Jesus Aguirre is the Superintendent of Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation. Previously, he was the Agency Director of the District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation, as well as the State Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia.
He has a MBA from Arizona State University and a BA in Biology/Pre-Med from University of Texas at Austin.
Leon T. Andrews, Jr.
Leon T. Andrews, Jr. serves as a Director of Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) at the National League of Cities’ Institute. He also serves as Chair-elect of the NRPA Board of Directors.
Previously he was a Senior Fellow at the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, where he led all of the Institute’s youth development work with mayors and other municipal leaders around the country including in areas related to childhood obesity, disconnected youth, youth engagement and leadership, and youth master planning since 2006. Before joining the National League of Cities, Leon completed a research fellowship at The Forum for Youth Investment. Leon has an extensive background working in government, the community, the private sector, and academia for the last 20 and as an adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science at Eastern Michigan University. He is a published author, a presenter at a number of conferences and other forums throughout the country, and serves on a number of national and local boards. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Howard University, a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and is a PhD candidate in the Urban and Regional Planning program at The University of Michigan.
Boyd is a retired partner of KPMG. During his 35 years with KPMG, he served in various capacities locally, nationally and internationally. He served primarily large publicly-traded clients.
Boyd has previously been active with Anne Malone Children’s Home, Boy Scouts of America, Junior Achievement and United Way. Additionally Boyd served on the City of Clayton (MO) Futures Committee (strategic planning / financing) and the Clayton (MO) Parks and Recreation Commission, last serving as Chairman. He also serves as a guest lecturer at the University of Missouri.
Boyd received his BS in Business Administration from Morningside College and MBA from the University of Missouri. Boyd has also participated in executive programs at the Wharton School, INSEAD and the Darden School of Business.
Boyd is an avid outdoors person and enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, fishing and golf.
Neelay’s career has spanned three continents with experiences including the Super Bowl, Disney, the Summer Olympics, and Paralympics Games, besides several years of consulting and training. His educational background includes a Masters in Sports Administration and Facility Management, an MBA, and a Masters in Advertising and Public Relations.
As a speaker and trainer, nationally and internationally, he has been fortunate to learn from and teach students, professionals, and executives from China, India, and all over the United States.
In addition, as the Vice President at PROS Consulting, he has served as project manager / lead consultant on over 100 master planning, strategic planning, sports facility development, marketing, and branding projects over several years.
He is an avid martial arts and tennis fan and shares a passion for the Olympic Games and ideals. More importantly, if you know anything about cricket, you are his new best friend!
Kevin Coyle has committed thirty-five years to improving America’s education and environmental education fields. He has been with the National Wildlife Federation as vice president for education since 2005.
Prior to NWF, he was president of the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation (NEETF), an award-winning organization chartered by Congress to strengthen U.S. environmental learning for personal stewardship, science education, improved health care, business management, watershed management and natural resource management. He has also led and founded several other educational and environmental organizations, including River Network, Inc. (Washington, DC and Portland), American Rivers, and the American Land Resource Association.
Coyle is trustee and past chair of The Potomac Conservancy, trustee of The Alice Ferguson Foundation, and has served two terms as chairman of The Natural Resources Council of America.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from LaSalle University, a JD in environmental law from Temple University, and the Conservation Leadership Institute Certificate from the Wharton School of Business.
Mr. Eckelberry has been a Board member since 2012 and is currently the Chair of the NRPA Board of Directors. Besides being involved with his national association, he is also a Commissioner of the Bartlett Park District, Bartlett, IL, since 1996. In his professional life, he is a Technology Manger for the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association. Mr. Eckelberry also has served on the NRPA Nominating Board Development Committee 2009-2011; IAPD/IPRA Distinguished Accreditation Committee current member, past co-chair; IPRA/IAPD Conference Committee member; Past IPRA Communications and Marketing Section Director.
Robert García is the Founding Director and Counsel of The City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy team in Los Angeles, California. Robert received numerous awards for his work. Robert graduated from Stanford University and Stanford Law School. He is an Assistant Professor at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.
Robert serves on the Boards of the National Environmental & Education Foundation, a non-profit chartered by Congress; National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA); and GreenLatinos Board of Directors. He serves on the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Committee on Community Based Solutions to Promote Health Equity, and the expert consultation panel for the Pan American Organization/World Health Organization on implementing Health in All Policies (HiAP).
Robert served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York prosecuting complex federal crimes, Western Regional Counsel with NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc., a professor at UCLA Law School and lecturer at Stanford Law School, and an attorney at a large New York law firm. An immigrant from Guatemala, Robert came to the US with his family when he was four.
