Glencoe Park District Welcomes New
The Glencoe Park District is
pleased to announce that Lisa Sheppard has been hired as the new executive director.
With a comprehensive professional background and positive energy, she is a great
addition to the Park District family.
Lisa comes to Glencoe with over
20 years of experience in the field of parks and recreation. She holds a
bachelor’s degree in recreation management from Carthage College. Her work resume
is extensive, with experience in all
major disciplines of the district including recreation, facility and parks
management, public relations, marketing, and fiscal management. Lisa
spent the past 15 years as Superintendent of Recreation at the Gurnee Park
District. In addition to her broad work experience, Lisa is an active
professional in the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA).
Vernon Hills Park District Announces New Hires
Jessica Mitchell, Administrative Assistant
Jessica graduated from Northwood University of Midland,
Michigan in May 2007 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a
major focus in Sport, Entertainment, and Promotion Management. She was employed
by the Waukegan Park District from June 2008 to March 2013 as a Recreation
Specialist for Adult Programs and Services. Jessica joined the Vernon Hills
Park District’s Administrative team in March, 2013.
Randy Kopeloff, IT Coordinator
Randy is pursuing his Associates in Science degree at Oakton
Community College. He has worked at the YMCA previously for 8 years (in various
positions such as camp counselor, front desk, and child care) with the past 3
years working directly with technology (network management, website, and
database management . Randy joined the Vernon Hills Park District
in the new position of IT Coordinator in January, 2013.
Matt LaPorte, Lakeview
Fitness Center Facility Supervisor
Matt has a BS in Recreation Management and Policy from the
University of New Hampsire. Matt’s career has been focused in general and
therapeutic recreation. He has supported outdoor recreation programs for
persons with disabilities in addition to being the Sports Director for a local
YMCA in Boston, MA. He was the Recreation Coordinator for the City of
Greenwood Village, CO, and in 2007, became the Erie Parks and Recreation’s
first General Programs Coordinator, overseeing youth and family programming,
outdoor adventure programs, and camps. Matt accepted the position with the
Vernon Hills Park District because he was ready to grow in a new direction
within the recreation field. The timing to join the Park District was
perfect for him and his family to move to Illinois.
Shaw has been appointed to the position of director of
recreation for the Calumet Park Recreation Department.
began working for the Department in 2007, specializing in outdoor maintenance
and gradually rising to the rank of recreation supervisor in 2010. From that
point on, Jonathan began to understand and appreciate the positive effects the
parks and recreation experience had upon the participants of the Department’s
programs and the people of Calumet
Park. As director,
Jonathan will lead the Department with policy construction, youth development,
and the overhaul of the Department’s programming and operations. Jonathan is an
active member of organizations such as NRPA, IPRA, SSPRPA, and is currently on
track to attain his CPRP certification in 2014.
Erik Jakubowski has
been selected to serve as Superintendent of Park Services at the Crystal Lake
Erik has an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in
Horticulture and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He has
worked for the Crystal Lake Park District since 2001, most recently in the
position of Turf and Irrigation Crew Leader. His responsibilities as the
Superintendent of Park Services include the development, renovation and
maintenance of all grounds, buildings, and park facilities in the Crystal Lake
Park District. In addition, Erik will manage and supervise all full-time and
part-time personnel in the planning and coordination of both in-house and
contracted maintenance tasks and capital improvement projects.
Honors Former Commissioner John "Jack” Kerr
The St. Charles Park District hosted a dedication
ceremony to honor former commissioner John "Jack” Kerr in Pottawatomie Park. Jack,
who passed away on July 2, 2012, had been very involved in the Fox Valley
community since moving there in 1985 from Marietta, Ga., with his wife of 52
years, Mary Neder Kerr.
For Jack’s 25 years of service and dedication to the Park
District, the Park Board will commemorate the walkway along the shores of the
Fox River by the historic pavilion in Pottawatomie Park to be named the John
"Jack” Kerr Walkway.
Much was accomplished during Jack’s tenure. Jack was an
advocate for the acquisition of open space, improvement to existing facilities
and development of new properties. Jack was instrumental in the Park District
winning the National Gold Medal Award in 1998. During his time on the board,
more than 1,000 acres of land used for parks and open space were acquired. Two
successful referendums were passed which paved the way for the acquisition of
open space, development of Primrose Farm, two major sports complexes, construction
of an aquatic park, nature center and miles of bike path. Jack’s passion was aquatics, specifically the
renovation of the 70-year-old Swanson Pool in Pottawatomie Park. Amy Wilson joins Western DuPage
Special Recreation Association (WDSRA) as a Program Supervisor
With a degree in Music Therapy, Wilson will oversee cultural arts, music and cooking programs. In
addition, she will be responsible for several social clubs, some special events
and day camps. Her responsibilities include planning engaging activities,
creating modifications for participants as needed and supervising part-time
Wilson’s areas of expertise include: delivering music
lessons to children and music therapy to seniors, adapting music instruction in
order to accommodate individuals with special needs, music and wellness,
goal-oriented therapy, and behavior modification. She has a Music
Therapy degree from Illinois State University and is a Board-Certified Music
Klimek Honored for 24 Years of Service to St. Charles Park District
At a retirement reception for Park Commissioner Gloria
Klimek, the St. Charles Park District named the exhibit hall at Hickory Knolls
Discovery Center in recognition of Klimek’s 24 years as an elected official.
She has worked tirelessly with her fellow commissioners and Park District staff
members to acquire and improve parks, natural areas, athletic facilities and
the variety of recreational programs offered to Park District residents.
Klimek has been an active
environmentalist and enthusiastic community volunteer. She strongly encouraged
the Park District to take a proactive approach in partnering with local and
regional public agencies to offer outstanding and innovative environmental
education and conservation programs. She was an advocate for the removal of
invasive non-native plant materials in St. Charles’ remaining natural areas,
the establishment of an arboretum at Mt. St. Mary Park and the development of
the Native Plant Demonstration Garden in Pottawatomie Park. During Gloria’s tenure,
construction took place of Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, a LEED certified
facility and the first of its kind in Kane County.
Itasca Park District welcomes
New Athletic Supervisor
Mike Mockler is the Itasca Park
District’s new Athletic Supervisor. Mike comes to Itasca from the Park District
of Oak Park where he was the Youth Athletics Coordinator. Mike is a 2011
graduate of the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation,
Sport and Tourism with a concentration in Sports Management.
District Welcomes New Board Member
The Frankfort Park District Board of Commissioners and staff
are pleased to announce and welcome a new appointed board member, Dr. John
Reilly, to the Park District Board of Commissioners.
John Reilly’s appointment fills the vacancy left from Angela David’s
resignation. Dr. Reilly’s experience in the community with youth sports groups
and the Frankfort Loins Club will be an exceptional asset to the Frankfort Park
District. Commissioner Reilly is looking forward to serving on the Board.
Kuhs Chosen to Head Mt. Prospect Park District
Greg Kuhs has been named as the new Executive Director of
Mt. Prospect Park District. Kuhs had previously served as superintendent of
recreation for the Prospect Heights, Addison and Deerfield Park Districts as
well as the Director of Parks and Recreation for the North Berwyn and Salt
Creek Park Districts. Most recently he was Executive Director of Wood Dale Park
Kuhs received an MBA from Webster University in St. Louis
and BA in Recreation Administration from University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse.
He has served as Chair and Trustee of the Northeast DuPage Special Recreation
Association; Chair of the Northwest Special Recreation Association and is a
past board member of the Special Leisure Services Foundation. He is also a
certified Park and Recreation Professional, a member of the National Recreation
and Park Association, a member of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association
and a graduate of their Professional Development School.
Johnson recently received the Association of Aquatic Professionals Visionary
Walter supported the
formation of the new association now led by many leaders and delegates
previously involved in the former NRPA National Aquatic Conference which he
created and administered for 18 years.
Association President Farhad Madani stated "We would not be here if it was
not for Walt's past vision and dedication in creating the foundation for
education and training for aquatic professionals nationwide."
(From left to right - Farhad Madani, President AOAP, Walter Johnson, AOAP
Executive Director, Juliene Hefter, First President, NRPA Aquatic Branch and
presentor, Bob Bradley)
Arlington Heights Park
District Announces Retirements
Jim Glueckert, Director of
Recreation & Facilities Retires
Jim Glueckert was a dedicated employee of the Arlington
Heights Park District for thirty-nine years, beginning in 1973 and held the
positions of Facility Supervisor, Athletic Supervisor, Assistant Superintendent
of Recreation, Superintendent of Recreation and Director of Recreation and
Facilities. Jim was part of the District’s outstanding achievement as a
three-time recipient of National Gold Medal for Excellence in Park &
Recreation Management and certification as an IAPD/IPRA Distinguished Park and
Recreation Agency. Jim was instrumental in guiding the Recreation and
Facilities Department to meet the challenging and changing leisure needs of the
Pam Lingert, Recreation Supervisor Retires
Pam Lingert was an employee of the Arlington Heights Park District for
thirty-seven years, beginning in 1975 and held the positions of Cashier,
Recreation Leader, Center Director, Cultural Arts Supervisor, Preschool/Day
Camp Supervisor and C.A.P. Supervisor in the Recreation and Facilities
Department. Pam was also involved in specialty camps, sports camps, and
the Outreach Program for the Park District.
Pam was an active member of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association
and was recognized for her dedication in attending conferences and seminars to
find the latest programs for preschool and youth in the community. Pam also
served as chair on the before and after school committee which serves over 800
children on a daily basis at ten schools.
Tim Reinbold named Superintendent of Recreation for the
Warrenville Park District.
Tim’s responsibilities include administrative planning and
management of the overall operation of the Recreation Department to include a
wide scope of recreation, fitness and facility related programming. In addition, Tim serves as the Park District
Tim comes to Warrenville from the Oakbrook Terrace (IL) Park
District, where he was Director of Recreation and Park Services. Tim managed
the day-to-day operation of the parks department and supervised the recreation
department, including recreational programs, facilities, and staff.
Tim has a Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and
has also worked for Elmhurst YMCA as youth sports director and Lisle Park
District as Athletics Supervisor and Meadows Center Supervisor.
Dan Olson was named director of the Champaign County
Forest Preserve District.
Olson, 40, has been with the forest preserve district for
about 10 years as its director of natural resources. He also was named deputy
director earlier in 2012. He is a native of Clinton who graduated with a bachelor's
degree in zoology from Eastern Illinois University. Before coming to the forest
preserve district, he worked at the University of Illinois' College of
Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences as a visiting research
scientist, with a specialty in biological research.
The Village of Hawthorn Woods announced that Brian J.
Sullivan MPA, CPRP, has joined the Village’s leadership team.
Brian assumes a
new position of Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation and Executive Projects
Manager for this dynamic and progressive community in Lake County. Sullivan
brings over 25 years of experience in the leisure industry to his new position
with Team Hawthorn Woods and was named Honored Professional of the Year by IPRA
in 2011. Sullivan is tasked with improving programing and operational
effectiveness and transparency, enhancing community engagement, participating
in regional issues and identification of funding opportunities for
Winnebago County Forest Preserve District commissioners announce new Executive Director
Mike Holan has been named Executive Director of the
Winnebago County Forest Preserve. Mike
has spent 30 years working in both DuPage and Kane County Forest
Preserves. His experience will serve him
well in his new position as he oversees the District’s 9500 acres and 40 Forest
Preserves. One of Mike’s major
objectives will be to drive more people into the Forest Preserves and engage the
community. He will also be charged with
finding more open space for the District.
Mike earned a Bachelor of Science in Zoology, has and both police work
and firefighting training.
Arlington Heights Park District Welcomes Brian Meyer
Brian Meyer, CPRP recently joined
the Arlington Heights Park District as Director of Recreation and
Facilities. Brian has over 20 years of
experience in his field; he has overseen the daily operation of Bolingbrook
Park District Recreation Department and the Joliet Bolingbrook Special
Recreation Association. He was also the
Itasca Park District Superintendent of Recreation and served in many other
Brian earned his Bachelor of
Science Degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism from Western Illinois
University. He is also a graduate of the
Noth Carolina State University Graduate School of Sports Management, is an NRPA
Certified Pool Operator and attended the IPRA Facility Management School. In his new role, Brian will be responsible
for the overall leadership of the Recreation and Facilities Department and
St. Charles Park District Appoints New Commissioner to Fill Empty Seat
Long-time St. Charles resident Jean Cabel was sworn in as Commissioner by the St. Charles Park Board to fill the opening left vacant by the passing of John "Jack" Kerr. Jean is currently employed by Community Unit School District 303 as Assistant Principal of Haines Middle School. "I'm passionate about the youth in our community and any services, facilities or programs that we can provide to support their growth and development," she said. "I'm also interested in supporting activities for active adults and seniors to enhance their quality of life." Jean's term will run through April 2013.
Bloomingdale Names Director of Parks and Planning
The Bloomingdale Park District welcomed Joe Potts as Director of Parks and Planning in October. Joe has a varied background in both parks and recreation services and most recently he served as Director of Development and Communications for Blue Ridge Conservancy in Boone, North Carolina. Previously, he was Executive Director at the Alleghany Wellness Center in Sparta, N.C. and Superintendent of Operations in Urbana.
Naperville Park District
Earns State Accreditation
Distinguished Park and Recreation Accreditation Committee recently voted
unanimously to confirm the Naperville Park District as an Illinois
Distinguished Park and Recreation Accredited Agency. The committee’s
announcement at the November 19 meeting was the final step in a nine-month
evaluation process that involved staff in all areas of operations.
"We are extremely
pleased to have achieved state accreditation as well as national
accreditation,” said Executive Director Ray McGury. Approximately one year ago,
the Naperville Park District became one of only two park districts in Illinois
to have earned national accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation
of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).
Coloma Park District
Commissioner Leo J. Nardini, 76, died Dec. 9, 2012, at the University of
Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. Elected in 1971, Leo served more than 41 years as
a board member of the Coloma Park District Board, and he was an avid supporter
of all Rock Falls sports programs. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in
his name to Coloma Township Park District.
Recreation Services Joins Crystal Lake Park District
Kim Buscemi joined the
Crystal Lake Park District as the new Superintendent of Recreation Services.
Her responsibilities include the supervision of four full-time Recreation
Supervisors, as well as the planning, organization and delivery of recreation
services and programs for the Crystal Lake Park District. Kim has a Bachelor's
Degree from Eastern Illinois University in Recreation and Business. She brings
more than 22 years of experience, most recently as the Superintendent of Facilities
at the Elk Grove Park District. Prior to that, she served Superintendent of
Recreational Programs for the Elk Grove Park District.
Champaign County Forest
Preserve District Names Site Superintendent
The Champaign County
Forest Preserve District named Doug Sanders, CPRP as the new site
superintendent for the Lake of the Woods, River Bend and Sangamon River Forest
Preserves. Doug earned his degrees at the University of Illinois and is a
Certified Park and Recreation Profession. He is a member of the National
Recreation and Park Association and the American Association of Health,
Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. He has served in a number of
recreation positions throughout the Champaign community, including positions
with the Urbana Park District, the Champaign Park District, and the Champaign
Skokie Names Assistant
Superintendent of Recreation
Jon Marquardt, CPRP, was
recently named the new Assistant Superintendent of Recreation for the Skokie
Park District. He was promoted to this position after six years as the facility
manager for the district’s Weber Leisure Center.
Jon graduated from
Elmhurst College with a Bachelor’s Degree in kinesiology. He is a certified
park and recreation professional (CPRP) and serves on the National Recreation
and Park Association’s CPRP exam committee. He also holds certifications in
sports administration, sports first aid, coaching principles, personal
training, CPR, and AED (automated external defibrillator) instruction.
Two Agencies Earn CAPRA Accreditation
The National Recreation and Park Association
(NRPA) announced that the Chicago Park District and the Waukegan Park
District became two of only 17 park and
recreation agencies accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and
Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) this year.
This distinguished accomplishment was announced during the 2012 NRPA
Congress and Exposition held in Anaheim, CA.
accreditation through CAPRA is an extensive multi-year process, which includes
the completion of an application and detailed self-assessment report, a site
visit by a committee of experienced park and recreation professionals, and a
final assessment completed by the agency and the Commission. Accreditation requires agencies to respond to
144 standards representing elements of effective and efficient park and
recreation operations. To become
accredited, agencies must fully meet 36 standards deemed fundamental to a
quality agency and at least 92 of the remaining standards.
CAPRA accreditation is the only national
accreditation for park and recreation agencies, and is a measure of an agency’s
overall quality of operation, management and service to the community.
Accreditation is valid for a period of five years. Congratulations to
both the Chicago Park District and the Waukegan Park District on this outstanding
December 15, 2012
Words truly cannot express the loss felt by the
Waukegan Park District with the unexpected passing of Eric Knutsen, Manager of Information Services, a 28-year employee
of the district. He was responsible for the implementation of the information
and communication technologies and services throughout the entire agency. All
employees and program participants benefited from his commitment, dedication, knowledge,
and skills. His presence and warm, easy smile are greatly missed.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Park Districts Names Niemela Executive Director
Allison Niemela, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for
the Batavia Park District, was recently named Executive Director by the Park
Board of Commissioners. Over the past seven months, she has served as interim
executive director and has been with the district since 2000.
During her time with the Batavia Park District, Allison has been
instrumental in developing intergovernmental agreements and collaborating on
the development of a strategic master plan. She also spearheaded the community
engagement efforts to determine the future of the Hall Quarry Beach. For more
than six years, Allison has served on the Illinois Parks and Recreation
Association’s Board of Directors. She is chair-elect of the association. She is
a Certified Park and Recreation Professional and holds two bachelor’s degrees
and a certificate in sports and entertainment management.
Pagac Retires from Champaign County
Forest Preserve District
Gerald Pagac retired from the Champaign County
Forest Preserve District in August, after six years as the Executive Director. During his time with the District,
Pagac’s wide-ranging and personal leadership impacted everything from adding
more than 270 acres to the District, including the Sangamon River Forest
Preserve; expanding the Museum of the Grand Prairie; developing the natural
playscape at Homer Lake Forest Preserve; renovating the Lake of the Woods golf
course and Middle Fork campground; to planting gourds, lilies and lotus at the
Botanical Garden; and to more than $100,000 in eBay sales including the
Skokie Park District Announces New Superintendents
As part of a recent Skokie Park District
administrative reorganization, Michelle Tuft was appointed as Superintendent of
Recreation & Facilities, and Mike Rea was named Superintendent of Parks.
