WPRA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President-Elect (President in 2021, Past President in 2022)

Dawn Comte, CPRP, Recreation Manager,
Eau Claire Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department, Region I

Why do you want to serve as WPRA President?
WPRA has been an essential element to my professional achievements, development, and relationships. Actively participating in a leadership role is an exciting opportunity. I have been involved in WPRA at many levels and would like to continue to actively serve at the board level. Sharing my time, experience, and vision is the ultimate career opportunity and expression of appreciation for what WPRA has meant to me professionally.

Brief professional biography / overview of career in Parks & Recreation:
31 years professional experience, Recreation Program Supervisor, Eau Claire Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department (1996-Present), Lindenhurst Park District – Illinois (1992-1994), City of Auburn Hills and Avondale School District – Michigan (1990), City of Rosemount Parks and Recreation Department - Minnesota (1989), Great Lakes Leadership Academy (2007 & 2008), Master of Science, Recreation Management, UW-La Crosse (1991), Bachelor of Science, Recreation Administration, UW-La Crosse, (1989), Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (1996-Present).

What goals do you have for WPRA, and what do you hope to accomplish as President?
As WPRA evolves, it is essential that leadership establish strategic initiatives. Areas addressed in a plan could include: financial sustainability, conservation, health and wellness, partnerships and collaboration, marketing and communication, program planning, workforce development, tourism, supporting higher education, trends analysis, and social equity.

Additionally, active advocacy on behalf of public parks, recreation, and conservation efforts is an essential organizational priority. WPRA will need to develop a strategy to identify legislative initiatives and regulatory issues that may affect these areas of our profession.

The National Recreation and Park Association is an essential resource and advocate as well. Maintaining a presence and involvement will be valuable to WPRA.

Previous service to WPRA and & notable accomplishments:
• Wisconsin Parks and Recreation Association Member (1989-Present)
• WPRA Executive Board Secretary Treasurer (2019)
• Conference Committee (2015, 2008 Chair, 2007, 2005, 1999, 1998)
• Recreation Section (2004 Past-Chair, 2003 Chair, 2002 Chair-Elect)
• WPRA Board Member - Recreation Section (2003)
• Recreation Section ASA Liaison (2003)
• Recreation Section Educational Sessions Coordinator (2004, 2002)
• Recreation Section Professional of the Year (2002)
• Recreation Section Workshop Special Events Coordinator (2001)
• Recreation Section Fun Run/Walk Coordinator (2001, 2000)
• Recreation Section Region One Representative (2001, 2000)
• Recreation Section Silver Star “Program Excellence” Award Recipient (2014, 2004, 2001, 1999)

Other Accomplishments/Involvement:
• National Recreation and Park Association Member (2010-Present)
• National Recreation and Parks Association - CAPRA Accreditation 2013-Present (Department Leadership Team)
• National Recreation and Parks Association – Gold Medal Finalist 2015, 2014 (Department Leadership Team)
• Visit Eau Claire Sports Commission 2016-Present
• Healthy Communities Committee 2013-Present
• Eau Claire County Chronic Disease Task Force 2014-Present
• Clearwater Winter Parade Chairperson 2012-Present
• North High School Athletic Booster Club President 2014-2016, Vice President 2012-2014
• North High School Husky Fest Fundraising Committee 2012-2016
• American Red Cross CPR-Pro, First Aid, and AED Instructor (1997-2013)
• Eau Claire Optimists – National Night Out on Crime (1996-Present)
• Eau Claire Optimists Member (2002-2010)
• City of Eau Claire Golf Event Chair (2005-2010)
• Northstar Middle School Concessions Committee (2007-2009)
• Eau Claire United Soccer Club Team Treasurer (2006-2009)
• Eau Claire National Baseball League Concessions Chair (2007)
• American Youth Soccer Organization, Soccer Coach (2000-2005)
• Eau Claire Optimists “Respect For Law Award” (2000)
• Rho Phi Lambda (Honorary Society)
• Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP), 1996-Present
• ServSafe Certified Food Protection Manager – 2011-Present
• ServSafe Alcohol Service - 2019-Present
• WPRA George Wilson Service Award – 2015
• Eau Claire Healthy Communities Champion – 2016
• Downtown Eau Claire Incorporated – Best New Event Award 2013
• American Red Cross CPR-Pro, First Aid, and AED Instructor, 1997-2013
• Recreation Section Professional of the Year, 2002
• Recreation Section Silver Star “Program Excellence” Award Recipient, 2014, 2004, 2001, 1999
• Eau Claire Optimists “Respect For Law Award”, 2000


