Director of Parks, Recreation, and Community Resources
What is your main responsibility?
To provide leadership, encouragement and support
to our team.
Describe your team and its responsibilities.
We have 32 full-time employees, eight year-round part-time employees, and more than 50 seasonal employees. Our team is responsible for creating extraordinary experiences through our parks, programs and events. We also provide maintenance for all city facilities. In addition, we provide operational support to our volunteer boards and commissions, such as the Acworth Downtown Development Authority, the Acworth Lake Authority, the Acworth Tourism Bureau Authority, the Acworth Tree Commission, the Acworth Housing Authority and their awesome volunteers.
When were you hired and what is your background?
My background was a high school student who worked at Media Play and Famous Footwear, took his graduation money and went to a two-week bartending school! I received a call from my old youth football coach the week after I graduated North Cobb High School and was wrapping up bartending school. He was the director at the time and asked me to come work at our summer camp. I made the decision to take the job for the summer and started Kennesaw State in the fall of that year. I was asked to stay on and perform maintenance (cleaning bathrooms, cutting grass, and picking up trash) while I went to school. In 2002, I was promoted to athletic facilities coordinator charged with programming the recently renovated Roberts School and building a relationship with our local sports associations. In 2005, I was appointed director of the department and have served in that capacity ever since. I have a recreation management degree and master’s of public administration from Kennesaw State University.
What kinds of growth/changes have you seen in the department?
We have seen tremendous growth. There have been different seasons of the city having Parks and Recreation Departments over the years. Our current department was formed around 1998. When I joined the team in 2000, we had six full-time employees and three part-time. We basically maintained parks, organized a few events, and had very little from a program offering. We have developed a professional team who have expanded and improved our parks, developed large impactful events, and an expansive program list that has something for everyone.
What did you learn from the opening of the Acworth Community Center and Depot Park?
Those projects offered so much professional growth and opportunities to be involved in these impactful and transformational projects. We learned the value of planning, preparing and being thoughtful and mindful in the design process to make sure that the end result was something our citizens would benefit from and be proud of. It was such a pleasure to serve on the project team with the rest of our city staff, elected officials, and volunteers. These were legacy projects that will impact generations to come.
How has the community center impacted your team and Acworth residents?
What has been the biggest surprise to you about your job?
Just how awesome the people of this community are. There is so much incredible talent with our city staff, our volunteers, business community, and churches all working in the same direction! Not a surprise to us, because we don’t know any different, but as we meet with other agencies from around the state, it makes us grateful to have city leadership at the elected and staff level that is so incredibly supportive of what we do and trusts us to execute the job.
Any future projects in the works?
Projects on the horizon will be the completion of a restroom facility at Durr Field, completion of the Cauble Park Master Plan, and the development of Hill Park that will serve as an interpretive history area next to the Rosenwald School. In addition to that, we are continuing to develop programming at the Acworth Community Center.
Tell us about your family and hobbies.
I’ve been married for almost 17 years to the love of my life, Shannon! We have two amazing children, Ashtyn, 12, and Grant, 10. In most of my free time, I coach. I have been fortunate to be able to influence young people during the last 20 years through coaching youth baseball, football and wrestling. I love fishing, whether it’s in a boat, on a beach, or waist deep in a stream!