City fills recreation director position after 3 months

Price boasts background in business marketing, lifelong love of recreation
By Nicholas Johnson | May 10, 2017
Photo by: Nicholas Johnson Jeff Price addresses the Mukilteo City Council on May 1 after he was unanimously confirmed as the city’s new Recreation and Cultural Services Director.

Jeff Price has been working in parks and leading recreation programs since his high school days.

“I started working for Moses Lake’s department of recreation at 16,” Price, now 54, said. “It was the first job I ever had. When I got to college, I knew parks and recreation work was what I wanted to pursue. It’s been a real natural fit for me.”

The City Council unanimously confirmed Price as the city’s new Recreation and Cultural Services Director on May 1. He was one of 43 applicants for the position that Jennifer Berner resigned after nearly 10 years. His first day on the job is May 10.

Mayor Jennifer Gregerson selected Price in April from three finalists after a final interview. His monthly salary is $9,597.11, compared to Berner’s salary of $8,704.86.

The position has sat vacant since early February.

“I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get started,” said Price, who is familiar with Mukilteo’s amenities after spending the past 10 years as Everett’s Recreation and Business Services Manager.

“Mukilteo is just another 10 minutes down the road from where my office has been the last 10 years.

"Having lived in Snohomish County for over 25 years now, we’ve been to Mukilteo on multiple occasions,” he said of he and his wife, who live in Monroe. “We have hiked through the area, visited the beach and gone to events at the Rosehill Community Center many times.”

Price and his wife, who have four adult children, met while working together on a summer day program for Moses Lake’s recreation department. Both college students, she was home for the summer from Western Washington University and he was home from Eastern.

“We started dating during that time and now we’ve been married for 31 years,” he said.

Price earned his bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation and leisure studies in 1985. Prior to coming to Everett, he spent nearly 19 years as a recreation supervisor for the city of Kirkland.

“Near the end of my time with the city of Kirkland, I was able to raise funds and develop projects outside of the General Fund,” he said. “That really got me excited about the possibilities of what else I could do.”

In 2008, he received his Master’s in Business Administration from Chadron State College in Nebraska with an emphasis in marketing and finance.

“I’ve been tasked with looking for alternative ways to fund programs through sponsorships and donations, and I’ve really enjoyed that,” he said. “I would say I’m pretty passionate about the whole concept.”

Price said a significant portion of his job in Everett was to shift his department’s focus toward a business model of operation, implementing sound business practices, customer service and service delivery.

“My job was to interlay business practices into our recreation service delivery,” he said, noting that he relied upon sponsorships, donations and community outreach to create recreational offerings that reflected the community’s needs.

“I oversaw the writing of five business plans for our department, for athletics, aquatics, and wellness and fitness, for example.”

Price said he’s eager to gauge what the community wants in terms of recreational programs and opportunities. He said he’ll start by listening.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to listen to the community’s needs,” he said. “That will be the first thing I’ll be doing.”

Price said Mukilteo has a lot going for it already, and he hopes to build on that.

“Having worked in the neighboring city, I’ve been aware of the excellent work that staff here have done with recreation,” he said. “I’m also aware of the support the community has provided. So, when I had the opportunity to apply for this position, I jumped at it.”

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