Region II Representative (Board of Directors 2020-2021)

Jen McCollian, AFO, Revenue Facilities Manager
City of Oshkosh, Region II

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I have learned a lot being in my current position of Parks Revenue Facilities Manager for the City of Oshkosh Parks Department for the last 17 years. I have learned to lead by example. I come to work every day with a positive attitude and give a 100% every day. In doing this I hope that the staff I lead will see the passion I have for what I do and will share the same passion for our parks system. When time allows, I get in there and help the staff out in any way that I can to show them that we are all in it together. I believe strongly in team work and show them that we are all one big team working on the same end result to provide the best facilities, events and over all park system that we possibly can to our users.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
I believe I would bring positivity and passion for parks to the role if elected. I enjoy working with other members and would like to be someone they could rely on when they have questions or a concern. I truly love what I do and am always interested in what other municipalities are doing as well. I think it would be a position I could also learn a lot from. Being a part of something I love is always fun too.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
I think the future will be amazing for WPRA. It is such a great organization that has so many very dedicated people that are a part of. WPRA is the cornerstone to all of our Park and Recreation departments and I can see it becoming even stronger thru the years. There is such a great need for parks and recreation in our communities that we can only continue to grow and shine to meet the needs of our communities that love our facilities.

Region IV Representative (Board of Directors 2020-2021)

Derek Donlevy, Recreation Supervisor
Greendale Park and Recreation Department, Region IV

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I've always used the quote "lead by example" to describe my leadership style. As a leader, I always try to work hard, have integrity, give respect and invest in the individuals I am leading. The intention is for those who I am leading to reflect those same qualities and in-turn invest my leadership.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
One thing I want to bring to the role of Region IV Representative in 2020-2021 is stability. Our region is currently in a state of transition as Southeast Park and Recreation Council (SEPRC) and Region IV merge into one group in starting in 2020. Having been the bridge between the two organizations during the decision process, I would like to continue to work towards making the merger as seamless as possible for our members next year and beyond. The WPRA is also in transition as we navigate developing a strategic plan for the next 3-5 years and continue to make important decisions around our leadership structure. I have worked hard to represent the best interest of our membership on these items the last two years and will continue to do so if elected to another term.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
The strength of the WPRA has been and will continue to be its members. Through strategic planning, I believe focus will be placed on revamping membership benefits, how we sell ourselves to prospective new members and on outreach to community partners and other similar associations. The WPRA also needs to work towards improving advocacy on a state and local level to better support our membership and its resources. The Public Policy Committee is still in its infancy and has great potential for growth and development. The last piece I see for the future is continued development on improving our annual conference experience for members. Professional development and networking are important factors to our members and the main reasons they choose to attend conference. WPRA should continue to improve the quality of speakers and session topics, in addition to developing new, creative ways for professional members to network with each other and commercial vendors, to deliver to a better overall experience.

