R.J. Cardin is the Director of Parks and Recreation for Maricopa County, Arizona. Maricopa County is home to one of the largest regional parks systems in the U.S. with over 120,000 acres of open space mountain parks including hundreds of miles of trails, campgrounds, nature centers, nature and recreation program and the Desert Outdoor Environmental Learning Center at Lake Pleasant. Prior to leading Maricopa County’s Parks and Recreation Department, R.J. was the Assistant Director for Glendale Arizona Parks and Recreation where he was responsible for park and trail capital development and operations.
R.J. has more than 25 years of diverse parks and recreation experience including local, county and state government, commercial recreation and the non-profit sector. Cardin holds a Masters degree from Arizona State University focusing on outdoor recreation and tourism. He also holds Bachelors degrees in both Business Administration and Recreation Management from Morningside College.
R.J. was recently inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administrators and served as the President of the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials in 2012.
R.J. is passionate about the industry and truly believes in the array of benefits offered to individuals, the environment, communities and the economy through a strong and diverse system of parks, open space, trails and recreation.