CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT-ELECT

Becky Gunter, CPRP
City of Seminole Recreation Director

"Becky Gunter has served the City of Seminole Recreation Director for the past 8 years as the Recreation Director. Prior to coming to the City, she was with the City of Palm Coast Recreation Department as a Recreation Superintendent, and prior to that the City of Greenacres. Becky is a Certified Parks & Recreation Professional and served on a FRPA Conference Committee as well as an Abrahams Academy coach for three years. Becky is the lead in the Emerging Leaders program, as well as over sees Young Professionals group and the Esports council. Becky also serves on the FRPA Foundation Board.
Becky’s career in recreation started in Campus Recreation for the University of West Florida and University of North Texas where she earned a Master’s of Science in Recreation Administration.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, the beach and the occasional run.  Becky has a goal of visiting all the National Parks and hiking rim to rim of the Grand Canyon."

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

"Simple- You. I think serving, as the FRPA President- elect will give me the opportunity to help the Association to continue to move forward and provide what we the members need. I love that FRPA has given me the opportunity to meet and build a network of like-minded professionals across the state. By serving, I am hoping I can have your ideas come to fruition."

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?

"There are a few ways I stay up-to-date of trends, challenges and changes of the Parks and Recreation industry. The first one is to read industry magazines. I read articles from the FRPA Journal to get a pulse on what is happening in our own state, read NRPA Parks & Recreation Magazine to get a feel on what is trending nationwide and then read both of my college alumni magazines to glean as much insight into what lies ahead with regard to Recreation trends. For example, E-Sports started in campus Recreation before municipal Recreation was even considering it.
I also read (or listen to audio books) on leadership. These books provide tools to help me grow professionally in my own department as well as to coach those in the Emerging Leaders Institute. These keep inspiring me to become the best version of myself.
Gaining insight into what challenges lie ahead is tough to know; who would have thought we would be living through a pandemic! I am involved with the Seminole Chamber of Commerce and St. Petersburg College. Through this involvement I have been invited to various community forums and meetings and have met community leaders where our discussion revolves around the challenges our communities face in the workforce and as a community as a whole."

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

"Right now, our greatest opportunity for revenue growth/development is virtual. As the state of Florida is recovering from all that 2020 has thrown at us, I think it’s fair to prepare for budget cut backs. Reevaluating memberships and its different levels could be potential revenue growth, but with virtual webinars, training and meetings I see the most revenue increase.  The potential in FRPA hosting regional and statewide Esports tournaments can be a stream of revenue for the Association. Continuing to work with the Foundation to secure grants for funding for programs and various other opportunities will not only add value to FRPA memberships but also give back to the individual communities."

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? 

"Over the past year, I have found a new interest in generations and the effect the generations have in the workplace. I believe there is some truth in the information I have read that some generations like training and development more than others. We need to tap into this information and focus on providing training to those who want it. Often times, in my own Department, we tend to focus on how can we provide services to those who currently do not seek our services, instead of focusing on those who do and how can we better serve them.
One approach in identifying potential training opportunities is to get small groups together from each region, from each area of interest (athletics/aquatics/events/parks, etcetera) and from each organization size to identify potential training ideas. I have often thought about the idea of more boutique-type training which has a shorter training time (via Zoom) and is geared to something specific instead of a broad topic. One of the great things that came out of the 2020 conference was small class sizes where you felt more comfortable to have open discussions. Implementing virtual trainings in this boutique-style might be something to test out.  
At the FRPA retreat a couple of years ago, an idea developed around regional “state-wide” trainings. This concept would have one main training site that would host the in-person training and then satellite locations in the different regions that would host an in-person site but watch virtually. I still think this concept will work. As professionals, we like to network so even if you are at a satellite location you have the great training as well as networking with your region. 
Determining the overall effectiveness in training could be tackled in a couple of ways. One way is tracking if the member or non-member is returning to FRPA for training opportunities. Another way is with the surveys but deliver them in a more updated way. Implement real time feedback that is anonymous especially if they do not need CEUs." 

FRPA recently released the FRPA Impact Calculator.  Please describe how you would actively promote the use of the Calculator, and the importance of telling the story of parks and recreation to the FRPA membership.  

"For small organizations utilizing the Impact Calculator seems like a dauting task. I just recently discovered you do not have to complete every section to utilize the tool. I would use this knowledge as apart of promoting and encouraging the use of the Calculator.
This year especially, I feel more spotlights have been placed on our Departments as we each served our communities in a non-traditional, “Recreation” way. We need to use these new-found relationships to tell our story.  People are “wowed” by numbers, especially if we can back them up. I would challenge our members to incorporate some portion of the Impact Calculator results in at least one of their presentations. There has been some discussion on utilizing the Impact Calculator when making a pitch to Councils or City Managers. I think we need to encourage them to use it at civic club, HOA and PTO presentations. The more comfortable we are reciting the information, the more the members will discuss it amongst themselves."

