CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT-ELECT


Fred Couceyro, CPRP
Director, Community Recreation Department, City of Coral Gables

Fernando “Fred” Couceyro was born in Miami, Florida and has resided in Miami for most of his life.  After a scholastic career that included a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University in Communication and a master’s degree from St. Thomas University in Sports Administration.  Fred worked for several professional and college athletic teams serving different roles.  He began his career with the City of Coral Gables in 1996 as Youth Center Recreation Leader.  From 1996 to 2000, Fred worked different job classifications in program areas including summer camp and athletics. Fred subsequently received a promotion in 2000 to Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation.  Fred was promoted to his current position of Director of Parks and Recreation in 2007.  During his tenure in the City’s Administration, the Parks and Recreation Department has been the recipient of many recognitions including National Accreditation, Playful City USA, America’s 100 Best Communities for Young People, USTA Florida Tennis Organization of the Year, and Jeff Ellis and Associates Aquatic Platinum Safety Award. 

Fred is a Certified Professional, a Florida Recreation and Parks Association member and National Recreation and Parks Association member.  He has served on multiple FRPA Boards including serving as the Southeast Region Director and Athletics Administrative Interest Section Chair, and on the Board of Trustees of the FRPA Foundation.    Fred’s service to the Association has also included serving on different committees such as Annual Conference committees, Conference Site Selection Committee, and Strategic Initiative committees.  In addition to Board and Committee Service, Fred continues to volunteer for the Association, serving on the FRPA Awards Judges Panel for two years, and serving as a contributing writer for the FRPA Journal.  Nationally, Fred’s service includes serving as Lead Visitor on several National Accreditation Visitation teams for agencies such as Spartanburg County and Monmouth County.

Why do you want to serve FRPA as President-Elect?

As a Parks and Recreation professional for over 20 years, I hold a deep passion and respect for the profession. I feel that the mission of our profession is a valuable one that must continue to be allowed to grow.  If given the privilege to serve as President, I will continue to work on growing the Four Pillars strategic initiatives of our Association and will also strive to provide leadership in accomplishing those goals.   

What tools/resources do you utilize to stay on the cutting edge in the Parks, Recreation and Leisure profession, and where would you look to gain insight into what lies ahead as far as challenges and changes in the next five years?

The field of parks and recreation is one where there are constant shifts and changes in all areas.  Whether it be the ever-changing work force and its best interests, programming issues and trends, operations management techniques and roles, or the challenges of gauging community interests, there is no one place or person that would be the sole resource to navigate this.  I look towards a combination of different resources.  Educational resources such as different management books and journal pieces, and magazine articles in all fields are helpful.  Networking with professionals both in the recreational field and in other business sectors provide valuable insights.  I also draw upon first-hand practical experiences such as visitations to other agencies and parts of the country as an accreditation visitor and presentation speaker.  All of these different opportunities keep me abreast of the fluid nature of our profession and prepare me for the things on the horizon.     

What do you believe to be the greatest opportunity for revenue growth at the Association?

Revenue Growth is an ever-fluctuating process that will see growth opportunities fluctuate dependent on outside factors such as overall national fiscal health, membership trends and general needs.  Currently, there seems to be budgetary leeway for agencies to provide training dollars for its employees.  I order to take advantage of this current opportunity; the Association should continue to look at ways to provide exciting educational opportunities that have tangible benefits attached to the completion of the opportunities.  Classes, sessions and workshops that provide certifications, licenses, and/or completion milestones will not only generate interest for the membership, but it will also provide necessary justification for those leaders in charge of allotting those training dollars to spend them with the Association.  Providing these types of opportunities will also prove advantageous if a changing economy starts to necessitate a reduction in those training dollars. If the result of a training is a tangible designation that will add value to a member’s career, the member will be more likely to invest with personal dollars if that tangible benefit is apparent.

