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Education Sessions

Tickets & Add-Ons

The 2019 mParks Conference & Trade Show will feature more than 70 educational sessions over the course of an excited four days.

Below is an alphabetical listing of educational sessions each day. This schedule is tentative and subject to change. (posted 11/20/18)




Tuesday, January 29

8:00 am – 4:00 pm   

Statewide Trail Summit

Held during the annual mParks Conference & Trade Show, the Michigan Trail Summit is an opportunity for trail enthusiasts, advocates, and organizations to gain knowledge and networking through a day of informative sessions, with topics emerging technology, water trails, volunteer engagement and trails as multi-modal connectors within a transportation system, plus opportunity connections. Also covered in the Trail Summit will be the Great Lake to Lake Trails and the changing political environment of trails.

11:30 am – 12:45 pm

99 Programs

The Meadows (.1 CEU)

Join the mParks Programming Focus Area for an idea-sharing, think tank session. Showcase any and all of your programs that have been successful or even ones that you would love to see succeed. Come grab new ideas from fellow parks and recreation professionals!

Jeff Johns - Recreation Programmer, Independence Township

Making Communities Safer and More Beautiful: The Role of Park Renovation

Stone Theatre (.1 CEU)

Park Renovations should be viewed as a community priority. This session will describe the changes in blight violations, housing repairs, and reported violent crimes in Detroit communities with recent park renovations.

Myra Marie Tetteh - Doctoral Student, University of Michigan, School of Public Health

1:00 pm – 2:15 pm   

Director/Student Discussion Panel

The Meadows (.1 CEU)

This interactive panel will include several parks and recreation directors as well as current parks and recreation students. The primary focus of the discussion will be the state and future of the parks and recreation profession. The session wil include time for discussion prompts and questions from the audience.

Sean Fletcher - Panel Discussion Moderator, City of Kalamazoo Parks & Recreation

Doing More With Your Data

Arcadia Ballroom (.1 CEU)

Park and recreation organizations are beginning to grasp the power of data to transform organizational culture, increase operational efficiency, and better serve their communities. But making that happen can be a daunting task, causing many to give up before they’ve even really started. In this fun, approachable (even for people who hate numbers) session, learn why data has the potential to be so valuable for parks & recreation and what steps it takes to make it all happen.

Bobbi Nance - President, Recreation Results LLC

Maximize Your ROI with Email Marketing

Stone Theatre (.1 CEU)

Email marketing can provide you a greater ROI than any other marketing channel, but how do you make that happen? In this session, you will learn the ins and outs of a strong email marketing campaign and how to drive your business goals through email marketing. Plus, learn tips and tricks to improve your existing email marketing strategy.

Nick Mattar - Director of Marketing, Detroit Regional Chamber

2:30 pm – 3:45 pm   

Developing Your Personal Brand Strategy

Stone Theatre (.1 CEU)

This how to session will give participants the tools they need to develop their unique brand statement with a detailed narrative that will identify and promote their talents to future employers

Vic Chiasson - Assistant Professor, Eastern Michigan University

Roundtable Sponsored by W.I.R.E.D

The Meadows (.2 CEU)

This roundtable session will have both small focus groups and large room discussions on everyday issues.  Bring your own unique challenges and constraints, and we will work together to discuss solutions to your biggest challenges. Come ready to have fun, get a little uncomfortable and maybe become an even greater asset to your organization.

Brandy Boyd - Chief of Recreation Programs and Services, Oakland County Parks

Laura Mortier - Recreation Specialist, Canton Leisure Services

Wednesday, January 30

8:00 am – 9:15 am    

Developing Creative Talent in Your Organization

Stone Theatre (.1 CEU)

Your staff is filled with untapped creative potential. Learn how to get those creative juices flowing. This session will provided resources, tools and techniques that can be used to facilitate creative thinking in your organization

Vic Chiasson - Assistant Professor, Eastern Michigan University

I Spy Excellent Service: A Customer Service Codebook

The Meadows (.1 CEU)

"This is your mission, if you choose to accept it..."  Is providing great service Mission Impossible?  We think not...  MISSION POSSIBLE!  Crack codes to common service mishaps through application of recovery strategies.  Gain access to a world of skills and techniques and learn to apply them, resulting in customer loyalty.  Become a member of the inner circle of exceptional service, gain spy's eye views of your agency and identify opportunities to improve service delivery.  Leave with a codebook that allows you to best meet the needs of a diverse customer base.  This message will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck!

Annie Olson - Director of Customer Service, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

Iris Pahlberg Peterson - Customer Service Team Lead, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

Parks and Recreation Asset Management Planning

The Glens II (.1 CEU)

Better information leads to better decisions. Communities across the state have invested millions to preserve and develop our favorite parklands.  Grant money is collected leveraging the often dwindling parks and recreation budgets.  What happens when you realize you can no longer afford to replace or even maintain the parks your community has grown to love?  This session will show you how a detailed, data driven Parks & Recreation Asset Management Plan is developed and how it can help you understand and anticipate future expenditures before it’s too late.