As the administrator of the district’s
recreation division since 2006, Michelle will now also oversee the district’s
revenue facilities. She will continue to supervise programming, administer the
district’s recreation programs, special events, child care services and summer
camps, and manage all recreation personnel. Michelle earned a Bachelor’s Degree
from the University of Illinois. She is a member of NRPA, IPRA and a certified
parks and recreation executive.
Mike Rea, the Assistant Superintendent of Parks
at the district since 2008, will now oversee all park services operations,
including park maintenance, special event setup, facilities repair and
construction, landscaping, and capital planning. Mike previously served as Park
Superintendent for the Dundee Township Park District. He earned an Associate’s Degree
from Elgin Community College. He is a certified park and recreation
professional and a member of NRPA as well as IPRA, and a certified playground
Glen Ellyn Park
District Welcomes New Superintendent of Parks
The Glen Ellyn
Park District is pleased to announce Dan Hopkins as the new Superintendent of
Parks. Dan brings with him 15 years of experience, including five years with
the Village of Hinsdale as its Superintendent of Parks and Horticulture, and
six with Salt Lake City Parks and Recreation that included supervising special
events at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Dan holds a
Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University. He also holds
national certification from several organizations, including the National
Playground Safety Institute and the International Society of Arborculture. He
is also Midwest Ecological Prescription Burn Certified.
Elk Grove Park
District Announces Personnel Changes
Jessica Ortega was
hired as the Aquatic Program Supervisor for the Elk Grove Park District in
September. Jessica has worked nine consecutive summers at Rainbow Falls
Waterpark. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism
Administration and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree. Her
responsibilities include all the aquatic programs and events along with swim
lessons and the swim team.
The Elk Grove
Park District is also pleased to announce the appointment of Jeff Collier as the Superintendent of Recreational Programs. Jeff earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Leisure
Studies at the University of Illinois in Champaign. Jeff will directly
supervise the areas of Early Childhood, Dance, Art, Special Events, Senior,
Adult Athletics, Youth and Teen programming.
joined the Elk Grove Park District in August as the new Dance Coordinator. She
has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance from Columbia College. She will oversee
the dance, baton and ballroom dance programs.
Downers Grover Park District Hires
Director of Administrative Services
began as Director of Administrative Services with the Downers Grove Park
District in August. She oversees financial reporting, budgets, human resources,
risk management, and organizational training and development for the District.
Herbst has an MBA from Lewis University. She also holds SLCA and AIC
Channahon Park District Announces New
Golf Course Manager
Brian Smith has
returned to the Channahon Park District as the Golf Course Manager/Head Golf
Professional overseeing Heritage Bluffs Public Golf Club. Brian has 14 years of experience in the
private and public sector of the golf business, most recently the Manager/Head
Golf Professional for the Coyote Run Golf Course at Homewood-Flossmoor Park
District, a position he held since 2004. He was also the Assistant Golf
Professional for the Channahon Park District’s Heritage Bluffs Public Golf Club
for five years. Brian has a proven record of continued growth in revenue. He is
experienced in instruction, merchandising, club fitting, budgeting, event
coordination and management. Brian was the Illinois Park and Recreation 2006
Golf Manager of the Year.
Channahon Park District Announces New Athletic
Derek Radek has
joined the Channahon Park District as the Athletic Program Supervisor. Derek
has a Bachelor’s Degree from Illinois State University. He has been involved in
the recreation field for many years serving as the Chicago Regional Director
for the Fastplastic & Goldenstick Wiffle Ball League in Downers Grove,
interning at both the Indian Boundary YMCA in Downers Grove and at the
Woodridge Park District and most recently the Youth Athletics Coordinator for
the Park District of Oak Park.
District Hires Athletic Coordinator
Park District recently announced the selection of Abbie Moore as the agency’s
new Athletic Coordinator. A native of Cullom, Illinois, Abbie earned a
Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation Administration from Illinois State University.
She worked for the Boys and Girls Club of Prairie Central for five years prior
to coming to Oswego. Abbie has also spent time working in the parks and
recreation field at the Town of Normal Parks and Recreation Department, as well
as at the YMCA of the Ozarks.
Inclusion Coordinator Joins SEASPAR
SEASPAR welcomed Inclusion
Coordinator Shannon Mikulecky to the agency in July. Shannon received her Bachelor of Science
Degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Wisconsin. She completed her internship at NEDSRA in
Addison in 2008 and launched her career at M-NASR as an Inclusion Specialist.
Last year, Shannon chaired the Participant Service Division and currently she
is a member of the Inclusion and Cultural Arts committees. Shannon’s
responsibilities at SEASPAR include coordinating inclusion, leisure education,
and teen and adult weekly programs.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Schaumburg’s Executive Director
The Schaumburg Park District Board of Commissioners recently
announced the appointment of
Schaumburg native Tony LaFrenere as the District's
new Executive Director following a director search conducted by IAPD. Tony
comes to Schaumburg from the Hoffman Estates Park District where he has been
Deputy Director since 2006. He has an extensive background in all aspects of
parks and recreation management. Starting with Hoffman in 1991, he also served
as its Golf Operations Manager and Division Director for golf, food-service and
special event operations.
Growing up in Schaumburg, attending District 54 schools and
Schaumburg High School, playing on Schaumburg Athletic Association teams and
frequenting Park District facilities, events and programs gives Tony a true
resident's perspective in his new position.
Tony earned a degree in economics from the University of Illinois,
is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional and a Certified Professional
with the Professional Golfers Association of America. He also is past president
of the Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce.
Gibble Assumes Executive Director
Position at Sycamore
CPRP, has joined the Sycamore Park District as its Executive Director. Daniel,
a native of Elgin, Illinois, came to Sycamore from the Quincy Park District
where he served as its Director for 2 ½ years. Prior to that time, he served at
Urbana Park District for 18 years, Wheaton Park District for 6 years, and
Skokie Park District where he began his professional career. A graduate of the
University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Leisure Studies,
and Illinois Benedictine University with an MBA, Daniel has been active in IPRA
and NRPA, and serves on the Board of Regents for the North Carolina State
University/NRPA/Oglebay National Training Center Maintenance Management School.
District Announces New Executive Director
Park District Board of Park Commissioners is pleased to announce the
of Richard Zielke as the new Executive Director of the Oswegoland
Park District. A resident of New Lenox, Rich was appointed the Interim
Executive Director this past April. Prior to being appointed, he was the Deputy
Director of the Oswegoland Park District.
Rich has 17 years of experience,
previously working for the Matteson Parks & Recreation Department and
Plainfield Park District, with various progressive leadership responsibilities.
He is an accredited NPRA Certified Park & Recreation Professional and a graduate of Illinois State University where he earned
Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Recreation and Park Administration.
District Hires Director of Parks and Recreation
The Posen Park
District Board of Commissioners announced the appointment of Ryne Kman as the
agency’s first Director of Parks and Recreation. Kman, a resident of Alsip,
began his tenure August 6.
Kman has more
than five years of experience with the Midlothian Park District, as well as a
Bachelor’s Degree from Robert Morris University in Business Administration with
a concentration in accounting.
During his tenure
at Midlothian, Kman worked in a variety of positions including sports
instructor, camp counselor, seasonal maintenance worker and gym supervisor. The
combination of hands-on park experience and his background in accounting set
Kman apart from other candidates.
Timothy M. "Tim” Kopka
Timothy M. "Tim”
Kopka, Dundee Township Park District’s Aquatics Supervisor, passed away suddenly
on June 3 at the age of 45. Tim worked for the park district for the past four
years. Prior to that, he worked for Kalahari Resorts and other major aquatics
operations and brought his experience with him.
Tim was a graduate of Michigan
State University with a degree in Park and Recreation Resources. He is survived
by his wife, Judy, who works for the Bartlett Park District and their son Josh.
John "Jack” Kerr
Charles Park District commissioner John "Jack" Kerr passed away July
2 at the age of 77. Jack had been a commissioner of the St. Charles Park
District since 1987, and throughout the years, he served as president,
vice-president, treasurer and secretary.
During his term, the park district
grew dramatically, benefitting from several successful referendums that funded
increases in open space, programs and services. It had also received numerous
local, state and national awards including the National Gold Medal Award in
Schmerer Joins Geneva Park District
joined the Geneva Park District in April 2012, as the new Athletic &
Facility Supervisor at the Geneva Park District. His responsibilities include
managing the District’s miniature golf and disc golf courses, along with
athletic leagues and gymnastic programs. Keith has a Master’s Degree in
Recreation, Sports & Tourism from the University of Illinois and a
Bachelor’s Degree from Illinois State University in Recreation Management.
Keith has been working in the parks and recreation field for 5 years.
New Lenox Earns Fourth Financial Award
For the fourth
consecutive year, the Certification of Achievement for Excellence in Financial
Reporting has been awarded to the New Lenox Community Park District by the
Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA)
for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental
accounting and financial reporting, and its continued attainment represents the
significant and ongoing commitment to responsible financial reporting by the
New Lenox Community Park District.
New HR Manager Named at Decatur Park
The Decatur Park
District welcomes Kristi Orrick as its new Manager of Human Resources. She will
be responsible for employee recruiting/retention and benefits administration.
Kristi previously worked as a performance management specialist and college
relations representative at Archer Daniels Midland and as a human resources
representative for State Farm Insurance. She holds a B.S. in Social Work from
Illinois State University.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Wheeling Park District Announces
The Wheeling Park District recently hired Kevin Romejko as Director of
responsibilities include preparing administrative policies and procedures,
negotiating and monitoring contracts and agreements and overseeing all
financial and informational technology operations of the district.
Kevin has extensive experience in parks and recreation, most recently
serving as Human Resource Manager and Safety Coordinator for Palatine Park
District. He also worked in both
facility management and programming at the Schaumburg and Northbrook park districts. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the
University of Iowa and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) and Graduate
Certificate in Human Resource Management (HRM) from Keller Graduate School of
Kevin is a frequent guest speaker and lecturer who has presented at
the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign,
Eastern Illinois University, National Recreation and Park Association
(NRPA) Aquatic Management School and Conference, Illinois Park and Recreation
Association (IPRA), Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) and Wisconsin
Park and Recreation Association (WPRA).
He is the current Chair of the Board of Regents for IPRA Professional Development
School and is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Wheeling Park District also recently welcomed Justin Sienkiewicz as
Communications Manager. In this role, he
will be responsible for developing and managing all marketing communications
for the district.
Justin comes to Wheeling Park District from Northwest Special
Recreation Association where he served in a variety of roles, most recently as
the Manager of Communications and Marketing.
Prior to that, he held positions with Little City Foundation and AC
Nielsen. Justin holds a Bachelor
of Arts Degree from Northern Illinois University. He is a graduate of the Illinois Park and
Recreation Association Professional Development School.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
New Faces at the Elmhurst Park District
The Elmhurst Park District is pleased to announce the addition of a new employee and a promotion:
Brad Anderson was hired as the new Facilities Maintenance Supervisor. Prior to joining the Elmhurst Park District, Anderson worked at the Naperville Park District where he served as a Parks Specialist and the DeKalb Park District where he was a Parks Foreman. Additionally, Anderson has worked for the Kane County Cougars. Anderson graduated in 2001 from Illinois State University with a degree in Park and Recreation Administration.
Lenno Lasn was promoted to Racquet Sports Supervisor at Courts Plus. Lasn joined the Park District in 2004 as a tennis professional. Lasn played tennis at the College of DuPage, where he was the National Champion at #4 Singles and National Runner-Up in Doubles at the 1998 National Junior College Men's Tennis Championships. Lasn is United States Professional Tennis Registry (USPTR) certified. Prior to joining the Park District, Lasn taught at the Aurora Tennis Club and was an assistant coach for the United States Tennis Association Reebok Program. Lasn graduated from Queens College and holds a degree in Accounting.
Monday, June 4, 2012
Bolingbrook Names New Executive Director
The Bolingbrook Park District Board of Commissioners announced the appointment of Ron Oestreich as the new Executive Director. Oestreich was previously the Superintendent of Revenue facilities at Bolingbrook, a position he held since 2000.
Oestreich has more than 20 years of experience in parks and recreation, most recently managing the operations of LifeStyles Fitness Center & Spa, Boughton Ridge Golf Course, Ashbury's at Boughton Ridge and Pelican Harbor Indoor/Outdoor Aquatic Park, an award-winning aquatic center.
Oestreich also has been an active member of the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association, serving on the board and leading the IPRA Facility Management section. Community service has been an equally important focus during Oestreich's career, and current roles include Co-Chair of the Bolingbrook / Romeoville Character Counts Coalition and Director of the Mentor Club a teen mentoring program through the Institute for Community in Romeoville.
Ron is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University (1991) and Keller Graduate School of Management (2006) where he received his Masters of Business Administration.
Personnel Changes at the Elmhurst Park District
The Elmhurst Park District is pleased to announce the hiring of several employees in new positions:
Angela Ferrentino was recently promoted to the position of Director of Parks & Facilities. Prior to her new role, Ferrentino served 18 years with the District, including 10 years as Division Manager of Facilities at the Elmhurst Park District. Ferrentino holds a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation from Southern Illinois University.
Cindy Szkolka was promoted to Director of Recreation. Szkolka previously served as Division Manager of Recreation for the Elmhurst Park District and has been with the Park District for nine years. Szkolka holds a Bachelor of Science in Health, Physical Education and Recreation from the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Anne Scheppele was promoted to Division Manager of Facilities at the Elmhurst Park District. Scheppele brings experience from her prior role as Facilities Maintenance Supervisor for the Elmhurst Park District. Scheppele holds a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education – Physical Education & Health from Franklin College in Indiana.
Ken Heflin was promoted to Parks Maintenance Supervisor after three years as Parks Specialist II, working at the Wilder Park Conservatory. Heflin is an ISA certified arborist and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Southern Illinois University.
Jim Niemann has accepted the position of Facilities Specialist II after three years as Grounds Specialist I at Sugar Creek Golf Course. Niemann started working part-time at Sugar Creek Golf Course in 2005 before moving into a full-time position in 2009.
Steve Marszalek has been hired as Parks Specialist II, after working at the park district seasonally in 2011. Marszalek earned a Bachelor’s in Construction Management from Westwood College.
Bloomingdale Park District Welcomes Recreation Supervisors
The Bloomingdale Park District recently welcomed two full-time recreation supervisors. Chris Tompkins was named the Athletics & Facilities Supervisor, and Jason Posluszny was elevated to full-time Recreation Supervisor.
Tompkins previously worked three years at Buehler YMCA in Palatine in sports and recreation programming. He also worked at Indian Boundary YMCA for two years after graduating from Northern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in sport management. At Bloomingdale, he will supervise athletics and facilities.
Posluszny has worked part-time at the Park District for more than 10 years in a variety of different areas. His new duties include oversight of before and after school programs, teen programming, days off of school activities and some early childhood and youth programming. He also will oversee summer camps and various special events. Posluszny is a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and is a Certified Park & Recreation Professional.
40 Years of Service at Hickory Hills
Congratulations to Richie Rusk for 40 years of service. Richie has been working in the maintenance department for Hickory Hills Park District since 1972 cleaning buildings, picking up garbage in parks and shoveling snow in the winter. This has been Richie’s only job since he graduated from high school.
St. Charles Park District Employee Receives Perfect Score
Paul Brummel, Facilities Supervisor for the St. Charles Park District, recently received a perfect score in the National Swimming Pool Foundation’s Certified Pool/Spa Operator (CPO) Course offered in Chicago, Illinois by The Ohio Aquatic Council, Ltd. Brummel’s impressive score ranks him in the top ½ percent of all course participants.
The CPO is recognized nationwide as the leading standard in the swimming pool industry. The CPO seal of approval is assurance to commercial pool and spa owners that their facilities and guests are under the care and supervision of a trained professional. The course trains participants in the most advanced techniques of chemical treatment, filtration, and mechanical system operation and maintenance.
Brummel has worked for the park district for 19 years. Part of his role is to maintain all of the St. Charles Park District aquatic facilities including Swanson Pool, Otter Cove Aquatic Park and Otter Cove Splash Park.
Rockford Park District Honors Individuals & Community Organizations for Amazing Service
The Rockford Park District held the 2011 IAPD/IPRA Community Service Awards in March. Community Service Awards are presented every year to dedicated individuals, agencies, partners and companies who have unselfishly assisted the Rockford Park District in helping to fulfill its mission of helping people enjoy life.
"This is a chance for us to demonstrate our appreciation for the many dedicated individuals, organizations, agencies, companies and partners. We can’t do it alone, but with the help of others, we can do what we do best, and give our taxpayers a high return on their investment,” said Tim Dimke, Executive Director.
IAPD President/CEO Peter Murphy was a keynote speaker at the event, which recognized more than 40 individuals and groups in the community.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Palatine Park District Executive Director Retiring
Ron Gbur, who retired March 1, began his full-time Palatine Park District Career in 1981 as the Sports/Aquatic Coordinator. Since then he has held the position of Facility/Aquatic Coordinator, Golf Course Manager, Superintendent of Revenue Facilities, Superintendent of Recreation, and Deputy Director. He has been the Executive Director since 2002.
During Ron’s tenure as executive director, he launched the Palatine Park District’s newest facility, Falcon Park Recreation Center, a 49,000 square foot facility that won the 2010 Outstanding Facility of the Year Award at the IAPD/IPRA annual conference. Some other accomplishments include the renovation of the Community Center Fitness Center, the remodeling of Birchwood Pool, the installation of a skate park in Community Park and the Disc Golf Course at Margreth Riemer Reservoir.
