Sunrise Leisure Services
All response items below have been submitted and communicated exactly as they were written by the nominee.
Kevin Pickard has worked in Parks and Recreation for over 20 years, serving the City of Sunrise for the past 13 and a half years. He began is career in Sunrise as the Recreation Supervisor of Youth Athletics, and worked his way to becoming the Director of Leisure Services. His responsibilities include the general oversight of the Leisure Services Department, including over 340 employees, and the implementation of a $65M General Obligation Bond specifically for Leisure Services parks and facilities.
His involvement with FRPA includes hosting educational trainings, vendor expos, networking roundtables and holiday luncheons, serving as a “PODS” mentor, and being active on the association’s membership committee for the past three years. Additionally, he has served as a lead faculty member of the Emerging Leaders Institute for the past four years.
Kevin is a Certified Parks and Recreation Executive, while previously earning Playground Safety Inspector and Youth Sports Administrator certifications. He is a proud graduate of the University of Florida, earning his Bachelors of Science in Business Management and his Masters of Science in Sports Management. Kevin and his wife Vickki have two young boys, who keep them on their toes daily!
Why do you want to serve FRPA as Vice President?
Servant leadership is a philosophy that I try to live by every day. This mindset is focused on leading by example, paying it forward, helping others develop their skills, and fostering leadership opportunities for everybody around me. The opportunity to serve as Vice President would fall directly in line with this mindset, focused on providing value to our membership and developing the next generation of Parks and Recreation leaders throughout the state.
What makes you uniquely qualified to serve as a member of the FRPA Board of Directors?
I believe a member of the FRPA Board of Directors should be somebody who is not only strategically focused on the mission and purpose of the association, but a person who is able to engage the membership to enhance the value of what they are getting out of their membership. I believe I am uniquely qualified for this role, as I have consistently shown that I can be successful serving in both capacities. As the Director of my agency, I have been involved in long range strategic planning, in addition to the implementation of a $65M general obligation bond for parks and recreation facilities. I have also been able to bring people together to move towards a common goal. I have shown these interpersonal skills through my role as the Director of an agency with over 340 employees, in addition to previously serving as the Board President of a local volunteer-based organization with approximately 800 members. To successfully lead this amount of people with many different needs, it is important to be a leader with an open mind and willingness to adjust when appropriate. As somebody who would be new to the Board of Directors, this would be a role that I would welcome with open arms.
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?
Locally, it is critical to have the pulse of my community and understand the everchanging dynamics of how we can best serve our residents. Our community in Sunrise is rapidly changing from a very senior driven community to one with young and growing families. From a bigger picture standpoint, it’s important for me to understand what the other 30 municipalities in my County are doing. I became the Director of Leisure Services in Sunrise at the beginning of COVID. With Broward County facing their own challenges and time constraints, I requested and received their permission to start a monthly Directors Roundtable. This was something that historically only happened on an annual basis, if not longer. I have continued this monthly Roundtable for over a year, and the meetings have transitioned from COVID related discussion to conversations about what everybody is doing internally. This certainly helps us also understand and prepare for changes and challenges that others may have faced which just haven’t hit our individual communities yet. On a broader note, I enjoy reading the publications such as the FRPA Journal, the NRPA Parks and Recreation magazine, Recreation Management, Athletic Business, etc. I also make it a priority to attend available trainings when possible to continue the lifelong journey of education in our industry.
Detail your involvement with FRPA over the past 3 – 5 years.
I have progressively gotten more involved with FRPA over the last 3-5 years. On top of participating, presenting, and volunteering at the annual conference, I have hosted and led events such as educational trainings, vendor expos, and holiday luncheons in Sunrise. More recently, I have served on the faculty of the Emerging Leaders Institute for the last three years, served on the Membership Committee for the last three years, attended the 2019 FRPA Board Retreat, and led one of the inaugural PODS mentoring groups. I am also an active participant on the newly re-instated statewide Director’s roundtables and other meetings led by the Association.
