Director of Leisure Services, City of Oldsmar
My experiences in the field began in 1986 as a part-time recreation leader at the age of sixteen facilitating recreation programs in a gym, and on a ballfield for the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks. Enjoying this part-time work, I decided to pursue a degree in Sports Management, graduating from Towson University in 1993 and later, in 2005, graduating from the University of South Florida with a master’s degree in Public Administration. Following my graduation from Towson, I was lucky enough to begin my professional career in Florida with the City of Temple Terrace, and then continued to advance with the cities of Dunedin, Clearwater, Largo, and finally Oldsmar where I am the current Director of Leisure Services. During the early years of my career, I became involved with FRPA as a District Section Chair in 1998, serving in that capacity for six years. During that time, I also began to serve at the state level as a member of the State Conference Committee in 2001 and 2003, and later as the Conference Co-chair in 2008 and Chair in 2014. Additionally, in 2008 I was elected as the Vice President of Professional Development, and in 2010 elected as Vice President of Finance. In other continued efforts to remain active within the association, I was a member of the first graduating class of the Joe Abrahams Academy in 2009, assisted the organization as a Verification Officer at numerous conferences, taught a session for the Emerging Leaders program in 2013, and participated in the beta testing for the new impact calculator in 2019.
Why do you want to serve FRPA as Vice President?
I wish to serve FRPA as Vice President again because I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to engage with other park and recreation professionals from around the state, serving our membership through the development of educational opportunities and the promotion of our profession as a relevant and important component of our communities.
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?
To stay on the cutting edge of the Parks, Recreation and Leisure profession, I utilize the digital resources available online to see what other agencies are having success with around the country, especially those who have been gold medal award winners. Additionally, having had the opportunity to review applications for the FRPA Conference annual awards in 2019 I have provided those to staff to review and determine if, and how, they might fit into our community as presented, or with unique modifications. Also, I try to stay current with societal trends identified through various media outlets and bring those to the staff as an opportunity to brainstorm on how to address potential opportunities through targeted programming. Finally, to stay on the cutting edge I attend the annual FRPA conference for the educational sessions, as well as the networking opportunities with my peers. To gain insight on the challenges that may lie ahead in the next five years I again try to stay current in the what is being reported through the media, industry journals and other outlets. In addition, I try to stay current on demographic information that would indicate shifts or trends that may affect the focus of our operations.
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?
To identify potential training opportunities, I would look at the issues that are taking place not only in government, but those in the private sector, and our environment as well. I would work with other board members, as well as peers within the field, to discuss how these trends might affect those working in the park and recreation profession and then determine the best vehicle to deliver the training necessary to address it. To determine the overall effectiveness of meeting the needs of the membership, quantitative measures such as class registration size, the number of successful sessions offered, and the number of repeat sessions can be tabulated. From a qualitative perspective, participants in the trainings could be surveyed to receive feedback on their experiences and how well they felt the training addressed their needs. My strategy to develop and implement these opportunities would be to determine whether the training demand was on a localized, regional or statewide basis. From there I would work with the FRPA state office to identify the areas best suited for the trainings based on demand and potential success and develop a plan based on the information at hand.