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Education Sessions


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 10/31/18)






Create A Culture of Digital Wellbeing

Understanding how to create a culture of digital wellness is a great way to reduce stress in the workplace. Taking time to see how Smartphones and screen time impact the emotion and mood of your team can have a major impact on the health of your organization. 

Fostering digital wellness can lead to better relationships, more satisfaction at work, and a reduction in employee burnout. In Mark’s uplifting talk, he’ll explore how our devices impact the mind, body, & spirit and provide techniques to improve the digital wellbeing of your organization.

Mark Ostach, Keynote Speaker, Skidmore Studio

Developing Your Personal Brand Strategy

A how-to session that will give participants a tool 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


I Spy Excellent Service: A Customer Service Codebook

"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

Marketing and Branding for Directors

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

Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

Most of us don't have the luxury of a full-service, in-house marketing team with a generous advertising budget. This session is for those doing marketing as one of those "other duties as assigned." How do you increase awareness, grow participation or generate new revenue with limited resources? It can be done by being purposeful in the platforms you choose, resourceful in the tools you utilize, and strategic in the campaigns you launch. This session will help you elevate your marketing on a shoestring budget.

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

Marketing Strategy: From Practical to Practically Insane

Pack programs, increase revenues, expand engagement and sell out events. Take your marketing efforts to new heights with practical marketing advice and practically insane case studies. This interactive workshop pairs proven strategies from the fields of business, psychology and behavioral economics with outrageous case studies from highly successful park and recreation campaigns.

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


5 Simple Steps to Worksite Wellness

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

99 Programs

Join us for an idea-sharing, think tank session. We welcome 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

Aquatics Roundtable

Aquatics Unite! Come discussion ongoing issues and work together to create possible solutions!

Brad Chiasson, Aquatic Specialist, Canton Township

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

Join us for a 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. We'll 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

Developing Creative Talent in Your Organization

Resources, tools and techniques that can be used to facilitate creative thinking in your organization

Vic Chiasson, Assistant Professor, Eastern Michigan University

Directors Summit

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 Service

How to Grow Your ______ with Facebook Ads

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

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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

Inclusive Universal Design for Recreation and Learning

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

Invest in Yourself

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.

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

Maximize Your ROI with Email Marketing

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

mParks Past President Committee

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

Orange 'Ya Glad I Didn't Say Banana?

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 Innovation” outlines 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 and Recreation Asset Management Planning

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, Lanscape Architect, Prein & Newhof

Parks Benefitting from the Corporate Social Responsibility Movement

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

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

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

Pool Rescue Through Partnerships

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

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

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

Roundtable by W.I.R.E.D

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

The Art of Juggling Multiple Facilities and Programs

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

The Path Where Safe Routes and Parks Meet

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

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

The Rising Tide of Water Trails

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Using LEAN Principles to Enhance Community Services

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

Why Be Perfect When You Can Be Average?

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

Wings Event Center / Kwings – OFFSITE TOUR

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.


1000's of Details- One Project: Project Management

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

2019 DNR Recreation Grant Application Workshop

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

Being Respected as a Supervisor, Not an Equal

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

Dealing with and Responding to Difficult People or Preparing Yourself for Dog Encounters and Attacks

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.

If you want to learn the safest and easiest way to protect yourself using your body language or everyday items you have on your person.

Hector Hernandez, Hector Hernandez, First Class Dog Training

Director/Student Discussion Panel

Panel discussion that will include several Directors or Executive Directors and a student or two. This will be an interactive session moderated by Sean Fletcher and will include time for questions from the audience. Primary focus will be the profession, but the crowd's desires may guide us with regard to topic.

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

Disability to Ability - Expanding Your Outreach

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 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

Embracing Young Professionals as Culture Creators in Your Agency

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, Millenial Thought Leader

Green Schoolyards Meet Health and Shared Use

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

Health and Wellness- A Grass Roots Approach

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

Homeless in Parks: Local Experiences with a Nationwide Trend

Municipalities around the state and country are experiencing increases in homeless 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

Inclusion and Diversity in Parks and Recreation

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

Integrating Natural Resources Management into Recreation Programs

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

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

Belle Isle is a 982-acres island park that borders Canada, is situation on the Detroit River, 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.

Our presentation is one that 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. During the presentation, we will discuss 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

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

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, University of Michigan - School of Public Health

Merry & Bright: Reviving Livonia's Holiday Parade

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

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

More Bang For Your Buck: Purchasing Tips and Tricks

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

Moving From a Municipal to an Enterprise Mindset

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

Networking 4 Knowledge 4 Novices

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

New Programming Tools for Age Old Problems

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

Newell Brands Design Center – OFFSITE 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.
Oak Wilt ID, Prevention & Management
Learn the biology of OW, how to Prevent it, Identify it and Manage it once an infection occurs. There are things you can do!

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

Recreation Plans: From the Basics to Joint Regional Plans

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

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

Successful Community Engagement...Fact or Fiction

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

Women in Sports and Recreation

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

You Have a DNR Recreation Grant, Now What?

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

Young Professional Networks, a National Movement

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