June 2023 Spotlight Professional

Austin Weber –  City of Aberdeen, WA

Describe the scope of your position in parks and recreation.

As the Assistant Parks Director for the City of Aberdeen, I oversee facility operations, community events, direct staff, and various other tasks that keep our parks operational. 

How long have you been with your present agency?

I have been with the City of Aberdeen for just over seven years now.

What did you do before your previous role? (Background experience and previous careers)

I was an intern for the City of Puyallup Parks & Rec while in college. The following year, I became a Recreation Specialist for the City of Federal. After a few months, I found my place with the City of Aberdeen as the Recreation Coordinator. Six years later, I became the Assistant Parks Director.

How have you participated in WRPA?

I have attended two WRPA conferences since I’ve been with the City of Aberdeen and plan to be at the next one!

What inspires you about the parks and recreation field?

Very diverse jobs. I have been an outdoor and sports enthusiast my entire life, so being around our parks and ball fields keeps my happiness going! Best department in any city! 

What is one creative solution you and your team have applied to a professional challenge?

Creative solutions should be our motto. Being in the Parks and Recreation department, we are often the least funded; throw being a small town into it, and everything seems impossible! So, the biggest solution to our professional challenge is networking. We work very closely with other City Departments. We rely on them to help give us the biggest bang for our buck. Not only other departments, but we also work very uniquely with our own park’s maintenance department, to help us give us the best of what we’re given. Being in a smaller city, we also have an advantage of being close with our community, which in turn, gives us a great donation revenue to help get more park projects accomplished for our citizens.

Considering what you’ve learned throughout your career, what advice would you share with someone starting out in the parks and recreation field?

Expand your network as much as possible, keep evolving, keep an open mind, and be proactive!

What is one of your favorite moments as a parks and recreation professional?  What was your job title?

My favorite moment had to be at our Park & Play kickoff event, where we help provide free lunches and entertainment throughout the summer for kids. We had a foam machine at our event and had kids yelling, “this is the best time of my life”! Hearing those words makes me appreciate what we do. I love creating exciting experiences that can turn into lasting memories. I was/am the Assistant Director at the time.