Matt Levandoski - Landscape Architect, Prein & Newhof

Collin Manns - Landscape Architect, Prein & Newhof

Parks Benefitting from the Corporate Social Responsibility Movement

The Prairies V (.1 CEU)

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has permeated both for and non-profit organizations. This voluntary act of giving to solve social problems and promote community growth has resulted in parks and recreation programs benefitting.  The CSR movement provides a foundation for this session utilizing a recent partnership with 27 Grand Rapids area tourism organizations creating an Adopt a Bed program with the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department (GRPR).  These restaurants, hotels, destination marketing organizations, and attractions purchased, planted, and winterized flower beds in 10 parks beautifying the region. Beds were maintained with area youth serving on a local grant.

Patty Janes - Professor, Grand Valley State University

Joe Sulak - Parks Superintendent, Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation

Pool Rescue Through Partnerships

The Glens I (.1 CEU)

Since it was constructed in the 1970s, Grand Traverse County's Easling Pool has been controversial among officials because of operations and maintenance costs.  In late 2015, the indoor pool nearly did close for good, but a unique, three-way community partnership formed to save it.  After being completely remodeled in late 2018, this facility is proof that community collaborations can make miracles.  Travel with the partners as they tell a compelling story of highs and lows -- from fighting to keep the pool open, to raising nearly $1 million in funds to remodel the pool; from a challenging refurbishment project, to a gleaming new pool that today serves thousands.

Kristine Erickson - Parks and Recreation Director, Grand Traverse County

Jay Buckmaster - CEO, Crossroads YMCA

Nick Shelton - General Manager, Aquatic Source, LLC

Bridget Theunte - President, Friends of Easling Pool

Prioritizing Park Improvements

The Prairies IV (.1 CEU)

With competing public interests and dwindling grant funding, prioritizing and gaining support for park development projects is critical. Learn how to identify the park infrastructure most in need of attention and examine how well parks are meeting current community needs through tools such as park score cards, equity mapping, and others.

Bobbi Nance - President, Recreation Results LLC

The Rising Tide of Water Trails

The Prairies VI (.1 CEU)

Michigan is quickly becoming known as the Water Trails state. Michigan now boasts over 3,500 miles of water trails, the vast majority of which have been established in the last five years. However, the manner in which these water trails have been established, developed and managed has varied dramatically. This session will talk about how local officials, water advocacy organizations, paddlers and visionary citizens can enhance and leverage water trails in their community by using best practices, resources and tools found in the newly released Michigan Water Trails Manual and local examples from throughout Michigan.

Harry Burkholder - Executive Director, Land Information Access Association

Megan Olds - President and Principal, Parallel Solutions

These Goods are Good for...( Insert Your Community Here)

The Glens III (.1 CEU)

The DNR "These Goods are Good for Michigan" ( campaign promotes statewide revenue sharing partnerships and merchandise to support state parks, trails and waterways. The City of Marquette took this idea to the local level, creating a sense of place for their community while also generating revenue to support their parks.  Is your community next?  We'll provide the tools you need to plug-and-participate so "These Goods" can be good for you! This session will also look at the policy and paperwork in place to help create these - and other sponsorship or partnership relationships - from RFP to recognition.

Maia Turek - Resource Development Specialist, Department of Natural Resources

Jennifer LePage - Assistant City Manager, City of Marquette

Using LEAN Principles to Enhance Community Services

Parfet Board Room (.2 CEU)

Participants will understand how LEAN strategies and tools can help optimize budgets and enhance services.  The State of Michigan's LEAN Performance Initiative and City of Kalamazoo's LEAN deployment to be showcased; including scope of effort and improvements realized or in-work.  City of Kalamazoo's LEAN consultant, with 35 years of United States Air Force and industry experience will provide background and demonstrate how to apply LEAN to Parks and Recreation.  The hands-on session to include assessing current programs and services using a business and process oriented mindset; identifying waste; and becoming familiar with Cause-and-Effect problem solving techniques.

Mark Reynolds - Lean Six Sigma Consultant, Sunshine Services

11:15 am - 12:45 pm

E-Sports Arena Tour

 eSports, which are video games played competitively, are taking the county by storm. Take the time to learn about this growing market and tour the new Western Michigan University eSports arena housed in the Little Theatre. Built in 1942 and renovated in 1997, the Little Theatre seats 192 and has a traditional stage and auditorium-style seating. While most colleges and universities have built eSports facilities along the traditional computer lab, WMU eSports venue is focused on interaction and hosting competitions.

11:15 am – 12:30 pm

5 Simple Steps to Worksite Wellness

The Glens III (.1 CEU)

Participants in this session will learn about the benefits of worksite wellness along with simple steps that can be taken to create a high impact worksite wellness program.  The presentation features free tools and resources available to Michigan employers.

Beth Jabin - Worksite Wellnes Coordinator, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Are You Utilizing the Largest Collection of Park and Recreation Resources?

The Prairies IV (.1 CEU)

Join this session detailing the many resources the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) offers for park and recreation professionals of all levels. For many things you’re working on, you don’t need to start from scratch — NRPA has done the hard work for you. The session will cover research tools, grant funds, networking opportunities, online resources and more. This session will also provide real-world examples of how resources can be utilized.

Roxanne Sutton - Senior Manager of Communications, National Recreation and Park Association

Orange 'Ya Glad I Didn't Say Banana?

