December 2022, by Jennifer Fulcher-Nguyen

In Memoriam

On October 7, the park and recreation field lost a leader with the passing of Mike Riggs, director of the City of Maricopa (Arizona) Public Services.

“His mark will forever be on Maricopa in so many ways that often go uncelebrated. From overseeing the maintenance of our streets and advising city council and senior leadership teams, to the tiniest details in designing landscaping layouts, holiday decorations, building sets for public addresses and events, manning a BBQ station to wow a crowd and always, always being a front-row champion for the residents of Maricopa,” states Maricopa Mayor Nancy Smith in a news release. “He was the highest quality of leader, and we are endlessly grateful to have called him our friend.”

Riggs worked his way up through the ranks in the city, starting as parks crew lead in February 2014, working as parks manager and moving up to deputy director of community services, before becoming director of public services. During his tenure, he organized numerous service projects benefiting the city and other local organizations. As director of public services, he oversaw the operations of all the city’s facilities, fleet of vehicles, streets and parks.

Riggs earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business operations and a master’s degree in agricultural business and management from Arizona State University. He earned his CPSI and CPRP from NRPA, was CPO certified by the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, and was a certified arborist from the International Society of Arboriculture, according to his LinkedIn. He also was a longtime volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America and the local 4-H. In addition to being a member of NRPA and the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association, he was a member of the Sports Turf Management Association, Arizona Tree Council and International Society of Arboriculture. In 2019, he received the Park Professional Award from the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association. The award recognizes the continuous dedication of a park employee to outstanding service to the field of parks and recreation.

“Mike Riggs epitomized what it means to be a model citizen. He represented Maricopa with pride and class and was the type of humble person who was above no task,” says Maricopa City Manager Rick Horst in the release. “He always took every opportunity to serve others, often on his own time and at his personal expense.” Horst remembers Riggs’ dependability and dedication to completing any task. “His optimistic attitude, enlivening smile and infectious laugh made him a joy to work with. He constantly amazed us with his humor, his knowledge, his stories and his compassion.”

Jennifer Fulcher-Nguyen is Online Content Manager of NRPA


Top left: Photo courtesy of City of Maricopa, Arizona.

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