Pierce County director of Parks and Recreation selected

County Executive Pat McCarthy has selected Tony Tipton, the county's go-to leader of important projects, as the director of Parks and Recreation Services.

County Executive Pat McCarthy has selected Tony Tipton, the county’s go-to leader of important projects, as the director of Parks and Recreation Services.

Since 2011, the McCarthy has assigned Tipton to senior management roles to assist with the merger of the county’s two social service departments and to manage special projects for Parks and Recreation. Earlier, he served as project manager for the development of Chambers Bay, which is preparing to host the first U.S. Open in the Pacific Northwest in 2015.

“Tony Tipton brings unique management experience to Parks and Recreation,” McCarthy said. “After a distinguished career with our Public Works and Utilities Department, he has served the past few years as a loaned executive to help manage some of our most complex projects in other departments. His expertise in project management, budgeting, strategic planning and customer service will benefit a department that’s dedicated to making Pierce County a fun place to live.”

As Parks Director, Tipton will oversee 65 full-time employees and budgets totaling about $30 million. That includes the highly successful Conservation Futures program that dedicates a small portion of the property tax to purchasing land for preservation of open space.

“I’m honored to by chosen by Executive McCarthy to lead our Parks and Recreation Services Department,” Tipton said. “Our park sites and recreation programs directly improve the quality of life here in Pierce County. I couldn’t be more excited to work with the outstanding team at Parks and our elected leadership in Pierce County to deliver high quality parks and recreation programs for our community to enjoy.”

Tipton is a Pacific Lutheran University graduate who began his career as a Certified Public Accountant. The bulk of his 29-year career includes 23 years with Pierce County Public Works and Utilities. He held a variety of management roles that led to his appointment as project manager for the development of Chambers Bay, which has become one of the top international tourism draws in the Northwest.

In 2011, Executive McCarthy appointed Tipton as an interim deputy director of the new Department of Community Connections, which was created by the consolidation of two agencies. Since October 2011, Tipton has served as special assistant to the director of Parks and Recreation, where he has led the creation of an asset management system and new performance measures, among other things.

“We conducted a nationwide search and reviewed an outstanding group of finalists,” McCarthy said. “Tony will be an excellent leader for a department that manages a diverse portfolio, including regional parks, neighborhood ‘pocket’ parks, an ice rink, the Foothills Trail and more.”

Tipton starts Sept. 16 and succeeds Kathy Kravit-Smith, who retired in June. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Pierce County Council.

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