NEDSRA Announces Balling’s Retirement
After 34 years of service to the Northeast DuPage Special Recreation Association and people with disabilities, Susan Balling is retiring. Susan began her career in therapeutic recreation as a Recreation Specialist with NEDSRA in 1977. She has since served in a variety of positions including Program Supervisor, Superintendent of Recreation, Director of Marketing and Development, and most recently, Assistant to the Director.
Susan has provided leadership within her profession in various capacities including Chairman and Board Member of PDRMA, IPRA Board Member, ITRS Section Director, ITRS Board Member, SRANI Secretary. She also chaired numerous other committees. As a result of her dedication to the field and commitment to excellence, she has received multiple awards and recognition as IPRA Outstanding Young Park and Recreation Professional, ITRS Outstanding Professional, IPRA Meritorious Service Award, ITRS Distinguished Service Award, Administration and Finance Section’s Distinguished Service Award and the IPRA Fellow Award.
Employee Boasts Longest Career in Illinois’ Parks and Rec History
When Carol Swanson Glemza retired last year after 69 years of service with the St. Charles Park District, she not only had the longest tenure of any employee in the St. Charles Park District, but also in the entire state of Illinois’ parks and recreation history. Carol began working for the St. Charles Park District in August of 1942.
Over the years, she served the park district in many capacities. Initially, Carol began by working summers as a cashier and manager at the pool. She then went on to accounting. In the mid-60s, after the first director was hired, she became full-time and worked as the business manager for many years. Next, she became administrative assistant to the director and to the board.
Ray Ochromowicz, Director of Parks and Recreation for St. Charles, feels Carol was an invaluable member of the Park District.
"She is a walking, talking history book of the St. Charles Park District. When someone wants to know some historical fact, we don’t hunt through files, we converse with Carol.”
Now that Carol has retired, she plans to travel and spend more time with her family. She continues to volunteer for the park district, the St. Charles Park Foundation and the Henry Rockwell Baker Memorial Community Center.
Flagg-Rochelle Park District Announces New Executive Director
Eric Christensen, CPRP, was named Executive Director of the Flagg-Rochelle Park District following a director search conducted by IAPD. He began his new position with the park district on March 12. Eric previously served as the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Hastings, Nebraska for nearly seven years. He has an extensive background with the Illinois park and recreation system as Director of Parks and Recreation for the Village of Lake Zurich; Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Palos Hills; Assistant Superintendent of Recreation for the Lombard Park District; Recreation Coordinator for the Wheeling Park District; and Recreation Supervisor for the Rolling Meadows Park District.
In Memoriam: Steve Paczolt
Longtime La Grange Park District volunteer Steve Paczolt passed away Feb. 18 at the age of 59. Steve served the Park District for the past 20 years, 12 years as Commissioner and the past eight years as Treasurer. During this time, Steve served on numerous committees and as board president and was active with IAPD. Steve was deeply and generously committed to his community. In addition to serving the park district, he was also a member of the La Grange Business Association and the West Suburban Chamber of Commerce.
In Memoriam: Daniel Gratzl
Daniel (Dan) Gratzl, former Commissioner for the Wood Dale Park District, recently passed away after battling cancer. Dan served as Commissioner for 18 years and played an instrumental role in helping the Wood Dale Park District construct a new recreation complex, expand the Salt Creek Golf Course Clubhouse, negotiate a public-private agreement between the Park District and TopGolf USA, create intergovernmental agreements and assist with numerous capital projects during his tenure as a board member.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Downers Grove Park District Announces New Hires
Toni Giovenco – Recreation Specialist
Toni Giovenco was hired in July 2011 for a newly created position of Recreation Specialist at the Downers Grove Park District. She is a graduate of the University of St. Francis with a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation Administration concentrating on Sports Operations Management and Athletic Administration. Toni has a background in instructing, coaching and coordinating youth development sports programs as well as international sports programs.
Allison Jacobs – Recreation Supervisor
Allison Jacobs has been hired as a Recreation Supervisor with the Downers Grove Park District and started in August 2011. Her responsibilities include dance, theater, camp, birthday parties, Family Concert Series and various special events. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Park and Recreation Administration from Illinois State University. She has been a part of the recreation field for several years, starting as a lifeguard with the Fox Valley Park District and lifeguard trainer for Walt Disney World, followed by 4 years as Recreation Supervisor for the Winfield Park District.
Ryan Stulgin – Golf Club Operations Manager
Ryan Stulgin attended both Southern Illinois University and Northern Illinois University graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Corporate Communication from NIU. Before taking the position of Golf Club Manager at the Downers Grove Park District in late September, Ryan served as Member Services Manager for six years at the Hinsdale Racquet Club and also worked several years on a part-time basis as Building Supervisor at the Downers Grove Park District.
Justin Narter – Recreation Supervisor
Justin Narter was hired in February 2012 as a Recreation Supervisor for the Downers Grove Park District in charge of youth and adult basketball, volleyball and various other sports programs, plus the McCollum Park Mini Golf and Concessions facility. Justin has a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management from Illinois State University. He began his career in Recreation at Glendale Heights Parks and Recreation as a Camp Counselor and Camp Director for six years. He spent the last two years working in youth athletics for the Carol Stream Park District
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Champaign Park District Announces New Superintendent of Planning and Operations
John (J.R.) Pope from Richmond, Virginia has joined the Champaign Park District as the Superintendent of Planning and Operations. J.R. has extensive experience in parks and recreation, most recently having served as Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities in Richmond. He was also the State Park Chief of West Virginia State Parks and Forests, and Superintendent of Park Maintenance and Operations in both Jefferson City and Columbia, Missouri. J.R. holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from Bethany College and a Master’s Degree in Parks and Recreation Administration from the University of Missouri. He will oversee all activities in park planning, development, maintenance, landscape and horticulture within the district.
Flagg-Rochelle Park District Hires New Recreation Coordinator
Ryan Coffland recently joined the Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District as the Recreation Coordinator in charge of overseeing all adult and youth athletics. Ryan’s responsibilities within the district include working with the Rochelle youth athletic associations. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration from Western Illinois University. Ryan completed an internship at the Geneva Park District and has worked in many capacities there for the last 5 years.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Glenview Park District Announces Promotion of Jim Warnstedt
The Glenview Park District announced the promotion of Jim Warnstedt to the position of Superintendent of Park and Facility Services. Warnstedt fills the position vacated by Fred Gullen who retired from after 22 years of service.
He will be responsible for overseeing and managing one of the park district’s four major divisions including all parks, playgrounds, sports fields, outdoor tennis and basketball courts, and centralized responsibility for district-wide facility maintenance issues. He will have direct supervisory responsibility for the district’s Park Planner, Park Services Coordinator, Facilities Maintenance Supervisor and two Park Services Supervisors, as well as indirect supervisory responsibility for 21 full-time staff and dozens of seasonal workers.
Warnstedt joined the Glenview Park District in 2010 as Park Center’s Supervisor of Buildings & Grounds and was promoted in 2011 to the position of Supervisor of Parks in the Park & Facility Services Division. He has professional certifications in parks & recreation; pool operations; playground safety inspection; and he is a certified arborist.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
In Memoriam: Susan Hoster-Suggs
Bolingbrook Park District lost a great friend and an incredible leader when Susan Hoster-Suggs lost her brave battle with cancer in October. The void she leaves will impact many, just as she did during her life. Susan Hoster-Suggs leaves behind a world-class organization she built with her vision and guidance. Her spirit will forever be felt at the Bolingbrook Park District.
Susan accomplished many professional milestones in her short life. She had more than 24 years of public administration experience, including 14 years’ experience in parks and recreation with the Bolingbrook Park District. She served as the Bolingbrook Park District's Director of Finance, Technology and Human Resources prior to assuming her role as the District’s Executive Director in January 2010. Before joining Bolingbrook Park District, Susan served 12 years as Finance Director for Orland Fire Protection District.
Schreiber Receives NRPA Award
The Waukegan Park District is proud to announce Susie Schreiber, chair of the Waukegan Harbor Citizens Advisory Council, as the recipient of the National Recreation and Park Association’s Barb King Environmental Leadership Award. The award recognizes the parks and recreation professional or citizen who has achieved excellence in leading an agency or community to a more sustainable future.
According to Greg Petry, executive director of the Waukegan Park District and Susie’s nominator, she has tirelessly volunteered countless hours to improve the water quality of Lake Michigan and the Illinois waterways that drain into the lake. Susie has worked with the Waukegan Park District and other community groups to clean up ravines and streams. Her leadership resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money to aid in the efforts. She has also been instrumental in the "No Child Left Inside” initiative, "For Earth’s Sake.” Youth awareness and involvement are trademarks of Susie’s effort.
Collinsville Area Recreation District Executive Director Retires
Mark Badasch retired as executive director from the Collinsville Area Recreation District (CARD) after 35 years of work in parks and recreation. His last day with CARD was January 2. Badasch was hired as executive director by the CARD Board of Commissioners in 1994. Since then, CARD has developed its Activity Center/Administrative Offices, Schnuck Memorial Park, Splash City Family Waterpark, Willoughby Heritage Farm and Conservation Reserve, Arlington Greens Golf Course, and has begun work on Miner’s Institute in Uptown Collinsville and Pleasant Ridge Park in Maryville, and has added new programs and special events for children and adults.
Badasch’s career in parks and recreation began in 1973 when he was named the superintendent of recreation/arena manager at the Pekin Park District. From there, his titles included youth program director at Neighborhood House Association in Peoria, director of the Clark County Park District in Marshall, director of the Roxana Community Park District, and CARD's executive director.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
In Memoriam: Lois Nickson
Lois M. Nickson passed away at 9:53 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011, at McDonough District Hospital, in Macomb.
Lois was born May 27, 1939, in Chicago, to William and Helen Brosnahan Schoen. She moved to Macomb in 1957 to attend Western Illinois University, where she met John Nickson. She was united in marriage, in Bensonville on June 3, 1961, to John Nickson. He survives in Macomb.
Also surviving are one son, Patrick Nickson, one daughter, Deb Nickson, one brother, Tom Schoen, and one sister, Mary Ann Garcia. Lois was preceded in death by her parents.
Lois was a lifelong volunteer for and supporter of children’s programs.
Lois was a member of the Delta Zeta Sorority, past member of the Illinois Park District and past member of Girl and Boy Scout boards.
She had been recognized by numerous community, state and even national volunteer organizations. Her proudest recognition came from the Illinois Association of Park Districts in the Mike Cassidy Commissioner Community Service award, the highest honor bestowed by the IAPD. The award recognizes commissioners who have demonstrated the highest example of community service, personal integrity and ingenuity.
Lois taught swimming lessons at the Macomb Park District. She also has taught preschool swimming at the McDonough County YMCA, assisted YMCA swim teams and served as a lifeguard for various organization. Lois has served as an instructor, troop and camp leader for the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, assisted the Macomb school district library and after school programs, helped with 4-H, Meals on Wheels, McDonough County Special Olympics, the Macomb Community Quality of Life Advisory Committee’s Youth Talk Force, been a sorority advisor for WIU, sponsored a 12 and under girls softball team and helped create the McDonough CATS softball organization.
In all, she has 50 years of service to McDonough County. In addition to all her volunteer work, she worked beside her husband John in the family Firestone and Shell Business.
Memorials can be made to the Macomb Park Foundation lighting at Veterans Field girls softball complex or McDonough District Hospital for Asthma Care and Support.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Harris Joins Glen Ellyn as Executive Director
The Glen Ellyn Park District recently named Dave Harris as its new executive director. Harris has more than 20 years of experience in parks and recreation. Most recently, he was Executive Director at Butterfield Park District. He has also worked for the Park District of Highland Park. While at Highland Park, he launched a profitable new recreation and fitness center, managed a nature center, golf course, pools, water park and an indoor ice rink. He also has significant experience in parks maintenance, athletics, fundraising and community relations.
Crawford Named NWSRA Executive Director
Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA) is proud to welcome Tracey Crawford as its new Executive Director. Crawford comes to NWSRA from Fox Valley Special Recreation Association where she served as Assistant Director. Crawford is a leader in the field of Therapeutic Recreation with over 20 years of experience. She is actively involved in several professional organizations. She is the 2009 Past Chairman on the IPRA Board of Directors and is currently the NTRS Representative on the National Forum. Crawford is also a Past President for the NTRS Board of Directors. Crawford earned a Bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Iowa. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP). Crawford takes over leadership of NWSRA from Susie Julison who stepped down as Executive Director after 23 years with NWSRA.
Downers Grove Park District Announces New Hires
Edward Gudas has been named Recreation Supervisor at the Downers Grove Park District. Gudas has 16 years of experience in the Parks and Recreation field, as well as a Master’s degree in Recreation Administration from Aurora University. He previously worked for the City of Lake Forest as a Program Supervisor for 11 years and the Village of Lake Zurich as Camp Director/Supervisor/Coach for 4 years. Gudas manages the McCollum Park Miniature Golf and Concessions facility, as well as youth and adult basketball and volleyball leagues and youth instructional programs.
Toni Giovenco was hired as a Recreation Specialist at the Downers Grove Park District. She is a graduate of the University of St. Francis with a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Administration. Toni was also a collegiate soccer player for the University of St. Francis competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Conference. Toni has a background in instructing, coaching and coordinating youth development sports programs as well as international sports programs.
The Downers Grove Park District hired Allison Jacobs as a Recreation Supervisor this summer. Her responsibilities include dance, theater, camp, birthday parties, Family Concert Series and various special events. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Park and Recreation Administration from Illinois State University. She has been a part of the recreation field for several years, starting as a lifeguard with the Fox Valley Park District and lifeguard trainer for Walt Disney World, followed by 4 years as Recreation Supervisor for the Winfield Park District.
Ryan Stulgin attended both Southern Illinois University and Northern Illinois University graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communication from NIU. Before taking the position of Golf Club Manager at the Downers Grove Park District, Ryan served as Member Services Manager for six years at the Hinsdale Racquet Club and also worked several years on a part-time basis as Building Supervisor at the Downers Grove Park District.
New Marketing Director Joins the Elmhurst Park District
The Elmhurst Park District is pleased to announce Ginger Wade as the new Director of Marketing and Communications. Wade will be responsible for for developing marketing and communications plans, and acting as a liaison to affiliated organizations, community groups, and government units. She brings a breadth of experience in management and marketing strategy as an independent marketing consultant and past executive with the Chicago Tribune and Clapper Publishing. She also has served on the board of the Northern Illinois Food Bank and chaired Relay for Life of Elmhurst. Wade holds an MBA from the University of New Orleans.
Elk Grove Names New Superintendent of Parks & Facilities
The Elk Grove Park District was pleased to welcome Ben Curcio to the staff in the position of Superintendent of Parks and Facilities in October 2011. Curcio has more than 15 years of experience in the field of parks and recreation and athletics and facility management. In 1995, Curcio started at the Elk Grove Park District as a college intern. He worked more than 11 years at the Barrington Park District, holding several positions including Superintendent of Parks and Facilities. His more recent positions include the Operations Manager of Lake Barrington Field House and General Manager of the Regional Sports Center in Crystal Lake. Curcio holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sports and Recreation Administration and a Master’s degree in Public Administration.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Lori Harlan Named Publications Director at IAPD
The Illinois Association of Park Districts recently named Lori Harlan as publications director. Lori will be responsible for the IAPD/IPRA magazine, Illinois Parks and Recreation, and the annual Buyers’ Guide, as well as writing and editing newsletters, books and other communication for the association.
Prior to joining IAPD, Lori served as Communications Manager at Memorial Health System where she managed internal and external communication, media relations and video production for the health system’s 6,000 employees. She also has more than 10 years’ experience in freelance writing and has been published in a number of newspapers and magazines locally and nationally. Lori holds a Master’s degree in English, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in journalism, both from the University of Illinois at Springfield. She lives in Sherman with her husband, Jeremy, and their four-year-old daughter, Addison.
Karasek Celebrates 45 Years as Commissioner in Berwyn
The Berwyn Park District has been a member of the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) since 1929. Edward A. Karasek has served as an elected Commissioner more than half that time.
During his 45 years of service to the District, Karasek has served as Board President twice and currently serves as Board Secretary, a position he has held for many years. Within the committee structure set forth by District ordinance, Karasek currently serves as Chairman of the Building & Grounds Committee and is a member of the Finance committee. He regularly attends all other committee meetings, even if he is not an assigned member, and offers valuable experience and guidance. He previously served as the voting delegate for the former Suburban Risk Management Agency and the subsequently the Park District Risk Management Agency until a few years ago.
Karasek continues to make measurable differences in the quality of life of the residents of the Berwyn Park District and the City of Berwyn through his dedication and commitment to public service.
A Century of History in Champaign Parks
Champaign’s parks have been a part of the city nearly as long as the city has been in existence. The land for Champaign’s first park was made available in 1854. The property was originally laid out as a public square; however, in 1859, the 12.7 acre property became the first park in Champaign County, White Park, named in honor of the man who donated it. Known as the "Commons,” the park was used by settlers as a cow pasture in 1861 when the city council adopted a motion "to permit calves to be turned into the City Park at 35 cents per month.”
The Champaign Park District organized as a Township Park District in 1911 with the first tax levy collected in 1913. At that time, the District had limited taxing power and depended on donations of land to establish the park system. In the mid 1920s, parks that were owned by the City of Champaign were transferred to the Park District. Since then all public parks have been held by the District.
By the middle 1950s, it became evident that due to the growth of the community and the limited taxing powers of the Township Park District, the current structure was inadequate to meet the needs of residents. Therefore, in 1957, the District was reorganized as a General Park District by a referendum of voters. The Champaign Park District has since been a local unit of government with its own legal and financial responsibilities.
Today, the Champaign Park District offers the community 63 parks totaling over 653 acres. The premier parks, West Side, Hessel, Dodds and Centennial, consisting of more than 124 acres host thousands of visitors each year. Visitors come from all over to play sports, attend special events, enjoy picnics in the park, pet the animals at Prairie Farm or simply spend the day at the Sholem Aquatic Center.
Over the past five years, the Champaign Park District has added four new parks, including the district’s first natural area park and a dog park, adding an additional 70 acres. Major renovations have been completed on several parks, bringing a rain garden and accessible fishing pier for everyone to enjoy.
