Name: Matthew Collins
Organization / Place of Employment: Kenosha County Parks Division
Title: Assistant Parks Director
- How long have you lived and/or worked in Kenosha County?
June is my one year anniversary working for the Kenosha County Parks Division.
- Describe a day in the life of Matt (as it pertains to you personally, or your career):
My typical day is nothing that typical. Although I am administrative as my main work responsibilities, my office becomes the parks I manage. My career cannot be compared with any other occupation and I am truly appreciative that the Kenosha County Executive, Jim Kreuser gave me the opportunity to oversee Kenosha County’s Park System.
As for my personal life, I have a beautiful wife and will be celebrating our five-year anniversary this July. We also have an energetic, smart two year old son…my mini-me, Mason. As a family, we love spending as much time outdoors as possible and we are constantly grilling out and spending quality time with our neighbors.
- What makes Kenosha County a great place to work and play?
Obviously I would say that our Parks are the best places where our residents can come to work and play! Although I may be bias, I truly believe that we have THE BEST parks in Wisconsin. The Kenosha County Parks provides something for everyone including:
- Nine miles of maintained mountain bike trails
- Top rated beaches at Silver Lake and Old Settlers Park
- Beautiful nature trails at Bristol Woods
- Environmental education at the Pringle Nature Center
- Over 14 miles of multiuse trails
- Top rated golf courses at Petrifying Springs and Brighton Dale Links
- 27 holes of disc golf at Fox River and 18 holes at Silver Lake Park
- Kayaking over 11 miles through the County on the Fox River Water Trail
- Visiting the historic buildings and pristine landscaping along Lake Michigan’s shoreline at the Kemper Center
- Taking your dog to all three off-leash dog exercise areas at Petrifying Springs, Old Settlers and KD Park
- Walking over 4 miles around KD Park to take in the beautiful views of one of the cleanest lakes in Southeastern Wisconsin
- Ten reservable pavilions to host parties and events
- Numerous locations to grill and picnic
- Last APP you downloaded?
Quick Scan. This helps me be “that guy” to always try to get the lowest price when shopping.
- What is your favorite Kenosha County event/activity?
My favorite event has to be Oktoberfest at Old Settlers Park. Each year, the Parks sponsors this event with our not for profit partners, Oktoberfest, Inc. to not only invite the public to be a part of this free annual event, but also raise funds to build a bandshell at the park. This year’s event will be on September 10th starting with a run/walk in the morning followed by music, food, kids games, adult beverages, and fireworks.
- What is one thing you would like to see improved in Kenosha County?
I am always one to look forward and be visionary on the future of our community. After I took on my new role with the Parks, I did notice that there truly is a divide in our County on the “I”. This literal and figurative barrier needs to be broken since there are so many qualities on both sides of the line. It would be great to have more people appreciate our community and take time to travel the entire County to take in more sites and remove some perceptions. Organizations such as Y-Link offer a way to communicate to all young professionals on different experiences that can be offered throughout Kenosha County.
- What about Kenosha are you really proud of?
I am extremely proud that our community has taken a stance to be on the forefront for the creation of jobs and bringing more business opportunities to this area. Our County Government and County Executive Jim Kreuser has made this a priority and am really proud to serve our constituents and bring a higher quality of life to all of our new businesses and members of the community.
- Who inspires you locally?
This June, Jon Rudie will be retiring as Parks Director. It has truly been an honor to work with Jon this last year and try to learn as much as possible before taking over his responsibilities. Inspire isn’t strong enough of a word to express my appreciation for his ability to be empathetic, patient, inspiring and a true leader in our community. Every day I worked with Jon made me feel that I had been offered my dream job to work for such a great organization. It will be really hard to see him retire soon and am grateful that I was able to learn so much from one of the greatest Parks Directors in our State.
- Best advice for other young professionals?
Always have goals, write them down, review them daily, and don’t focus on tasks that do not lead to your vision. Also – Be sure to make a conscious effort to analyze the leaders in your organization and ask how they got to their level. These people always inspire me to emulate their strengths and motivate me to constantly push myself to become a better leader not only in the workplace but in my personal life as well.