Arlington, Virginia
$106,225.60 - $207,043.20 Annually
Nov 17, 2021
Dec 02, 2021
Executive, Chief
Full Time
Position Information
Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is seeking an experienced, proactive, team-oriented, and strategic Division Chief to lead DPR's Parks and Natural Resources Division. The Division Chief will lead the maintenance and care of the parklands, including responding to the needs of a growing community with limited land, while mentoring, and motivating a dedicated and talented staff.

With an organizational culture of collaboration, Arlington is committed to public engagement and the Parks and Natural Resources Division plays a critical role in working with a diverse and participatory community to create a balanced and efficient public space system that is inclusive, sustainable, and supports recreation and leisure activities, environmental infrastructure, economic development and social health.

The Division Chief is a member of DPR's dynamic and dedicated Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and works collaboratively with other senior leaders in the department to set policy and manage the overall strategic direction of the Parks and Natural Resources Division. The Division Chief will supervise a large staff, direct long-range strategic planning of policies, programs, procedures and initiatives, will operate with substantial independence and report to the Department of Parks and Recreation Director.


The Parks and Natural Resources (PNR) Division Chief oversees the maintenance and management of Arlington County's Park system. Some of the major duties of this position include:

  • Overseeing the operations, maintenance and management of 148 parks and playgrounds and associated sports, recreational, and environmental facilities;
  • Preparing, administering and managing the annual budget and performing long-range financial planning, including providing leadership to a multi-disciplinary team of 100+ full-time professional and trades employees;
  • Serving as an advocate for open space and natural resources, including responsibility for the development, enhancement, maintenance, interpretation and preservation of all county open space and recreational facilities;
  • Establishing and cultivating effective relationships with other DPR divisions, county departments, community and regional organizations, and interested stakeholders with the goal of superior leadership for conservation, park maintenance, coordination of environmental issues and related departmental plans and policies;
  • Overseeing the maintenance and care of the County's parklands by introducing innovative management strategies, using technology and leadership tools to manage limited resources and accurate data records to ensure assets are maintained for optimum use and safety;
  • Governing parks use laws, ordinances and regulations, as well as identifying opportunities and partnerships to enhance, maintain, protect and develop parks and natural resources initiatives;
  • Customizing system approaches and solutions to operations and parklands management, including daily oversight of maintenance, construction, tree, and landscape crews, as well as nature center oversight and programming, and plant, pests and disease methods for invasive plant control and eradication;
  • Developing preventative maintenance plans for inspection, assessment and repair or replacement based on applicable industry standards, local guidelines, county requirements and/or manufacturer's recommendations;
  • Overseeing maintenance and repair methods of park buildings and facilities, including emergency management with a focus on extreme weather conditions including snow plowing, fallen tree removal, and other potential conditions; and
  • Managing maintenance procedures for the full scope of park plants, trees and lawns, understanding basic concepts of wildlife management and landscaping.

Arlington County has a County Manager form of government, which is governed by a five-member County Board. The County has a Fiscal Year 2022 budget of $1.4 billion and approximately 3500 full time employees. The County Manager serves as the principal administrative officer and is responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of a broad range of services provided by Arlington's various departments.


Arlington is an urban county and tourist destination located just five miles from the heart of the nation's capital. Geographically, Arlington is the smallest self-governing county in the U.S., occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the American Planning Association's highest award, recognizing Arlington's exemplary efforts to create stronger, healthier and more just communities. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world- including the Pentagon- Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.

Getting around the county is easy with 11 Metrorail stations, 17 ART bus routes, and 85 Capital Bikeshare stations. Quality education is easily accessible with 39 public schools and programs including 23 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, 4 high schools, and 1 secondary school (grades 6-12). The diversity of the county is reflected in Arlington Public Schools (APS) children who speak 104 languages and hail from 116 countries.

Residents also enjoy 89 miles of biking/jogging trails, 148 parks, 13 community centers, 7 live stage theaters, 8 libraries, and over 600 restaurants and shops.

Additionally, the county has a mission to advance racial equity as a county-wide priority to eliminate, reduce and prevent disparities in their policies, procedures, practices and engagement with the community.


The Department of Parks and Recreation serves as a steward of the County's natural resources and provides recreational programs and services for people of all ages, abilities and interests. DPR has an annual budget of $49.9 million, a typical ten-year capital budget of over $220 million, nearly 300 permanent employees, many temporary employees, several hundred contractors and thousands of community volunteers.

Arlington County is nationally recognized for its park and recreation system, consistently ranking fourth of the 100 largest cities in the United States by Trust for Public Land demonstrating Arlington's success in meeting national standards of excellence. DPR is also nationally accredited from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). The department provides a full range of park and recreation services and promotes wellness and vitality through dynamic programs and attractive public spaces. The facilities range from parks, sports fields, nature and community centers to spray grounds, playgrounds, trails, a skate park and an aquatics and fitness center.

Selection Criteria

Highly desirable characteristics include strong interpersonal skills and judgment necessary to communicate effectively with fellow leaders, county officials, and members of the public, and to provide leadership, motivation, and development for parks and recreation staff. The successful candidate for this position will have the experience, skills, and enthusiasm to lead the Division in its focus on providing public space that is safe and well-maintained, protecting and interpreting the valuable natural and cultural resources, providing a vast array of recreational and programming opportunities to meet the needs of the public and stakeholders, and meeting the evolving needs of an increasingly diverse and rapidly growing population. Proven management ability, critical thinking and reasoned analysis, exceptional communication skills, and respect for public accountability are crucial to this position.

The preferred candidate will have a master's degree in Parks and Recreation, Public Administration, Urban Planning, Education, Business, or closely related areas; five or more years of experience in a strategic leadership and managerial role with a parks and recreation organization or similar agency; OR an equivalent combination of education, training and experience.

The selected candidate must also have a documented record of effective and ethical leadership with strong professional teams, and commitment to high levels of performance, fairness and diversity. This is a highly visible position requiring exceptional communication, interpersonal and leadership skills with a strong sense of accountability to the organization, leadership, staff and community. A Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) as granted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is preferred. Possession of a valid Driver's License with an acceptable driving record is required.

Special Requirements
A comprehensive reference/background check will be completed, and employment will be contingent upon successful completion.

Completion of the Commonwealth of Virginia Statement of Economic Interest form will be required of the successful candidate upon hire and annually thereafter.

Arlington County Government is committed to the health, safety and wellness for all staff. In support of that commitment, all current and newly hired employees are required to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination. For those qualified employees with a disability or sincerely held religious belief which prohibits them from receiving a vaccine, you will be able to contact the Office of Human Rights to request a reasonable accommodation. Adherence to this policy is a condition of employment.

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