Detail your leadership involvement with Associations/Community or Civic Organizations outside of FRPA over the past 3 – 5 years.
Involvement in community organizations has always been a passion of mine, but I will focus on the last few years. I served as the Program Chair (President) of Emerge Broward, which is one of the leading young professional organizations in South Florida (emergebroward.org). During my tenure as Chair, the organization had upwards of 800 members, a 12-person executive Board, and a thriving calendar of events and leadership opportunities. I also served on the Board of Directors for the Broward Partnership for the Homeless, which focuses on helping individuals and families find their way back from homelessness (bphi.org). During my term on the Board, I created, and served as the event Chair, for what became the annual Golfathon. Over three years, we were able to raise over $300,000. I’ve recently started to volunteer as a youth athletics coach for my son’s soccer team. I felt that it was not only important for personal reasons, but to also “walk the walk” for our residents to see that even I have found the time to make this commitment that we constantly ask others to make.
Please explain your understanding of the responsibilities of being a Board member of a non-profit organization.
I have served in leadership roles in multiple non-profit organizations and have a good understanding of the responsibilities and skills needed to be a successful member of the Board of Directors.
Serving on the Board of Directors for the Broward Partnership for the Homeless (BPHI), the Boards focus was on fundraising. I chaired large scale fundraisers and worked with key community stakeholders to bring in funding to support the organization’s mission.
Serving in many roles on the Board of Directors of Emerge Broward (previously the young professional’s arm of the Leadership Broward Foundation), including serving as Board President, our role was very different than my work at BPHI. Although we made sponsorship asks to cover our costs, our focus was engaging the approximately 800 members and providing leadership development opportunities for young professionals in Broward County. The organization was fully run by volunteers who planned programs and activities to provide value to our members.
What do you think is the most important role of the Board of Directors of FRPA specifically, and what would you think is the most difficult responsibility facing Board members?
I believe some of the most important roles of the Board of Directors are to:
-Provide opportunities to foster personal and professional development for the membership
-Prepare the next generation of Parks & Recreation leaders
-Ensure that all members are able to explain and justify our importance to our communities
-Secure funding to accomplish the goals of the association.
Honestly, I believe the most difficult responsibility facing the Board is to figure out how to engage the membership as we are all facing similar challenges at our own agencies. We are being asked to do more and more with less resources, which puts an increased strain on all aspects of our life. It is critical to provide value to members so participating in FRPA activities is clearly worth our very precious time.
What do you envision as the primary function of the position you are seeking and what skills do you have that would most benefit the Association (and ultimately the membership) if elected to the position?
I believe the primary functions of an association Vice President are multi-faceted. Generally, it would be to support the mission and initiatives of the Association and the Board of Directors. Supporting these initiatives would mean participation, and spreading a positive message about the impacts of the initiative. I would also focus on the involvement from agencies and members that have previously not been very involved. It is my belief that many agencies simply do not get more involved because there hasn’t been a direct ask of them previously. It’s very easy to ignore an email, but when there is a live person (and potentially friend) making an ask of you, that’s a different discussion. I have always been able to tap into resources through my professional relationships, and I don’t believe this is any different. For example, FRPA staff and I were recently discussing in-person training opportunities and it was shared with me that a neighboring City was a perfect location that was central to many members. I was able to get their commitment to host a training, and work alongside them to ensure its success. This was an agency that was happy to get more involved and step up to the plate, but they simply weren’t directly asked. If we can go down that path of bringing additional agencies to the table in a variety of capacities, it would go a long way when it comes to quality of programming and more importantly, increased membership!
What do you believe to be the greatest opportunity for revenue growth/development for the Association?
From an “outsider’s perspective”, the association does a good job of bringing in sponsorship dollars when hosting both small and large-scale events, and there’s only so many times you can tap into that same funding source. In my opinion, the simplest and most impactful way to bring in additional funds would be through membership. Serving on the membership committee for the last three years has given me a good understanding of potential membership opportunities, and the committee has already begun to implement some of these initiatives.
