Skyler Archibald, of Gearhart, has been hired as the new executive director of the Sunset Empire Park & Recreation District.
At a meeting April 24, the recreation district’s board of directors voted to offer the position to Archibald, and he has accepted. Details of his employment are still being worked out, but he expects to start in July.
Mary Blake, a former general manager of the district, is serving as interim executive director and will continue to do so until Archibald, who currently works as director of recreation at Pacific University in Forest Grove, begins.
The recreation district finished its hiring process last week. Three finalists – from an original pool of six primary candidates and three alternates – met with technical and community panels April 23. Two finalists, Archibald and SEPRD IT and Marketing Manager Darren Gooch, participated in a public meet-and-greet later that evening. They interviewed with the board of directors April 24, after which the board made its decision in a 3-2 vote.
They offered him the position on the understanding he must meet the requirements of a clear background check, references and drug test as per district policies, Blake said. The salary is being negotiated. The Special Districts Association of Oregon, which has helped the district through the recruitment process, will finalize the hire.
Archibald has a longstanding connection to the community. His family moved to the North Coast when he was 8. He grew up in the area and attended Broadway Middle School and Seaside High School. He has a bachelor of arts degree in speech communication and writing from Portland State University and a master’s degree in sport management from Washington State University.
Through various experiences, Archibald “discovered recreation as a career path,” he said. He formerly worked at Washington State University in its recreation department and oversaw sport leagues and clubs, youth programming and special events.
Archibald and his family moved back to Gearhart in August, when he started working at Pacific University. He commutes to Forest Grove each day, which he is willing to do because they enjoy living in the area.
“When the position opened up that I’m currently working, my family and I decided to make our home in the Seaside area,” he said.
He now will transition into being executive director, which he described as “a great fit professionally,” as it will give him the opportunity to serve the communities and residents he cares about. Although he does not feel comfortable giving specifics at this time, he is looking forward to helping the district’s programs, services and visibility expand.
“Coming in as an outsider, my first focus is accessing where the district is at,” he said.
He feels former General Manager Justin Cutler, who resigned in March, did a good job maintaining the district’s stability and helping it grow. He plans to continue that growth and also be a resource and community partner to help the district be “an organization that is really receptive to receiving feedback from the community” and doing things the board and patrons are interested in.
He has a varied background, he said, working in different progressive and high-functioning organizations that have helped him broaden his professional experience, which he now brings to the Sunset Empire Park & Recreation District. He is looking forward to building relationships with community partners and working with the district’s existing staff.
“It’s really exciting to be able to work in an industry, and particularly with the Sunset Empire Park & Recreation District, to enhance the quality of life and provide these great services for people. I just can’t think of anything that would be better,” he said.