Have you ever wondered, “Who are the people behind the scenes planning programs, cleaning parks, writing grants, and teaching kiddos?” Welp, you’re in luck! On this page, we’re highlighting the People of PLAY—the folks behind the scenes at Play Roanoke doing the dang thing! We won’t bore you with the regular ol’ interview kind of stuff. We ask the hard-hitting questions (like what’s your favorite condiment) to get to the essence of each person. Check them out below.

Michael Clark, Director of Parks and Recreation

Michael Clark headshot, standing in front of a waterfallHow long have you worked for the department? 13 years

What’s your favorite part of your job? The park planning portion of my job is my favorite. I enjoy working with citizens and staff members to improve and further develop the park system, making Roanoke that much more livable.

What’s your favorite condiment? Duke’s Mayonnaise

What’s something everyone seems to love that you hate? Coconut

Which Parks and Rec character do you most identify with? I’m equal parts Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope. I have Ron’s desire for self-reliance and efficient operation (and terrifying presence) but Leslie’s love for public service.

Favorite food? Sirloin Steak

Favorite book? The Call of the Wild by Jack London

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be? Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears

Tacos or Sushi? Tacos

Favorite college or pro team? Virginia Tech (college), Carolina Panthers (pro)

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (or biggest accomplishment)? Hands down the hardest, yet most rewarding, thing I’ve ever done is be a dad.

What are your hobbies? Climbing, Cycling (mountain and road), Fishing, Overland Camping, Paddling (canoe, kayak, and SUP), Swimming, Triathlon, and Weightlifting

Favorite thing you’ve dressed up as for Halloween. Bumblebee

Favorite gift you’ve ever received: One of my kids’ homemade book of advice for what to do when I’m angry, sad, etc.

Name a bucket-list item of yours. Visit all 63 US National Parks

How many push-ups can you do? (approximately) 30

What’s your favorite park/plaza/greenway? Mason Mill Park

If your life depended on you winning some sort of competition, what competition would you choose? Duke’s Mayonnaise-Eating Contest

Fun fact about yourself: I grew up a comic book nerd and still have hundreds of comics from the 1960s to the 1990s.

 

Laura Reilly, Landscape Management Coordinator

Woman outside on a greenway planting flowers in a planter boxHow long have you worked for the department? 2 Years

What’s your favorite part of your job? Definitely the people I work with daily.

What’s your favorite condiment? I don’t really have one.

What’s something everyone seems to love that you hate? I HATE ALL THINGS PUMPKIN!

Which Parks and Rec character do you most identify with? I have never watched Parks and Rec!

Favorite food? Seafood, sno-cones and red velvet cake.

Favorite book? My favorite authors are David Baldacci, Dick Francis & J.K. Rowling (of course!). My favorite Horticulture author is Tracy DiSabato-Aust, ‘The Well-Tended Perennial Garden’.

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be? This is way too hard of a question….

Tacos or Sushi? Tacos

Favorite college or pro team? VT Hokies!

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (or biggest accomplishment)? Most years I attempt to bake the cake on the December cover of Southern Living. I have had some pretty spectacular results! Maybe not the hardest thing I have done, nor my biggest accomplishment, but definitely a fun challenge that I look forward to.

What are your hobbies? Gardening, golf, reading, & cross-stitching

Favorite thing you’ve dressed up as for Halloween. Tube of Crest toothpaste

Favorite gift you’ve ever received: My King Cobra golf clubs – and my fluffy down comforter

Name a bucket-list item of yours: To see an epic concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater

How many push ups can you do? (approximately) Like the orange ones? I can totally do 3 or 4 of those.

What’s your favorite park/plaza/greenway? The Wildflower Garden on Mill Mountain… and the garden in Elmwood… and the garden at Fishburn Mansion.

If your life depended on you winning some sort of competition, what competition would you choose? Maybe plant identification…

Fun fact about yourself: I enjoy volunteering with a local winery, pruning the vines, harvesting, and working events.

Ryan Shazor, Outdoor Recreation Supervisor

Black man smiling, posing for camera in plaza during fallHow long have you worked for the department? 3 months

What’s your favorite part of your job? Seeing a someone enjoy themselves while trying a new activity.

