Three Rivers Park District
Coon Rapids, MN
CEHD degree: M.Ed., Recreation, Park and Leisure Studies
Through the park’s Outdoor Recreation School, Alex McKinney reached nearly 26,000 people last year in the Twin Cities, teaching lifelong recreation activities that promote active outdoor lifestyles and foster a greater appreciation for the natural environment. In 2010, he was recognized with the district’s Employee Excellence Award.
What professors were most influential during your time in CEHD?
Connie Magnuson’s energy, creativity, and hands-on learning style suited me perfectly. She brought in energetic speakers from the field and her classes centered on current trends happening in local park agencies. Harvey Feldman has a passion for parks and people. It shows in everything he does. His experiences with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has benefitted my own career and decision making processes.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A pearl farmer!
What skills are important to succeed as a young professional today?
Make other people look good. It is amazing what you can accomplish when it doesn't matter who gets the credit. You will also be surprised by how often the credit comes back to you.
When you have free time, what do you do?
One of the benefits of my job is I drive into a regional park for work every day. When I get free time, I will either go for a run on the trails, a quick cross-country ski, or take my kayak out on the lake.
What gets you excited about work?
Seeing the impact that spending time in the outdoors has on people. A few years ago, I took a woman kayaking who had been in an accident and was dealing with memory loss. She could remember things that happened before the accident, but quickly forgot what happened in her day-to-day life. While out paddling we saw a wood duck. A month later she sent me a postcard. She remembered kayaking with me and seeing the duck. It was the only thing she could remember from that long ago.