 

AQUATICS SECTION BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Chair-Elect – 2020 (Chair in 2021, Past Chair in 2022)

Melody Escoto, AFO, LGI, Aquatics Coordinator
Ashwaubenon, Region II

How would you describe your style of leadership?
In Aquatics in general I strive for a Team Leadership type approach. I want my staff to have a strong sense of purpose while working. I want them to know that the work they are doing weather, it be lifeguarding or teaching swimming lesson matters, and is making a difference in our community. I want them to have the confidence to do their job, but also know that I am always there for guidance and advice. In a Board leadership type role, I think that it is a great opportunity to continue that team leadership style and work as a team bring so much knowledge to this area of our profession.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
With currently being on the board as the Region 2 Rep for nearly 6 years, I have met many people that are in an aquatic type role that do not know where to go when they have aquatic related questions. I would like to get the word out to more of these people and organizations so that they have a resource to reach out to and also an organization that can bring knowledge and experience to their profession.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
I believe that we are going to continue to grow as an organization and continue to give the members of WPRA the tools and resources they need to do amazing things in their jobs and better our communities.

Secretary / Treasurer (2020-2021)

Jeffrey Zakoski, Recreation Programmer
Janesville Recreation Division, Region III

How would you describe your style of leadership?
My style of leadership is to be transparent and maintain open channels of communication. When an employee offers a suggestion or improvement, I investigate to see if it is achievable. Whether it is or isn’t, I communicate that back to the employee. Taking suggestions without giving answers will only make a person feel ignored.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
I want to bring a recreational swimming background to the Aquatics board. Having a balance of competitive and recreational swimmers is important because, as recreation professionals, we need to understand that communities have a need for both aspects in their aquatic facilities.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
I see a ton of potential for the WPRA to become the go-to organization for recreation professionals in Wisconsin. I would love to see forums play a bigger role and enable members to feel encouraged to ask questions and offer solutions. Your unique problem might be something that another member has already had to handle and they could offer guidance or solutions through the forums.

Region II Representative (2020-2021)

Jeff Malloy, CPRP, Lifeguard Instructor, Lifeguarding WSI CPR/First Aid/AED, Recreation
Kaukauna Recreation Department, Region II

How would you describe your style of leadership?
What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?

Region IV Representative (2020-2021)

Samantha Precord, Aquatics Recreation Coordinator, Menomonee Falls Community Education & Recreation 
Manager, Hartford Parks & Recreation, Region IV

How would you describe your style of leadership?
​I am a leader that will never ask a person to do anything that I am not willing nor haven't done yet. I think that it is important to show those that you are leading that their actions and thoughts matter. That is not be say they make the decision but that their opinions may or may not influence the way things are lead.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
​I bring 15 years in aquatics experience, with a sound knowledge of the wide variety of roles and policies (including laws) that have structured the aquatics division of recreation.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
​I believe that the future of WPRA is going to continue to grow and cultivate the way people live. WPRA, to me, holds a great value and dedicate to making the recreation/entertainment industry the most upto date and safe place for everyone who enjoys it. including those who work in it.

Representative At-Large (2020-2021)

Michelle Borkovec, Sports & Aquatic Specialist
Madison Schools and Community Recreation (MSCR), Region III

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I believe that collaborative leadership is key to an organization's success. It builds on the strengths of individuals and requires strong interpersonal relationships among members of the team. When working in a team, I enjoy mentoring other staff in order to allow them to take on leadership roles as they feel comfortable.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
I want to bring a fresh perspective from working in a variety of recreational programs and settings. I am not afraid of change when it means a better result in the long run.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
I think WPRA is an opportunity for more collaboration among agencies, sharing ideas, programming and training that can benefit all. I would like to see more cross-community collaboration where it makes sense.

