Transformation Team Passes Torch to State Parks Staff

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Highlights

  • The Transformation Team quietly ended its official two-year journey last week.
  • A final progress report, outlining accomplishments from the Transformation process and steps for the next two years, will soon be available.
  • The Team hopes that you continue to work with DPR in its long journey of positive, continuous improvement.

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The Transformation Team (Team) quietly ended its official two-year journey last week. The Team developed and led initiatives and projects to bring about positive change to the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). It was a remarkable and important first step in a long journey of positive, continuous improvement for the department.

Now it is time to hand off their work to DPR staff as the Transformation process continues. As California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird shared with department leadership recently, transformation will continue because the process “has launched an attitude and launched an atmosphere that people feel comfortable suggesting change in parks and continuing to improve parks”.

The Team comprised of qualified, experienced and dedicated personnel from DPR, outside entities and professional consultants developed a tactical Transformation Action Plan. The plan set forth four strategic goals for the state parks system:

  1. Develop excellent management systems
  2. Maintain high quality operations and public service
  3. Create meaningful connections and relevancy to people
  4. Protect and enhance natural and cultural resources

The level of commitment from the Team, committees, subcommittees, work groups, staff, partners and stakeholders to make long-transformative change at DPR was impressive. A final progress report, outlining accomplishments from the Transformation process and steps for the next two years, will soon be available. In the meantime, you will find below some successful highlights of the four strategic goals:

Excellent Management Systems

  • Broad Pathways to Leadership – By creating new superintendent positions to provide flexibility to consider candidates from all disciplines and build leadership that represents the diverse demographics of the state.
  • Revenue Generating Technologies – Including infrastructure to take debit or credit card payment, hourly parking machines and mobile device payment tools.
  • Service-Based Budgeting – An initiative focused on transforming the budget management system of DPR into a mechanism that will determine the level of service the parks can provide at varying levels of funding and assist in setting program priorities.

Maintain Quality Operations and Public Service

  • Organizational Structure Project – A review of DPR’s organizational structure to identify opportunities to eliminate duplicative services, realign divisions and programs to better support field operations, consolidate some field districts, flatten field management structures, and establish career paths to leadership for a broad range of professional backgrounds.
  • Partnerships – Created a new partnerships office and new guidelines for field staff to improve existing partnerships and realize new partnership opportunities.

Community Engagement and Relevancy

  • Cabins – To increase alternative camping opportunities, dozens of cabins have been added in the past two years.
  • Google Trekker – A partnership to preview hundreds of state park trails, via 360 degree footage, right from a computer, tablet or smartphone.
  • R2S2 – A project to modernize the way visitors reserve and experience California’s state park facilities and activities.
  • Relevancy and History Pilot Project – With the University of California, Riverside and University of California, Santa Barbara established a foundation for a new model for interpretation of California’s rich history and culture through state parks.

Natural and Cultural Resources

  • Vision document – A strategic vision plan to guide cultural and natural stewardship though transformative approaches, best practices and effective partnerships.
  • Crystal Cove – A cooperative approach to land-use management of open space by multiple government and non-profit organizations.

Guided by Team Leader Steve Szalay, the Transformation Team included Ron Birkhead, Helen Carricker, Jay Chamberlin, Ellen Clark, Michaele Deboer, Karl Knapp, Todd Lewis, Steve McCormick, Clay Phillips, Danita Rodriguez, Andy Vasquez, Sean Woods and Jared Zucker. We applaud your efforts!

The Team hopes that you continue to work with DPR in its long journey of positive, continuous improvement.

Reminders

  • Stay abreast of the Transformation Team’s progress on their website.
  • The Transformation Team is interested to know your ideas, thoughts and comments. Let us know what you think.
  • Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook and stay updated on #TransformationTuesdays!

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