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Leadership

Leadership

Great Parks of Hamilton County was created in 1930 as the Hamilton County Park District. Great Parks is a separate political subdivision of the State of Ohio, governed by a Board of Park Commissioners.

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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.

    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. 

    Marcus L. Thompson was first appointed to the Board effective January 3, 2019. He is Community Development Manager at Skanska was recognized as a Forty Under 40 award recipient in 2018 by the Cincinnati Business Courier. He is also a graduate of Leadership of Central Kentucky and United Way BOLD. Mr. Thompson supports the Greater Cincinnati community as director of Gameday Operations for Saturday Hoops, serves on the Board of Trustees for the Center for Addiction Treatment, is a member of the Cincinnati Zoo Ambassador Council and is a mentor and serves on the Board of Directors for the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative. He is a graduate of Seton Hill University.

    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.

    Todd Palmeter, Chief Executive Officer, Great Parks of Hamilton County 
    Todd Palmeter became the new Chief Executive Officer of Great Parks of Hamilton County on May 16, 2019. Mr. Palmeter began his career with the park district in 2003, and since then, has steered the agency’s five-year strategic plan. He has also steered several key park district initiatives including its visioning process, needs assessment, and most recently, the agency’s first Comprehensive Master Plan. Since starting with the park district, Mr. Palmeter has played an instrumental role in the development of many of the parks district’s most popular destinations, including Highfield Discovery Garden, Fernbank Park, Otto Armleder Memorial Park and the Mitchell Memorial Forest Mountain Bike Trail. He has also served on the Green Umbrella Tri-State Trails Executive Committee, chaired the Green Umbrella Land Action Team and is actively involved with the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association through partnerships and fundraising. 

    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.

  • 2019 Tentative Board Meeting Schedule

    • January 31, 11 a.m. | Special Meeting – Master Plan Workshop
    • January 31, 1 p.m.
    • February 21, 1 p.m.
    • March 21, 1 p.m.
    • April 18, 1 p.m.
    • May 13, 1 p.m. | Special Meeting – Board Workshop
    • May 16, 1 p.m.
    • June 20, 1 p.m.
    • July 18, 1 p.m.
    • August 15, 1 p.m. | Hamilton County Court of Domestic Relations, Judge Amy L. Searcy | 800 Broadway Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
    • September 19, 1 p.m.
    • October 17, 9 a.m.
    • November 21, 1 p.m.
    • December 12, 1 p.m.
    • Special Board meeting

    All meetings are held at the Winton Centre, 10245 Winton Road, Cincinnati, OH 45231 unless otherwise stated.

  • 2020 Tentative Board Meeting Schedule

    • January 30, 1 p.m.
    • February 20, 1 p.m.
    • March 19, 1 p.m.
    • April 16, 1 p.m.
    • May 21, 1 p.m.
    • June 18, 1 p.m.
    • July 16, 1 p.m.
    • August 20, 1 p.m.
    • September 17, 1 p.m.
    • October 15, 9 a.m.
    • November 19, 1 p.m.
    • December 17, 1 p.m.

    All meetings are held at the Winton Centre, 10245 Winton Road, Cincinnati, OH 45231 unless otherwise stated.

  • Board Meeting Minutes


    2019 Board Meeting Minutes

    January 31, 2019Minutes
    January 31, 2019 - Special MeetingMinutes
    February 21, 2019Minutes
    March 21, 2019Minutes
    April 18, 2019Minutes
    May 13, 2019 | Special MeetingMinutes
    May 16, 2019Minutes
    July 18, 2019Minutes
    August 15, 2019Minutes
    September 19, 2019Minutes


    2018 Board Meeting Minutes

    January 18, 2018Minutes
    February 15, 2018Minutes
    March 15, 2018Minutes
    April 19, 2018Minutes
    May 22, 2018Minutes
    June 21, 2018Minutes
    July 19, 2018Minutes
    August 9, 2018Minutes
    August 16, 2018Minutes
    September 20, 2018Minutes
    November 15, 2018Minutes
    December 13, 2018Minutes
    December 18, 2018 - Special MeetingMinutes
  • Great Parks Leadership Team

    Todd Palmeter, 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. The Chief Executive Officer works and collaborates with the Great Parks Forever Executive Director. 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 Resources and Risk Management. 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 

    Andy Collins, Chief Financial Officer 
    The Chief Financial Officer oversees budgets, cash flow, investments, internal controls, audits and long-range financial planning; as well as IT & Data Management. email

    Bill Mowery, Chief of Guest Experiences
    The Chief of Guest Experiences oversees Education & 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

    Tim Zelek, Chief of Planning
    The Chief of Planning oversees Design & Land Acquisition, Facilities & Infrastructure, Marketing & Public Engagement and Grant Writing. email

    Rick Spreckelmeier, Chief of Rangers
    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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