An Augusta, Kan., man with more than 20 years of experience in the field of parks and recreation, including positions in Oklahoma and Washington state, has been hired as the new deputy director for the Johnson County Park and Recreation District.
Travis Buell will begin in his new role on Aug. 3. He fills a position which has been vacant since September 2019 when Jeff Stewart left the deputy director’s position to become JCPRD’s executive director following the departure of the previous executive director, Jill Geller.
“His extensive experience and proven success in the park and recreation industry will be very valuable to JCPRD,” Stewart said. “His knowledge of and passion for the organization and the Johnson County community made Travis the clear choice for our Gold Medal team.”
“I feel that my leadership and ability to adapt to all situations positively makes me the ideal person for this position,” Buell added. “I have spent my career working to improve the communities I have worked in, developed future leaders for our profession, and improved outcomes within every department for which I have worked. I take pride in working through difficult situations with a positive attitude and encouraging disposition. I approach my work with the same dedication and commitment I have for my family, and work hard to integrate myself, wife, and children into the communities that I work in.”
Since June of 2017, Buell has served as the assistant director for Kitsap County Parks in Bremerton, Wash. While there, he has supported multiple divisions within the parks department as well as the county system, Buell worked closely with the board of county commissioners and the parks and recreation advisory board, developed and presented the annual budget, worked with stewardship groups, and spoke at community outreach events. He has also served as the project lead on several large park development and restoration efforts.
Prior to his time at Kitsap County, Buell also served as assistant director for Ardmore (Okla.) Parks and Recreation from October 2014 to June 2017, and as recreation coordinator for Norman (Okla.) Parks and Recreation from July 2007 to March 2012. His background also includes serving in sports-related positions at YMCAs in Edmond, Okla., and in Wichita.
Buell holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational management and leadership from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Okla. He met his wife Amber, a Lenexa native, while playing baseball at Cloud County Community College. The Buells are the parents of twin ten-year-old sons, Calvin and Frederick. They have been very active in youth sports and said they look forward trying new things in Johnson County. Outside of work and organized athletics, the Buell family enjoys hiking, kayaking, golfing, traveling, and time around the fire pit with friends making s’mores.
At JCPRD, the deputy director position, which was first introduced in April 2017, serves as superintendent of the Administrative Services Division, providing oversight and support for all departments within the division. Additionally, the deputy director facilitates cooperative projects with area municipalities, makes presentations to area groups, represents JCPRD on county committees and workgroups, and serves as an ambassador for JCPRD throughout the community. The position also coordinates and oversees implementation of the agency’s Legacy Plan, and will serve in the role of executive director in Stewart’s absence.