Stone Theatre (.1 CEU)

Have you ever found yourself saying, ”I’m not creative” or ”But we can’t do that?” Creativity is actually a learned skill, which can be improved by applying a few intentional strategies.

Roger Von Oech’s book, A Whack on the Side of the Head: How to Unlock Your Mind for Innovationoutlines 10 mental blocks to creative thinking. This presentation will focus on three of these hurdles that people face when approaching creativity and how to overcome them. Come learn how to increase your creative output and apply it to the workplace. A little innovation can go a long way!

Andy Boehnlein - Owner, The Average Unicorn

Parks, Schools, Kids, Bikes and a Transformed Culture of Health

Parfet Board Room (.1 CEU)

Kids learning to move and be physically active as part of ordinary life,like going to school or the park or the library or the beach,and then inspiring their parents, teachers, principals, neighbors to do the same is, in our opinion, a powerful means to sustainable community health. Independent, happy, confident, ready to learn youth are empowered to be guardians of their health, develop lifelong habits to move more and sit less and be leaders in their neighborhood.  What steps can we take to get kids off the couch, off their screen and outside? How can we reduce childhood obesity, insane car lines at schools, traffic congestion, air pollution and social isolation? Organized sports, gyms and recreation are great but Norte believes that embedding walking and biking into our daily routine, is a significant part of the answer.

Ty Schmidt - Executive Director, Norte

The Art of Juggling Multiple Facilities and Programs

The Prairies V (.1 CEU)

Peer to peer discussion on managing multiple facilities and programs to provide less stress at work! Walk away with tips and tricks on juggling multiple facilities, programs, and staff under your leadership.

Stephanie Manoogian - Aquatics Coordinator, City of Livonia

Ethan Engel - Athletics Coordinator, City of Livonia

Trail Towns - How Communities Are Transforming Trails to Leverage Economic Development

The Prairies VI (.1 CEU)

Trails have proven to be sought-after amenities for most communities - contributing to sense-of-place and providing new opportunities for community and economic development. This strategy has been especially important throughout the Midwest, as local economies shift away from traditional manufacturing industries and instead embrace the economic opportunity surrounding trails, outdoor recreation and their supporting trail tourism-based industries. This session will focus on what defines a "Trail Town" and how your community can utilize innovative landscape design, organization and promotions to better connect the interface between trail and town and better leverage the local trail system(s) for economic development.

Harry Burkholder - Executive Director, Land Information Access Association

Turn Your Rec Center Into a Tech Center

The Glens I (.1 CEU)

It’s the age-old question “ how do you keep your recreation center cutting-edge?” Technology is constantly changing, making it nearly impossible for a municipality to keep up with the latest trends and its facilities at the forefront of technology. This session focuses on the many ways technology impacts your center and how to successfully plan for its integration, not just in a holistic way but also an adaptable one. Covering all programmed areas of a building, this session presents ideas on how to utilize technology to change the way people are using a recreation center.

Craig Bouck - CEO, Barker Rinker Seacat

Mick Massey - Texas Regional Director, Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Offsite: K-Wings Event Center Tour

Meet at mParks Registration Desk

Tour the Wings Event Center and learn about events held at the Center, what goes into setting up and tearing down events. Gain insight on how the facility is able to secure these events. Get the inside scoop on managing a professional hockey team including the relationship between staff, community and coaches.

There is a $10 fee for this session. Advanced sign-up is required. Limited spots may be available at the mParks Registration desk.

2:15 pm – 3:30 pm   

Aging Mastery Program - How to Engage Older Adults

The Prairies V (.1 CEU)

The Aging Mastery Program® (AMP) was developed by the National Council on Aging and is designed to inform, encourage, and support older adults as they take steps to improve their lives and engage with their communities. Portage Senior Center was one of the first in Michigan to implement AMP and has had great success with engaging older adults in the community. Join us to learn more about AMP and how it might fit in with your community programming.

Kimberly Phillips - Senior Citizen Services Manager, Portage Senior Center

Dawn Shilts - Program & Trip Coordinator, Portage Senior Center


How to Grow Your ______ with Facebook Ads

The Prairies IV (.1 CEU)

Facebook advertising is one of the easiest ways to grow whatever you’re working on. Whether you’re looking to increase class registrations, let people know about an event or get more responses to a survey, Facebook has made it easy to reach exactly the people you want. We’ll cover the basics of how to create a Facebook ad from start to finish as well as discuss real-world examples. We’ll also cover some tips for creating ads that stand out. Case studies from the field will be used to demonstrate success!

Roxanne Sutton - Senior Manager of Communications, National Recreation and Park Association

 How to Recruit and Retain Quality Student Interns

The Glens III (.1 CEU)

How do you attract a high quality professional intern? Schools don’t approve internships sites because you need them. Attendees will learn how internship sites can prove intent and ability to develop and mentor a new young professionals and compete with other agencies for top-quality student interns.  You have an intern now what do you do with them? Attendees will learn what student interns and agency’s need to have in place to guarantee success with an internship experience. Student interns are great, but how can you make sure you always have one? Attendees will learn how to build your internship program to consistently attract and produce high-quality internship experiences.