Marion Park District Announces Director of Parks and Recreation
Stan Motley was named the Director of Parks and Recreation for the Marion Park District through the Illinois Association of Park District’s search committee. He joined the Marion staff in May 2011. Motley says he is excited to be part of the new team. Motley’s career encompasses 30 years of service in Parks and Recreation. It includes leadership roles in Illinois (Oak Brook Park District), Missouri (Jackson County), New York (Westchester County) and Florida (Hillsborough County). Under his leadership, those organizations received numerous awards including: Excellence in Aquatics, Best Film Promotion Recreation, Best Recreation Catalog along with Area and Facilities awards. Motley has a Bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation Administration and a Master’s in Public Administration. He is also a Certified Park and Recreation Professional through the National Parks and Recreation Association.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Effingham Park District HIres New Executive Director
The Illinois Association of Park Districts recently conducted an executive director search for the Effingham Park District. The district selected Jeff Althoff as its new executive director to succeed Ron Diehl. Althoff was promoted from his position as facility superintendent. As superintendent, Althoff spent four years running the district's sports leagues. The board also approved Althoff to replace Diehl as executive secretary, Freedom of Information Act officer and risk management officer.
Althoff graduated from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor's of Science in Parks and Recreation Administration in 1998. His career started as the day camp coordinator for the YMCA of Southwest Denver. Althoff also served as director of the Northern Illinois 4-H Camp Association before moving back to Effingham.
Wednesday June 15, 2011
Jane Hodgkinson Named Non Profit Executive of the Year
Jane Hodgkinson, Executive Director of Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA), was presented with the award from the West Suburban Philanthropic Network at a luncheon Wednesday, May 25th. This award is presented to a senior level nonprofit executive who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in advancing the mission and services of his or her organization for the benefit of the western suburbs.
Hodgkinson has been the driving force in efforts to carry out the WDSRA mission of developing individuals through recreation and the vision of Equal Fun for Everyone. Under her leadership, WDSRA has grown from serving 250 people per year in 1981to reaching over 15,000 people through services, events, and community awareness. WDSRA has increased from one day camp to offering over 1500 year-round recreational programs such as Special Olympics, wheelchair sports, drama, arts, camping, social clubs, disability awareness, and inclusion into park district programs.
"I am thrilled that WDSRA can be recognized by this award. Helping people with disabilities to realize their potential and access everyday life has been my goal for over forty years” comments Hodgkinson.
Indeed Hodgkinson’s lifelong goal has been to improve access into life for people with disabilities. She has worked tirelessly as an advocate for families with special needs during her more than forty years in the field of parks and recreation. For the past thirty years, Hodgkinson has been the Executive Director of the WDSRA.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Dennis Ryan retires as Superintendent of Parks & Planning for St. Charles Park District. Laura Rudow Announced to Fill Position
The St. Charles Park District honors Dennis Ryan (right) as he retires from his career as Superintendent of Parks & Planning Under Ryan’s 25 years of leadership, the District has acquired and developed numerous park sites and facilities. Being responsible for the general management and planning efforts of nearly 1,500 acres, Ryan has coordinated millions of dollars in grant funding and capital improvements. Ryan retired in April and is now managing his family farm.
Laura Rudow joined St. Charles Park District as Superintendent of Parks & Planning. Previously she was employed with the Naperville Park District as Superintendent of Parks for 12 years. Rudow graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public administration from DeVry University.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Fox Valley Park District Announces New Maintenance Management Staff
Chris Kuehn (left) is the new Maintenance Supervisor for the west region of the Fox Valley Park District. Kuehn previously worked out of the Vaughan Athletic Center, handling affiliates, schedules and athletic field maintenance among other event and programming responsibilities. Kuehn attended both Western Illinois and Illinois State, and is a 15-year veteran at Fox Valley Park District.
Josh Ross (right) has been promoted to Vaughan Athletic Center Maintenance Manager after serving as Fox Valley’s Aquatics Maintenance Supervisor since last spring. Ross will oversee the aquatics maintenance functions for both indoor and outdoor facilities as well as overall cleanliness and maintenance of the Vaughan Athletic Center. He has 10 years of experience in the pool industry and will continue to develop aquatics maintenance staff and implement additional safety protocols for Fox Valley’s aquatics facilities.
Friday June 3, 2011
Western DuPage Special Recreation Association named Jennifer Moulton as New Community Relations Supervisor
Jennifer Moulton joins Western DuPage Special Recreation Association(WDSRA) as the Community Relations Supervisor. With a background in interviewing, writing, and editing, she will be an excellent addition to the WDSRA team. Moulton will responsible for promoting and establishing WDSRA as a major presence in our communities and act as a liaison with various community groups.
Moulton brings with her strong communication skills and a passion for making a difference in the community. "I am excited about working for WDSRA because this group makes such a difference for families and children in our community. Through recreational programming families are able to watch their children develop new skills while also developing much needed support networks,” comments Moulton.
Moulton most recently comes from the Coasts, Oceans, Ports & Rivers Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers in Reston, VA. Her experience includes reporting and editing, member retention and recruitment, and events. She holds a degree in journalism from Indiana University.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
St. Charles Park District Honors Retiring Jim Wheeler and Welcomes New Golf Pro
With more than thirty years in the game under his belt, Ron Skubisz (right) knows his way around a golf course. Having most recently served as general manager and director of the St. Andrews Golf Course in West Chicago, Skubisz has also been general manager and golf professional at Glenwoodie Golf Course in Glenwood and Fresh Meadows in Hillside.
Skubisz new role as golf pro at the St. Charles Park District’s Pottawatomie Golf Course, the St. Charles resident welcomes the opportunity to bring his expertise to his own community. Skubisz aims to honor Pottawatomie Golf Course’s illustrious history as a Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed course, its recognition as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, and its recent ranking as the 15th best nine-hole course in the country. Ron enjoys sharing his skills and background. "It’s the golf professional’s role to grow the game,” says Skubisz. "There’s no way, shape, or form that I can say that this is an easy sport to play, but as a golf professional, I can see that we can make this a little easier through proper equipment and training.”
The St. Charles Park District will say goodbye to Pottawatomie Golf Course Manager and PGA Golf Pro Jim Wheeler (right). Wheeler dedicated 31 years of service to the District overseeing daily operations, maintenance and improvements to the crown jewel of the Fox River – Pottawatomie Golf Course. Most recently, the award-winning course was ranked 15th best 9-hole golf course in America by Golf World magazine. Wheeler retired in February.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Jaime Ijams Promoted to Fox Valley Park District Gymnastics Coordinator
Jaime Ijams has been promoted to Facility Manager at the Prisco Community Center. Ijams joined Fox Valley Park District in 2002 as a gymnastics coordinator and worked as a Recreation Supervisor overseeing Fox Valley’s gymnastics program since 2005.
Ijams also is serving as the Supervisory Chair and Treasurer for the Illinois Park District Gymnastics Conference (IPDGC). She earned her Bachelor of Science and Technology from Ball State University and recently received her Certified Park and Recreation Professional certification from the National Recreation and Park Association.
Monday, May 23, 2011
In Memoriam: Rockford Park District Commissioner Dr. Chuck Brown
Commissioner Chuck Brown, Ph.D. died recently leaving a loss mourned by the Board of Commissioners and staff of the Rockford Park District.Dr. Brown was elected to the Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners in April, 2009, and served as secretary of the park board during 2010. Dr. Brown contributed his considerable skills and expertise in communication, and greatly enjoyed formally representing the park district at many social and networking events in the community.
Chuck was the district’s official liaison to the River District Association and also served with other organizations involved in numerous downtown Rockford development projects. He chaired the successful marketing and public relations efforts for the Connecting our Future joint fundraising campaign for Burpee Museum and Discovery Center Museum. Dr. Brown’s six-year term as park commissioner would have expired in April, 2015.
Commissioner Nate Martin remarked, "Chuck was an outstanding commissioner and a community leader. He dedicated his life to serving people, and I was pleased to serve with him on the park board.”
Friday, Friday, May 20, 2011
IAPD/IPRA Support Parks and Recreation
Delegates from the Illinois Association of Park Districts and the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association were the largest group of advocates during the Illinois Senators Delegate Breakfast at the 2011 National Legislative Forum on Parks and Recreation. Shown are the 25 representatives from Illinois joined by U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (far left) and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (far right).
Friday, May 20, 2011
St. Charles Park District Announces Retirement and New Addition to Business Manager Position
Karin Schindel (right) was named by the St. Charles Park District as Business Manager in May. She spent the previous four years at the Oak Park Park District as the Accounting Supervisor and then the Superintendent of Business Operations. Schindel earned a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University in business economics and urban and environmental affairs and a master’s degree in public administration from Keller University.
Previous Business Manager William Conner (left) announced his retirement from his 27-year career at St. Charles Park District. Connor managed the annual multimillion dollar budget, adopting new technology to offer online registration to the community and advanced computer system upgrades for District staff. Conner retired in May and plans to relax and travel.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Staff Promotions Announced at Fox Valley Park District
Matt Saviello (left), formerly the Facility Manager at the Prisco Community Center, has moved into the newly created position of Community Athletics Manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Saviello will coordinate athletic field rental schedules, contract and rental administration, policy and procedure development, budgeting, and managing and developing athletic affiliate relationships. He received his Sports Management degree from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, and joined Fox Valley Park Districtin 2007.
Bobbi Steele has been promoted to Recreation Supervisor overseeing the Fox Valley Park District’s dance program. Steele began her career at Fox Valley as a parent volunteer prior to accepting a position as performing arts assistant over 10 years ago.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Sandy Gbur Named Executive Director of the WDSRA
Sandy Gbur is the new executive director of the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA). She comes to WDSRA from a 22-year career as executive director of the West Suburban Special Recreation Association (WSSRA) in Franklin Park. Gbur began work with the therapeutic recreation agency in 1977 as a program specialist, moving through the ranks as a program coordinator and superintendent before becoming executive director in 1989. During her tenure, WSSRA grew from two member park districts to 11 member park districts and village recreation programs.
Gbur has shown impeccable skills in providing distinctive customer service and has worked tirelessly to promote legislative advocacy initiatives. In 2003, Gbur and her colleagues worked with the Illinois Association of Park Districts to become a driving force in the passage of Senate Bill 1881, which affords every special recreation association in Illinois the ability to increase their taxing power and provide more recreation services for persons with disabilities across the state.
She will join WDSRA in June and will be responsible for the organization’s overall leadership and direction, general administration, strategic planning and legislative efforts. She fills the position being vacated by Jane Hodgkinson, who is retiring from WDSRA this spring.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Fox Valley Park District Names New Director of Finance and Administration
Diana Erickson is the new director of finance and administration at the Fox Valley Park District, replacing Nancy McCaul, who took over as the Fox Valley Park District, executive director.
Erickson spent the previous four years as the senior finance manager with the Fox Valley Park District. Diana earned a bachelor of science in accounting and a master of business administration from Aurora University and worked in city government for 15 years prior to joining Fox Valley Park District.
Thurday, May 12, 2011
In Memoriam: Dennis Flanagin of the Lan-Oak Park District
The Illinois Association of Park Districts and the entire park and recreation community are saddened by the passing of Lan-Oak Park District commissioner Dennis Flanagin. Dennis lost a brave battle with cancer in April.
Following in his father's footsteps, he was first elected to the Lan-Oak Park District board of commissioners in 1977. He served on all park board committees and held the offices of vice president and president throughout his tenure.
Dennis was instrumental in the development of several neighborhood parks, the purchase and development of the Eisenhower Center, the community's first skate park, and acquisition and development of the Pennsy Greenway. He was one of the founding members of the Lan-Oak Park Foundation. In 1997, he was awarded the South Suburban Park & Recreation Professional Association's Park Board Member of the Year.
The Illinois Association of Park Districts was also fortunate to have been touched by Dennis’ positive energy and spirited leadership. Dennis was chairman of the IAPD board of trustees in 2003 and served on several committees including the Honors and Resolutions, Board Development and Constitutional Bylaws Committees. He was an IAPD Ambassador and an Illinois Park District Liquid Asset Fund Plus trustee.
Dennis was the 2006 IAPD Commissioner of the Year, and was known as "Mr. Parks” for his genuine love of promoting the value of parks and recreation and the positive benefits created through a good park and recreation system.
One of Dennis’ favorite quotes was from a song by Lee Ann Womak, "And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.” As reflected by his volunteer service and involvement with park and recreation issues at the local, state and national levels, Dennis always took the opportunity to dance.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Millie Keith Retires from Freeport Park District Board
Millie Keith has retired from an impressive 18-year tenure as a Freeport Park Districtcommissioner.
Keith worked diligently with other park board members to oversee a number of improvements since first joining the board in 1993. In Krape Park alone, the park district has improved the bandshell, renovated the carousel, and upgraded the walking paths.
Keith has been an inspiration to those around her, assuming the role of mentor to other commissioners who followed her lead and gained from her experience. "I think Millie’s experience has been invaluable. Her communication skills are impeccable, her networking on the state level has been great and she is one of the best volunteers I have ever seen,” said fellow board member Ken Collin.
Keith’s impact on the park district has extended well beyond the borders of Freeport. She spent four years on the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) Board of Trustees, serving on several committees including the Honors and Resolutions, Membership, Joint Conference, Seminars, Public Relations and Program Committees. She was also an IAPD Ambassador.
Keith was presented with the IAPD Commissioner of the Year Award in 2005. "The parks have been a big part of my life. I took my children here, then I took my grandchildren. Now, I am taking my great-grandchildren,” said Keith. "I always thought serving on the board was a good cause. I will miss the people and I will miss the camaraderie. Serving on the park district has been a part of my heart.”
Thurday, April 21, 2011
Fox Valley Park District Promotes Blake Ertmanis
Blake Ertmanis is the new Maintenance Supervisor for the Fox Valley Park District’s central region. Ertmanis has been with Fox Valley Park District for six years and attended the University of Missouri with an emphasis in forestry.
Ertmanis has worked on both the construction and grounds maintenance crews. He holds an OSHA certification on forklift operation, a Department of Agriculture pesticide license and advanced applicator license.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Bentz joins Champaign Park District
The Champaign Park District is pleased to announce that Steven Bentz has been hired as the new director of the Virginia Theatre. As director, Bentz will expand programming, community partnerships and fundraising efforts while managing the day to day operations of the theatre.
Previously, Bentz worked with 40 North | 88 West - Champaign County Arts, Culture and Entertainment Council - as director of operations since 2007 and moved into the director position prior to his departure. He was also marketing manager for the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra. Bentz brings a strong background in and passion for the arts which will translate into expanded opportunities overall for the Virginia Theatre, the Champaign Park District and the community at large.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful Honored Jack Armstrong
Jack Armstrong, president of the Rockford Park District, was recently awarded the Outstanding Individual Friend of the Environment Award from Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful, an environmental organization that encourages individuals and community groups to work together to make their community a cleaner, happier and healthier place to live.
Armstrong is a passionate advocate of recycling and conservation, and works diligently to promote the value of environmental education and the importance of connecting youth with the outdoors.
Since retiring from a 34-year career as a biology teacher, he has volunteered his time and talents to the boards of numerous non-profit organizations in the community. He has been the long-time leader of Computers for Schools, a non-profit organization of volunteers who refurbish computers for schools and other non-profits.
Armstrong has served on the board of Severson Dells nature Center, Four Rivers Environmental Coalition, Upper Rock River Ecosystem Partnership and was a founding board member of the Sinnissippi Audubon Society. He joined the Rockford Park District board in 2007.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Dawn Hartman Will Oversee Fox Valley Park District Graphic and Marketing Projects
Dawn Hartman has been promoted from graphic design coordinator to marketing manager and will oversee the Fox Valley Park District's part-time/contractual graphic designers along with numerous marketing projects district-wide.
Hartman joined the Fox Valley Park District in 2007 and has led development of an overall branded look for the district’s marketing and promotional materials. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from Western Illinois University with a major in art and a minor in marketing, with over 10 years of marketing and graphic design experience.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Desiree van Thorre Named Aquatics and Youth Programs Supervisor
Jennifer Boys, Assistant Superintendent of Recreation, has hired Desiree van Thorre as the Des Plaines Park District’snew aquatics and youth programs supervisor. Desiree will be responsible for managing Iroquois and Chippewa neighborhood pools and Mystic Waters Family Aquatic Center during the summer as well as youth programs including Fantastic Fridays, Middle School Drop Ins, School Day Off Programs, and youth trips.
Desiree comes from the Park Ridge Park District having been their aquatics supervisor since October 2005. She has extensive experience recruiting, training, and mentoring lifeguard staff, providing in-service training according to Red Cross and PDRMA guidelines, and enforcing pool rules and regulations for staff and residents. She has coordinated the Park Ridge Learn to Swim program and brings hands on experience as well as, having been a lifeguard and Learn to Swim instructor herself. "I am looking forward to the challenges of new facilities and a larger summer staff” said van Thorre. "My goal is to help my summer staff develop a strong work ethic and a conscientious commitment to safety 24/7.”
Monday, April 18, 2011
James Rogers Named Elmhurst Park District Executive Director
The Elmhurst Park District board of commissioners has announced the appointment of James W. Rogers, currently the deputy director of parks and recreation, as the new executive director of the Elmhurst Park District, effective March 2012.
Elmhurst park board president Colette Kubiesa announced Rogers’ appointment at the April board meeting. "Jim has been our Deputy Director for a number of years and we know that he will build upon the district’s current success through his in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Elmhurst community, thoughtfulness, excellent communication skills, participatory management style and creativity,” said Kubiesa
Rogers has 21 years of experience in park and recreation management. He has served the Elmhurst Park District since 1994 in a variety of positions including director of recreation and director of park and recreation services prior to his appointment as deputy director of parks and recreation in 2006. In his current role, he has been responsible for overseeing recreation programs and parks and facilities.
Rogers has a degree in Parks and Recreation Administration from the University of Illinois and a Master’s Degree in Management and Organizational Behavior from Illinois Benedictine College. He is a member of the Elmhurst Morning Rotary Club.
Rogers will replace current executive director Rich Grodsky, who will retire in April, 2012.
