Member Biography

Greg Petry

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) in 2011.

His 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).

He is currently the Executive Director of the Waukegan Park District, Illinois ( He joined the Waukegan Park District in 1987 as the Superintendent of Parks. Prior to that, he worked at Illinois park districts in Highland Park (Ernie Nance, Executive Director), Mundelein and Park Ridge.

Greg has served 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 is currently 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.

He has written 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.

He 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 Award and the IPRA Robert M. Artz Award.

The 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

With 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 million annually for capital improvements. Notable projects such as the Waukegan SportsPark and the Field House Sports and Fitness Center have had a combined annual economic impact of $15 million annually.

The 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 Association.

His interests include running, fishing, gardening and downhill skiing.  He is married to Candia, a retired Walgreens Pharmacy Manager, and has twin sons Steve and Dan. [current as of 10/2014]