The city of College Station announces the selection of a new parks and recreation director.
Steve Wright has spent the last three years in a similar role at the city of Houston, and before that served seven years at the Houston YMCA.
Interim city manager Jeff Capps tells WTAW News there were around 70 applicants, including one internal candidate. The internal candidate was among six finalists.
News release from the city of College Station:
Steve Wright, director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Houston, has been named the new director of Parks & Recreation for the City of College Station.
Wright is expected to assume his new position in College Station by the end of the year. He fills the vacancy left by David Schmitz, who retired in July after serving as director since 2011.
Wright has more than 40 years of experience in the in the industry. Prior to his three years with the City of Houston, he spent seven years with the YMCA of Greater Houston. He also has served as both CEO and COO of fitness organizations such as Gold’s Gym, World Gym and Mavericks Health Centers. Wright earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Sam Houston State University, and later earned a Master of Arts in kinesiology and a Master of Science in health from SHSU.
At the City of Houston, Wright led a department of 800 employees and a budget of $78 million. He oversaw 380 parks, 61 community centers, 38 swimming pools, and myriad courts, courses, fields, facilities and programs.
“My wife, Jodi, and I are thrilled to begin our next chapter — both with the City of College Station and within the College Station community,” Wright said. “I grew up in neighboring Conroe/Montgomery, and College Station provides the perfect blend of family, activities and progressive leadership. The great outdoors and parks are the perfect place for families to convene, individuals to enjoy nature, and children to laugh and play.”
“Over the past several weeks, we’ve spent considerable time with Steve and have been impressed with his knowledge and experience in the parks industry, as well his leadership and communication skills,” Interim City Manager Jeff Capps said. “We feel strongly that he’ll be a great addition to our College Station team and we look forward to Jodi and him becoming a part of this great community. I also want to extend a special thanks to Assistant Director of Parks Kelly Kelbly, who has done a fantastic job serving as interim director these many months.”
Wright inherits a nationally accredited department (FY21 budget: $10.4 million) that provides residents and visitors with 54 developed and nine undeveloped parks that span nearly 1,864 acres.
College Station Parks & Recreation also operates an amphitheater and festival site, two senior centers, a full-service recreation center, two pools, a public library, two cemeteries, a nature center, 35 miles of walking trails, a skate park, an all-abilities playground, and an inventory of flat fields and diamonds that routinely host state and national tournaments for a variety of sports.