Gateway: News

Four candidates, all parks directors, line up for PenMet job

Parks and recreation experts from Oregon, Wyoming and two cities in Western Washington want to be executive director of PenMet parks.

The four finalists in the search for an executive to lead the Peninsula Metropolitan Park District were introduced to the public at an open house in Gig Harbor last week.

About 40 people attended the Oct. 23 meeting at Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One headquarters.

They heard from four candidates, all of them parks or recreation directors in their hometowns, which included Federal Way, Port Townsend, McMinneville, Oregon, and Green River, Wyoming.

Penmet has been without a permanent director for 8 months, since the departure of Richard Fink II, who had a short tenure.

Since March, the position has been filled by an interim director, Glenn Akramoff, a consultant who has served in numerous similar positions for city governments. He is not a candidate.

PenMet wants to choose a permanent director by December of 2019. The district board was to have met last night in a special meeting to discuss the candidates.

The four candidates are: Anne Lane, Douglas Nelson, Bradley Raney and Alexander Wisniewski.

Anne Lane

Lane has been a Parks and Recreation Manager for the city of McMinnville, Oregon since 2004. She was also a Health and Recreation Manager for the Legacy Golf Resort in Phoenix, Arizona. She has a bachelor’s degree in Recreation from Pittsburg State University and an associate degree in Health and Wellness studies from Cottey College.

Lane said she has worked with a city for many years in the recreational department, but feels excitement toward PenMet Parks because it is a district, rather than a city.

“The district is well positioned for future growth and I am ready to be a part of that,” Lane said.

Lane said getting to know the staff and figuring out their strengths will be a key aspect in the Executive Director’s position.

“I believe it starts with the staff,” Lane said.

Douglas Nelson

Nelson has been the Recreation/Community Center Manager in Federal Way since 2014. He was also a recreation and fitness coordinator for Metro Parks Tacoma. Nelson has a bachelor’s degree in business and administration from Pacific Lutheran University.

Nelson described PenMet Parks as a very passionate community, and one he would want to be a part of.

“Driving through Gig Harbor I love the Peninsula, I love the people and love to serve,” Nelson said.

Nelson believes that everyone who has a say needs an opportunity and program. He believes the executive director needs a great staff, describing it as the most important asset of any park district.

“This looks like a team I want to join,” Nelson said.

Bradley Raney

Raney has been the Director of Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities for the city of Green River, Wyoming since 2015. He also was a Recreation Supervisor for Casper, Wyoming. Raney has a master’s degree in athletic administration from Idaho State University and a bachelor of science degree in exercise science from Brigham Young University.

Raney is very keen on having openness and transparency with the public.

“I consider myself a servant-leader. I want to ensure we as a staff serve the public,” Raney said.

Raney said at Green River, Wyoming, with the help of the citizens they were able to write their master plan themselves. Their vision was to provide safe and accessible parks and programs to the community, something he wants to carry over into PenMet Parks.

“I knew I was going to help people and make a difference in people’s lives,” Raney said.

Alexander Wisniewski

Wisniewski has been the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Director for the city of Port Townsend since 2017. He was also a maintenance and operation manager for Coconino County Parks and Recreation in Arizona. Wisniewski has a master’s degree in business administration from Western Governors University and a bachelor’s degree in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Resources from Michigan State University.

Wisniewski said PenMet Parks has high expectations from the community but also limitations. He said the only way to reach the expectations is by working together.

“We need to get to the expectations by partnering with each other, working with each other and lifting each other up,” Wisniewski said.

Wisniewski said he prides himself on focusing all of his decisions on the desires from the community.

“We are there to serve the community, and there is no better way than asking people what they want,” Wisniewski said.