 Lori Irwin - Associate Professor, Central Michigan University

Tim Otteman - Associate Professor, Central Michigan University

mParks Past President Committee

Parfet Board Room

All mParks Past President's are invited to attend this committee meeting.  Discussion to include current and future trends in the Parks and Recreation field; involvement of the Past Presidents in association events; public policy issues facing the profession; and much more.

Stu Alderman - mParks Past President Chair, mParks

Programming Focus Group Summit: Winners "PRO-Grammy Awards"

The Meadows (.1 CEU)

This session is to showcase all of the winners for the Innovative programming Award. Come join the winners as they get the chance to showcase what made their programs and events so special.

Jeffrey Johns - Recreation Programmer, Independence Township

There is No Place Like the Pool: Universally Appealing Watertainment & Wellness

The Glens I (.1 CEU)

From liquid gyms to water aerobics and casual lap swim to competitive meets, the pool can be the most dynamic and revenue-generating space within a recreation center. Learn about new and exciting aquatics design elements for more fun and increased revenue potential, plus understand ideas that will have an immediate impact on the aquatic programming in your facility.

Craig Bouck - CEO, Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture

Douglass Whiteaker - President and Principal, Water Technology, Inc.

Why Be Perfect When You Can Be Average?

Stone Theatre (.1 CEU)

George Scott Baker is on a mission to teach people how to be the most average you that you can be while living a purposeful life.  Learn how to utilize your resources, commit 100%, and the importance of now.  Even if you used to be an overachiever, there is still hope for YOU! Taking from the legend of the unicorn, former stand-up comic Andy Boehnlein offers a twist on the typical development presentation.  Relaying a tongue in cheek message, all is rooted in the skills necessary for one to succeed in the real world while being okay with being you

Andy Boehnlein - Owner, The Average Unicorn

George Scott Baker - Demotivational Speaker, The Average Unicorn

3:45 pm – 5:00 pm   

Aquatics Roundtable

The Glens I (.1 CEU)

Aquatics Unite!  This interactive roundtable is open to all who manage, work or want to learn more about aquatic facilities and programs. Discussion will cover ongoing issues and working together to create possible solutions!

Brad Chiasson - Aquatic Specialist, Canton Township

Directors Summit

The Glens III (.1 CEU)

Join fellow Directors from around the state as we discuss relevant topics facing Michigan and our profession. This isn’t a complaint session about lack of funding, having to do more with less, or NIMBYs in your community. We will tackle issues that are relevant for departments of all sizes. Topics may include staff recruitment and retention, drug use in parks, the effect of declining birthrates on youth programs and more. There will also be updates on state wide ballot initiatives that could affect the MNRTF and Rec Passport. Please join us prepared to share your best practices and strategies.

Jeff Muck - Director, City of Novi Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services

Kendall Klingelsmith - Director of Parks and Recreation, City of Petoskey

Inclusive Universal Design for Recreation and Learning

Parfet Board Room (.1 CEU)

This presentation will include information and resources about how to make individuals of disadvantaged populations and communities feel welcome and engaged in your education and recreation programs. Some populations that we will focus on are the LGBTQ+ community, individuals with diverse abilities and at risk youth.

Cameron Kniffen - Inclusive Education Specialist, Detroit Zoological Society

New Programming Tools for Age Old Problems

The Meadows (.1 CEU)

Tools and templates to address creating, implementing and evaluating event and program ideas. The session will discuss how an agency actually used these tools to enhance their programming.

Vic Chiasson - Assistant Professor, Eastern Michigan University

Derek Smith - Director, Independence Township Parks and Recreation

Jeff Johns - Recreation Programmer, Independence Township Parks and Recreation

Senior Center Accreditation - Why & How?

The Prairies V (.1 CEU)

What does it mean to be "nationally accredited?" How does the process work? Why would you want to invest the time and resources? Join us for a discussion about the value of working with the National Council on Aging to become an accredited senior center. Presenter Kim Phillips is from the Portage Senior Center, which was the first nationally accredited Center in the state of Michigan.

Kimberly Phillips - Senior Citizens Services Manager, Portage Senior Center

The Path Where Safe Routes and Parks Meet

The Prairies VI (.1 CEU)

Gain an overview of Michigan's Safe Routes to School program and how communities have used the parks and trails in their area as assets for program planning and implementation for making getting to and from school more safe, convenient and fun. Discover how SRTS infrastructure and programming can create connections to parks and trails in your community.

Colleen Synk - Operations Coordinator, Safe Routes to School, Michigan Fitness Foundation

The Power of Digital & Media Storytelling

The Prairies IV (.2 CEU)

What’s your organizational story? Does it resonate with your audience? And are you telling it consistently on social media, websites, emails, and through media pitches? Every success depends on a vision, mission, and higher purpose as well as communicating a compelling, effective story. In this session, we’ll focus on how to harness the right stories and share them with the right people to achieve your goals and more. Driven by purpose, meaning and connection to place, participants will leave the seminar with a deep understanding of the role purpose and identity play in building a connection with your audience.

