October 2022 Spotlight Professional

Andy Fuzak –  Pavilion Event and Rental Manager for Riverfront Park

Describe the scope of your position in parks and recreation.

At Spokane Parks and Recreation, I am the Outdoor Programs supervisor. Our programs run during all four seasons and range from individual instruction programs to group trips and tours. I am lucky enough to have grown up in such an amazing place and it brings me great joy to be in a position that offers so much value to the public and is important enough to our city that they fund this program.

How long have you been with your present agency?

I have been with the City of Spokane for 11 years.

Background experience and previous careers?

I started in the recreation industry as a seasonal day camp worker, outdoor guide, and ski instructor. Additionally, I went to Eastern Washington University for a bachelor's Degree in Outdoor Recreation, graduating in 2010. After being around the field for a while, I moved up to take on more leadership, training and coordinating. Finally becoming full-time with the City in 2019. 

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

My first job was working at a snow tubing hill. We had a tow to haul people uphill in tubes and then they would slide back down. I learned how important it is to have good culture among the people on a team and I got some of my first experience talking to the public giving them safety instructions. Everyone hated giving the safety speech, but I found that it was a really good way to set the tone and make sure people had the best time possible.

How have you participated in WRPA?

I have gone to 3 conferences and have tried my best to help out with Student Connections. Spokane is soon hosting another conference and I will likely be helping to bring the fun.

Why are you passionate about the parks and recreation field?

Working in Parks and Recreation gives me the opportunity to share my passions and also provide experiences that make Spokane a super enjoyable place to live. Growing up, a lot of my friends hated Spokane. I always thought it was great. Providing events and recreation opportunities for citizens and visitors really makes me happy.

What has been your biggest professional challenge?

I never saw myself as an event manager helping to coordinate events in public spaces for thousands of people. There has been a steep learning curve for becoming the programmer of a multi-million-dollar concert and event facility. I am always learning and growing my understanding of concerts, festivals, and conference events. 

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

Make yourself irreplaceable. Build relationships and make sure you are someone people like working with. Do a little more than what is asked and do your best work. This may help you be at the top of the list for a promotion or a special project. You want people to think of you first when a new opportunity appears.