Tuesday April 12, 2011
Jennifer Boys Named Assistant Superintendent of Recreation
John Hecker, Executive Director of the Des Plaines Park District,announced the appointment of Jennifer Boys as the district’s new assistant superintendent of recreation. Boys has been with the district for 14 years, having served as aquatics manager and assistant superintendent of facilities. As assistant superintendent of recreation, Boys will supervise a full time staff of six and oversee all special events, summer camps, cultural arts and a number of other programs and agency facilities.
Boys said, "We will continue to look for innovative and interesting ways to give all of our residents an opportunity to be involved, healthy, and active.” Boys’ hands on experience working in both programming and in facilities provide her with a clear understanding of what Des Plaines residents are looking for in their park district programs and events. "I look forward to maintaining an open dialogue between our dedicated staff and our dynamic community."
Monday, April 11, 2011
Conservation District receives National Award for Financing Excellence
The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada awarded McHenry County Conservation District the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its comprehensive annual financial report. This certificate of achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of government accounting and financial reporting and it represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.
Andy Dylak, Director of Finance for the conservation district was also recognized individually by the government as primarily responsible for preparing the award-winning financial report.
The Government Finance Officers Association is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals with offices in Chicago and Washington D.C.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Herakovich receives Joseph J. Bannon Practitioner Award
Bobbie Herakovich, executive director of the Champaign Park District, was presented with the 2011 Joseph J. Bannon Practitioner Award from the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Illinois.
The award is presented to a practitioner who has displayed innovation in community service and support of the field of parks and recreation at the state and national level.
Herakovich’s 10-year career with the Champaign Park District has resulted in more than $3.5 million in grants and nearly $2 million in donations. She spearheaded four park acquisitions, with two more pending; development of paths and trails in the parks, construction of the Sholem Aquatic Center; creation of the Champaign Parks Foundation and the addition of several sculptures to West Side Park. The park district is currently overseeing renovation of Champaign’s Virginia Theatre.
Herakovich serves on the Illinois Association of Park Districts’ and Illinois Park and Recreation Association’s Joint Legislative Committee.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Rockford Park District Staff Earn Awards
The Rockford Park District recently presented quarterly excellence awards to six individuals and two teams, recognizing outstanding performance during the first quarter of 2011. Nominations are submitted by staff, and voted on by an employee recognition committee and award winners from the previous quarter.
In the individual category, winners, their departments, and nomination categories were: Gerald Bell, Ice Facilities, Safety First; Penny Christians, Financial Services, Outstanding Performance; Nathan McDonald, Graphics & Publications, Creative Contributions; Cindy Rathke, Recreation & Systems Development, Dollars for Ideas; Miranda (Randi) Sparks, Ice Facilities, Notable Service to Staff, and Jeff Stacy, Park District Police, Notable Service to Community/Citizens. Team awards went to the Park Police Snowmobile Response Team of Scot Nason, Jason Parada, and Joseph Williams, and the multi-department team of Barb Neville, Judy Roby, Brenda Parrish, and Laurie Anderson.
Tuesday, April 5 2011
Margaret Gazdacka has been Promoted to Fox Valley Park District Facility Supervisor
Margaret Gazdacka has been promoted to facility supervisor at Red Oak Nature Center and replaces Jim Kenney, who retired at the end of 2010 after 31 years with the Fox Valley Park District.Gazdacka joined the Fox Valley Park District in 2007 as a naturalist and previously worked in Itasca as a naturalist at the Spring Brook Nature Center.
Margaret holds a bachelor of science degree in zoology from Eastern Illinois University and a master of science degree in environmental science from Governor’s State University. In 2008, Gazdacka received her certified park and recreation professional certification from the National Recreation and Park Association.
Monday, April 4 2011
Cary Park District Hires New Program Manager
Tara Mele has joined the Cary Park District as program manager. She is responsible for oversight of the the youth, teen, and adult general interest programs along with group fitness, cultural arts, camp, and birthday party programs for the District.
Prior to starting with the Cary Park District, she has worked in a variety of capacities at Big Foot Recreation District in Walworth, WI, the Arlington Heights Park District, the Wheeling Park District, and the York Center Park District.
Tara graduated from George Williams College of Aurora University in Williams Bay, WI with a bachelor’s degree in public, commercial recreation administration and a master’s degree in recreation administration.
Wednesday, March 21, 2011
Linda Traina Named New Des Plaines Park District Superintendent of Recreation
John Hecker, Executive Director of the Des Plaines Park District, announced the promotion of assistant superintendent of recreation, Linda Traina, to superintendent of recreation services effective March 5, 2011. Traina replaces Gayle Mountcastle.
Traina has been with the Des Plaines Park District for the past 24 years. She has served as community center supervisor, recreation supervisor, and recreation manager, before assuming her current position of assistant superintendent. Traina has supervised and developed Park District Camps; Preschool, Dance, Fitness, and Youth Programs, as well as special events at the park district and in the community. She has been a driving force behind agency events and coordinating efforts between the park district and other Des Plaines agencies.
Over the years, Traina has written major park policies and grants, including the athletic field policy, staff training manuals, and the Department of Justice grant for the Teen Center. She currently chairs the Des Plaines Park District’s Green Team, and has been on both the master plan and the safety committees.
Traina is active in the Des Plaines community organizations including having served as the president of the Des Plaines Arts Council for the seven past years. She has also served on the Healthy Community Partnership, the Des Plaines Youth Commission, and the Taste of Des Plaines committee.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Friends of Illinois Parks Recognizes Donors at Conference
Many of the vital programs offered by the IAPD could not occur without assistance from many corporations and businesses. The following companies recently were recognized for their generosity towards the IAPD through support of Friends of Illinois Parks:
Ambassadors—$1,000 or more
Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni & Krafthefer, P.C., Bonestroo, Burnham & Flower Group, Olympia Fields Park District
Benefactor—$500 to $999
Call One, Design Perspectives, Inc., Dolton Park District, Robin Hall, Recreation Concepts, Inc., Williams Architects Ltd.
Patron—$250 to $499
Speer Financial, John Wilson
Through the support of these companies, Friends of Illinois Parks funds research and the PowerPlay! after-school programs. For membership information, vist the Friends of Illinois Parks informationon this website.
Pictured: Williams Architects Ltd. was recognized for their support of Friends of Illinois Parks. Pictured are (left to right): Tom LaLonde, Wally Frasier (IAPD Chairman), Tom Poulos and Peter Murphy (IAPD President/CEO).
Friday, March 11, 2011
Fox Valley Park District Announces New Staff Members
Kevin Bowen (left) has joined the Fox Valley Park District as the new Athletic Field Supervisor. Bowen has over 10 years of supervisory and management experience with the Lisle Park District and prior experience in the construction industry. He attended Waubonsee Community College and Southern Illinois University with an emphasis in Outdoor Recreation Resource Management studies.
Jennifer Fulton (right) is the new Superintendent of Finance at the Fox Valley Park District. Fulton was a Senior Accountant on the audit team for the past four years from Sikich LLP. Fulton received her MBA and Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Aurora University.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Jan Arnold, Executive Director, Illinois Park and Recreation Association
As the new Executive Director, Jan is responsible for leadership and oversight of the IPRA. She will be working with the board and staff to implement the strategic plan and increase the overall value of membership to the association. Most recently Jan served as executive director for Jumpstart where she oversaw fundraising, program management, relationship cultivation, staff management, and operational effectiveness for Chicago. Jan has a wealth of senior management experience in both the public and not-for-profit sectors.
Jan has previously worked for the city of Chicago in a variety of senior-level positions where she was responsible for personnel management, budget oversight, and strategic initiative development for both the Department of Aviation and the Department of Buildings. Jan has also served in multiple roles for the YMCA of metropolitan Chicago, including vice president of operations and vice president of programs and membership. She developed strategic partnerships and launched new program initiatives to increase the organization’s reach and effectiveness. Jan served as a senior manager for KPMG, where she advised senior-level clients in the public and not-for-profit sectors on a range of critical and strategic issues.
Jan is excited to return to the park district world which she left in 2000 as superintendent of recreation for the Wheeling Park District. Jan holds a B.S. from Murray State University, a M.S. from Indiana University and a M.B.A. from Lake Forest Graduate School of Business.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Jack Cook, Pioneer of Kane County Open Space Dies
The former longtime Kane County Forest Preserve District president and county board member died recently, leaving a legacy of unprecedented open space and enjoyment of nature. Jack Cook came to both the county board and forest preserve commissioners as an appointee in Elgin in 1989. The next year he followed in his father’s footsteps by winning election, where he served until 2004. In the early stages of his political career, Cook was elected by his peers to become president of the forest preserve district.
"He was always concerned about doing the right thing and doing what was best for people,” said former forest preserve Director Jon Duerr. Duerr and Cook became close over the years as Cook’s vision for a more natural Kane County blossomed. Duerr recalled. "Without Jack Cook, the local forest preserves would be about one-third the size they are now.”
Cook also helped create Chicago Wilderness, a regional alliance dedicated to protecting nature and enriching life. The group began with only about a dozen member organizations. Now there are more than 250 organizations involved.
"Cook worked as a pharmacist and carried a deep passion for sports as both a player and coach. Baseball and hockey were his two loves, said Forest Preserve Commissioner Jim Mitchell. "He was very involved with the Kane County Cougars and just loved them.”
Monday, February 14, 2011
Lake in the Hills Parks & Recreation Department Welcomes a New Recreation Supervisor, Megan Melendez
Megan oversees preschool, youth programs, and special events for the Lake in the Hills Parks & Recreation Departmentalong with coordinating summer camp and the Playschool Academy. Megan returns to the recreation field after taking time off to raise a family and run an in-home daycare. She has previously worked at the Schaumburg and Elmhurst Park Districts. Megan has a bachelor in art degree from the University of Iowa.
Thursday, February 11, 2011
Rockford Park District Announces Team of the Year
The Rockford Park District recently announced that maintenance services staff Mark Rohrer, Shawn Rice, Don Kuehl, Mike Parlapiano, Shannon Crain, Stan Richards, and Dean Nolan were selected as 2010 Team of the Year award by all staff members through an online voting system. Throughout the year, five teams were nominated by team members and selected by a staff recognition committee as team of the quarter, making them eligible to be selected for the Team of the Year award. The nominations for each quarter included recognition for outstanding performance, creative contributions, notable service to community/citizens, notable service to staff, dollars for Ideas, and safety first.
The maintenance services team has a combined 167 years of talent and experience dedicated to the Rockford Park District. This team stepped up to the challenge of gutting the Ballard Building to prepare it for remodeling for the Jr. IceHogs off-ice indoor training facility. Due to their resourcefulness, 80% of the materials removed from the building were recycled. The stairway was salvaged and installed in the hay barn at Lockwood, a portable skateboard ramp was built at Patriots Gateway Center, and volleyball practice walls were built with other lumber from the building. This team was voted team of the second quarter for creative contributions, which led them to their 2010 award.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
The Park Ridge Park District Board of Commissioners Selected Gayle Mountcastle as the New Executive Director
Gayle Mountcastle will bring to Park Ridge Park District over twenty years of experience as a leader in the profession of parks and recreation. A high priority is to work with the board of commissioners, staff and Park Ridge residents, who are all integral parts to the success of the park district. "I believe this position is an excellent opportunity to lead staff to their fullest potential in order to realize the recreational and leisure needs of the residents and to bring a fresh perspective to the district. One of my first objectives will be establishing strong relationships within the park district itself and the Park Ridge community.”
Gayle received a master of science in management and business from National Louis University and attended Illinois State University earning a bachelor of science degree in recreation and park administration. Jim O’Brien, President of the Park Ridge Park board says, "Gayle’s extensive knowledge of the operations of parks and recreation, management of personnel and her ability to reach out to the community through professional and non-profit organizations are true assets to leading the park district in to the future and building relationships in Park Ridge.”
Wednesday, February 8, 2011
Bart Desch Announced as New Superintendent of Recreation
The Sycamore Park District would like to announce the hiring of Bart Desch as their new superintendent of recreation. Bart had previously been the program supervisor and brings to the position a wealth of recreation experience. Bart graduated from Western
Illinois University with a bachelor's degree in parks, recreation, and tourism administration. After finishing his internship at Innisbrook Golf and Tennis Resort, he joined the staff at Homewood-Flossmoor Park District as a recreation supervisor.
In 1995, Desch joined the staff at Joliet Park District as a recreation supervisor. In 2000, he joined the staff at Pleasant Dale Park District as facility manager of the Chalet City Club. In 2003, Bart joined the staff at Sycamore Park District. His primary duties included supervision of classes, programming, all special events for the district, trips and teens. The District is looking forward to having Bart take the recreation department to the next level and continuing to offer its residents quality programs, facilities and events.
Tuesday, February 4, 2011
Glencoe Park District Welcomes Director of Operations
The Glencoe Park District recently welcomed Steve Nagle as the new director of operations, a position which administers facilities operations, capital improvements and grants. With a comprehensive professional background and positive energy, he is a great addition to the park district family.
Steve comes to Glencoe Park District with several years of experience in the field of parks and recreation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in recreation, parks and tourism administration from Western Illinois University and earned a master’s degree in parks and recreation administration from the University of Illinois. His work experience is extensive, including management of both recreation programs and facilities at the Rosemont, Wauconda, Bensenville, and Waukegan Park Districts. He was most recently the associate director of recreation and wellness for the Jewish Community Center of Chicago, responsible for aquatics and fitness at facilities from Homewood-Flossmoor to Lake Zurich.
In addition to his broad work experience, Steve is an active professional in the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA). He has been a leader of the IPRA Recreation Section, having spent six years as treasurer and the current year as section director. Steve also holds a certification in sports conditioning from the International Sports Sciences Association. "I’m looking forward to meeting and working with the residents of Glencoe,” Steve says. "It will be great to get to know the community by attending events and programs.”
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
NEDSRA Names Jeena Greenwalt as New Executive Director
The Northeast DuPage Special Recreation Association has appointed Jeena Greenwalt as the new executive director following 33 years of dedicated leadership and service from Larry Reiner. Jeena has been employed with NEDSRA for 15 years in a variety of recreation leadership and management positions, but now has the opportunity to write the next chapter in this new administrative role.
In her new leadership position, Jeena is excited to continue her commitment to the agency’s history of quality programs and services for individuals with disabilities. "By working in unison with board, staff, donors, affiliate organizations and legislators, I pledge to continue to respond to the expressed and observed needs of community members with disabilities, and provide quality recreation choices,” Jeena said.
Greg Kuhs, Director of the Wood Dale Park District and Chairman of NEDSRA’s Board of Trustees stated, "The board feels strongly that Jeena has the skills, insight, personality, experience and professional approach to be successful in leading NEDSRA into the future.” NEDSRA serves residents with disabilities in Addison, Bensenville, Butterfield, Glendale Heights, Itasca, Lombard, Medinah, Oakbrook Terrace, Schiller Park, Villa Park and Wood Dale.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Winnebago County Forest Preserve District Introduces Independent Board of Commissioners
For the first time in its 88-year history, the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District is now governed by an independent Board of Commissioners elected at large by the voters on November 2, 2010. The seven Commissioners were elected from a field of 35 candidates and were sworn in by Judge Brian Shore on December 9, 2010 in a ceremony at District Headquarters. An audience of over 60 family members, friends, staff, citizens and media attended the historic event. The Commission held its first official meeting following the ceremony.
The WCFPD Board of Commissioners is authorized by state statute to "acquire lands for the purpose of protecting and preserving the flora, fauna, and scenic beauties and to restore, restock, protect and preserve such lands together with their flora and fauna, as nearly as may be, in their natural state and condition.” Simply stated, the job of the Board of Commissioners is to translate the open-space needs of county residents into ordinances designed to protect and enhance natural areas and support general operations.
Back row, left to right: Judith Barnard, Jay Ferraro, Randal Olson, Brian Shore (officiating), Mary McNamara Bernsten. Front row: Gloria Lind, Cheryl A. Maggio, Audrey L. Johnson
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The Oakbrook Terrace Park District Welcomes New Recreation Supervisor
Anthony DeSanto is the new recreation supervisor with the Oakbrook Terrace Park District. DeSanto is a 2008 graduate of Benedictine University where he majored in business and economics with a concentration in sports management. In 2009, DeSanto received his masters in business administration degree also from Benedictine University.
Prior to joining the Oakbrook Terrace Park District, DeSanto worked in the public works department for the town of LaGrange Park. He also has previous experience working in recreation from the various positions he held with the LaGrange Park Park District and the Western Springs Recreation Center. At the Oakbrook Terrace Park District, DeSanto will be responsible for all athletic leagues, special events and park district classes and programs.
DeSanto is a certified personal trainer and is excited about his new position with the Oakbrook Terrace Park District. He resides in LaGrange Park, Illinois.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Sue Stanish, Formerly of the Village of Willowbrook, Joins Naperville Park District Staff
The Naperville Park District welcomes Sue Stanish, CPA, as the district’s new finance director. Stanish comes to the park district from the Village of Willowbrook, where she served as director of finance for the past 12 years. "Not only does Sue Stanish bring excellent qualifications and experience to the district’s finance department, but she also brings personal knowledge of Naperville, having worked as accounting manager for the city of Naperville from 1993-1998,” said Executive Director, Ray McGury.
Stanish said that she is looking forward to working as part of a team that will be building and maintaining outstanding parks and facilities for the community. She appreciates the unique focus of park districts and the importance of recreation and open space for the quality of life for all. Sue personally enjoys golfing, kayaking, and the outdoors and looks forward to walking along the riverwalk in all seasons. The Naperville Park District staff and board are pleased to welcome Sue Stanish as we start an exciting year of improvements including construction of new facilities at Nike Sports Complex and renovations at Centennial Beach.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Rockford Park District Board Views Olson Park Phase 1 Design Plan
The Rockford Park District Board commissioners recently viewed a presentation on the Olson Swedish Heritage Park project that has been in design since May of 2010; this phase of the park builds out approximately 28 acres of the 82-acre site located in Loves Park. The design incorporates input by local Swedish community members received during focus groups held prior to the design.
