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EVERETT – Everett Parks and Community Services Director Lori Cummings recently received the Honor Fellow Award from the Washington Recreation & Park Association (WRPA). The award is the highest recognition bestowed by WRPA, and recognizes the individual’s lifetime achievement in the field of parks and recreation.
Colleagues describe Cummings as a “visionary,” always going above and beyond not only for her staff, but for community members and visitors to Everett. Many coworkers commended Cummings on her ability to be a mentor, advocate and friend, all at once.
“Lori has devoted her career to helping people recreate, both at Everett’s parks and through its classes and programs,” said Paul Kaftanski, executive director and former parks director. “Through her compassion, accountability and overall enthusiasm for this role, it is clear that Lori is truly a parks professional.”
The recipient of this award “must be equal in mind, character and professionalism” in regards to those who have preceded him or her, and “must set an example for those who will follow.” With more than three decades of experience with Everett Parks and Community Services, and numerous commendations from past colleagues, Cummings was a top choice for this award.
Cummings began her career with Everett Parks in 1981 as a senior lifeguard, and quickly moved up the ranks to recreation activity leader, and then recreation supervisor in 1985. She became a recreation program coordinator in 1990.
Cummings resigned from the department in 1996 to focus on family, but was still involved with the department as a seasonal employee until she came back in 1999 as a parks coordinator in a recreation superintendent position. She served as one of two assistant park directors from 2002 to 2016, when she took on the department’s lead role. As director, she oversees about 200 full- and part-time staff members, more than 40 parks, and two golf courses.
Cummings hit the ground running in her new role, and quickly established her leadership credentials, as she met with most of the Parks staff one-on-one and worked quickly to incorporate two additions to the department – the Carl Gipson Senior Center and the Everett Animal Shelter – as Everett Parks and Recreation evolved into Everett Parks and Community Services. This year, the city’s cultural arts program was also re-assigned to this department. Cummings’ strong leadership and inclusive management style provided a smooth transition as the department expanded its range of services and offerings.
“Lori shepherds important quality-of-life City services that make Everett what it is – a welcoming home to live and play,” said Kaftanski. “There is no question that she deserves the Honor Fellow Award.”
Learn more about this award, and see other 2018 award recipients, on the WRPA website.