May 2022 Spotlight Professional

Chuck Cuzzetto – Public Relations and Communication Coordinator, Kitsap County Parks

Describe the scope of your position in parks and recreation.

As Public Relations and Communication Coordinator for Kitsap County Parks, I cannot think of a better path to bring awareness to the joy of being active, giving back, and showcasing parks and recreation. As a public relations and communication professional, my role entails gathering facts and media to tell our story in a detailed and transparent way. The real credit for my position goes to our hardworking staff and volunteers that go above and beyond for our community. Passion comes in many forms; I am here to put the spotlight on the passion that is parks and recreation.

How long have you been with your present agency?

Although I have been in my current role for about a month, my background in parks and recreation goes back to about seven and a half years. 

Background experience and previous careers?

My background has been quite diverse. As a student, I began my career as a corporate events specialist under the umbrella of Vulcan Inc. for, what was then, the Experience Music Project. I then transitioned to the Washington State Department of Transportation as part of their marketing department for the launch of the 520-Bridge Project. Finding volunteer opportunities along the way, I found my true passion was civic responsibility and community service. 

What were some of your first jobs, and what did you learn from them?

This is a great question, leading back to how life comes full circle. My first position was as a seasonal with Metro Parks Tacoma, working within the maintenance department. One of many things I learned throughout my tenure there, was how to work with all departments. There is no one single department, person, or program that is above the other or deserves the credit. No bottom up, no top-down. We are all in the parks and recreation world together, and we should always strive to uplift one another.

How have you participated in WRPA?

I have! From attending conferences (who doesn’t love that!) to sitting on some committees when time allowed, I’ve always loved what WRPA has to offer and would like to be more involved as time goes on.

Why are you passionate about the parks and recreation field?

Having been raised in a small community, in fact, on a small island, there was little to no opportunity for parks and open space or recreation for that matter. One of the things I enjoyed most was participating in the local athletic association’s programs. Moving back to my hometown and seeing the need for individuals to bring passion to the table, I remembered the adults that had done so much and worked so hard when I was younger to provide us with opportunities to recreate. Now, being grown (at least getting there) and having kids of my own, it’s our turn to carry the torch and give back to others. 

What has been your biggest professional challenge? 

Hard question! I would say my ability to “turn it off.” We all struggle with this. But for a long time, I was consumed with always being on and the balance of daily life. It’s gotten better, but it will always be a challenge when you are passionate about the work you do.

What’s the best advice you can give to someone starting out in the field of parks and recreation?

  1. You don’t have to stay in the position you are in. Get to know all the workings of parks and recreation. It will help you succeed in future professional growth and to understand how all departments operate. Some of the best people I know didn’t even work in my department. 
  2. Be true to yourself and opportunity will arise. 
  3. Take chances, make mistakes, and do it more than once. Some of the biggest programs I have seen grow came out of trying things twice. 
  4. The beauty of the unknown is that whatever decision you make, will be the right decision because you will never know if it was the wrong one.