Another opportunity for positive financial impact would be to lessen the expenses of the association. As the world has evolved with the pandemic, it seems as though it’s the perfect time to truly evaluate how the business operates. What are the association’s large expenses throughout the year, and can we look at more efficient ways to accomplish the same goal? Are there opportunities to save money during conference, while remaining compliant with all of the terms previously agreed upon with the hotel? Without truly being able to dive into the details of the association’s budget, these questions are hard to answer, but having fresh eyes on these decisions can only help.
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?
Without seeing some of the attendance data, it would be very interesting to see what session(s) are most in demand at conference. Although there are always the “new and innovative trends”, we all often come across types of employees, programs, facilities, etc. that have not changed too much over the years. There is a good chance that the topics that were popular and well received by the membership years ago would still be excellent topics to cover today.
Additionally, I would also be curious to see the data on sessions that may not have seen large crowds at conference, but the topics/speakers were very well received by the people that attended. There may be an opportunity to re-visit that session in some capacity at a local level, or even virtually. With there being such a large variety of sessions to attend in a conference setting, I have no doubt there are sessions that many people just couldn’t attend. If we were able to find the ones with excellent feedback, it would be a good starting point.
When it comes to the implementation of these trainings, it goes back to the previous question and finding those agencies or members that are out there, but have not taken that next step in hosting an event. With hundreds of people attending the Emerging Leaders Institute over the last few years, I imagine there are many people in that group that would be chomping at the bit to take that next step of growth and help implement a session at their agency.
FRPA has adopted four pillars within its Strategic Plan – Health, Community Building, Environmental Sustainability and Resiliency, and Economic Impact/Development.
The significance of these pillars and the overall strategic plan is that is establishes a road map to show how important our industry of Parks and Recreation truly is. Although we all know how critical we are to the community, the pillars put it into words for all members to understand, and more importantly, explain to others. This is who we are, what we do, and why we’re so essential to our communities.
I was heavily involved in our Leisure Services Master Plan, although it was done 10 years ago. It should be noted that the Master Plan work in 2012 led to a $65M General Obligation Bond referendum in 2014, and has been the road map to everything we have been able to accomplish over many years. Each construction project that has been implemented has required me to re-visit the Master Plan to ensure that we were doing what was in line with resident feedback included in our Master Plan. Everything from amenities within the park system to signage in the facilities to how we communicate with our residents is discussed in our Master Plan, and being involved in every aspect from development to implementation has been a great experience.
Please describe how you would actively promote the use of the FRPA Impact Calculator, and the importance of telling the story of parks and recreation to the FRPA membership as well as external audiences.
I have used the calculator for multiple projects as facilities have been recognized in the FRPA Facility Showcase edition of the journal. I have also used the calculator for a facility renovation project that I was preparing to need justification for. Thankfully, it didn’t get to that point, but the calculator was a great tool that I had ready to use if needed. Oftentimes, too many professionals in our industry don’t take the time to truly look at the impact we are making in our local and surrounding areas, and it’s so important that we are able to tell our story with substantiated backing.
FRPA is intentionally focusing on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. Please describe how you will support the Association’s commitment to diversity, and encourage membership from diverse populations to engage with the Association.
In simple terms, actions speak louder than words. I lead an incredibly diverse agency from entry level positions to executive leadership roles. It is critical for me to ensure that our employees reflect the diversity of our community. From an FRPA standpoint, our membership at all levels should reflect the diversity of the entire state. The association should continue to focus on this initiative by providing DEI geared learning opportunities, and actively working to engage members of diverse populations.
Board members of FRPA are expected to commit 50 – 100 hours per year to Association work and activities. Do you fundamentally have the time to serve on our Board?
I patiently waited until my children were a little older before I was confident I could make this commitment personally. Professionally, I am confident I have the time and have received the support of my City Manager’s Office to pursue this endeavor.