One of the greatest challenges facing FRPA is the delivery of innovative and applicable professional development opportunities.  What approach would you employ towards identifying potential training opportunities and how would you determine their overall effectiveness in meeting the needs of the membership?  What strategy would you utilize for the development and implementation of these development opportunities? 

The identification of potential training opportunities is always a challenge.  Several sources can provide possible innovative program opportunities.  Looking outward at professional associations in other fields will provide many possibilities for training ideas.  The private sector corporations can also provide training opportunities.  Working with a company’s HR Department can bring insight into what training opportunities they find useful.  Lastly, National Organizations have training initiatives that also may be helpful.  Development and utilization strategy for these opportunities would first start in the planning phase with the Board and chosen committees.  Working through logistical issues and providing the finalized details with the assistance of partners will provide the ability to present the programs to the Membership.  Areas such as finances, volunteer assistance and facility provisions will all need to be finalized through this process.  Determining effectiveness of these programs will be measured through participation numbers, evaluation surveys and membership feedback on the opportunities provided. 

The diversity of the FRPA membership base is extremely wide, based on geographic location, professional level, area of interest, and many other factors.  What strategy(ies) would you utilize to effectively engage in dialogue with the membership?  Additionally, how would you go about analyzing the various needs and desires into a manageable and realistic action plan for the Association? 

In terms of engaging the membership, every communication tool at our disposal should be utilized.  From email, newsletters, the journal, to e-connect and social media platforms, the Association should not leave any possible avenue under-utilized.  Whether it be messages for the board, updates on platforms, or status reports on goals and objectives, all these different avenues will find different audiences and will hit all the diverse member groups. The strategy towards analyzing needs is utilizing evaluation tools.  Surveys, suggestion forms and testimonials are all helpful.  In addition, analyzing these tools will help formulate a framework for an action plan for the future direction of the Association.  In addition to this, the strengths of the Board as and committees should be utilized for their perspectives through dialogue and workshopping.  The last tool would be the Abrahams Academy and Emerging Leaders groups.  These groups can be engaged to assist in seeing needs and helping shape an action plan that the Association will benefit from.    


Kevin Kirwin, CPRE
Director, Parks & Conservation Resources, General Services - Parks Division, Indian River County

Kevin M. Kirwin is the Director of Parks and Conservation Resources for Indian River County,Florida. Prior to joining Indian River County, Kevin served as the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department with the City of Miami from November 2014 until January 2019. Previously he held the positions of Park Service Aide, Job Training Specialist, Rangemaster, Park Manager for Crandon Park, Administrative Officer, Senior Budget Analyst, Executive Assistant to the Director and the Assistant Director for Operations Management with the Miami-Dade County, Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department. Kevin served with the United States Marine Corps in both the enlisted ranks and as an Officer of Marines.  He earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Florida International University and a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Delaware. He has served and continues to serve as a board member with several agencies and organizations.

Kevin is a proud member of the Florida Recreation and Parks Association (FRPA), National Park and Recreation Association and is Certified Park and Recreation Executive. He has presented at several FRPA annual conferences and agency summits on topics ranging from sea level rise adaptations for public spaces, partnering with the private sector to create parks, organization structure and  leadership, and how park and recreation agencies play a key role in reducing homelessness on our parks and in our communities. Kevin served as the Chair of the FRPA Economic Impact Committee and actively particated with other FRPA leaders in the creation of our current Strategic Plan.  He has held the position of Adjunct Professor at Florida International Universtity and Barry University covering courses related to park design and operations, leadership and management, and liesure services marketing.

When Kevin is not working, he is most likely sailing, hiking or cycling.

Why do you want to serve FRPA as President-Elect?

I am looking forward to serving with and for all of our Parks, Recreation and Conservation professionals at every level.  As president elect, I will listen to you and along with our FRPA team focus on providing relevant professional education sessions to make you successful in your current position and beyond, building our individual and agency memberships, having parks be at the table to develop environmental and climate change solutions and strengthening the positioning of parks as an essential service.

