Michael Klitzing

Michael W. Klitzing, CPRE, has been instrumental in expanding and enhancing parks and recreation in each of the communities he has served. A visionary and enthusiastic leader, three times during his career Michael has been appointed to newly created positions, including his current role as Chief Operating Officer of Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation, Carmel, Indiana.

Michael oversees a National Gold Medal winning and CAPRA accredited agency with a $12.6 million annual operating budget that is over 80% self-funded. He directed the opening of its $55 million community center and waterpark, initiated a contract to manage the local school district’s before and after school program serving over 2,400 students, and has guided the growth of the department from 40 to nearly 600 total employees. Michael also coordinated the agency’s accreditation efforts and has overseen the development of the park system’s last two strategic master plans. During Michael’s tenure, Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation has become renowned for its innovation and was recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association with the Barb King Environmental Stewardship Award (2015) and Excellence in Inclusion Award (2016). 

Earlier in his career, Michael was involved with the opening of two major recreation facilities and various planning efforts. As the first Recreation Center Director for the City of Rolla, Missouri, he oversaw the opening of a new $8.4 million recreation center. Michael served as the first Marketing Manager for Lafayette Parks & Recreation, Lafayette, Indiana, successfully promoting its new $4.6 million aquatic center. As a senior consultant for PROS Consulting, Michael helped develop master plans and other management tools for numerous agencies across the United States.

In addition to his career in parks and recreation, Michael was appointed to the Brownsburg, Indiana Park Board in 2009, serving two 4-year terms. With the exception of his first year, Michael was elected every year by his colleagues to serve as an officer, include his last five years as President. During his tenure, Brownsburg Parks witnessed a huge transformation, becoming more self-sufficient and customer-focused, assumed responsibility for the local school district’s before and after school program, and initiated the planning process for a new community center. 

Michael was elected to serve a 4-year term on the Board of Directors for the Lake Lemon Conservancy District, which oversees the management of a 1,350-acre reservoir in southern Indiana. Within his first 30 days as the elected representative for Sub-Area I, the District was faced with a demand by the Indiana Rail Road Company and the City of Bloomington to lower the lake in advance of the peak spring and summer season. Michael crafted the successful strategy that prevented the drawdown of the lake, preserving the 2017 season and the District’s ability to collect user fees necessary to fund maintenance of the lake.

Michael is an active member of the National Recreation and Park Association, currently serving as Incoming Chair of the Conference Program Committee and Co-Chair of the Local Host Committee for the 2018 Annual Conference in Indianapolis. He is a frequent speaker at NRPA conferences and was the Off Site Institute Chair for the 2007 NRPA Congress in Indianapolis. Since 2016, Michael has served as one of NRPA’s appointments to the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies and has been a CAPRA Visitor since 2011. He is a past member of the Indiana Park and Recreation Association’s Executive Committee and was a charter member of its New and Young Professional Section.  

Michael received his Master’s degree in parks and recreation administration from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, which honored him as the 2015 Recreation Alumnus of the Year. He has a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. [current as of August 2017]