The Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District on Friday, March 22 appointed Matt J. Young as its new District Manager, filling a nearly nine-month vacancy and leaving board members optimistic about the future of the district.
“I think we are moving forward in a positive direction by bringing in someone who has experience and brings a fresh prospective,” said board vice-chairman Paul Press. “The board feels strongly that Matt will be able to build our partnerships throughout the community. It’s all coming together — a perfect storm. A new district manager, the Master Plan, a new board and a new vision.”
Prior to joining the district, Young, a native of San Bernardino was serving as Assistant Director of Recreation at Seattle University and has a Master of Science degree in Recreation and Park Administration from Eastern Kentucky University. He is also a professional member of the National Recreation and Park Association and the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association.
According to Press, Young’s past experience, fresh prospective and vision made the 38-year old the top candidate and the right choice for the district.
With over 10 years of experience in recreation resource and project management, including professional tenures with the U.S. Forest Service, commercial recreation and tour guide companies throughout the Caribbean and Berea Parks and Recreation in Berea, Ky., the new distrcit manager will be responsible for recreation programming, park planning, park maintenance, strategic planning, budget oversight and associated department staff.
In an email to the Tehachapi News on Friday afternoon, Young expressed his excitement and said he was looking forward to the opportunity to serve a pivotal role in promoting lifetime wellness and a strong sense of communal belonging through enhanced and inclusive recreation and leisure experiences.
“Tehachapi Valley represents the best of both worlds; a robust community supported by the marvels of renewable energy, aerospace, and a developing wine industry,” he wrote. “Yet it retains that highly desired ‘small town’ feel though holistic communal efforts, the abundance of natural and historical resources and strong family values and traditions.”
Young, whose parents are long-time residents of Bear Valley Springs, is expected to join the staff on April 11, 2013 at a starting annual salary of $76,500. He will spend through the end of April working alongside Interim District Manager Debbie Williams to make the transition.
Williams was appointed by the board on Aug. 2, 2012 to fill the void left by former general manager Jim Wood who was terminated by the district on June 29, 2012 after serving in the position since May 2010.
Her contract expires at the end of April and at that time, according to Press, the board is expected to review her contract and make adjustments as needed.
Finally, when asked what his first order of business would include, Young replied, “A straight razor shave at our local barber shop, a cup of coffee (no sugar) with my staff, and on to shake the hands of my new community and family — oh, and a walk in the park.”