Lynne Golodner - Chief Creative Officer/Owner, Your People LLC

Thursday, January 31

8:15 am - 10:45 am

Newell Brands Design Center Tour

Newell Brands is a brand-led company and the Design Center is designed specifically to meet our need to be brand-centric. You have to understand the consumer, the customer and the marketplace you are in. The company is focusing on design as a way to set us apart from our competitors.

Forty thousand square feet of space designed with intention, designed to inspire. Every detail in place to specifically meet the needs of our brands and our people, to Newell Brands’ Design Center’s huge immersion rooms, prototyping labs and crisp, white, open-office space is where the future product roadmaps of our brands will become reality.

Newell Brands is a leading global consumer goods company with a strong portfolio of well-known brands, including Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, EXPO®, Parker®, Elmer’s®, Coleman®, Oster®, Sunbeam®, Rubbermaid Commercial Products®, Graco®, Baby Jogger®, Aprica®, Calphalon®, Rubbermaid®, FoodSaver®, Jostens®, NUK® and Yankee Candle®.

8:30 am-9:45 am

2019 DNR Recreation Grant Application Workshop

The Meadows (.1 CEU)

This workshop is designed to help future grant applicants learn everything they need to know about submitting applications to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Land and Water Conservation Fund and Recreation Passport grant programs. Best practices and strategies will be discussed.

Erin Campbell - Grant Coordinator, MDNR

Lindsay Ross - Grant Coordinator, MDNR

Merrie Carlock - Grant Coordinator, MDNR

All Ages, All Abilities, All the Time

The Glens III (.1 CEU)

Parks today face the challenge of providing environments where all visitors can feel safe, secure and fully engaged. Universal design increases usability, safety, health and social participation. Discover how applying the principles of universal design can ultimately contribute to social equity and social sustainability. Playground Planners will be provided practical examples of how to create park and recreation spaces that encourage health and wellness for individuals of all ages and abilities.

Ingrid Kanics - President, Kanics Inclusive Design Services, LLC

Bill Hachmeister - Director of Business Development, Aquatix by Landscape Structures

Being Respected as a Supervisor, Not an Equal

The Glens II (.1 CEU)

What is your leadership style? How do you earn the respect of your employees? This session will enhance your ability to supervise your staff in a caring and effective manner and will teach you what is needed to be respected by your staff. This session also covers the transition from equal to supervisor and what changes are needed to make the transition.

Juliene Hefter - Owner, Safety First Aquatics LLC

Health and Wellness- A Grass Roots Approach

The Prairies VI (.1 CEU)

What does wellness look like in your community? We will identify trends, "alternative" ideas of wellness, and where your agency can improve. We will strategize for community partnerships to maximize offerings to your participants while minimizing costs. Let's get healthy!

Cara Prell - Recreation Supervisor, City of Alpharetta

Invest in Yourself

The Prairies IV (.1 CEU)

Professional development isn’t always about the training sessions we attend, the certification tests we take or the Continuing Education Units we earn. Find out how you can develop new skills and grow your career through alternative learning opportunities mParks provides. This session is for any mParks member or those interested in becoming members.

Stephanie Mackey - Business Development Rep for OC, Oakland County Parks and Recreation

Moving From a Municipal to an Enterprise Mindset

The Glens I (.1 CEU)

An enterprise mindset starts with developing staff to have the ability to think and believe in the financial aspects of their agency or department. Having an enterprise approach requires that the professional have sound business principals with the intention of creating profits, which can be revenue and/or social benefit.  This session will detail the creation of staff and an agency that understands and embraces the financial aspects of their agency.

Chris Nunes - Director of Parks and Recreation, The Woodlands Township

Oak Wilt ID, Prevention & Management

The Prairies V (.2 CEU)

Learn the biology of Oak Wilt (OW), how to prevent it,  identify it and manage it once an infection occurs.

Julie Stachecki - President of Arboriculture Society of MI, ISA Certified Arborist, MI Oak Wilt Qualified; TRAQ; Business owner, ASM

Successful Community Engagement...Fact or Fiction

Parfet Board Room (.1 CEU)

This session will explore how the City of Royal Oak employed a successful community engagement process to gain community support for a controversial project.  Royal Oak decided to shutter an old community golf course in favor of creating a new housing development and community park.  The City of Royal Oak retained Nowak & Fraus Engineers and their subconsultant Landscape Architects and Planners who employed a community engagement process that allowed affected residents to take ownership in the design of their new neighborhood park.  Learn how the project team was “Clapped Out” of the room at the end of the process.

Jeffrey Huhta - Managing Partner, Nowak & Fraus Engineers

Bob Ford - Principal, Landscape Architects and Planners

Judy Davids - Public Engagement Specialist, City of Royal Oak

Thriving as an Introvert in an Extroverted Industry

Stone Theatre (.1 CEU)

Public meetings, politicians, presentations, community engagement, conferences, meetings, and social activities. Let's face it, there's a lot to overcome for an introvert in municipal parks and recreation. The profession needs the perceptive, sensitive, analytical, and introspective characteristics of the introvert. In fact, research demonstrates that they often are better decision-makers and more effective leaders. How does the introvert thrive in a field filled with outgoing, Type A personalities and the responsibilities of countless events, meetings and presentations? We will discuss strategies for quiet leaders to navigate these waters and find their voice.

