Parks professionals from across the state traveled to Tulsa last week to attend the 2019 Oklahoma Recreation and Parks Society Conference to learn about new innovations and trends in the industry and earn continuing education credits. The conference also hosts an awards banquet to recognize the state’s best crews, programs, and individuals. Ardmore came home with several honors including a first place win in the Maintenance Rodeo, an award of excellence for marketing and communications and Assistant Director Alicia Henry received the Young Professional Award.

Henry said each of these awards only go to one person or department, so Ardmore competed against some of the largest cities in the state and came home a winner.

“Our guys won first in the Maintenance Rodeo which is huge,” Henry said. “Our individual guys competed in several individual competitions and they placed first in many of the categories which is a huge personal accomplishment for all of them.”

Director Teresa Ervin said the individual competitions included contests such as a zero turn mower obstacle course, a backhoe contest where drivers must pick up a colored ball then place it inside a circle with the corresponding color, and a nail driving contest to see who could pound two nails into a 2X4 with the fewest hammer strikes.

The department also took home the Excellence for Marketing and Communications Award for the second year in a row. This award is based on the department’s overall marketing campaign and an awards committee composed of ORPS members from across the state considers elements such as brochures, fliers and web sites.

Ervin said the Young Professional Award goes to only one ORPS professional aged 35 or younger who demonstrates exceptional performance in support of their department. She and Recreation Supervisor Tes Stewart secretly nominated Henry, and the committee selected her for the win.

“Her work speaks for itself. It’s obvious.” Ervin said. “If you’ve ever met Alicia, the passion she has for our profession and our community shines through every time you talk to her. Her work certainly reflects that.”

Henry said she was completely surprised and honored to receive the recognition.