The Phase I design as shown on the presented site plan incorporates the amenities necessary to satisfy Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) grant requirements. Some of the features include, 1400 feet of recreational pat, a Swedish influenced shelter pavilion, Kubbe (Swedish lawn game), Bocce Ball, and Horseshoes as recreational activities, approximately 4000 square foot playground and a 4-acre fenced dog park with shelter. A rain garden may be constructed pending an award of a Section 319 grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). Status of this grant should be learned in spring of 2011.
The park has been designed with abundant areas of Natural Prairie Meadow requiring minimum maintenance other than burn off every few years, and natural no-mow seeding areas. Natural no-mow grass grows to about 5-7 inches tall, and requires only minimal periodic mowing to control volunteer plants. These plantings will minimize the amount of staff time required to maintain the park. For greater details related to the Olson Swedish Heritage Park project view the Rockford Park District media release on their website news page.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
St. Charles Park District Welcomes New Director
The St. Charles Board of Park Commissioners has hired Ray Ochromowicz as director of parks and recreation for the St. Charles Park District. Mr. Ochromowicz’s first day of work will be January 24, 2011. Mr. Ochromowicz is currently employed as executive director of the Park Ridge Illinois Recreation and Park District.
Previously, he was employed as director of parks and recreation for the Bolingbrook Illinois Park District for a 22 year period. During his tenure at Bolingbrook, the district won the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Parks and Recreation Management and the district was a 7 time winner of National Recreation & Park Association’s Kudos Award as the "Nation’s Best Communicator.” Earlier in his career, he held a variety of positions, serving as director of the Burbank Park District, as assistant to the director for the Niles Park District and as an athletic supervisor for the Oak Lawn Park District.
Mr. Ochromowicz is a member of the American Academy of Parks and Recreation and just recently completed eight years of service on the Board of Directors of the Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA) and six years on the Board of Regents for North Carolina State University’s Supervisor Management School. He is a member of the National Recreation and Park Association’s Congress Program Committee and a member of Rotary International. He has a long history of community involvement as well.
Mr. Ochromowicz has been awarded the NRPA Great Lakes Region Professional of the Year, IPRA Professional and Meritorious Service Awards & IPRA Prestigious Fellow Award. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Park and Recreation Administration from Western Illinois University and has twice been honored as the WIU Recreation and Park Association’ Alumni Award.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Western DuPage Special Recreation Association Welcomes New Inclusion Staff Member
The Western DuPage Special Recreation Association(WDSRA) is pleased to announce that Ted Adatto has joined its staff as inclusion supervisor. Ted’s responsibilities at WDSRA include: planning, implementing, supervising, and evaluating the inclusion process in member districts (Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Roselle, Warrenville, West Chicago, Wheaton, and Winfield). He is especially excited to be part of WDSRA because the agency is an industry leader and innovator.
Adatto’s background blends clinical education with recreation-based inclusion programming knowledge, giving him a dynamic wealth of experience that combines inclusion theory with on-the-ground practices. A Chicago resident and native of Northbrook, Ted graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Secondary Education with Social Studies and Special Education concentrations.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Employee of the Year Announcement from the Rockford Park District
The Rockford Park District recently announced that Golf Services Manager Nancy Kauzlarich was selected for the Rockford Park District 2010 Employee of the Year award. Throughout the year, 24 employees were nominated by team members and selected by a staff recognition committee as Employee of the Quarter, making them eligible to be selected as Employee of the Year.
Factors used to determine quarterly award recipients included special contributions to the Park District as a whole, successful completion of special projects, ideas for improved work methods, outstanding dedication to the Park District, ideas that generated revenue or saved money for the district, attention to safety details, and/or outstanding customer service.
Kauzlarich has been employed with the district for 32 years, and has worked her way up through the golf services department. In addition to her long hours working with lesson programs, special events, tournaments, and other daily management activities, she has made it a point to be available to her staff day and night to provide help. Nancy has taken it upon herself to put together a manual that is used as a training document and reference source to help staff with point-of-sale related questions. Kauzlarich's demonstrated leadership and interest in staff development and support earned her the fourth quarter employee excellence award for notable service to staff, which led to her being named 2010 employee of the year.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Springfield Park District's Erin’s Pavilion Earns LEED Platinum Building Certification
photo by The Hauser Group
Erin’s Pavilion in Springfield Park District's Edwin Watts Southwind Park incorporates a variety of accessible and environmentally responsible features that was recently recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council with the organization’s highest level of LEED certification. Under the LEED for New Construction rating system, the structure incorporates a host of environmentally friendly features. The pavilion boasts more than 16,000 square feet of space, including an expansive terrace with panoramic views of the park’s main pond.
The facility includes a Grand Hall for visitor welcome and interaction, along with educational displays, small program rooms and a catering room. There is also a large 4,900-square-foot program space that can accommodate up to 500 people. The space is equipped to handle multi-media and all configurations of meetings and special events, and can be subdivided into four smaller spaces.
The Springfield Park Districtin Springfield, Illinois has developed Erin’s Pavilion and the other buildings and spaces in the Edwin Watts Southwind Park with the goal of constructing one of the most accessible and sustainable parks ever built. For more specific information on Erin’s Pavilion and more specific details and features, visit springfieldparks.org/facilities/pavilions/erins.asp.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Joe McCann Hired as Superintendent of Recreation at the Itasca Park District
Joe McCann comes to the Itasca Park District from Schaumburg Park District where he held the position of community recreation center manager and managed a 100,000 square foot facility with amenities including an indoor water park, fitness center, an indoor playground and more.
Prior to being the community recreation center manager, Joe held the position of athletic supervisor at Schaumburg and Round Lake Area Park Districts. Joe received his Bachelor of Science in leisure studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Ron Diehl Retires as 40-Year Director of Effingham Park District
Beginning his career directly out of college, Ron Diehl has held the same title as director for the Effingham Park District from 1972 through 2011. Under his leadership, the park district has grown from an agency without baseball leagues or recreation programs, to a district of over 90 acres that encompasses two new parks with baseball diamonds, tennis courts and a skateboard complex. Ron credits past and current park board members for allowing him the freedom to research new projects and guide them to completion, such as the Kluthe Memorial Pool at the new Evergreen Hollow Park and the park district’s expanded Hendelmeyer Park Recreation Center.
Under Ron’s leadership, the agency has grown from one employee to more than 100 full and part-time employees striving to meet the recreational needs of a diverse and growing community. Diehl has worked over the decades to increase the park district budget from $35,000 to a $1.4 million entity with bond issues passed. Ron will be retiring on January 31, but plans to remain active in the community.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Joel Hymen Announced as Recreation Coordinator for Westmont Park District
The Westmont Park District would like to announce the newest member of the staff, Joel Hymen. Joel completed his schooling for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation at Southern Illinois University in 2008. He worked as an intern for the Westmont Park District during the 2010 winter/spring season, assisting with athletics, early childhood, youth programs and special events. Joel was hired full-time in June 2010.
As a Recreation Coordinator in Westmont, Joel handles fitness, golf and adult programs as well manages all IT responsibilities for the district. He is a great addition to the recreation department and has assumed all of his tasks district-wide with enthusiasm. Joel grew up enjoying the recreational facilities in the western suburbs and now resides in Naperville.
Monday, January 3, 2011
In Memoriam: Scott R. Triphahn
The Illinois Association of Park Districts and the entire parks and recreation community are saddened by the passing of Scott Triphahn. Scott lost his long and brave battle with cancer in December 2010. He was president and CEO of W-T Engineering, Inc., a commissioner of the Hoffman Estates Park District for 13 years, founding president of Friends of HE Park Foundation, past chairman of the Illinois Association of Park Districts and a lifelong resident and steadfast pillar of the Hoffman Estates community.
He was elected as a park commissioner in 1997, serving as the park board’s president one year later. Scott had a unique talent for getting people involved in the right direction. He was a tremendous proponent of legislative advocacy, and played a major role in helping the Hoffman Estates Park District secure more than $2 million in grants.
IAPD was also fortunate to have been touched by Scott’s wisdom and enthusiasm. He was Chairman of the IAPD Board of Trustees in 2007, and served on IAPD committees on 58 different occasions. "Scott left an indelible impact, made lives better, and inspired others to greatness along the way,” stated Peter M. Murphy, IAPD President and CEO.
Scott was posthumously given the IAPD’s Commissioner of the Year award at the 2011 IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference. Before Scott's untimely death, the Hoffman Estates Park District Community Center & Ice Arena was formally renamed the Scott R. Triphahn Community Center & Ice Arena.
Illinois Park & Recreation Magazine - People and Places 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Rockford Park District Foundation Completes Fundraising Goal of $38,000 for the Joe Marino Statue
The Rockford Park District Foundation has announced that it has completed its fundraising effort for the Joe Marino statue with cash received and pledges payable by June, 2011 totaling $38,000. Approximately 374 donors contributed to the campaign.
"This is another example of our community’s tremendous generosity and support,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Tim Dimke.
On July 4, 2010, "Mr. Fourth of July”, Joe Marino was surprised with the unveiling of a life-sized bronze statue at Joe Marino Park, formerly named Waterside Park, located in the northwest corner of Water and State Streets in downtown Rockford.
In 1963, Marino created the Rockford 4th of July Committee, which is comprised of approximately 30 volunteers who donate their time to help raise funds, organize, and promote the 4th of July Celebration. In 1989, Marino started a committee for the Holiday Festival of Lights, an event that has grown from 12 to 50-plus lighted displays at Sinnissippi Park in Rockford, generating about a million visitors every year. Donations are still coming in for the statue.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Bob Newport Named as Round Lake Area Park District Executive Director
The Illinois Association of Park Districts recently performed a Directors Search Program service for the Round Lake Area Park District. Bob Newport has been hired as its new executive director. Newport has spent the last 13 years with the Round Lake Area Park District. During his tenure at the park district, he has held many positions including: Recreation Supervisor, Athletic Supervisor, Aquatics Supervisor, Facility Manager, Superintendent of Recreation and most recently Assistant Director.
While at the Round Lake Area Park District, Newport’s accomplishments have included creating an award winning partnership with the United Way of Lake County which has led to summer camp specific funding for multiple years, receiving a grant for the development of Fairfield Sports Park Tball field from Major League Baseball’s Foundation and for implementing a 30% increase in programs offered by the park district over a 2 year period. Bob has served as liaison to the Friends of the Round Lake Parks Foundation for the past three years and has been involved locally in the Round Lake Area with numerous community organizations for a number of years.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Director Jim Breen Announces Retirement
After 38 years in the park and recreational profession, 19 of those years employed as director of the St. Charles Park District, Jim Breen has announced his upcoming retirement.
Prior to coming to St. Charles, Breen was employed by the Peoria Park District for 15 years, serving as supervisor of planning, superintendent of recreation and 5 years as director of parks and recreation. Breen also served as director of parks and recreation in the town of Redding, Connecticut. Breen is a certified parks and recreational professional and has been involved in a variety of leadership roles in St. Charles. Currently he serves on the Board of Directors of the St. Charles Rotary Foundation, the Board of Directors of the St. Charles Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and as a committee member on the Design Committee of the Downtown St. Charles Partnership. He’s past president of the Rotary Club of St. Charles, the Downtown St. Charles Partnership and the St. Charles United Way.
Breen also served as campaign chair of the United Way’s fund drive. During Breen’s tenure at the park district, St. Charles won the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Breen holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New Hampshire and Master of Science degree from Penn State University.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Peoria Park District Welcomes New Marketing Coordinator
The Marketing/Public Relations Division of the Peoria Park District is pleased to welcome Kelly Kolton as Coordinator of Marketing. She joined the Park District in September 2010. Kolton is responsible for the graphic design, marketing, and news releases for various Park District programs including arts, sports and special events.
A graduate of Bradley University, Kolton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design with minors in Multimedia and Art History. She previously worked as graphic designer with the law firm of Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen. Kolton is an active volunteer for local not-for-profit groups and serves on the national board of the Bradley University Alumni Association.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Dr. Larry Reiner retired as NEDSRA Executive Director After More Than 33 Years of Dedicated Service
During Larry’s tenure, the Northeast DuPage Special Recreation Association’s (NEDSRA) received numerous state and national awards, including two National Gold Medals for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Larry also received numerous accolades and awards for his professional achievements and contributions and for his service on state and national task forces and commissions. He also spent much of his career advocating on all levels of government for legislation and funding to advance the parks and recreation movement.
Larry was instrumental in the passage of Senate Bill 1881, Property Tax Cap Exemption. Also through Larry’s vision and determination, NEDSRA became the first and only special recreation association to operate a fully accessible sports-training facility for individuals with disabilities. Several teams from the Chicagoland area use this facility for year-round training and competition. As a result of Larry’s leadership, NEDSRA has grown and prospered over the years. The agency’s staff, programs and services are stronger than ever due to Larry’s excellent leadership and passion for making NEDSRA the best it can be.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Chicago Park District Unveils Northerly Island Framework Plan
The Chicago Park District recently unveiled a framework plan for Northerly Island, sitting uniquely on Chicago’s lakefront less than a mile from downtown Chicago. The framework plan will serve as a guiding document that will help shape the future of Northerly Island Park over the next 20 to 30 years. "Northerly Island is a very unique urban open space with an equally unique location,” said Timothy J. Mitchell, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO. "We have an incredible opportunity to lay the groundwork for future generations and eventually develop this site into a multi-seasonal park that will potentially rival our Millennium Park, New York City’s Central Park and London’s Hyde Park.”
The Northerly Island Framework Plan takes advantage of its unique location by creating exciting outdoor experiences and strengthening Chicago’s leading position as a 21st century green city. The future Northerly Island Park calls for this site to become an outdoor classroom with activity-oriented programming year round. In addition, the future Northerly Island Park will set an example for sustainability through its financial viability, maintenance considerations, reduced energy use, and energy production.
Monday, December 13, 2010 Fox Valley Park District Hires New Executive Director
The Fox Valley Park District has selected Nancy McCaul as its new executive director to succeed Steve Messerli, who retired on Dec. 31. McCaul was the director of finance and administration at the Fox Valley Park District since 2005 and brings more than 20 years of park district experience, having previously worked in various administrative roles at Bartlett, Naperville and Homewood-Flossmoor park
McCaul was instrumental in refunding a pair of general obligation park bonds that will save the district and its taxpayers $2.1 million in interest expense. Also, McCaul helped the Fox Valley Park District attain two increases in bond rating, that resulted in an additional savings of $169,000. Fox Valley has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States for the last three years and has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for 12 consecutive years. McCaul said "adapting to how lifestyles are changing” is among her top initiatives. Addressing the childhood obesity epidemic, providing intergenerational programs and offering more services for active adults and seniors will be important issues. McCaul, a Certified Park and Recreation Professional, currently serves on the Illinois Park and Recreation Association Board of Directors and Finance Committee. She officially began in her new capacity on Dec. 15, 2010 overseeing a full-time staff of 91 employees.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Cary Park District Promotes Sara Kelly To Superintendent of Recreation
Sara Kelly was recently promoted to superintendent of recreation for the Cary Park District.She started with the district in January 2001 as a recreation program manager. Throughout the past nine years she oversaw the school age day camp, counselor in training, group fitness, youth performing and visual arts, youth general interest, birthday parties, and adult and teen programs.
Sara is CPRP certified, a member of IPRA and NRPA, and a member of the IPRA Teen Committee. She graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services and has previously worked in recreation and athletics with the City of Lapeer, Central Michigan University and City of Port Huron in Michigan.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Bolingbrook Hires New Recreation Supervisor and Banquets Coordinator
Clara Houdek (left) is the new recreation supervisor in charge of dance at the Bolingbrook Park District. Her responsibilities include the dance department instructional classes and programming, as well as director the award-winning Danceforce performance company. Houdek brings experience as a dance instructor at the Park District of Forest Park, Village of Riverside and Panda Dance Studio. Most recently, Houdek served as the executive administrative assistant to the CEO at Mutual Trust Insurance. She also has prior experience as a day camp supervisor at the Dr. Phillips YMCA and Howard Mohr Community Center in Normal, IL. Houdek earned her bachelor’s degree in Leisure and Recreation from Illinois State University, and holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Ann Marie Kaufman was recently named banquets coordinator at Ashbury’s at Boughton Ridge, a Bolingbrook Park District facility. Her responsibilities include banquet packages and pricing, attracting groups and booking special events for the banquet room at Ashbury’s. Kaufman previously worked as a catering and sales manager for 1st & Fresh Catering in Chicago, and also served as special events coordinator for Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, FL. A 2003 graduate of the University of Central Florida, Kaufman holds a bachelor’s of arts degree in Communications and Marketing.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Mike Macella Joins Mt. Prospect Park District
The Mt. Prospect Park District has appointed Mike Macella as fitness coordinator overseeing fitness staff at RecPlex and Central Community Center. Mike’s career with the park district began in 1995. He has worked in numerous capacities most recently as RecPlex pool manager and swim team coach, and during summer months as Meadows Aquatic Center’s pool manager. Mike has also managed outdoor tennis lessons for the park district.
Mike’s park district career was interrupted while he served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Ronald Reagan as an engineering laboratory technician. While in the Navy, Mike was responsible for control and storage of radioactive material aboard the aircraft carrier Reagan, and he commanded a division of 30 sailors operating and maintaining two nuclear plants. Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary health education and Physical education.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Downers Grove Park District Welcomes Two New Staff
Kari Loekle is the new recreation secretary for the Downers Grove Park District.Kari joined the Downers Grove Park District in November, and is a recent graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in recreation, sport and tourism. Kari recently became a certified parks and recreation professional.
Eric Lawhead joined the Downers Grove Park District in October as the new recreation supervisor overseeing the adult athletic programs, field rentals, McCollum Miniature Golf and Concession operations and serves as the liaison to the youth sports organizations. Eric is a graduate of the University of St. Francis where he majored in recreation administration. He is currently pursuing his Master’s of Public Administration at Governors State University. Eric comes to Downers Grove from Channahon Park District. He is a certified parks and recreation professional and has 3 years of professional experience in the field of recreation.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Champaign Urbana Special Recreation Adds New Employee
Lisa Morand joined Champaign Urbana Special Recreation as Youth & Teen Coordinator. She attended The University of Iowa in Iowa City and graduated with a B.S. in Leisure Studies with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation. Lisa is a certified therapeutic recreation specialist (CTRS).