Ryan Hegreness - Operations Manager, City of Westminster Parks, Recreation & Libraries

11:00 am-12:15 pm

1000's of Details- One Project: Project Management

The Glens I (.1 CEU)

Getting the project approved by your Council or Commission was the easy part! Now you have to ”PM” the project! This session will focus on project management approaches and will review communication, documentation, and monitoring techniques fundamental to keeping a project on track.  Examples of both successful and unsuccessful project execution will be shared and discussed, and participants will have the opportunity to discuss one of their current challenging projects with the group.

Chris Nunes - Director of Parks and Recreation, The Woodlands Township

Charitable Gaming

Parfet Board Room (.1 CEU)

Discussion regarding charitable gaming options, rules and regulations, and marketing ideas to hold raffles, bingo and sell charity game tickets at fund raising events.

Kathie Oviedo - Deputy Commissioner for Charitable Gaming, State of Michigan Bureau of State Lottery

Disability to Ability - Expanding Your Outreach

The Glens III (.1 CEU)

While much has been done to improve physical access to parks and recreation areas in Michigan, what thought has gone into how we treat the people with disabilities, especially sensory disabilities?  Gwen Botting, Executive Director of Opportunities Unlimited for the the Blind, will share easy ways to increase your knowledge and understanding of persons who are blind or have low vision and how to best improve access and improve their experience of the out-of doors.

Gwen Botting - Executive Director, Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind

Hailey Cone - Program Director, Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind

Inclusion and Diversity in Parks and Recreation

The Prairies VI (.1 CEU)

We will take a hard look at social equity through diversity and inclusion within our agency and community. We will utilize perspective taking and goal setting to challenge ourselves to improve workplace culture and better serve our entire community.

Cara Prell - Recreation Supervisor, City of Alpharetta

Marketing Strategy: The Science and Psychology of Effective Campaigns

Stone Theatre (.2 CEU)

Pack programs, increase revenues, expand engagement and sell out events. Boost your organization’s marketing with a better understanding of how consumers behave and the types of messages that produce results. This interactive workshop applies proven strategies from the fields of business, psychology, sociology, marketing and behavioral economics to the marketing of recreation programs and events.

Ryan Hegreness - Operations Manager, City of Westminster Parks, Recreation & Libraries

Merry & Bright: Reviving Livonia's Holiday Parade

The Prairies IV (.1 CEU)

In early 2017 a group of local leaders put their heads together and decided to revive an old tradition in Livonia, the annual Holiday Parade. Having been discontinued in 2003, the Holiday Parade included local schools, community groups, elected officials, and more. Come learn about one professional's experience as a first-time parade host and the lessons learned along the way.

William Keppen - Recreation Supervisor, City of Livonia

Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board Round Table

The Meadows (.1 CEU)

A question and answer session with 2-3 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board members. These positions are appointed by the Governor and make the annual recommendations for $25M worth of acquisition and recreational development projects. To be moderated by DNR Grants Management Section Manager Dan Lord.

Dan Lord - Grants Management Section Manager, Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund

Networking 4 Knowledge 4 Novices

The Glens II (.1 CEU)

Networking is how you, as a professional, build on the knowledge you obtain from a combination of schooling, job experience and educational experiences.  The appeal of networking is just that, to obtain knowledge and make professional and  social contacts. Meeting new people and building relationships are easier when you are  comfortable approaching individuals and being approachable. This networking session  will teach networking techniques in a safe, non-threatening forum. After you've practiced

 and honed your skills, you're then be able to network without fear or anxiety.

Juliene Hefter - Founder/Owner, Safety First Aquatics LLC

Preparing Yourself for Dog Encounters and Attacks

The Prairies V (.2 CEU)

Most training and speakers give you advice that sounds good in theory, but will subject you to injury in practice. Hector has demonstrated his techniques on video, at times using no safety equipment, to prove his win-win methods so you will have confidence in what he teaches and trust in his approach. He has put what he says into practice with untrained and trained dogs that are aggressive.  Some dog bite prevention training is an all positive approach from an attacking dog. In some cases, the training places too much emphasis on the welfare of the attacking dog instead of the person.  An all positive approach will help the dog, not you.  Some dogs will cause great bodily harm, even death. You have a right to defend yourself, dogs have teeth that cut through skin, similar to knifes; you must protect yourself with the necessary force.  Because most encounters last only seconds, it is vital to convey to the dog, within the first few seconds, that you are not weak. However, if you have a duty to retreat you need to be able to leave the area safely. You have to know how to do this, and it’s Hector’s job to show you the best win-win way to accomplish it. Hector won’t train you on any methods that he would not do or has not tested himself.

Hector Hernandez - Hector Hernandez, First Class Dog Training

1:45pm - 3:00pm

Crowdfunding for Public Spaces

The Prairies IV (.1 CEU)

Community capital is the foundation of the Public Spaces Community Places program, a statewide placemaking initiative from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in partnership with Patronicity , a civic crowdfunding platform based out of Detroit, and the Michigan Municipal League . The Public Spaces Community Places (PSCP) program utilizes community capital through a unique process called crowdgranting.  Crowdgranting leverages granted dollars from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) with crowdfunded capital on Patronicity raised by community leaders, typically nonprofits or municipalities.

