Dynamic Partnerships: Creating a New Vision for Atlanta’s Parks
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Atlanta’s parks are undergoing a remarkable transformation that is attracting nationwide attention. This Premier Webinar will bring together key players from the public and private sector who have been leading the development of this new vision for Atlanta. They will provide insight on how they engaged the support of elected officials and key city decision-makers and built upon an authentic community participation process. Their insights on what made their projects work, and what barriers they had to overcome will be invaluable to anyone who is working to develop a vision and implement innovative park projects and partnerships.
This webinar will be a unique and engaging experience that will couple a pre-recorded panel discussion with an active chat experience in which the panelists will interactively engage with webinar participants to discuss the key takeaways of how their parks are transforming Atlanta.
Rich Dolesh (Moderator)
Editor-at-large, National Recreation and Park Association
Richard J. Dolesh worked 30 years in parks and natural resource management at the local and state level in Maryland prior to coming to NRPA where he has served as the Chief of Public Policy, Vice-President for Conservation, and most recently Vice-President for Strategic Initiatives. He retired in January, 2020, and continues to write for P&R Magazine as an editor-at-large.
Rich worked broadly to implement NRPA’s three strategic pillars—conservation, health and wellness, and social equity—and assisted in developing strategic partnerships to benefit the Association. His recent work includes exploring the role of parks in adapting to the impacts of climate change, engaging park systems in green infrastructure stormwater management and climate resiliency and assessing the impact of private funding for public parks.
Rich is a frequent contributor to NRPA’s Parks and Recreation Magazine and has written for numerous other publications including The Washington Post and National Geographic Magazine. His articles for Parks and Recreation Magazine and blog posts for Open Space, the NRPA blog, are widely read.
In September 2019, Rich received the Cornelius Amory Pugsley Medal awarded by the American Academy of Park and Recreation Administration. The Pugsley Medal recognizes outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of public parks and conservation in the United States.
Commissioner, City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation
Commissioner Phuong joined the City of Atlanta in 2010. Prior to her appointment as Commissioner in 2015, Amy served as Chief Service Officer for the City. As a double-graduate of Georgia Tech, Amy received her Masters in Business Administration, with a concentration in Technology, and Bachelors of Science in International Affairs, with Honors, and a Minor in Economics.
Under Commissioner Phuong's leadership, the City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation has initiated numerous generational projects, including the Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry, Rodney Cook Sr. Park, the Piedmont Park Expansion, the Grant Park Gateway Project, and the recently completed Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation and Aquatic Center.
President and CEO, Piedmont Park Conservancy
As the President and CEO, Mark Banta provides strategic direction and leadership for the charitable nonprofit to reach its vision of making Piedmont Park a world class park. He leads the effort to enhance the Park through robust amenities, raising funds, and strengthening daily programs and operations.
Prior to his role at Piedmont Park, Banta launched Klyde Warren Park as president of the Woodall Rogers Park Foundation and served as the general manager of Centennial Olympic Park.
Executive Director, Park Pride
Michael joined Park Pride in 2013 as Executive Director, managing staff and programs, supporting the board, and leading fundraising, public relations, and program development efforts. He joined Park Pride from Southface, where he served as the organization’s first Chief Operating Officer. Michael has also held senior roles for nonprofits the Clean Air Campaign and the Georgia Conservancy. He earned his graduate degree in nonprofit management from Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. He is a graduate of the Regional Leadership Institute and the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership, and was named among the "50 Influential Nonprofit Leaders" by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2016 and 2017.