IPRA Professional of the Year – Bill Clevenger

On January 28, 2021, the Illinois Park & Recreation Association (IPRA) honored Bill Clevenger, from the Decatur Park District, for his commitment and excellent service to parks and recreation in Illinois. Mr. Clevenger was recognized during the IPRA Awards Program at the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Virtual Conference.

The Professional of the Year Award is an honor presented to an individual with more than eight years of full-time service and has made a major contribution to the park and recreation profession, and someone who consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty.

The Decatur Park District’s Executive Director Bill Clevenger is an advocate for parks, recreation, and conservation. His desire to serve and his visionary leadership have profoundly impacted his community and elevated the Decatur Park District as a leader in Illinois and across the nation.

Bill manages a $30 million budget and leads a staff of 500 full-time and seasonal professionals. Under his guidance, the Decatur Park District was the recipient of NRPA’s 2020 Class IV National Gold Medal Award. It achieved accreditation through the prestigious Illinois distinguished accreditation program, and through the association of zoos and aquariums for its popular Scovill Zoo that has been in operation since 1967.

Bill works tirelessly to engage with his community. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur/Macon County, the high school task force for Decatur Public School District #61, the Decatur Urbanized Area Transportation Study, the Planning Commission for the City of Decatur, the Decatur/Macon County Comprehensive Planning Committee, and the COVID-19 Crisis Response Team.

Bill is one of just 125 individuals selected nationwide for membership in the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. He has served on the NRPA Revenue Development and Management School, IPRA Joint Legislative Committee (Past Chair), IPRA Conference Committee, and the University of Illinois Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department Advisory Council. In 2011, he received the IPRA Robert Artz Lifetime Achievement Award.

‘Bill has been a leader in parks and recreation in our state for a long time. His agency has achieved accolades and recognition under his leadership, both at the state and national level. As the Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee for the last several years, he has been an important voice in advocating for our industry. We are so proud to recognize him with this award.’ – Debbie Trueblood, CAE, IPRA Executive Director

Congratulations, Bill!