Katharine Czarnecki - SVP, Comm Deve, MEDC

Ebrahim Varachia - President, Patronicity

Embracing Young Professionals as Culture Creators in Your Agency

The Glens II (.1 CEU)

Young Professionals are continuing to lead from all angles of agencies despite their hierarchal position. This session will focus on how to embrace young professionals in your agency as culture creators and establish best practices to support their growth, ideas, and ambitions to ultimately benefit your community.

Anthony Iracki, CPRP - Millenial Thought Leader, Anthony Iracki

Keep Belle Isle Beautiful: How Detroit's Island Park Is Working to Shift Social Behavior

Parfet Board Room (.1 CEU)

How Detroit’s island park is working to shift social behavior through the creation of a campaign that relies on volunteerism and community support. Belle Isle is a 982-acres island park situated on the Detroit River and borders CanadaBelle Isle relies heavily on volunteer support and is a critical component to its community. Over the past decade, Belle Isle has undergone significant changes, including transitioning from being City owned and operated to City owned, State operated, and Conservancy supported. This session will discuss Belle Isle's substantial social impact in Detroit, including its rich volunteer history. A main focus of the presentation will include “Keep Belle Isle Beautiful,” a campaign created to increase awareness of littering behavior and how it impacts community parks and local waterways in Michigan. Keep Belle Isle Beautiful’s goal is to make great impact at both the local level, by reducing litter on Belle Isle, as well as the global level, by being an active contributor to the umbrella, global campaign to keep our waters free of plastic pollution. Discussions will cover creative responses to social issues and how attendees can use a similar approach, using volunteerism and community support, to address issues that their community is facing.

Genevieve Nowak - Director of Volunteer Services, Belle Isle Conservancy

Summer Ritner - Vice President of Operations, Belle Isle Conservancy

Karis Floyd - Park Manager, MDNR

Marketing and Branding for Directors

Stone Theatre (.1 CEU)

Increase citizen engagement, stakeholder buy-in, and management support for your department’s programs and services while growing revenues and building an identity that differentiates you from other service providers in your area. This session is tailored to provide executive leaders of park and recreation agencies with key concepts, best practices, and next steps elevate your brand and expand your influence.

Ryan Hegreness - Operations Manager, City of Westminster Parks, Recreation & Libraries

More Bang For Your Buck: Purchasing Tips and Tricks

The Glens I (.1 CEU)

When buying something for our own personal use, we scourge website or hit multiple stores to bet the best price.  Do we do the same when it is taxpayer’s money???  When purchasing for work-related goods and services there are basic and detailed components that need to be included in the bid or RFP solicitation- all to get the best price for our agencies.  This session will identify the must haves in your bids to drive down the cost of your purchases.

Chris Nunes - Director of Parks and Recreation, The Woodlands Township

Play on Player: Overcoming Disability with Play

The Glens III (.1 CEU)

"We gotta drive back, we forgot her wheelchair." Growing up with a mobility impairment opens the door for quite a few "you live and you learn" moments. 2015 Team USA racer Jill Moore shares her story of how these moments shaped a life that went beyond disability and became something truly extraordinary.

Jill Moore - Marketing Specialist, Landscape Structures

Recreation Plans:  From the Basics to Joint Regional Plans

The Meadows (.1 CEU)

A 5-Year Recreation Plan is not just an eligibility requirement for recreation grants, but also guidance on how to invest and maintain recreational assets to meet a communities needs into the future.  This session will cover: the basic process and requirements for developing a plan to meet DNR requirements; lessons learned on completing a recreation plan; tools and techniques for public participation and helpful hints.

Tamara Jorkasky - Grant Coordinator, MDNR

Stiltgrass Erased From Washtenaw County

The Prairies V (.1 CEU)

Japanese stiltgrass is a new invasive species to Michigan; so new that last year was the first time it was documented in our state. So when it was found in our city park and in adjacent properties, it created a unique opportunity for us to eradicate this species before it has a chance to grab a foothold in Michigan. From creating an outreach campaign, surveying neighborhoods and knocking on doors to GIS mapping and treatment, this presentation will explore the success story of how government agencies, nonprofits and private citizens collaborated to eradicate Japanese stiltgrass from Washtenaw County.

Michael Hahn - Stewardship Specialist, City of Ann Arbor

Women in Sports and Recreation

The Prairies VI (.1 CEU)

This panel of powerhouse women in the Sports and Recreation field will share their experiences, expertise, challenges and accomplishments as a women in the field.

Toni Daniels - Business Operations Director, Kalamazoo Wings

Amy Seth - Director of University Recreation, Western Michigan University

Katherine Miller - Assistant Athletic Director/Head Women's Basketball Coach, SWA/Kalamazoo College

3:15pm - 4:30pm

Bring Your Brave Face, We’re Talking Race, Diversity and Inclusion

The Glens III

Details to come.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)  in Deer

The Prairies V (.1 CEU)

This session will include a brief overview of the history ofCWD, CWD’s presence in Michigan, and management strategies. There will be an overview of current regulations affecting Michigan Deer hunters as well.

