Paul Romero is known as a strategist, interest-based negotiator and outcome driven decision maker. He is currently the Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
Paul has a thirty-two year history in parks and recreation beginning in 1970 when he became a Park Ranger for the city of Long Beach. Since that time, he has served as Director of Riverside County Parks Department and Santa Clara County Park and Recreation Department. Serving as Parks Director for twelve years at Riverside County, California, Paul was instrumental in protecting unique open space and wildlife habitat, creating the County Park and Open Space District through state legislation, and acquiring over 20,000 acres of park land. His most noted accomplishment at Riverside County was the protection of the Santa Rosa Plateau where nineteen rare, threatened or endangered species reside. Protection of the Plateau received a "President’s Citation, Environmental and Challenge Award" presented by President George H. Bush in 1992. As Parks Director for Santa Clara County, California (seven years), Paul was successful at leading a county-wide election for a property tax set aside to support regional parks. Twenty percent of those proceeds were used to acquire new park land. The William Penn Mott, Jr. "Award of Excellence" was bestowed on Paul by the National Society for Park Resources for his successes in land acquisition and open space protection in Santa Clara County. In 2001 Paul was invited to join a contingent of county leaders in an exchange of information with the leadership of Firenze, Italy. At the exchange, Paul presented information on strategy and techniques in management and operation of parks with leaders of the Italian National Park system.
Throughout his career, Paul has been actively involved in professional organizations, often serving in a leadership capacity. He is a frequent speaker at organization events and at state-wide conferences and has regularly participated behind the scenes in organizational strategy discussions. Paul was the California Park and Recreation Society (CPRS) representative on several state-wide funding initiatives, participated in two California State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan endeavors, served as CPRS Legislative Chairman for two years, and was an active participant in the CPRS Strategic Plan. Paul was President of the Western Interpreters Association that merged into the National Association of Interpretation, twice President of the California Association of Regional Park and Open Space Administrators, and has served as a trustee or member of numerous non-profit organizations including the San Jose Conservation Corps and Inland District, Boy Scouts of America.
Paul's education is in Biology, possessing a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Master of Arts degree in Biology from California State University, Long Beach. In 1993, that institution honored Paul with its Distinguished Alumnus Award from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He is a graduate of leadership and management seminars from University of California, Riverside and University of California, Berkeley.
Paul has received two California Park Recreation Society (CPRS) Presidential Awards, the Pat O’Brien Legislative Award from CPRS, Distinguished Professional Award from CPRS, District IV, Fellow Award from National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials, Outstanding Professional Award from California Association of Regional Park and Open Space Administrators, amongst other state and national recognitions. He has taught part-time at San Jose State University, California State Polytechnic College at Pomona, California State University, San Bernardino and several community colleges offering courses in park management, park design, budget and administration, and graduate courses in strategic planning and park financing.
His special passions in life are family gatherings and love of the outdoor environment. Paul is an avid photographer and enjoys spending time with his wife, Joanne. He lives in Folsom, California where his two sons and their families also reside.