Representative At-Large (WPRA Board Liaison) (2020-2021)

Ann Moeller, CPRP, AFO, Recreation Supervisor,
Recreation and Forestry Department, Region II

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I would describe my style of leadership as forward-thinking and problem solving. As the Recreation Supervisor in charge of aquatics, I have a staff of about 150 teenagers each summer. They all know to never come to me to complain about a problem. But to come to me with an issue and possible solutions. I’m not one to look at the past and follow along with “what’s always been done”. I am always reflecting and adjusting based on current needs. I hope to continue to bring that mentality to the WPRA board and Aquatics Section. I have been serving with WPRA for close to 10 years. So I understand a lot of the history and where we’ve come from, but I’m also looking forward to the future to meet the current needs of the membership and our industry.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
I want to make sure that the WPRA membership understands that this organization is for them. I want the membership to see that WPRA is not just a small group of people making decisions somewhere in an office, but it’s an organization designed to help everyone in our industry. We talk extensively about current issues and comments we hear from across membership. This is extremely important in each board meeting and due diligence is given to each comment and issue. I want to continue to encourage everyone to be active in WPRA and that anyone can make a difference in how our organization is run. I’ll continue to encourage members to attend regional and section meetings, to serve on committees and/or boards and to attend educational sessions and conferences. I think the future is really bright for WPRA and I’m encouraged to see new faces getting involved each year.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
We are just scratching the surface for what WPRA has to offer now and in the future. I have had the pleasure and honor to serve on the board the last two years. And I can tell you, this is one hard-working and passionate group. I’m excited for the chance to continue to serve and keep going with the hard work we’ve started. WPRA will be much more open and transparent. Manuals, processes and procedures are being cleaned up and are becoming much more efficient and streamlined. Anyone looking to volunteer for future board positions will have a clear understanding of what their terms will look like. And with the new website, members will have a much easier time finding information about upcoming meetings, reading minutes from previous meetings and understanding what the leadership teams are doing across the organization. In the end, I’m very hopeful for the future of WPRA. I think the membership will begin seeing some really wonderful and positive changes soon (if they haven’t already!). I’m really looking forward to have a chance to continue working with this energetic group of people to keep WPRA moving forward.

Commercial Advisory Representative (2020-2021)

Cory Hintz, Carrico Aquatics

How would you describe your style of leadership?
What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?


PARK SECTION BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Chair-Elect – 2020 (Chair in 2021, Past Chair in 2022)

Joleen Stinson, CPRP, Supervisor
DeForest Parks and Natural Resources, Region III

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I’m very passionate about my work and I like to think that my enthusiasm is contagious, therefore creating a team of passionate people. That passion drives high quality work that we can all be proud of.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
I hope to spread the word that it is fun to serve WPRA! It is rewarding to help plan WPRA educational events. It is a great way to get to know other professionals.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
WPRA members have always been willing to sharing ideas and resources with each other to improve our profession as a whole. This networking is one of the things I love most about being a WPRA member! I’m looking forward to seeing the new WPRA website resource section be filled with examples of projects, RFPs and other resources. I’d like to see this type of networking continue to help push our communities to be innovative in the services we provide.

Secretary / Treasurer (2020-2021)

Stephanie Schlag, CPRP, AFO, Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director
Village of Bellevue, Region II

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I try to lead by example. My hope is that my coworkers, our staff, and our community see the passion that I have for my career and this profession, and understand that this is where my heart is. Whether it is something as simple as stopping to pick up a piece of litter when working with contractors in a park, bringing my children to events we host, or participating in an Arbor Day event at a local elementary school, working in parks and recreation is a choice that doesn’t end when the office closes at the end of the day. I hope that the small and simple actions speak to our staff and community in a positive and impactful way.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
I am looking to serve as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Park Section to continue to be involved with WPRA. I am detailed oriented, one thing that I think is very important in a Secretary/Treasurer position.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
WPRA is going through some pretty big changes right now. With the utilization of SAMI for the majority of the administrative work that needs to be done the Board can focus on creating and carrying out the vision of the organization. With the Strategic Planning session coming up at the end of the summer, I am certain some great ideas on where the organization should be heading will come to fruition. My hope is that WPRA continues to be member-focused and works to provide excellent learning opportunities to the members through quality conferences, workshops, and other events as appropriate.

