The City of Norfolk announced Tuesday that Nathan Powell had been named the city’s parks and recreation director.

Powell comes to Norfolk from Mitchell, South Dakota, where he served in the same role for five years, the city said in a press release. He has made a career in parks and recreation and is a certified parks and recreation executive.

Powell succeeds Pat Mrsny, who retired the beginning of October after 29 years of service. Powell will start working for the city in December.

Receiving a bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation management from Northern Arizona University, Powell soon found himself with a master's degree in parks and recreation administration, serving as a camp director in Pinecrest, California.

From there, he went on to oversee four state parks in eastern Montana, including Makoshika State Park, Montana’s largest state park, in Glendive, Montana. Since moving to Mitchell, Powell had been involved with several projects, including the new indoor aquatic center, master planning, programming and operations, various park improvements and the Lake Mitchell restoration project.

“Norfolk has been a home away from home for as long as I can remember. In 2008 we purchased the family farm in Stanton and we spend much of our summers in the area,” Powell said. “I could not be more excited to call Norfolk my new home.”

Powell said he is looking forward to helping Norfolk have a premier parks and recreations department that improves the quality of life for those living and visiting the area.

“I am excited to help create a community-wide vision for the future of parks and recreation in Norfolk, and I hope to maintain high-quality parks and programs,” he said. “I look forward to developing improvements to meet the future needs of the community.”

Andy Colvin, city administrator, said the city is excited for Powell to join the Norfolk community.

“He brings a wealth of experience and a true passion for parks and recreation,” Colvin said. “His leadership and dedication will serve the community well as we continue to strengthen Norfolk as a place to live, work and play.”

Mayor Josh Moenning said improving and expanding upon parks and recreation offerings is essential to Norfolk’s quality of life, which he said Powell offers.

“Mr. Powell brings a broad base of educational and professional work experience to the job,” the mayor said. “He’s helped develop, manage and operate large parks systems and recreation programs.  We look forward to him bringing fresh insight and perspective that comes with those experiences here to Norfolk.”

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