(MANHATTAN, Kan. – March 1, 2023) — The City of Manhattan invites residents to meet the four final candidates for Parks and Recreation Director and learn more about their background during a public reception next Monday.
The City partnered with Strategic Government Resources (SGR) to conduct a nationwide search that produced a field of 43 candidates from 16 states.
The reception is scheduled from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 6 in the City Commission Room at City Hall, 1101 Poyntz Ave., following a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting that starts at 4:30 p.m. in the same room.
Assistant Director Wyatt Thompson has been filling the position on an interim basis since the retirement of former director Eddie Eastes in May 2022.
After candidates give their opening remarks Monday, they will mingle with the community in an informal setting. Those in attendance may provide verbal or written feedback about each of the candidates to Lynn Barboza, SGR senior vice president.
“We’re excited to introduce these qualified candidates and to receive input and feedback from the public prior to making our final selection,” said Deputy City Manager Jason Hilgers, who will supervise the new director.
Candidates also have been invited for interviews by an interview panel, an assessment panel, and a community tour on Monday, March 6. A start date for the position will be determined once a candidate has been selected for hiring.
Below are the biographies of the candidates, in alphabetical order by last name:
- Raymond Dunham has more than 30 years of parks and recreation experience in a municipal setting. He currently serves as the Deputy Director/Special Use Facilities Division Director for Greenville County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism in Greenville, South Carolina. Dunham has worked for Greenville County since 2003 and currently is responsible for overseeing an operational area that includes various recreation facilities, three water parks, an indoor aquatic complex, a therapeutic recreation camp/retreat center, an equestrian park, and an ice rink complex. He manages a $19 million budget and a team of 80 full-time staff, as well as more than 350 part-time employees. His prior experience includes four years as an adjunct professor at Clemson University (Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Program), two-plus years with the City of Ames (Iowa) Parks and Recreation Department as its aquatics and activities supervisor, and three-plus years with the City of Johnson City, Tennessee as programs manager. Dunham is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) and holds a bachelor’s degree in recreation management from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida.
- Matthew Enoch has more than 25 years of parks and recreation experience, primarily within a military community setting. He currently serves as the Community Recreation Chief for Fort Riley. In his current role, Enoch is responsible for overseeing an operational area that includes six fitness centers, three aquatics facilities, a 120-acre adventure park, a trap and skeet range, a softball quadruplex, a library, a 39-bay automotive skills center, intramural sports programs, and an animal shelter/adoption center. He manages a $4 million operational budget in addition to capital improvement funds. His team is composed of 24 full-time staff and 65 part-time employees. His prior experience includes five years as Branch Chief, Community Recreation Division at Fort Riley; three-plus years at Fort Knox, Kentucky as Branch Chief, Community Recreation Division; and almost two years as Supervisory Recreation Specialist with U.S. Army Garrisons in Hawaii. Enoch is a Certified Park and Recreation Executive, and he holds a bachelor’s degree in park resource management from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in public administration, also from Kansas State University.
- Jeremy Rogers has more than 20 years of parks and recreation experience in a municipal setting. He currently serves as the Community Services Director for the City of Pinole, California, overseeing operations for three regional parks, 42 neighborhood parks, three community centers, animal services, and library services. Prior to that, he served as Community Services Director for the City of Visalia, California. Rogers previously served as Parks and Recreation Director for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS from 2014 to 2020. In that role, he managed a budget of $8.6 million and a team of 80 full-time staff members. Rogers is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional, and he holds a bachelor’s degree in health/physical education from Sterling College and a master’s degree in sports administration from Wichita State University.
- Aaron Stewart has more than 25 years of parks and recreation experience in a municipal setting. He currently serves as Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Garden City, where he is responsible for leading a department that operates 11 parks (totaling 640 acres), an aquatics facility, all recreational programming, an accredited zoo, and a nationally ranked golf course. He manages a $9 million budget and leads a team comprising 63 full-time staff and 250 part-time employees. His prior experience includes four years as superintendent for the Garden City Recreation Commission, two years as sports coordinator for the Carbon Valley Parks and Recreation District in Colorado, and a total of six years with the City and County of Broomfield, also in Colorado. Stewart is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional and holds a bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation administration.
Manhattan Parks and Recreation provides exceptional amenities and services to Manhattan residents and visitors. The incoming director will ensure the department establishes, preserves, and manages public parks and recreational resources to develop opportunities for play, health and wellness, entertainment, skill development, socialization, and enjoyment for all citizens.