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Board of Park Commissioners
Great Parks of Hamilton County (formerly Hamilton County Park District) was created in 1930 with the mission to protect local natural resources and to provide outdoor recreation and education for area residents. Great Parks of Hamilton County is a separate political subdivision of the State of Ohio, governed by a Board of Park Commissioners. Board members are appointed by the Judge of Hamilton County Probate Court, the Honorable Ralph Winkler.

The Board is comprised of five individuals who serve without compensation for terms of three years. The Board sets governance policies, approves land acquisitions and annual budgets. The Board appoints a Chief Executive Officer who is responsible for the implementation of park policies and leads the overall operation of Great Parks of Hamilton County.

DeVere E. Burt was first appointed to the Board effective January 1, 2013 and most recently reappointed effective January 1, 2016. Mr. Burt is a founding trustee of the Susan Kathleen Black Foundation. Mr. Burt also served as a trustee of the Cincinnati Nature Center where he served as Vice President for Development, and Chairman of their Capital Campaign. Mr. Burt served as President and CEO of the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History until 1996, before becoming founder of Masterworks for Nature in 2000. Mr. Burt has also served as regional Vice President for the Nature Conservancy and was a field biologist for the United States Antarctic Research Program.

William J. Burwinkel was first appointed to the Board effective January 11, 2016 and most recently reappointed effective January 1, 2017. Mr. Burwinkel is the founder and Chairman of the Board of National Marketshare Group, Inc. He is also the founder of Adopt A Class Foundation and is active throughout the Greater Cincinnati community serving on the Cincinnati Public Services Quality of Life Board, Cincinnati Police Chief Advisory Board, the Queensgate Business Alliance and the Westside Summit.

HC Buck Niehoff was first appointed to the Board effective January 1, 2014 and most recently reappointed effective January 1, 2018. Mr. Niehoff is retired from the law firm of Peck, Shaffer & Williams LLC. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Cincinnati as well as on the boards of many local organizations, including the Cincinnati Museum Center, Mercantile Library and Ohio Cancer Research Associates.

Joseph C. Seta was first appointed to the Board effective January 1, 2011 and most recently reappointed effective January 1, 2017. He served as the President and CEO of Seta, Appleman & Showell, an advertising and graphic design firm, for 22 years and as Managing Director of Cincinnati Landor Associates Design Group. He has served on the advisory board for the College of Mount Saint Joseph and was a board member for the Central Academy of Commercial Art. He attended Xavier University and the Central Academy of Commercial Art.

Geraldine “Ginger” Warner was first appointed to the Board effective May 2, 2012 and most recently reappointed effective January 1, 2018. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Cincinnati, serves as Vice Chair of the Ohio Arts Council, is Secretary for the National First Ladies Library, is a board member of Greenacres Foundation, and board member of both The Cleveland Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Warner is a retired attorney and a graduate of New York University Law School.

Jack Sutton, Chief Executive Officer, Great Parks of Hamilton County
Jack Sutton has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Great Parks of Hamilton County since September 2002. Since joining the park district in 1989, Mr. Sutton has served in several positions including Park Planner, Planning Director and Deputy Director. He currently serves as Chairman of the Hamilton County Natural Resource Assistance Council and is a member of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Alumni Network.

Individuals interested in being considered for a future appointment to the Board of Park Commissioners of Great Parks of Hamilton County may submit a letter of interest to the Probate Court of Hamilton County, c/o Honorable Judge Ralph Winkler, William Howard Taft Law Center, 230 East Ninth Street, 10th Floor, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. Park Commissioners must be Hamilton County residents with demonstrated skills in organizational, business and/or academic leadership and a genuine passion for public parks and the conservation of natural resources.
2018 Tentative Board Meeting Schedule
  • January 18, 1 p.m.
  • February 15, 1 p.m.
  • March 15, 1 p.m.
  • April 19, 1 p.m.
  • May 17, 1 p.m.
  • May 22, 5 p.m. Emergency Meeting | The purpose of the meeting is to discuss a Fact Finder’s report related to negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement.​
  • June 21, 1 p.m.
  • July 19, 1 p.m.
  • August 9, 2 p.m. Special Meeting | Auditor of State Dave Yost will present the Auditor of State Award to Great Parks, followed by discussion and potential action related to negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement.
  • August 16, 1 p.m.
  • September 20, 1 p.m.
  • October 18, 9 a.m.
  • November 15, 1 p.m.
  • December 13, 1 p.m.

All meetings are held at the Winton Centre, 10245 Winton Road, Cincinnati, OH 45231 unless otherwise stated.
Board Meeting Minutes
2018 Board Meeting Minutes
January 18, 2018 Minutes
February 15, 2018 Minutes
March 15, 2018 Minutes
April 19, 2018 Minutes
May 22, 2018
June 21, 2018
July 19, 2018

2017 Board Meeting Minutes

January 19, 2017 Minutes
February 23, 2017 Minutes
March 16, 2017 Minutes
April 20, 2017 Minutes
May 18, 2017 Minutes
June 15, 2017 Minutes
July 20, 2017 Minutes
August 17, 2017 Minutes
September 21, 2017 Minutes
October 17, 2017, 2 p.m. Minutes
November 16, 2017 Minutes
December 14, 2017 Minutes
Great Parks Leadership Team
Jack Sutton, Chief Executive Officer
The Chief Executive Officer serves as the chief administrator and executive officer overseeing all operations of Great Parks of Hamilton County, reporting directly to the Board of Park Commissioners. email

Rebecca McDonough, Chief Operating Officer
The Chief Operating Officer oversees the Conservation & Parks, Guest Experiences, Planning and Ranger divisions. email

Jill Frazer, Chief of Human Resources

The Chief of Human Resources oversees all employee services including payroll, hiring, benefits and training; as well as Volunteer Services. email

Bret Henninger, Chief of Conservation and Parks

The Chief of Conservation and Parks oversees all natural areas, wildlife habitat, environmental quality, biological diversity, sustainability initiatives and park operations for all developed areas. email

Mary Hopton, Chief Financial Officer
The Chief Financial Officer oversees budgets, cash flow, investments, internal controls, audits and long-range financial planning; as well as Risk Management. email

Bill Mowery, Chief of Guest Experiences
The Chief of Guest Experiences oversees Education and Events, Golf, Business Development and all offerings related to our guest’s experience including harbors, campgrounds, banquet centers, athletics, interpretive farm, equestrian center and gift stores. email

Todd Palmeter, Chief of Planning
The Chief of Planning oversees Design and Land Acquisition, Facilities and Infrastructure, IT and Data Management, Marketing and Public Engagement and works with the Great Parks Forever Executive Director. email

Rick Spreckelmeier, Chief of Rangers (Interim)
The Chief Ranger oversees our state-certified police force responsible for enforcing federal and state laws, as well as Great Parks’ by-laws. email
Great Parks Forever Board
The Great Parks Forever is facilitated by an all-volunteer Board. For more information visit the Great Parks Forever website.

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