Prior to joining CUSR, she completed an internship at Sun Valley Adapted Sports in Sun Valley, Idaho, where she was able to have the hands on experience you cannot find in the classroom and the meaning of therapeutic recreation became more evident through her work. Additionally, she has worked at various special recreation associations in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Cary Park District Board of Commissioners Appoints New Executive Director
The Cary Park District Board of Commissioners has selected Dan Jones as the executive director of the Cary Park District. Jones has been employed full time as a public administrator in the field of parks and recreation since 1993. He has been with the Cary Park District since 2000 first as director of recreation, then as director of operations, and most recently as deputy director. Dan brings a great deal of knowledge and experience in areas of revenue creation, program expansion, community based planning, capital project
implementation, staff training, leadership, and construction management.
Throughout his career with the Cary Park District he has led the agency through a number of projects including Cary-Grove Park development, Foxford Hills Golf Club operations, Lions Park Skate Park development, and the most recent community center renovations plus oversaw the park and recreation operations for the district.
Dan graduated in 1993 from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in recreation and park administration and a minor in business management. In 2005 he graduated with a master’s degree in public administration through Northern Illinois University. He is also a certified Park and Recreation Professional and was awarded the Illinois Park and Recreation Association Recreation Section’s Al Hattendorf Professional of the Year Award. "We are fortunate to have someone with Dan’s qualifications and experience to lead the Cary Park District and our highly qualified staff,” says Bill Harvey, president of the Cary Park District Board of Commissioners.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Champaign Urbana Special Recreation (CUSR) Adds New Staff
Dawn Schaefer (left) joined Champaign Urbana Special Recreation in March as the new CTRS director. Dawn received a degree in psychology from St. Louis University and a master’s degree in recreation administration with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation administration from Aurora University. Prior to joining us, Dawn worked as a recreation therapist for the North Shore University Health System. Dawn spent many years prior to the hospital working within the community at various special recreation associations.
Jessica Brutti (right) joined Champaign Urbana Special Recreation full-time as an Adult Coordinator after working as an intern for the program over the summer. Jessica attended Eastern Illinois University, and received a degree in recreation, with an option in therapeutic recreation. She previously worked at Camp-Shaw-Waw-Nas-see as a day camp director. She is enjoying planning trips, programs and events that offer great benefits to the participants.
Monday, November 29, 2010
The Elmhurst Park District is Pleased to Announce New Employee
Jim Doherty joins the Elmhurst Park District as a park ambassador. Doherty was the Elmhurst Police Department deputy chief of police, and served on the Elmhurst police force for over thirty years.
Doherty will bring his expertise in law enforcement and community relations to the position, which entails scheduling athletic fields, enforcing park district ordinances, issuing permits, and talking with community members about their questions and concerns.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Promotions in Bolingbrook Park District
Terri Tamer (right) has accepted a promotion to human resource generalist with the Bolingbrook Park District. Tamer was previously the district’s human resource assistant and a senior accountant. Prior to joining Bolingbrook, Terri was the development director at DePaul University in Chicago. She has her bachelor’s degree from the DePaul College of Commerce where her major was accounting. In her new role Terri will be collaborating on creating a viable HR department for the Bolingbrook Park District. Specifically she’ll be looking to improve customer service to our in-house staff and orientation training. A native Chicagoan, Tamer has lived in Bolingbrook since 1985.
Josephine Wimunc (left) has accepted a promotion to business manager at the Bolingbrook Park District. Her responsibilities include managing all day-to-day finance operations within the district. Wimunc was previously the district’s senior accountant, and came to Bolingbrook after serving as office manager and accountant for an electrical contracting business. She enjoys taking on new challenges and going green by implementing the district’s paperless initiative, converting many processes and reports to .pdf and other paperless media. Wimunc earned a political science degree from the University of Illinois and resides in her hometown of Downers Grove.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
New Executive Director Announced for New Ivanhoe Park District of Riverdale
The Illinois Association of Park Districts recently performed a Directors Search Program service for the newly formed Ivanhoe Park District of Riverdale. The park district is a merger of two smaller districts in the same village and Greg Bates was appointed the first executive director.
Previously the agencies were served with an all volunteer park board handling the administrative duties. Greg’s experience in parks and recreation includes serving the Village of Matteson as director of recreational services and as director of parks and recreation at Inverness Park District. He began his career in parks and recreation in 1998 as a program coordinator with the Elk Grove Park District. Greg holds a master’s degree in park and recreation administration from Aurora University.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
New Employees Join the Elmhurst Park District
Heather Lloyd (left) was recently hired as the Courts Plus Membership services specialist. Her previous experience includes human resources specialist and recruiter at Ambrosi and Associates, as well as professional recruiter at Dean Search, Associates. Lloyd will draw upon her extensive background in business development, customer relations and project management to recruit and retain Courts Plus members.
Barb Parsell-Madaio (right) has accepted the position of administrative assistant at the Elmhurst Park District. Parsell-Madaio brings over 16 years of customer service expertise to the Elmhurst Park District's Wilder Administrative Office, including experience as an administrative assistant at A & L Construction. Parsell-Madaio will provide customer service to park district patrons.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Riverside Parks and Recreation Names New Riverside's Village Manager
Riverside's village named Ron Malchiodi as the village's new recreation director. Malchiodi has worked as acting director for the department since February, following the departure of former director Laure Kosey. Prior to that, since 2002, Malchiodi served as the department's program coordinator and handled much of the day-to-day operations of the department. Prior to being hired in Riverside, Malchiodi was director of recreation at Veterans Park District, which serves parts of Melrose Park, Franklin Park, River Grove and Northlake.
Serving as long as he has in the programming role, Malchiodi brings a good deal of institutional knowledge to the job along with the hands-on operational abilities. "I'll have the benefit of having been in that position. I think it'll make me a better director," Malchiodi said. "But I'll assume more administrative duties. Previously I would do the day-to-day things." Malchiodi is in the process of selecting a new program coordinator for the department.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Congratulations to the Gurnee Park District and the Pleasure Driveway and Park District of Peoria for Winning National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management
Winners were announced today at the NRPA Annual Congress and Exposition in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Gurnee Park District won in the Class IV category (population 25,001-50,000) and the Pleasure Driveway and Park District of Peoria won in the Class II category (100,001-250,000). Several Illinois park districts were chosen as finalists for the award including the Bartlett Park District, Elmhurst Park District, Glen Ellyn Park District and Schaumburg Park District.
The National Gold Medal Award honors communities throughout the United States that demonstrate excellence in long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Each agency is judged on its ability to address the needs of those it serves through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials. Congratulations Illinois!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Dan Schimmel Has Been Promoted to Executive Director of the Buffalo Grove Park District
Although Dan Schimmel might be the new Executive Director, he’s definitely not new to the Buffalo Grove Park District. A native of Des Plaines, Dan Schimmel was first hired in Buffalo Grove as the Superintendent of Recreation in 1990. He was promoted to Director of Recreation and Facilities in 2002 and Deputy Director in 2009.
After completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation and Park Administration at Western Illinois University in 1976, Dan began his career at the St. Charles Park District. From there, Dan signed on at the Elmhurst Park District as a recreation supervisor from 1979 - 1986. He then became the Superintendent of Recreation at the Hanover Park Park District in 1986, the same year he completed his Masters degree in Recreation and Park Administration at Western Illinois University, and remained there until coming to Buffalo Grove.
As Executive Director, Dan plans on addressing the District’s master plan, which includes park development, paths, stream banks, playground renovation, ball fields and more natural park settings. He also said that he’d like to see a large scale community center, or at least a smaller one on the north side of town.
Monday, October 25, 2010
New Lenox Community Park District Receives Generous Donations from Outside Sources
Following the recent New Lenox Community Night at the Jackhammers Game, the New Lenox Community Park District was presented with a check from Suburban Bank and Trust for $1,000 during their August park board meeting. SBT Bank generously added monies to the ticket proceeds in order to bring the donation to $1,000. As the benefactor for this year’s community night, the park district will use this donation to supplement the park district’s scholarship program. This program is designed to ensure that families who may be experiencing financial difficulties may still participate in park district programs at a reduced rate.
In addition at this month’s board meeting, the New Lenox Friends of the Parks association presented the park district with a check in excess of $600 for assistance in procuring concession equipment for the newly built concession stand at Walker Country Estates (Liberty Jr. High). The money for this donation was derived from several raffles that the New Lenox Friends of the Park held during the park district’s recreational basketball league.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Bill Heider named Buffalo Grove Park District Superintendent of Parks
One might say that replacing the person that served for 38 years is quite a challenge, but Bill Heider is up to it. Bill has become only the second Superintendent of Parks in the Buffalo Grove Park District’s 41 year history, replacing Dale "Duke” Ducommun.
Bill brings a variety of experiences from which the District hopes to benefit. He worked at the Village of Forest Park from 1985 - 2004, where he became Director of Public Property. From there he went on to be the Superintendent of Parks at the Addison Park District, and from 2007 - 2009 Bill was the Director of Public Works and Recreation for the Village of Brookfield. Bill earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees from Dominican University.
According to Park District Executive Director, Dan Schimmel, "We are really lucky to have Bill. He brings a fresh look to how we do things in the parks division and the staff has responded to him wonderfully.”
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Bolingbrook Hires New Accounting Clerk & HR Assistant
Laura Mensik is the new accounting clerk and human resources assistant at the Bolingbrook Park District. Laura comes to Bolingbrook after 18 years with Ford Motor Credit Company in Downers Grove where she held various positions for 18 years including loss prevention manager and commercial account manager.
Mensik holds a six-sigma certification and has more than 20 years of part-time experience in accounting and bookkeeping for AGM Decorating, Ltd. Mensik is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Phoenix through the Warrenville campus and she is slated to finish in the fall 2012. Laura was born and raised in the Chicagoland area and currently lives in Plainfield.
Friday, October 22, 2010
The Des Plaines Park District Welcomes Their New Information Technology Manager
M. Spencer Reed is a Microsoft certified systems engineer with a security specialization and five years of experience in the information technology field. Reed’s responsibilities include technology maintenance at all district facilities and cross platform staff support. He comes to the Des Plaines Park District from Arlington Heights-based Computer View, Inc. where he worked as a systems engineer and one of the company’s senior technicians providing comprehensive network infrastructure, server, and workstation support.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Two of Buffalo Grove Park District's Longest Serving Leaders Retire
It is not often that an organization has to suddenly replace 67 years worth of experience and leadership, but that is exactly the task put upon the Buffalo Grove Park District this year, as Mike Rylko and Dale "Duke” Ducommun retire.
Dale "Duke” Ducommun (right) actually started doing work for the Park District before he was officially hired as the first ever fulltime Parks Department employee on his birthday (June 15) in 1972. Duke became the first Superintendent of Parks the Buffalo Grove Park District has ever had in 1979. In his 38 year career here, Duke has seen the Buffalo Grove Park District grow from 5 parks to what is now over 50 parks and facilities.
Buffalo Grove Park District's Executive Director of almost 26 years, Mike Rylko (left) , also retired on April 30. The third Executive Director in the District’s history, Mike initially came to the Buffalo Grove Park District as their first ever intern when he was finishing up his Bachelor of Science degree in Park and Recreation Administration at Eastern Illinois University. He was hired as the District’s first ever Recreation Supervisor in 1973 and promoted to Superintendent in 1974. Mike has seen the staff grow from 10 to their current number of 54 employees. He has also seen the District grow from 150 to over 411 acres.
Under Mike’s leadership, the Buffalo Grove Park District has seen 5 bond rating increases since 1984, with the most recent being the highest rating possible of AAA in October 2009. The District has also earned Distinguished Agency accreditation since 1996, the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for 12 consecutive years, accreditation since 1989 from the Park District Risk Management Institute and recognition as one of 4 finalists for the National Recreation and Park Association’s Gold Medal Award in 2009.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
SEASPAR Welcomed Rachel Hane to the Agency
Rachel Hane is a recent graduate of Illinois State University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Park Administration with an emphasis on therapeutic recreation. While at Illinois State University, Rachel was a member of the Parks and Recreation Society where she was responsible for helping plan programs and special events for the residents of the community. She also provided assistance to students with special needs by facilitating their learning experience.
Rachel completed her internship at NEDSRA in September. At SEASPAR, Rachel oversees the children and youth programs and special events as well as the aquatic program. She is also responsible for maintaining inventory, and ordering and purchasing supplies and equipment. Rachel is a sports enthusiast who hopes to become a CTRS. Her long term goal is to publish a children’s book.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Fox Valley Park District Announces New Personnel
Maryann Rivas is the new part-time Human Resources Assistant, having relocated to Aurora from Puerto Rico this summer. She has a bachelor’s degree in Secretarial Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico and worked in an administrative and human resources role for the past seven years. Prior to that, she held various other administrative assistant positions in a variety of industries. She and her family live in Aurora.
Ray Nugent is the Fox Valley Park District's newest addition as Superintendent of Facilities. He will manage the upkeep of four community centers and various other District facilities. Most recently, he was the Vice President of Construction for R and R Builders Corp. He has extensive construction/project management experience with commercial, retail, residential and road projects as well as property management experience. Nugent has a bachelor’s degree in Marketing for North Central College and lives in Aurora with his wife and children.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Greg Ney Promoted to Director of Recreation
Buffalo Grove Park District looked within, and promoted Greg Ney to Superintendent of Recreation. Greg has been with the Buffalo Grove Park District for more that 20 years, as a recreation supervisor in youth and adult sports. He also served as the Athletic Committee Chair for 2 years and was the state director for Pitch, Hit and Run or 6 years. Greg also earned the IPRA Recreation Section Young Professional Award in 2003.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
New Chicago Park District Webpage Details Permanent Public Art in Chicago Parks
The Chicago Park District has launched a webpage, as part of the official Chicago Park District website
, containing a comprehensive list of its fountains, monuments and sculptures located throughout the Chicago parks.
"The Chicago Park District offers the public a chance to get up close and personal with the city’s remarkable artworks in our parks with help of this new web-based,” said Julia Bachrach, Chicago Park District Historian. "Our hope is that everyone can utilize this new website and tour can essentially be used to conduct a self-guided treasure hunt.”
With a collection of close to 200 world-class fountains, monuments and sculptures scattered throughout Chicago’s parks, the Park District has created a webpage listing the locations of some famous and not-so-famous permanent public works of art. These range from historic sculptures of famous people including Abraham Lincoln, Alexander von Humboldt, and William Shakespeare to the some of the nation’s most exciting new works such as Agora in Grant Park and Millennium Park’s Cloudgate, dubbed "The Bean.”
From the lesser known artworks to well known pieces such as the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain that have become iconic symbols of Chicago, the webpage details facts about each piece and gives a historical overview of the works along with the location. Art enthusiasts can enjoy discovering the public monuments, fountains and sculptures that take center stage in various parks throughout Chicago.
Learn more about the Chicago Park District's collection, view their free web-based guide
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Ryan Risinger Promoted to Director of Recreation and Facilities
Ryan Risinger has been named the Director of Recreation and Facilities for Buffalo Grove Park District. Ryan not only has spent his entire career at the Buffalo Grove Park District, he started there before his career even officially began as the District’s intern, after completing his Bachelor of Science degree at Illinois State University in 1992. Even before he was hired fulltime as a recreation supervisor that same year, Ryan worked part time in their parks department cutting grass. In 1995, Ryan was promoted to Division Manager, and was again promoted to Superintendent of Recreation in 2001.
When asked why he has spent his entire career here, Ryan said, "There was never a reason to leave. I enjoy the job and the people, and I feel loyalty to the District.” As for the success of the District, Ryan credits the leadership and staff. He added, "From the Board on down, people are creative when needed and responsive to residents’ needs.”
Friday, October 1, 2010
Steve Messerli Retiring as Executive Director at Fox Valley Park District After 40 Years in Parks and Recreation Field
After 40 years of "living my life’s dream,” Fox Valley Park District executive director, Steve Messerli, will retire at the end of the year, putting the wraps on an illustrious, award-laden career in the parks, recreation and conservation field.
Capping a memorable journey that began in 1969 as a seasonal employee with the Fairfax County Park Authority in Virginia where he "cleaned every restroom in the system,” Messerli will walk into the sunset having led Fox Valley to prominence as the 2009 National Gold Medal Award winner.
Most recently, Messerli helped Fox Valley garner 65 percent voter approval in 2008 for a $44.8 million referendum, the largest park district capital improvement referendum in Illinois history since implementation of the tax cap. Messerli’s record for developing winning referenda is attributable to a willingness to work closely with citizen advisory committees. A strong supporter of open house forums, Messerli believes that taking the pulse of the community and folding their visions into futuristic plans develop favorable relationships with voters and the public in general.
Messerli’s work at Fox Valley was reflective of his previous accomplishments as Executive Director of the Lake County Forest Preserve District, where he led 13 years of progress, highlighted by a National Gold Medal Award in 1999. Serving a population of more than 660,000 citizens, he managed the 25,000-acre regional park and natural resource agency and led efforts to provide public access opportunities and improvements while acquiring over 8,000 acres of land for open space preservation, outdoor recreation and environmental education purposes – making Lake County the second largest forest preserve system in Illinois and one of national acclaim. When the Fort Sheridan military installation closed, Messerli negotiated acquisition of 250 acres at no cost through special federal legislations with approval of the Military Construction Appropriations Act signed by President Clinton in 1995. This acquisition dovetailed with his role as legislative chair for the Great Lakes Regional Council and his work in Lake County as the United Way Chairman.
In 1995, he became an elected member of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and served on the Academy’s Board of Directors from 1997 to 2000. He chaired the National Gold Medal Awards transition committee and was elected President of the Academy and served a one-year term through 2009.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
New Additions at the Fox Valley Park District
Nathan Troia is the new landscape architect at the Fox Valley Park District. Troia has a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and eight years of professional experience in both Illinois and Arizona. He brings a variety of skills and experience from design to project management to cost estimating. He has worked on neighborhood parks, community centers, signage and monumentation and converts all of the District’s hand-drawn designs to electronic format. An avid cyclist, he is married and lives with his family in Wheaton.