What’s your favorite condiment? Hot Sauce

What’s something everyone seems to love that you hate? No avocado for me

Which Parks and Rec character do you most identify with? Donna Meagle

Favorite food? Tacos

Favorite book? Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising by Timothy Zahn

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be? SpottieOttieDopaliscious by Outkast

Tacos or Sushi? Tacos

Favorite college or pro team? Liverpool F.C.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (or biggest accomplishment)? Graduate High School (I was a severe procrastinator)

What are your hobbies? Eating, Reading, Biking and Climbing

Favorite thing you’ve dressed up as for Halloween. Lenny Kravitz

Favorite gift you’ve ever received: Insulated Slippers

Name a bucket-list item of yours. Rappelling out of a helicopter

How many push ups can you do? (approximately) 20

What’s your favorite park/plaza/greenway? Morningside Park

If your life depended on you winning some sort of competition, what competition would you choose? Visually identifying chain restaurant pizza

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve tried 22 different sandwiches at Macado’s

Kat Andrew, Outdoor Recreation Coordinator

Girl wearing cycling gear jumping into the air with a body of water behind herHow long have you worked for the department? 7 Years

What’s your favorite part of your job? The people!

What’s your favorite condiment? Franks Red Hot

What’s something everyone seems to love that you hate (or vice versa)? Um, I will always love pineapple on pizza!

Favorite food? Oysters but if I were choosing a favorite food to eat everyday it would be sushi!

Favorite book? I’m not sure I can pick one.

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be? I have way too much music ADD to pick one song! But if I were picking an artist it would probably be Jimmy Buffett, I can always use some beach vibes to take me on a mini mental vacation!

Tacos or Sushi? Sushi

Favorite college or pro team? Ehh I don’t really watch sports, but growing up it was UNC only because my Dad hated them.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (or biggest accomplishment)? Given birth

What are your hobbies? Baby Shark, Legos, toddler dancing, and puddle jumping…oohh ohh you mean my hobbies…Backpacking, biking, stand up paddleboarding, crafting, and baking to name a few.

Favorite thing you’ve dressed up as for Halloween. Ooh good one. I dressed my dog as Batman and I dressed as Robin one year in college.

Favorite gift you’ve ever received. Is there anything more adult than a washer and dryer?? Most fun favorite gift was Avett Brothers tickets and a SUP Paddle however!!

Name a bucket-list item of yours. Backpacking the JMT and W or Q Trek in Patagonia with my daughter!

How many push ups can you do? (approximately) 25-30

What’s your favorite park/plaza/greenway? It’s hard to top Carvins Cove for me!

If your life depended on you winning some sort of competition, what competition would you choose? Mario Kart on Nintendo 64. Bring it!!!

Greg Thompson, Park Management Coordinator

How long have you worked for the department? Greg Thompson Headshot5 years

What’s your favorite part of your job? Spending my time in our Parks

What’s your favorite condiment? White/YumYum Sauce

What’s something everyone seems to love that you hate? Everyone loves pickles and I absolutely hate them. 

Which Parks and Rec character do you most identify with? Ben Wyatt

Favorite food? Breakfast food aka bacon

Favorite book? The Harry Potter series

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be? Chris Brown – Run It!

Tacos or Sushi? Sushi

Favorite college or pro team? NC State Wolfpack

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (or biggest accomplishment)? I completed a “pancake eating challenge” at a breakfast restaurant once. I didn’t eat for a few days after that but it was absolutely worth it.

What are your hobbies? Playing with my 2 kids

Favorite thing you’ve dressed up as for Halloween. Halloween is the worst of all the holidays; so I definitely don’t dress up for that.

Favorite gift you’ve ever received. Nothing specific but I always have liked gifts that are an experience as opposed to a thing; so like tickets to a sporting event or concert.

Name a bucket-list item of yours. Visiting a rain forest

How many push ups can you do? (approximately) Consecutively probably 30 but if we are talking about over the course of a lifetime…thousands.

What’s your favorite park/plaza/greenway? Highland Park

If your life depended on you winning some sort of competition, what competition would you choose? Probably some sort of lawn game like cornhole/bucketball/kanjam

Fun fact about yourself: I once broke my nose when someone opened up a swinging cafeteria door in high school but they opened it very aggressively into my face.

Kelly Brammer, Special Events Supervisor

Woman with dark hair smilingHow long have you worked for the department? 4 months!

What’s your favorite part of your job? I love having creative freedom to dream up fun events for our community and also making sure event organizers have the tools they need to be successful.