What tools/resources do you utilize to stay on the cutting edge in the Parks, Recreation and Leisure profession, and where would you look to gain insight into what lies ahead as far as challenges and changes in the next five years?

As a life-long learner and avid reader, I dedicate twenty minutes at the beginning of every day to profession-focused and related reading from books, textbooks, professional journals, newspaper and magazine articles. An iPad has become my “go to” platform due to the ease in which you can access, purchase and subscribe to content, however I still love to hold and read a journal, magazine or book when they are available. In any given month, my reading selections will be from the FRPA and NRPA Journal, Florida Trends magazine, TPL and NRPA reports, local Treasure Coast newspapers and the New York Times.

Recently I have become a podcast junkie and enjoy the Open Space Podcast produced by the NRPA, a local interview show podcast and several more that mostly focus on national news and economics. In addition to podcasts accessing and listening to books and articles on the Audible App has now become part of my workday commuting routine – however, this has not replaced my reading time.

Webinars and in person training sessions offered by the FRPA, NRPA, Rails to Trails Conservancy, ASLA, TPL  and parks and recreation vendors are probably the best resource for me to learn and stay up to date and as also listen to fellow colleagues about trends and relevant information. 


What do you believe to be the greatest opportunity for revenue growth at the Association?

I believe that we have three key opportunities for revenue growth. The first is the growth of our individual and agency memberships at all levels and size of agencies. The second would be sponsorships and contributions from park and recreation related vendors and services. The third would be the monetization of our Impact Calculator either by providing this as a member benefit for agencies and individuals within the State of Florida and by allowing the access and functionality of the Impact Calculator to park and recreation and related agencies throughout the country.

One of the greatest challenges facing FRPA is the delivery of innovative and applicable professional development opportunities.  What approach would you employ towards identifying potential training opportunities and how would you determine their overall effectiveness in meeting the needs of the membership?  What strategy would you utilize for the development and implementation of these development opportunities? 

I believe that there are three primary methods for us to identify what skills must be in the toolbox of Park and Recreation professionals at each level throughout our agencies.

One method for us to identify potential training opportunities would be to ask members and non-members (with an eye on recruiting them as members) what they would like to learn in order to grow professionally and serve and the method in which they would want to learn.

The second method would be to ask agency directors, which skills that they would like to see enhanced within their team and the method of instruction delivery.

Thirdly, I believe as the FRPA Board we would identify skills and aptitudes that we see as critical to align with our Strategic Goals and Pillars and identify the deliver method for these sessions.

The strategies and tactics that I would utilize to develop and implement these learning opportunities would be incorporating sessions into our agency conference and summit. Providing prerecorded webinars to members for learning on their own time. Develop a training team both from our members, affiliated vendors and FRPA staff that would be able to travel to and provide “boutique” sessions on core topics both regionally and for specific agencies. I foresee the costs of these sessions being offset by sponsorship, direct payments from agencies or fee-based sessions.

The diversity of the FRPA membership base is extremely wide, based on geographic location, professional level, area of interest, and many other factors.  What strategy(ies) would you utilize to effectively engage in dialogue with the membership?  Additionally, how would you go about analyzing the various needs and desires into a manageable and realistic action plan for the Association? 

The State of Florida, our membership and our communities is as diverse as it is geographically spread-out. Coming from South Florida to Indian River County this has become very evident to me both personally and professionally. The strategies that I would implement to engage members would be as varied as our state is diverse. First, I would reach out to members across the state in a personal fashion – either on the phone or in person. I enjoy listening and engaging with folks and learning what issues are important to them and I would find out the best way to get them participating at some level with the FRPA. Another method would be personally emailing and sending a brief card or letter to our members soliciting their feedback and participation. Where and when possible (its better now that I am in Indian River County I would drive to meet current and potential members in their county or town. Lastly, I would explore the idea of FRPA Leadership Webinars where we record and send out important messages to our members.