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Park Operations University

YRich Steven‘s Leadership Institute (4)

Mission Statement

Operation University’s goal is to develop future operations leaders to gain practical and applicable knowledge to improve operations and advance into leadership positions within their organization to provide successful parks and community services for sustainable, healthy lifestyles.  Operations University will meet monthly to discuss diverse topics in various locations throughout the State allowing participants to expand their operational knowledge, leadership, and professionalism.  Dynamic, industry experts will be featured each month with facilitated discussions that are related to topics relevant to operational success, sustainable practices, leadership, budget, and professional development.  Projects and reading materials will be assigned between Operation Universities monthly meetings and collaborative discussions will enrich the participant's knowledge to bring innovative practices that can be implemented into departments across the State.

About the Program

This 8-session educational opportunity will help prepare our Operation Leaders for tomorrow with the foundational knowledge of our field.  A mixture of classroom learning in conjunction with hands-on opportunities will provide Operation Professionals an opportunity for a wide range of professional development as the courses are designed to increase Operations knowledge and prepare attendees for the next step in their careers.  Specialized classes will be hosted each month to include topics such as Snow and Ice Management, Playground Safety and Accessibility, Tree Management, Nutrient Management, Personnel Management, Personal and Professional Development, and Leadership Development.  Locations for each of the classes are yet to be determined but will be located throughout Maryland including Western, Central, and Eastern Shore.

viaParticipation is limited to 24 engaged and enthusiastic operations professionals who are looking for operation-related education and experience and approved by their supervisor, department, or division head.

Successful Graduates will receive acknowledgment at the MRPA Annual Conference (conference registration and accommodations are not included in the program fee), AND have an opportunity through this educational series to become certified in numerous areas such as:

  • Professional Fertilizer Applicator through the Maryland Department of Agriculture
  • Registered Pesticide Applicator Certificate
  • Playground Maintenance Technician
  • Certificate Program through NRPA
  • Chainsaw Use and Safety

Program Fee: $600.00 per registrant - includes facility and speaker’s fees, materials, lodging, and meals. Please note, that the conference is not included in the cost of the program.   You will not be billed until after acceptance into the program.   Individuals or agencies may submit payment via credit card or invoice.

Application Deadline for Operations University is July 12th, 2024

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Stormwater Management

Session 1: Stormwater Management

Date: August 14th, 2024

Location: TBD

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Session 2: Horticulture Management

Date: September 11th, 2024

Location: TBD

Professional & Personal Development

Session 3: Professional & Personal Development

Date: TBD

Location: TBD

Overnight Retreat

Snow and Ice Management

Session 4: Snow and Ice Management

Date: November 13, 2024

Location: TBD

TreeChainsaw Management

Session 5: Tree/Chainsaw Management

Date: December 11-12, 2024

Location: TBD

Optional Overnight Stay

Construction and Trail Development

Session 6: Construction and Trail Development

Date: January 8, 2024

Location: TBD


Playgrounds and Accessibility (CPSI Prep)

Session 7: Playgrounds and Accessibility 

Date: February 12th, 2025

Location: TBD



Nutrient and Athletic Field Management

Session 8: Nutrient and Athletic Field Management

Date: March 12-13, 2025

Location: TBD


Practice Presentations

March 21, 2025

MRPA Annual Conference

April 1-3, 2025

2024-2025 Park Operations Committee Co-Chairs:

Phil Jackson

Jonathan Smink

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