Region III Representative (2020-2021)

Ethan Lee, Certified Arborist, Parks Supervisor
City of Janesville, Region III

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I prefer a team style leadership approach free from micromanagement. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by great staff and co-worker; together we make a great team. I feel that my role is to prioritize work, assign a task, and allow staff to complete the task however they feel is best.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
I have been in my current position with the City of Janesville for 5 years and am relatively new to the Parks and Recreation field. I hope that my background and experiences help me to bring a different perspective to the Parks section that helps other members to better serve their communities.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
The future for WPRA is bright! I feel that community members around the state really value the parks and recreational opportunities in their communities. Community support of parks and recreation creates an environment for growth and more opportunities in our field.

Region IV Representative (2020-2021)

Eddie Santiago, CPSI, Director of Operations and Trades
Milwaukee County Parks, Region IV

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I would describe my leadership style as very versatile and adaptive depending on the situation and team needs, but for the most part my “go-to” style is a Coach Leadership Style. I utilize the Coach Leadership style, because it comes most natural to me as an individual who has played a role in many different divisions of the Milwaukee County Parks System (Park Operations, Golf, Concessions, Aquatics & Recreation). I tend to often put myself in my staff’s shoes, ask lots of questions to better understand situations, and I although I constantly think of new & different ideas to improve our Park system, I also love to talk to our most senior staff, regardless of rank, so that I can avoid bad history from repeating itself.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
I would like to bring a new level of assistance and support to region Members and the WPRA organization by dedicating myself to the improvement of Wisconsin Parks systems while exchanging, data, ideas & experiences with other colleagues.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
I truly believe that the future of WPRA is one filled with innovation and success, which will be attributed and molded by its current & future leadership of Wisconsinites who are passionate about their park systems and understand the need to preserve our natural resources, while still providing accessible recreational opportunities for the public.

Representative At-Large (2020-2021)

John Lofgren, ISA, Community Services Supervisor
Eau Claire Parks, Recreation and Forestry, Region I

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I have always thought of myself as having a servant leadership style. I aim to build trust with the people that I work with and for. The satisfaction of making a positive difference in my community is what made me choose to work for a municipality.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
I want to bring my varied experience to the Park Section. I started as a production arborist in the private sector. I then entered the municipal forestry world and from there I worked in parks maintenance. Three years ago I became a parks maintenance supervisor. Along the way, I became involved with buildings and grounds as well. I think I have a lot of relevant experience that will allow me to contribute to the Park Section.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
The future of WPRA is an important one. Parks and public greenspaces are more important than ever. The people that we serve as public parks managers have increasingly higher expectations for service and information. WPRA is and will continue to be an important resource for sharing ideas allowing us to be better managers and provide high quality service with stagnant or declining budgets.


RECREATION SECTION BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Chair-Elect – 2020 (Chair in 2021, Past Chair in 2022)

Bridgette Hermanson, CPRP, Lecturer
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Region III

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I would describe myself as an authentic leader. I am genuine and transparent. It is my goal to inspire those I work with and teach on a daily basis. I lead by example and try to show others that I care. I truly believe people need to know you care about them and they will perform their best.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
Over my 16 year career in Parks and Recreation, WPRA has played a critical role. I believe educating students about professional organizations and exposing them to WPRA is imperative to engaging them and helping them to get off to a successful start in their careers. In my role at UW-Whitewater, I can continue to engage the student population as well as connect with professionals in the field. Having both the perspective of seasoned professional and an instructor working with future professionals will serve me well in this role.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
I believe WPRA will continue to play a vital role in professional development and advocacy for parks and recreation. We need to continue to engage both students and young professionals and foster mentorship. I also believe we need to play a larger role in promoting the importance of parks and recreation in local communities. Statewide campaigns that unite agencies and give credibility to what we do on a daily basis will help to strengthen our profession and increase local support.