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? 

"I am an analyzer by nature as well as a realistic person. I would first work with the Executive Director about her ideas and the needs of the members and utilize my dialogue with members to identify the highest need/desire and prioritize them. Set a plan for implementation for the board to review. 
The silver lining of COVID is ZOOM! I feel more connected now to our members than ever before. It’s easy for each of us to get on a Zoom call and connect all the way from Miami to Pensacola. I would also send out video updates. The average watch time of a video is under five minutes. I would utilize this technology to make quick, snippets videos and send them out. I also love the First Friday Lunch the current FRPA present has implemented with Directors statewide. I would want to keep that set time on going.  I also believe that live chats via Facebook is an easy, quick way to connect with our members as well as encourage them to join our social media."

Bryan Nipe, MLA, LEED AP
City of Lake Mary Parks and Recreation Director

"Bryan Nipe has 20 years of experience in a management role, 14 of which are in the Parks and Recreation field.   Bryan is currently the Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Lake Mary where he and his team oversee facilities, citywide social media marketing, building maintenance, beautification, events, recreation programs and the renowned Lake Mary Events Center.  Some of the many honors his team have received include; CAPRA National Accreditation, several CPRP certifications, Tree City USA and named one of the “Top Ten of Best Towns to Live” by Family Circle Magazine.  Prior to coming to Lake Mary, Bryan worked for the Seminole County Leisure Services Department as a Division Manager and in South Florida for various consulting engineering firms as an Environmental Specialist.  Bryan has served on several volunteer boards including FRPA as Vice President of Finance, The Lake Mary YMCA, Seminole County Sports Hall of Fame and The Lake Mary Heathrow Festival of the Arts.   He has a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture, a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, and is a Certified Arborist and LEED Accredited Professional.  He is also a proud member of FRPA and NRPA.
Bryan enjoys outdoor Florida living and spending leisure days on the boat with his daughter Julianna, wife Catalina and their Golden Retriever Kiko."

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

"Having served in many capacities for FRPA and most recently as Vice President of Finance, I am keenly aware of the opportunities we have to put our best foot forward and continue to grow as an association. I will apply this experience to a higher level of leadership within the association as President. We will face the challenges the post pandemic world brings together as the Parks and Recreation industry continues to improve the quality of life in Florida."

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?

"Through alignment with others in the industry through networking and general engagement.  Constantly educating myself and empowering my staff to continuing to gain broad knowledge of the industry and industries we partner with.  We also hold ourselves accountable to being an accredited agency.  Re-accreditation continually challenges myself and my team to bench mark with the best agencies in the nation.   I also stay ahead of the curve by reading journals and articles with a keen eye for best management practices."

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

"Business development through growth in membership, sponsorship recruitment and other innovative ways is critical.  This is especially true post COVID-19.  Sponsors and partners in the industry should be made aware of the benefits of aligning with FRPA and ensure they receive adequate exposure.  Outreach is critical in business development and I believe FRPA has ample opportunity to grow its “fan base”."

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? 

"Outside of the normal consultants and park professionals that lead many seminars, I would contact the chairs of various academic institutions to see what offerings they may have.  I would focus on various tracks such as Parks and Recreation management, Landscape Architecture, Planning, etc.  Professor seminars and graduate student thesis/dissertation presentations may be a welcome addition to the current excellent FRPA offering."

FRPA recently released the FRPA Impact Calculator.  Please describe how you would actively promote the use of the calculator, and the importance of telling the story of parks and recreation to the FRPA membership.  

"Being an active member of the committee to develop the impact calculator, I am in the unique position to be able to speak to the extensive capability it brings to FRPA.  Professionals in the industry are now able to paint the picture of the positive impacts parks, trails, open spaces, recreational programs and events bring to their communities.  We also have a great opportunity to offer the use of the calculator to other professionals such as landscape architects, engineers, realtors, etc. that have a need to showcase the values the calculator provides.   I would promote verbally through conversation, marketing campaigns with personal experiences of users and presentation to professional groups."


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? 

"I believe that personal interaction and engagement through networking not only at the conference, but engaging in regional activities as well will allow me to gauge what the needs are throughout the State.   Surveys are useful and will be employed, but do not always receive the response or reach needed.  As we are separated into regions, I would tap a board member or other volunteer member for each region that has a close understanding of the needs of their region and ample contacts within.  The regional liaisons would be tasked with surveying and reporting back with some of the needs of their specific region."