Richard Gulley is a Board Member of the Balboa Park Conservancy. He was previously the CEO, Executive VP and Vice Chairman of Alliant Insurance Services, Inc.
A native of Louisiana Rick received his B.S. in Business Administration from Louisiana State University, and his M.B.A. from Loyola University.
Richard is the Co-Vice Chairman of the New Americans Museum, a Board Trustee for Vista Hill, founding member of E.W. Scripps Associates (EWSA), and currently the Board Treasurer of the San Diego Zoo.
He also served as the Chair (2012) of the San Diego Zoo Global, Past President of the Anza-Borrego Foundation (ABF) and past board member of the Big Brother and Big Sisters of San Diego County.
Roslyn Johnson is the Deputy Director of Facility Operations for The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County, MD. In this role, she leads innovative recreation programs that serve the community. She has oversight of natural and historic resources, sports and arts programs and facilities, maintenance and development, and public affairs and marketing.
Roslyn has an extensive career in the field of parks and recreation. In the past 10 years, she has held Deputy Director and Associate Director positions in parks and recreation agencies in Richmond, the District of Columbia, and Baltimore.
Roslyn has been very involved in NRPA. She presented at several NRPA events, taught during the inaugural year of the Graduate Institute at Oglebay, she has been a member of the Urban Park Directors group since inception and NRPA’s Public Policy Committee, served a short stint on the Program Committee, been a member of the Board Nominating Committee, was a diversity mentor, young student/professional lunch pair, and assisted with the Urban Parks Summit.
Roslyn graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a major in Elementary Education.
Jack Kardys is the Director of the nationally accredited and Gold Medal Award winning Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces Department (MDPROS). He currently serves as the Secretary of the NRPA Board of Directors.
Dedicating his career to public service, Jack has served the Department for more than 34 years and is an NRPA Board Member; FRPA President-elect; and NRPA R.O.S.E., FRPA Distinguished Service, and ASPA Administrator of the Year Award winner. He has led MDPROS to earn the Florida Governor’s Sterling and FRPA Agency Excellence Awards and serves as an executive board member on the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and Zoo Miami Oversight Boards of Directors.
With Jack’s leadership, the Miami-Dade County Parks and Open Space System Master Plan has established the blueprint for improving the quality of life in Miami and transforming it into a more livable, loveable and sustainable community through a system of great parks, public spaces, natural and cultural areas connected by great greenways, blueways, trails and streets. Through collaboration with community partners, this Master Plan is a national model for enhancing Miami-Dade’s health, environment, social well-being, and its economic prosperity.
Jack holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Administration and a Master’s of Science in Management, respectively from St. Thomas University. He has served as an adjunct professor at Florida International University teaching Organizational Behavior, Marketing and Recreation Programming and as an instructor and curriculum planner for the FRPA Abraham’s Leadership Academy,
Michael P. Kelly serves as General Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chicago Park District. He was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on October 22, 2011. The Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners confirmed that appointment on Wednesday, November 9, 2011. He also currently serves as the Treasurer of the NRPA Board of Directors.
Michael previously served as the District's Chief Operating Officer where he worked to provide executive management in areas such as park operations, capital construction, repairs and maintenance, landscape services, security, and other contract services pertinent to the operations of the Park District since 2007.
Michael earned a JD from DePaul College of Law in Chicago, and a BA in Political Science from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Karen Kress is the former President of the Yellowstone Park Foundation. Karen has 40 years of experience in nonprofit management and resource development. She has worked for The Nature Conservancy, the National Parks and Conservation Association, the American Farmland Trust, the National Wildlife Federation and had her own consulting business.
Karen has provided service on many nonprofit boards including the Greater Washington D.C. Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Potomac Conservancy, American Rivers, GLOBE, and National Environmental Education and Training Foundation. She has served on Allegheny College’s Alumni Council and chaired a regional campaign committee. She also is a member of the Council of Trustees for the Montana Land Reliance. Kress has a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in English History.
Herman Parker is the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department for the City of San Diego, CA. He has worked in the field of parks and recreation for over 30 years. He received his BA in psychology from California State University, Long Beach and a management certificate from San Diego Regional Management Academy. Herman has been dedicated to recreation since the beginning of his career when he was a professional football player with the Buffalo Bills.
He has received numerous awards from the California Park and Recreation Society for his work. And is a member of NRPA, California Park and Recreation Society, City Park Alliance, Africa Travel Association and NFL Alumni.