Region I Representative (2020-2021)

Chad Duerkop, CPRP, CPO, Facility & Program Supervisor
Eau Claire Parks, Recreation, and Forestry, Region I

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I like to lead by example. If I am putting forth 100% effort those around me are more likely to put forth higher effort. I also give those that I lead space to accomplish things. I set forth expectations and then I let them do their work without hovering.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
I have served several years on the Aquatic Section and none with the Recreation Section. I hope to bring a voice with new thoughts and ideas to my elected role.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
I think the future is bright for the WPRA. This association is filled with so many talented individuals that bond together to strengthen our field of work!

Region III Representative (2020-2021)


Ben Dayton, CPRP, AFO, CPSI, Recreation Director
Lake Mills Schools, Region III

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I would say that my leadership style is best described in 3 words: supportive, flexible, and empowering. I believe that when leading an organization it is my duty to support those who I have asked to oversee each program. I believe in being flexible to new ideas and willing to think outside of the box, which is imperative in this day and age. No one is above a good idea. Lastly, I believe that it is important to empower others around you to make decisions that they believe support the vision of the organization.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
I will work hard find quality speakers for our various conferences and workshops as well as do my best to keep our region informed about what is happening in the recreation section of WPRA.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
I believe as the profession continues to move into the future, we will be asked by our communities to create innovative programs and solutions to issues that help improve the quality of life for those we serve. I believe that the WPRA's role will be to connect members in a way that helps to foster the collaboration of ideas and shared resources that will help strengthen the profession in our state as a whole.

YOUNG PROFESSIONAL SECTION BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Chair-Elect – 2020 (Chair in 2021, Past Chair in 2022)

Nick Buerger, CPRP, Recreation Supervisor
Greenfield Parks and Recreation, Region IV 

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I believe in a participative approach to leadership where all members of the team have a chance to share their thoughts and opinions and be a part of the decision making process. I feel that empowering people to help make decisions not only helps them grow individually, but also helps the team grow in collaboration with each other. I am encouraging and supportive and believe that we cannot be afraid to try something new, because we will either find success or we will learn.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
As a young professional who has been in WPRA for over 7 years, I want to bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to YPN. I feel that YPN has gained traction and is doing great things in establishing their roots in WPRA by adding a formal section that hosts conference sessions and a new mentorship program. I would like to bring more opportunities for young professionals to train for the CPRP certification, as well as educational opportunities and workshops for young professionals to learn from established professionals in the field. This will also allow for more networking amongst the four regions, which I feel is very important for career growth.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
WPRA is heading in the right direction from both a leadership standpoint and a fiscal standpoint. I am excited to see what the future holds for WPRA as I believe strongly in the mission and vision of the organization. I feel that we will continue to see a better annual conference, more learning opportunities, more presence and support in each region, and more collaboration amongst the four regions.

Representative At-Large (2020-2021)

Mikayla Schwab, Recreation Program Coordinator,
Greenfield Parks and Recreation, Region IV

How would you describe your style of leadership?
My leadership style includes open communication and being a role model to my staff and co-workers. I believe that communication is a very important aspect to leadership and so I strive to have an open door policy to encourage communication with my staff and co-workers. In my experience, open communication with others has led to many new and creative ideas, leading to quality recreation programs. I always try to lead by example and set the tone to make it easier for my staff and co-workers to follow, especially when there are projects that have a strict deadline.

What is the one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
While attending UW-Parkside for Sport Management, there was never a time where we had a guest speaker come in and talk about Recreation. Even after I graduated, the Recreation field never crossed my mind. If I was chosen for this position, I would enjoy doing research and implementing a team of professionals that would be interested in speaking to local colleges about the Recreation field. It would be my goal, if given this opportunity, to have students become interested in this field and to get them involved.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
With YPN being recognized as an official section of WPRA, I believe that the two can work hand-in-hand to fulfill the mission statement of WPRA and bridge the gaps between the young and seasoned professionals within the field. The young professionals and students are the future of WPRA and engaging them at the beginning of their career, they are more likely to support WPRA as it grows.