Don Poppe - Mr., Michigan DNR – Wildlife

Green Schoolyards Meet Health and Shared Use

The Glens I (.1 CEU)

Many cities are looking to add more park space through shared use agreements with school districts so that their residents have parks within a 10 minute walk. But simply opening up fields and playgrounds to the community does not afford all of the health, learning and environmental benefits that a green schoolyard can. This lecture will define green schoolyards, their benefits and unlikely partners, and highlight the newly launched Green Schoolyards Resource Hub. Participants will hear how a parks department and child health nonprofit came to engage in green schoolyard programs in Grand Rapids. Participants will then engage with the presenters to consider how they might develop their own city-wide or district-wide program.

David Marquardt - Director of Parks and Recreation, City of Grand Rapids

Homelessness in Parks: Local Experiences with a Nationwide Trend

The Prairies VI (.1 CEU)

Municipalities around the state and country are finding an  increase in people experiencing homelessness utilizing parks. From one tent in the middle of 700 acres, to encampments in downtown parks, to daily use, communities must be prepared to face the impact on their parks and citizens. The panel discussion will give examples of how Parks, Human Service Agencies and Police work together to address the legal, public relations and maintenance challenges that have occurred in local communities.

Jeff Muck - Director, City of Novi Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services

Brett Kaschinske - Director, Lansing Parks and Recreation Department

Sean Fletcher - Director, City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation

Alicia Bradford - Director, Wayne County Parks

TBD - Representative, Kalamazoo Police Department

TBD - City Attorney, City of Kalamazoo

Integrating Natural Resources Management into Recreation Programs

Parfet Board Room (.1 CEU)

Oakland County Parks and Recreation strives to connect patrons to the unique natural features found within our parks. Learn how Natural Resource Managers and programmers work together to bring events and programs to citizens that gives them the knowledge to become better stewards of our lands.

Melissa Nawrocki - Recreation Program Supervisor, Oakland County Parks and Recreation

Sarah Cook-Maylen - Natural Resources Coordinator, Oakland County Parks and Recreation

Storytelling as a Selling Point

Stone Theatre (.1 CEU)

This session will examine how the city of Detroit uses storytelling and engaging content to connect with their audience. This strategy has resulted in growth of over 50,000 followers.

This will challenge you to think creatively

Amber Lewis - Director of Digital & Social Media, City of Detroit

The Silver Tsunami! A Wave of Opportunity

The Prairies IV (.1 CEU)

By 2030, 25% of Michigan’s population, which means 1 in 4 people, will be age 60+. Proactive and creative programming will be integral in keeping this tidal wave of older adults both mentally and physically healthy, independent, connected and productive.  This session will provide an overview of the demographic shifts in Michigan’s Aging Population, senior programming successes and challenges, the importance of collaborations with senior centers and 2nd Act careers for the 50+.

Renee Cortright - Executive Director, Older Persons' Commission

Matt Spierling - Fitness & Aquatics Dept. Head, Older Persons' Commission

You Have a DNR Recreation Grant, Now What?

The Meadows (.1 CEU)

Learn the process and requirements for implementing a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Land and Water Conservation Fund or Recreation Passport grant. Topics include requirements for acquisition and development projects, reimbursements, post completion requirements, helpful hints to common pitfalls.  This session is recommended for anyone who plans to apply for a DNR recreation grant, or who has recently received a DNR recreation grant.

Merrie Carlock - Grant Coordinator, DNR, Grants Management Section

Mike Chuff - Financial Specialist, DNR, Grants Management

Lindsay Ross - Grant Coordinator, DNR, Grants Management

Young Professional Networks, a National Movement

The Glens II (.1 CEU)

A Sweeping trend across the nation is the formation of state association sponsored young professional networks. This session will focus on how the Wisconsin Park and Recreation Young Professionals Network came to be and how its ambitious design became a model for other states to follow. If you're looking to start a YPN or simply increase your ability to engage young professionals and attract talent to the state this session will cover all the bases.

Anthony Iracki - Millenial Thought Leader, Anthony Iracki

Friday, February 1

9:00 am – 11:15 am

Closing Session

The official closing of the 2019 mParks Conference & Trade Show includes breakfast and an educational session (.1 CEU).

Entry to the Closing Session is free but a ticket is required for Breakfast. Ticket is included in the Full Delegate package. A limited number of tickets may be available for purchase at the mParks registration desk.

Individual & Organizational Wellness To Fuel You ‘Til We Meet Again

Wellness is a hot and relevant topic in society today. Our industry serves as leaders of wellness in our communities for our residents but how well do we promote wellness amongst ourselves?  This year’s closing general session will ask and answer key questions about a myriad of wellness topics with a theme of HOW ARE YOU CARING FOR YOU. Parks and Recreation professionals are among the hardest working and under appreciated people in our nation and are often remiss in taking time to care for themselves as much as they care for the communities they serve. Through a lively panel discussion and peer interaction activity, mParks conference attendees will leave the 2019 conference energized to drive individual and organizational wellness in their home communities. You will not want to miss this year’s closing session!

Denise Barreto - Managing Partner, Relationships Matter Now

Mark Ostach - Keynote Speaker,

Beth Jabin, M.A. - Worksite Wellness Coordinator, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services