Tammi Cosola is the new part-time Recreation Supervisor at the Vaughan Athletic Center and works as the District liaison with Jeff Ellis and Associates for aquatics operations. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from George Mason University with experience as a lifeguard and swim instructor, having spent the last 10 years working or Lifetime Fitness. She also facilitated training courses and evaluated instructors as a Regional Training Specialist for Life Time University. She lives in Romeoville with her husband and their two daughters.
Monday, September 27, 2010
The buzz of Progress and New Personnel at Lemont Park District
Over the past few years, residents can hear the buzz of "progress” humming through Lemont Park District’s (LPD) Centennial Campus. From a successful Summer at LPD’s Centennial Outdoor Aquatic Center and the re-pavement of the Tennis Courts last Spring, to the front Parking Lot renovations and the innovative, state-of-the-art CORE Fitness & Aquatic Complex, the Park District is bursting with improvements all the way around! Not only have there been facility improvements, expansions, and new creations to better serve the great community of Lemont, there have been positive staff additions as well. Even though it was sad to see some faces move on to pursue other career endeavors, the new folks joining LPD are more than capable of grabbing the torch and blazing forward!
LPD welcomes Dawn Banks as the Maintenance and Environmental Services Administrator. Dawn has over 30 years of
experience in the parks and recreation field and is extremely skilled at her job. She most notably served on the Naperville Park District staff as their point person on the River Walk attraction.
Coming from Fox Valley Park District where she most recently served as Fitness Supervisor of the Eola Fitness Center, Kim Passini will be joining LPD as the Director of Recreation. Kim holds a Master of Science Degree in Recreation Administration, is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional and has 18 years of recreation leadership experience with a strong financial and operational background.
Cody Kamp is LPD’s new Director of Facilities and Aquatics. Having 10 years of recreation and programming experience under his belt, Cody joins the District from the Plainfield Park District where he recently served as the Athletics and Facility Manager. Cody also brings with him a strong finance background and is a skilled user of Vermont’s RecTrac operating system. He is also a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation.
Having 11 years of recreation and administrative park district experience, LPD’s new Deputy Director, Ryan Jastrzab is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional, Certified Playground Safety Inspector and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation. He joins the District coming from Itasca Park District most recently serving as Superintendent of Recreation and where he was a key player in Itasca Park District being the Gold Medal winner in 2009.
Pleasingly referred to by Board President, Pat Sexton as The District "Dream Team,” the Lemont Park District Staff continues to move ahead at top speed serving the great Community of Lemont!
Gurnee Park District Announces New Superintendent of Business
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Two New Hires at Buffalo Grove Park District
The Buffalo Grove Park District has hired Bryan Adams (left) as a fulltime recreation specialist. Bryan recently completed his internship this summer at the Buffalo Grove Park District and graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration. His responsibilities will include being the assistant director of the District’s before and after school care program (Clubhouse), as well as overseeing some special events.
Tim Beckmann (right) was recently hired as the fulltime Aquatics Coordinator at the Buffalo Grove Park District. Although his most recent job was in his hometown at the Gurnee Park District, he is no stranger to Buffalo Grove, having completed his internship there in the fall of 2009. Tim earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation and Park Administration at Illinois State University.
Thursday, September 5, 2010
Gurnee Park District has hired Michael Szpylman as the new Superintendent of Business. At this capacity, Michael will be responsible for leading, organizing, providing and maintaining the District's finances, information technology systems, risk management activities, customer service and human resource functions. Michael will start his employment at the District on October 7th.
Szpylman, born and raised in Lake County, has a strong financial background. He graduated from Waukegan High School and received his Bachelors of Science in Finance from University of Illinois, Urbana, Champaign. He is currently employed with the Village of Kronenwetter, Wisconsin as the Finance Director/Treasurer. Prior to that, Michael was employed with Top Golf USA as the Chief Financial Officer and Arena Football League as the Controller. "I am excited to join the wonderful team at the Gurnee Park District and to be a part of an organization that offers such great recreational opportunities to the people in the Gurnee area” said Szpylman.
"I am very excited to have Michael join our team and am confident that he will sustain both the financial stability our community has come to enjoy and the visionary planning that will drive Gurnee Park District to further excellence,” said Susie Kuruvilla, Executive Director for Gurnee Park District.
Szpylman currently resides in Kronenwetter with his wife, Vicki and their children, Emily and Natalie. His family will be relocating to the area in the coming months.
Thursday, September 5, 2010
2010 Illinois Sportsman’s & Parks Raffle Drawing Winners Announced
The Illinois Conservation Foundation and Friends of Illinois Parks held the drawing for the 2010 Illinois Sportsman’s and Parks Raffle on Wednesday, September 1st. Tara Kessler, with the accounting firm Sikich, LLP, oversaw the drawing with the following results*:
1st Place ($26,700.00) Bradley Bourbonnais/Darrell Devors,
2nd Place ($2,670.00) Jeffrey Larson, 3rd Place ($801.00) Kelly Smith,
4th – 10th place ($267.00) Bob Arbizzani, Robert Winchell, Darrell Forsythe, Kevin Paw, Kevin Dolan, Margaret Simmons, Robert Howlett. Recipients of 11th - 50th place can be found at the Raffle Drawing winners page
on the Illinois Conservation Foundation website.
*Results are based on a total of 1,068 tickets sold out of 4,000 tickets. As was stated on the tickets, prize money has been based on a percentage basis of tickets sold, which in this case is 26.7%. Prize money has been reduced by 26.7%.
Thursday, September 4, 2010
Cary Park District Board of Commissioners Appoints New Executive Director
The Cary Park District Board of Commissioners has selected Dan Jones as the Executive Director of the Cary Park District. Jones has been employed full time as a public administrator in the field of parks and recreation since 1993. He has been with the Cary Park District since 2000 first as Director of Recreation, then as Director of Operations, and most recently as Deputy Director.
Jones has been in the park and recreation field for seventeen years and has worked for the Park District of Oak Park, Lombard Park District, and Lisle Park District.
Dan brings a great deal of knowledge and experience in areas of revenue creation, program expansion, community based planning, capital project implementation, staff training, leadership, and construction management. Throughout his career with the Cary Park District he has led the agency through a number of projects including Cary-Grove Park development, Foxford Hills Golf Club operations, Lions Park Skate Park development, and the most recent Community Center renovations plus oversaw the park and recreation operations for the District.
Dan graduated in 1993 from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation and Park Administration and a minor in Business Management. In 2005 he graduated with a master’s degree in Public Administration through Northern Illinois University.
Over the course of his professional career, Dan has supported the recreation field by serving as a board member for the Suburban Parks and Recreation Association; contributed to several different Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) committees, and spoke at several state recreation and park association annual conferences. He is also a Certified Park and Recreation Professional and was awarded the Illinois Park and Recreation Association Recreation Section’s Al Hattendorf Professional of the Year Award.
"We are fortunate to have someone with Dan’s qualifications and experience to lead the Cary Park District and our highly qualified staff,” says Bill Harvey, President of the Cary Park District Board of Commissioners, "He has been a great asset since joining the staff in 2000 and we are excited about the opportunity to work with Dan."
Wednesday, September 3, 2010
Jason Anselment Announced as IAPD Legal/Legislative Counsel
Jason Anselment is the new Legal/Legislative Counsel for the Illinois Association of Park Districts. Jason acts as contact for legal questions on Park District, Forest Preserve, Conservation and local government issues by members and their local counsel. Jason will serve as association liaison to General Assembly. Raised in Southern Illinois Hamilton County, Jason graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Illinois College of Law.
Jason’s professional experience includes serving as Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Springfield, Illinois, where some of his key duties included development, analysis and interpretation of the municipal code and public policies. He also represented the City at hearings and other proceedings and analyzed new and pending legislation. Jason was also in private practice for several years and is experienced in local government finance and general corporate and real estate law.
You can contact Jason Anselment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, September 3, 2010
Crystal Lake Park District Hires New Executive Director
The Crystal Lake Park District has hired Jason Herbster as its new Executive Director to succeed Kirk Reimer who retired on May 31, 2010 after 38 years of employment with the district. Before joining the Crystal Lake Park District, Herbster spent the last 9 years with the Glenview Park District and most recently served as that agency’s Director of Recreation Services.
While in Glenview, Herbster transitioned the District into the 165,000 square foot Park Center Recreation Center, lead a team in the building of two outdoor aquatic facilities simultaneously, restructured the recreation department and saw program revenue nearly double. Prior to arriving in Glenview, Herbster worked for the Schaumburg Park District as a Facility Manager and for the Palatine and Alsip Park District’s as an Athletic Supervisor.
Herbster’s extensive background includes program management, facility management, financial management, facility development, team building and intergovernmental relations. Herbster has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in Park and Recreation Resources and began his employment with the Crystal Lake Park District on May 3, 2010.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
New Park Opens in Chicago's West Loop
Chicago is excited to announce the opening of a new park in the city's West Loop. Ten years in the making, it's an example of the power of partnerships:
The Trust for Public Land moved quickly to acquire the land, while Site Design Group drafted the plan for the space. A full city block in size, the West Loop park includes a dog-friendly area, children's playground, fountain plaza, open lawn, viewing hill, and an enclosed seating area landscaped with native plants.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Hanover Park Park District announces new Athletic Supervisor
The Hanover Park Park District is proud to announce Mr. Kyle Thomas as the new Athletic Supervisor. Kyle is a graduate from Illinois State University with a degree in Recreation and Park Administration. He has been an intern at the Buffalo Grove Park District and at the Hanover Park Park District.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Magic Waters Waterpark Named One of Top Five Publicly-Owned Waterparks in the United States
It was recently announced that Magic Waters Waterpark was selected as one of the top five publicly-owned waterparks in the country by Aquatics International. The results of the 2010-2011 "It” list were determined by a team from Orca Consulting, LLC based in Clermont, FL and Market & Feasibility Advisors in Chicago, IL. Magic Waters had the fourth-highest attendance of all publicly-owned parks in the United States. "We have worked hard to create some great promotions and provide our waterpark guests with a fun, family-oriented in-park experience. This, combined with an aggressive marketing campaign to both local and regional markets, has helped us gain market share and increase our attendance despite a difficult economy,” said Magic Waters and Aquatics Director Jessica Steinberg. For information on Magic Waters, visit magicwaterswaterpark.com or call 815-966-2442.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 Welcoming Jeff Collier to the Northbrook Park District
He’s been a basketball and football coach, a personal fitness trainer, camp director, teacher and recreation supervisor. Jeff Collier brings a positive attitude and a passion for sports to the new position of Assistant Manager of Athletics and Aquatics. Based at the Village Green Center, he oversees a full-time staff of five and the overall operations of the Athletics and Aquatics Department. "All of the positive male role models in my life came from sports and athletics,” he says, and he’s glad he can pass along his love of sports through the Park District.
Jeff grew up in Dixon and graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in Leisure Studies and an emphasis on Sports Management. After an internship in Urbana, he became hooked on a career as a recreation professional. Most recently, he worked at the River Trails Park District in Mount Prospect, where he was responsible for aquatics, before- and after-school care, special events and birthday parties. "It’s great so far,” Jeff says about the job in Northbrook. "As a manager, it’s my responsibility to be more of a thinker and make sure that everyone sees the bigger picture.” And, he likes the picture that he sees at the Northbrook Park District.
Thursday, August 5, 2010 Naperville Park District’s Brad Wilson Honored by Jaycees as Young Professional
At the May 14 Jaycees’ Distinguished Service Awards, the Naperville Park District’s director of recreation, Brad Wilson, was honored as the 2010 Young Professional. "We are proud that Brad Wilson was chosen for this award,” said Ray McGury, executive director of the Naperville Park District. "Brad is a great example of the strong leadership and work ethic that enable the Park District to deliver recreation programs and services to the community at an affordable price even in these challenging times.”
As director of recreation, Wilson oversees the largest department within the Naperville Park District, including responsibility for over 900 park district programs, Centennial Beach operations, the Carillion, the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center, community relations, field and facility rentals and community partnerships. Wilson joined the Park District in 1998 as an intern from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Upon completion of his internship he remained with the District as a Program Manager within the Programming Division, where he focused primarily on managing youth athletic programs. Since 2003, he has served as the supervisor for the Recreation Department of the Naperville Park District. Under Wilson’s leadership, the Naperville Park District has developed and strengthened partnerships with School Districts 203 and 204, Players’ Indoor Sports Center, and other businesses to provide indoor space for Park District programs.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Peoria Park District Welcomes New Marketing Coordinator
The Marketing Division of the Peoria Park District is pleased to welcome Ashley Hays as Coordinator of Corporate Marketing. Hays will primarily be responsible for creating and producing the tri-annual Playbook catalog detailing Park District programs and events, and will also handle marketing/public relations efforts for the District on a corporate level.
A graduate of Augustana College, Hays holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Spanish. She previously worked as a Marketing Representative with Green View Nursery.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 Belvidere Park Unveils New Universal Playground
This spring, the Belvidere Park District celebrated the opening of its first universal playground.
Bloom Playground was completed in late October in Belvidere Park. It incorporates sensory tools for learning, wheelchair accessibility, larger swings for users, and is available for all guests, disabled or not.
"We have a lot of children with autism, Down syndrome and developmental delays,” said Kelly Doane, lead counselor for the Park District’s after-school Club Horizon program. "This playground allows everyone to do so much more and have more access to get to the playground. We’re very fortunate to have this resource here.”
The district spent about $250,000 out of its special recreation fund to construct the area last summer.
For more information about Bloom Playground, call the Belvidere Park District at 815-547-5711, or visit. www.belviderepark.org.
Monday, June 28, 2010
SEASPAR Welcomed Kim Huggins to the Agency in June
Kim comes to SEASPAR with a great deal of knowledge and experience in the field of Therapeutic Recreation and has a great deal of enthusiasm to match. Kim received her Bachelor of Science degree, Cum Laude, from Aurora University. She was employed by the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association upon graduation where she served as the Senior Recreation Specialist in charge of Adult Programs and Trips.
Kim’s current position at SEASPAR, Recreation Specialist, includes special event and social club planning. Kim’s leadership role focuses on swim lessons and social clubs. Kim has enhanced her professional growth by holding several positions with ITRS. Those positions include Secretary of the Participant Services Division, as well as Chair and Co-Chair of the New Professionals Committee.
Kim enjoys spending time outdoors. She is an avid runner, cyclist, and hiker. She also likes to fish. When not enjoying the great outdoors, Kim can be found shopping, watching movies on the big screen, and reading adventure novels. Kim’s professional goals include becoming a CTRS and her personal goals include traveling to Greece to learn more about Greek culture.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010 New Lenox Community Park District Continues Excellence in Financial Reporting
For the second consecutive year, the Certification of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to the New Lenox Community Park District by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The presentation of this award will be held at the Park District’s monthly board meeting scheduled for June 16, 2010 at the Village of New Lenox’s Board Room beginning at 6:00pm.
The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, DC. To receive this award, the New Lenox Park District was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive "spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and users groups to read the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. This Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its continued attainment, represents the significant and ongoing commitment to responsible financial reporting by the New Lenox Community Park District.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Oakbrook Terrace Park District Welcomes New Recreation Supervisor
Kevin Siewak is the new recreation supervisor with the Oakbrook Terrace Park District. Siewak is a 2009 graduate of Southern Illinois University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in recreation and leisure services. Prior to joining the Oakbrook Terrace Park District, Siewak was with the Westmont Park District where he completed his internship and served as the program supervisor.
At the Oakbrook Terrace Park District, Siewak will be responsible for all athletic leagues, special events and park district classes and programs. Siewak is looking forward to starting his career in the recreation field and hopes to complete his CPRP certification as well as become a member of the IPRA.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Fox Valley Brings Two New Hires on Board
Joshua Ross is the new Aquatics Maintenance Supervisor at the Fox Valley Park District’s Vaughan Athletic Center. Joshua brings more than 10 years of aquatic maintenance experience to the District in both residential and commercial aquatics.
Karen Murray has been hired as the Performing Arts Supervisor at the Prisco Community Center and will oversee all performing arts programming at the Fox Valley Park District. Karen has experience in the private sector and has worked with the Buffalo Grove ParkDistrict working in their performing arts programs for the last few years.
Thursday, August 5, 2010 In Memoriam - Former Freeport Park District Commissioner and Pioneer of Illinois Parks, Recreation and Conservation Michael J. Cassidy
Illinois parks, recreation and conservation lost a great friend on May 27, 2010 when Michael J. Cassidy, 36-year Freeport Park District Commissioner and pioneer of parks and recreation statewide, passed away. Cassidy was elected to the board of the Freeport Park District in 1967, and served as a park commissioner until 2003. He was president of the park district board seven times.
Michael was elected to the board of the Illinois Association of Park Districts in 1969 and served until 1973, holding the position of president of the IAPD board during that last year. He was recognized as Outstanding Commissioner and was awarded an Honorary Life Membership in recognition of loyal and valuable service to the Association. In 1988, he received the Allan A. Weissburg Commissioner of the Year Award in recognition of his outstanding service to the Association. He was an appointed officer of the IAPD for nearly 30 years.
The Illinois Association of Park Districts established the Mike Cassidy Commissioner Community Service Award in 2001 to honor his tireless dedication to displaying the highest example of community service, personal integrity and ingenuity through his work with parks and recreation on the local, state and national levels.
Cassidy’s numerous affiliations include the Northwest Association for Park Districts, St. Vincent-St. Joseph Homes and St. Francis School, Freeport Library Board, Rotary, Jane Addamsland Park Commission, Jane Addamsland Trail Commission, Knights of Columbus, and Freeport Jaycees. He was on the Advisory Commission for the University of Illinois’ Department of Leisure Studies for 6 years.
He is truly a legend in the park, recreation and conservation community, and he will be missed.
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