Molly Stevens is the CEO and Executive Director of Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center (WODC) in Central Texas and is the co-founder of the Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin (CiNCA). Prior to WODC, she spent 12 years with the EDF Texas Regional Office and 3 years with the Nature Conservancy of Texas. Molly is a Board Member and Chair of the Governance Committee of the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA). She also serves as Chair of Families in Nature.
Molly holds a BA from Olivet College in Political Science and Communication.
Susan Trautman is the Executive Director of the Great Rivers Greenway District in Saint Louis, Missouri. She was formally the Director of the City of Des Peres as well as the past Executive Director of the Center of Clayton. Ms. Trautman has been a member of the National Recreation and Park Association Board since 2011 and is currently the Past Chair for the NRPA Board of Directors. She is also a member of the American Academy of Park and Recreation Administration as well as the Chair of the Great Lakes Regional Council. She was previously the President of the Missouri Parks and Recreation Association.
Barbara Tulipane is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Tulipane is responsible for the $17 million national organization that works towards ensuring that all people have access to parks for health, conservation, and recreation. NRPA is the national voice for the protection and creation of public parks, harnessing the passion and power of its 50,000 members and the millions of individuals they serve.
NRPA partners with foundations, federal agencies and corporations who recognize the critical role of parks in creating healthy and sustainable communities. NRPA grants millions of dollars a year to its members to implement programs that have measurable objectives such as reducing obesity, increasing physical activity, saving wildlife, connecting children to nature and implementing green infrastructure. Special consideration is given to underserved communities as social equity is a founding principal of NRPA. NRPA recognizes that “place” is a critical component to an individual’s success and that all people deserve a safe and an easy to access park.
Tulipane is a former president and CEO for the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA), the $7 million international trade association that represents the $300 billion industry that uses television, radio, and the internet to sell their products and services. Tulipane increased ERA’s visibility in the trade community as well as on Capitol Hill. She represented the industry before Members of Congress and the Federal Trade Communication (FTC), and was interviewed by Dateline, CNBC, CNN, BBC, and The New York Times.
Tulipane entered the association community as the director of marketing for the Army and Air Force Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA), a professional membership association whose mission is to care for soldiers’ families in the event of their death.
Tulipane received her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Marketing from the University of Arizona. She is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), holds a Masters in Public Administration from George Mason University and is an Executive Fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
William Turner is the Director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. Mr. Turner has served on the National Recreation and Park Association Board of Directors since 2011. He is also currently a member of the E.B. Cape Center of the Heritage Society Board as well as the CAPRA Accreditation of Houston Parks and Recreation. He is the former Past President of the Texas Franchisee Association, Humble Rotary Club and Kingwood FFA.
Mr. Turner has had several successes during his career including passing a Park & Open Space Ordinance and creating an Adaptive Recreation Program for his department. He has also been the recipient of the George R. Brown Leadership Award as well as the National Franchisee Association 30 Year Service Award.
Dr. Howell Wechsler
Dr. Howell Wechsler, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Howell Wechsler, EdD, MPH, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, is a national expert on childhood obesity, having previously served as the Director of the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation was founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation in response to the rapid increase in childhood obesity rates over the last three decades.
Prior to taking on the role of Alliance CEO in 2013, Dr. Wechsler spent 18 years at the CDC, joining as a health scientist in 1995 and most recently serving as the Director of DASH from 2004 to May 2013.
Dr. Wechsler earned a doctorate in health education from Teachers College, Columbia University, a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He entered the field of public health during his service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire.
NRPA Senior Staff
Anna Amselle, Vice President of Finance and CFO, NRPA
Anna joined NRPA as vice president and chief financial officer in July, 2013. Amselle is responsible for the oversight of the financial operations at NRPA as well as ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations. She has spent her 20 year career working in non-profit accounting, primarily with trade associations and membership organizations. Most recently, she served as Chief Financial Officer with Northern Virginia Family Service.
Anna received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Simpson College and a MBA from George Mason University. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Zarnaaz Bashir, Vice President of Health and Wellness, NRPA
Zarnaaz Bashir joined the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) in October 2009 and is the vice president of health and wellness. She is responsible for shaping and leading the vision of NRPA’s health and wellness portfolio, which includes overseeing programs that work to reduce chronic diseases and build healthier environments through parks and recreation, identifying new partnerships and stewarding existing relationships in health and wellness, and seeking fundraising opportunities. Prior to joining NRPA, Ms. Bashir worked at the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) as a Senior Program Manager for Public Health Preparedness, overseeing grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support local health departments’ readiness to respond to public health emergencies and other disasters. She also completed fellowships with the American Cancer Society (ACS) to evaluate cancer services for the poor and underserved populations in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and at the American Lung Association of Northern Virginia to implement and evaluate anti-smoking and asthma maintenance programs in area elementary schools.