What’s your favorite condiment? Blue cheese dressing

What’s something everyone seems to love that you hate? Coffee (I can already feel your judgement)

Which Parks and Rec character do you most identify with? Leslie Knope

Favorite food? Ice cream

Favorite book? A Court of Thorns and Roses

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be? The Story” by Brandi Carlile

Tacos or Sushi? Tacos

Favorite college or pro team? Philadelphia Eagles

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (or biggest accomplishment)? Moved away from my family and hometown.

What are your hobbies? Travel, home decorating/DIY projects, reading, shopping…

Favorite thing you’ve dressed up as for Halloween. Tied between Princess Peach or a Mermaid (I made both of those costumes)

Favorite gift you’ve ever received. My engagement ring

Name a bucket-list item of yours. I want to go skydiving.

How many push ups can you do? (approximately) Correct push ups? Approximately 1…on a good day

What’s your favorite park/plaza/greenway? Murray Run

Dylan Scott, Athletics Programming Supervisor

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Stephanie Long, Marketing Coordinator

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Lauren Woodson, Community Recreation Coordinator

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Leola Edwards, Administrative Assistant III

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Patrick Boas, Recreation Manager

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If your life depended on you winning some sort of competition, what competition would you choose?

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Cindy McFall, Parks Manager

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What’s your favorite park/plaza/greenway?

If your life depended on you winning some sort of competition, what competition would you choose?

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Renee Powers, Trails and Greenway Coordinator

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If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

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What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (or biggest accomplishment)?

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Favorite thing you’ve dressed up as for Halloween.

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Name a bucket-list item of yours.

How many push ups can you do? (approximately)

What’s your favorite park/plaza/greenway?

If your life depended on you winning some sort of competition, what competition would you choose?

Fun fact about yourself:

Samantha Matson, Urban Forestry Supervisor

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If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

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What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (or biggest accomplishment)?

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Favorite thing you’ve dressed up as for Halloween.

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Name a bucket-list item of yours.

How many push ups can you do? (approximately)

What’s your favorite park/plaza/greenway?

If your life depended on you winning some sort of competition, what competition would you choose?

Fun fact about yourself:

Susan Herndon-Powell, Youth Development Coordinator

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If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

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Favorite college or pro team?

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (or biggest accomplishment)?

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Favorite thing you’ve dressed up as for Halloween.

Favorite gift you’ve ever received

Name a bucket-list item of yours.

How many push ups can you do? (approximately)

What’s your favorite park/plaza/greenway?

If your life depended on you winning some sort of competition, what competition would you choose?

Fun fact about yourself:

Davern Dooley, Administration Assistant III

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If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

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Favorite college or pro team?

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (or biggest accomplishment)?

What are your hobbies?

Favorite thing you’ve dressed up as for Halloween.

Favorite gift you’ve ever received

Name a bucket-list item of yours.

How many push ups can you do? (approximately)

What’s your favorite park/plaza/greenway?

If your life depended on you winning some sort of competition, what competition would you choose?

Fun fact about yourself:

Will Cole, Maintenance Supervisor of River's Edge Sport Complex

How long have you worked for the department?

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If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

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Favorite college or pro team?

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (or biggest accomplishment)?

What are your hobbies?

Favorite thing you’ve dressed up as for Halloween.

Favorite gift you’ve ever received

Name a bucket-list item of yours.

How many push ups can you do? (approximately)

What’s your favorite park/plaza/greenway?

If your life depended on you winning some sort of competition, what competition would you choose?

Fun fact about yourself:

Katie Slusher, Park Planning and Development Coordinator

How long have you worked for the department?

What’s your favorite part of your job?

What’s your favorite condiment?

What’s something everyone seems to love that you hate?

Which Parks and Rec character do you most identify with?

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Favorite book?

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Tacos or Sushi?

Favorite college or pro team?

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (or biggest accomplishment)?

What are your hobbies?

Favorite thing you’ve dressed up as for Halloween.

Favorite gift you’ve ever received

Name a bucket-list item of yours.

How many push ups can you do? (approximately)

What’s your favorite park/plaza/greenway?

If your life depended on you winning some sort of competition, what competition would you choose?

Fun fact about yourself:

Matt Allenbaugh, Environmental Education and Mill Mountain Park Supervisor

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If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Tacos or Sushi?

Favorite college or pro team?

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (or biggest accomplishment)?

What are your hobbies?

Favorite thing you’ve dressed up as for Halloween.

Favorite gift you’ve ever received

Name a bucket-list item of yours.

How many push ups can you do? (approximately)

What’s your favorite park/plaza/greenway?

If your life depended on you winning some sort of competition, what competition would you choose?

Fun fact about yourself: