Greg Petry, CPRE, started his life in
Parks and Recreation at age 15 in his hometown of East Brunswick Township, New
Jersey: Division of Parks and Recreation (Tom Shuster, Director). He was among
the first class to be granted a Certified Park and Recreation Executive (CPRE)
education includes a BS, Teacher Preparation, Physical Education from Manhattan
College, 1978 and a MS, Parks and Recreation Administration from Penn State
University,1980 (Dr. Geoff Godbey, Advisor).
2017 he retired as the Executive Director of the Waukegan Park District,
Illinois (www.waukeganparks.org). He joined the Waukegan Park District in 1987
as the Superintendent of Parks. In honor of his over thirty years of service, guidance,
and leadership the district named a park after him: Waukegan’s Greg Petry
to that, he worked for Illinois park districts in Highland Park (Ernie Nance,
Executive Director), Mundelein and Park Ridge.
in many professional associations. He was a Regent at the National Recreation
and Park Association (NRPA) Maintenance Management School; President of the
Midwest Institute of Park Executives (MIPE), Director of the Illinois Park and
Recreation Association (IPRA) Parks Section and President of the National
Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA). He was a member of the Joint
Legislative Committee for the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) and
a member of the NRPA Member Relations Task Force.
several articles on park operations and management, sports turf and park and
recreation legislative affairs. Greg has also been a guest speaker at
several universities, as well as state and national conferences.
has received state and national recognition for leading his park district in
the development of outstanding programs and facilities. Most notable are the
STMA Harry C. Gill Groundskeeper of the Year Award, the IPRA Robert M. Artz Lifetime
Achievement Award, and the IAPD Honored Professional.
Waukegan Park District has received numerous program and facility development
awards and honors from professional and trade associations while under Mr.
Petry’s leadership. In 2013, it won the prestigious NRPA Gold Medal and was a
finalist for the same in 2012. Other agency awards include the NRPA Dorothy
Mullen Arts and Humanities Award, and the NRPA Barb King Environmental Award
a 66% percent margin of victory, the Citizens of Waukegan passed a tax increase
referendum supporting parks development in 1997 as Greg led the “Committee to Save
Our Parks”. This initiative generates approximately $3-5 million annually which
is leveraged for bond issues to support capital improvements and developments.
Notable projects such as the Waukegan SportsPark and the Field House Sports and
Fitness Center have had a combined annual economic impact of over $15 million
Waukegan Parks District is Accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of
Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA), is an Illinois Distinguished Accredited
Agency and maintains the highest rating with the Park District Risk Management
interests include hanging out at his place down the Jersey Shore (everyone
welcome) traveling, hiking, running, fishing, gardening, and downhill skiing.
married to Candia, a retired Walgreens Pharmacy Manager, and has twin sons
Steve and Dan. [current as of 06.06.2023]