Job Opportunity - North Dakota - Parks Director

Aug 6, 2021


Summary of Work

The Director of the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department (Agency) is a member of the Governor’s Cabinet and is appointed by the Governor. The Agency offers diverse recreation opportunities throughout the state intended to connect people and places, generations and enrich the lives of North Dakotans and visitors to the state.

As a member of the Cabinet, the Director provides vision, leadership, and oversees the management and administration of the agency’s parks and recreation areas and programs throughout the state. The Director is responsible for carrying out the day-to-day duties and responsibilities to positively impact the state’s economy, ensure the state’s natural resources through sustainable management, while maximizing opportunities to enhance recreation opportunities.


  • Set overall vision and direction for the Agency.
  • Lead high impact team that supports an innovative, citizen/customer focused culture that aligns with the state's mission and values. Team includes more than 58 FTEs and increases to nearly 200 team members with seasonal staff.
  • Collaborate with federal, state, and local agencies, other members of the Governor’s Cabinet, and with other state and national resources on issues of importance to state parks, outdoor recreation, and natural resources.
  • Ensure development of high-impact marketing and publicity of state recreation programming.
  • Oversee and ensure law enforcement services in the state parks.
  • Provide direction and guidance to local and state agencies in the development, implementation and interpretation of programs and services to enhance state parks, outdoor recreation, and natural resources.
  • Represent the Agency to internal and external public and private organizations by serving on committees and advisory boards; provide expertise and information.
  • Monitor key legislation impacting the Agency in North Dakota; with prior consent of the Governor’s office, prepare and present legislative testimony, as necessary.
  • Provide leadership in developing the strategic plan. Prepare a biennial budget; monitor spending and maintain financial records. Annual operating budget exceeds nearly $45 million.
  • Serve on various boards identified in statue to promote state parks and recreation areas and programs.
  • Maintain compliance with applicable federal and/or state laws, regulations, and/or Agency rules, standards, and guidelines.
  • Serve as a resource for other cabinet and state agencies.


  • Bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation management, natural resource management, business administration or related field.
  • Five years senior management work experience.
  • Executive-level composure and presence.
  • Highly effective communication and collaboration skills.
  • Strong strategic thinking leading to the development and delivery of high-impact solutions.
  • Analytical and decision-making ability for immediate and long-term decisions.
  • Strong ability to plan, organize, lead, and guide all aspects of department administration including budget development and management.
  • Must be able to lead, motivate and develop talent to achieve organizational strategy.
  • Good understanding of the shared interests and diversity of recreation opportunities.
  • Fundamental knowledge of the legislative process and government operations.

Hiring salary range is $125,000 to $145,000 annually.

Application Procedures

Applicants can access the job announcement and online application by clicking job opening link here to apply.

Applicants must complete the online application before August 13, 2021, 11:59 PM, including a resume and cover letter providing details how your education, work experience, and skills qualify you for this position.

For more information or if you need accommodation or assistance in the application or selection process contact Leanne Schmidt, Senior HR Officer at 701-328-4738, email at, or TDD: 800-643-3916.

This is an unclassified position and is not subject to ND Veterans Preference.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The State of North Dakota and this hiring agency do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, genetics, religion, age or disability in employment or the provisions of services and complies with the provisions of the North Dakota Human Rights Act.

As an employer, the State of North Dakota prohibits smoking in all places of state employment in accordance with N.D.C.C. § 23-12-10.