Member Biography

Thomas J. Shuster

Thomas J. Shuster has served as the Director of Recreation and Parks for the Town of Ocean City, Maryland since 1998. In April 2014, Tom retired and was honored by the Mayor with the title of Director Emeritus of Recreation and Parks.

Prior to his time in Ocean City, Tom served as Director-Secretary for the MetroParks, Serving Summit County in Akron, Ohio from 1995 to 1997. Before that he was the Executive Director of the Waukegan Park District, Illinois from 1986 to 1995.

Tom has also served as the Director of Recreation, Parks and Community Services for the Township of East Brunswick, New Jersey (1976-1986) and Administrator of Recreation Services for the Ohio State Parks System (1972-1975).

He earned his Bachelor of Science in Biological Science (1970) and a Master of Science in Natural Resources (1971) from The Ohio State University. He is also a graduate of the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (1984).

Tom is an active member of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), having served as a Director of the National Society for Park Resources (NSPR), a former branch of NRPA. He has also been on NRPA’s Great Lakes Regional Council and the Mid Atlantic Regional Council, which he served as Chairman. He has most recently been a presenter at the NRPA Congress in Charlotte, NC.

Tom has also been active in four state associations including the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA), the New Jersey Recreation and Parks Association (NJRPA), where he served as Secretary and Council member, the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA), where he served as Secretary and Board member, and the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association (MRPA), where he has most recently served as President.

Tom is a past recipient of the Distinguished Professional Award from the NRPA Mid Atlantic Regional Network (2011) and the MRPA Jack Hewitt Distinguished Professional Award (2011).

Tom was nominated by Jim Truncer and elected a member of the Academy in 2003. Tom and his wife Debbie live in West Ocean City, Maryland. [updated Feb 2015]