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Town of Herndon hires first new parks and recreation director in 20 years

Bob Williams will take over as Herndon’s parks and recreation director on Jan. 16, 2024 (courtesy Bob Williams)

The Town of Herndon will welcome a new parks and recreation director this month for the first time in two decades.

Appointed Monday (Jan. 8), Bob Williams will assume the position on Jan. 16 after longtime director Cindy Roeder retired from the job she’d held since 2003, per her LinkedIn page.

Town Manager Bill Ashton, who will oversee Williams, acknowledged that Roeder will be a tough act to follow, but he believes the town’s new hire will be up to the task.

“No question, Cindy Roeder’s shoes are hard to fill,” Ashton said. “We are confident that Bob has the experience, insights and expertise to maintain the department’s high quality of operations and programming while bringing new, fresh ideas that further its legacy. In particular, I look forward to new initiatives under his leadership that establish new events and traditions, build on our vibrant sense of community and celebrate the myriad cultures represented in Herndon.”

A certified parks and recreation professional, Williams most recently served as parks and recreation director of Martinsburg-Berkeley County in West Virginia, where he created the department’s first-ever strategic plan and “improved processes that greatly increased productivity as well as community and employee engagement,” according to Herndon.

He has also worked in the parks and recreation divisions for Alexandria City, Licking County, Ohio, and Chester County, Pennsylvania. He earned a bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Robert Morris University, also in Pennsylvania.

When he takes over Herndon Parks and Recreation next week, Williams will be charged with stabilizing a department in flux. On top of finalizing the retirement of its longtime leader this month, the parks and recreation department has undergone a complete staff turnover since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials told the town council on Dec. 12.

The turnover contributed to the town’s decision to permanently end its popular Herndon Festival, which was sponsored by the parks department, officials said.

According to the town, as parks and recreation director, Williams is responsible for:

staff management, recreation program planning and development, facilities operation and maintenance, and capital improvement planning. Williams will also oversee operations of Chestnut Grove Cemetery; will foster collaborative relationships with Herndon’s sports, schools, arts, non-profit and business organizations; and will provide leadership and oversight to the department’s five operating divisions: administration, recreation programs, facilities, aquatics and parks.

Williams will also oversee an update to the department’s strategic plan, since the current one ended in 2023.

“The department has been working on an update, in alignment with the Town Council’s strategic plan, and will continue the work with Bob Williams’ direction and input,” Herndon spokesperson Anne Papa said.

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