Ms. Bashir received her Masters of Public Health from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, with an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. Over the years, Ms. Bashir has contributed to various journals for publication, including Childhood Obesity, Journal for Public Health Management and Practice, and the Journal of Community Health.
Julie Boland, Vice President of Membership and Certification, NRPA
Julie joined NRPA in 2008 and serves as the vice president of membership and certification. In this role, she develops and oversees the association’s membership and certification initiatives. Julie received her Bachelors of Science in Forestry from Purdue University and has been working in the field of parks and recreation since 2000. Prior to her time with NRPA, she served as the Parks Director for the City of Crown Point, Indiana. Julie is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) from the National Recreation and Park Association and a Certified Association Executive (CAE) from the American Society of Association Executives.
Richard J. Dolesh, Vice President for Conservation and Parks, NRPA
Richard J. Dolesh joined NRPA in 2002 and serves as the vice president for conservation and parks. He is responsible for development and implementation of national policy and initiatives related to conservation, stewardship and parks.
Rich worked 30 years in parks, outdoor recreation, and natural resource management at the local and state level in Maryland before coming to NRPA. His recent work includes leading NRPA’s Parks Build Community initiative, coordinating the Parks for Mitigation demonstration projects, and working with the National Wildlife Federation to connect 10 million kids to nature and the outdoors over the next three years. Rich represents NRPA on a number of coalitions and advisory groups including the Sustainable Urban Forestry Coalition, the steering committee for Natural Play and Learning Area guidelines, and the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES).
Rich is a frequent contributor to NRPA’s Parks and Recreation Magazine, and has written numerous articles on parks and natural resources in publications including The Washington Post and National Geographic Magazine.
Gina Mullins-Cohen, Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Publications, NRPA
Gina joined NRPA in March of 2013. She brings with her over 17 years of communication and publication management experience. Gina has launched and managed numerous publications in several diverse industries, as well as owned and directed a media-communications firm.
As founder of Eclipse Media Partners, LLC, in 2010, a full-service media, communications and publishing company specializing in community publications, online content and events, she was able to work with and report on the achievements within park systems in Southern California. Prior to Eclipse Media Partners, Gina held the post of executive vice president of Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) where she oversaw the communications, publishing and education divisions.
Numerous publications and branding campaigns have been the recipient of awards under Gina’s direction. Her consumer publication, Edible Orange County, was the recipient of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Publication - 2011. Her work in B2B publishing and communications has been the recipient of four Maggie Awards from the Western Publishing Association.
Kevin O'Hara, Vice President of Urban and Government Affairs, NRPA
Kevin oversees NRPA's Federal Advocacy efforts and leads NRPA's engagement with urban directors and agencies. Previously, O'Hara was Manager of Government Affairs for the American Society of Landscape Architects where he oversaw advocacy efforts on urban parks, green infrastructure, children's access to nature and more. O'Hara also worked for a non-profit in the higher education finance sector where he led advocacy and college access initiatives. O'Hara earned a B.A. Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. O'Hara and his wife Meaghan are residents of the Adams Morgan neighborhood in the District of Columbia, where they overlook the lovely Kalorama Park. His free time pursuits include hiking, travel, and good food.
Kevin A. Roth, Vice President of Research, NRPA
Kevin A. Roth joined NRPA in 2015 as Vice President of Research. Kevin leads the research team in its mission to create valuable data and insights for NRPA members and to support NRPA’s strategic goals and tactics.
Kevin has served in research functions in the nonprofit association space for two decades, including leading research at the Association for Financial Professionals for 13 years and running survey research activities at the National Association of Realtors for four years. Kevin has a PhD in Economics from George Washington University and a BA in Economics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Rebecca Wickline, Senior Vice President of Development, NRPA
Rebecca joined NRPA in 2009 and serves as the vice president of partnerships and business development. In her role, Rebecca establishes and guides the strategic philanthropic fund raising goals of the organization.
Prior to her NRPA role, Rebecca served as Managing Director at Hayes & Associates for five years, a fund raising consulting firm that raises $10 million annually for non-profit organizations. Rebecca has almost 15 years of fundraising experience and has raised more than $25 million for organizations such as the American Red Cross, March of Dimes, USO, Fisher House, National Immigration Forum, Mile High Youth Corps, and many more. Rebecca received her Bachelor’s degree and Masters of Business Administration from Ohio University.