ActivePaper Archive New Parks and Rec chief ready for the challenge - Hobbs News Sun, 2014-06-29

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New Parks and Rec chief ready for the challenge

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Doug McDaniel is a unique leader. I made that assumption when I first walked into his office and shook hands with the engaging new director of Parks and Recreation in Hobbs.

I quickly observed a copy of Jim Collins' inspirational leadership book ”Good to Great” sitting on the corner of his desk. When I asked about the book, Doug explained that the popular book was about focus, energy, passion and improved customer service. That book seemed to be a metaphor for our ensuing conversation.

As many people already know grew up in Hobbs, graduated from Hobbs High School, worked a summer job at the Ziaplex, and was finally recruited by the locally famous Joe Harvey to work for the city for six years. Doug went on to serve as a women's softball coach at Adrian College in Michigan. He explained that his time in Michigan helped him cultivate a love for the Detroit Red Wings and grow his passion for quality of life projects and programming.

Doug later served as a recreation center manager in the city of Hurst, Texas. (Interestingly enough, former Parks and Recreation Director Mia Russell and other members of the community paid McDaniel a visit some years ago to evaluate the aquatics centers in Hurst.) Needless to say, the native Hobbsan has cultivated a skill set for quality of life development that eventually led him full circle to come and serve in our community.

McDaniel possesses key characteristics that uniquely qualify him to serve well as our Parks and Recreation director. First, he is familiar with who we are as Hobbsans. Second, his aforementioned experience is critical for the quality of life development on the horizon. Third, he loves reaching people of all ages (especially young people) with quality of life projects and programming. Fourth, he is passionate about the new Rockwind Golf Course, the new Taylor Ranch recreation area with its plan for a new family fun center, the enhancement of our current parks and the possibility of a new multigenerational recreation center.

McDaniel communicated to me that he wants the people of Hobbs to know that there are a host of summer recreation activities and parks that people of all ages can take advantage of. He further related that the City of Hobbs Parks and Recreation Department is customer service intensive and that it's critically important for him and his team to excel at customer service. McDaniel believes in employee training, empowering staff to make decisions and challenging them to make win-win decisions whenever possible. McDaniel summarized our conversation by quoting Jim Collins’ book which states, "Good is the enemy of great." With all of the excitement for present and future quality of life development in Hobbs, McDaniel wants to see Parks and Recreation excel to become even greater in the areas of customer service, solid programming and superior facilities.

Jonathan Sena is a Hobbs city commissioner.