Sylvia appointed Metro Parks executive director

The Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Park Commissioners voted Dec. 12 to appoint Shon Sylvia as executive director of Metro Parks Tacoma, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Shon Sylvia, executive director of Metro Parks Tacoma
Shon Sylvia, executive director of Metro Parks Tacoma

Board members praised Sylvia’s and the district’s record of accomplishments, with President Erik Hanberg calling out management of the strategic 2017-2018 budget process as the latest example of Sylvia’s leadership. The budget passed unanimously the same night. Commissioners also called attention to Sylvia’s “out-of-the-box” thinking and his development of strong partnerships with other government agencies, nonprofits and businesses.

“Shon is a data-driven visionary who knows how to turn great ideas into solid, sustainable programs and practices,” Hanberg said. “Metro Parks is on a great path, and Shon will ensure the agency remains strong and effective.”

Hanberg also pointed to the need to increase public access to programs, spaces and services by removing economic, physical and social barriers, and to Sylvia’s successes in these areas.

“We have an amazing park system,” said Sylvia, who joined Metro Parks in 1997. “Our staff members are committed to finding ways to keep improving the quality of life in every neighborhood. I look forward to continuing the great momentum we’ve created at Metro Parks.”


The board had appointed Sylvia as interim executive director in September. Sylvia has held key management roles, including assistant executive director and before that director of recreation and community services.

Before coming to Metro Parks, he worked for the City of Sunnyvale in California, coordinating the city’s youth services division.

At Metro Parks, Sylvia led the development of relationships with other agencies in ways that leveraged public and private funds to expand access for citizens and save taxpayers money.

He has been a vocal supporter of Tacoma Public Schools’ Science and Math Institute, for example, which turns the Metro Parks-managed Point Defiance Park into an outdoor classroom, and for his drive to provide after-school programming on-site at local schools. Sylvia also led the development of the STAR Center in South Tacoma, and he’s excited about the Eastside Community Center, a collaboration that involves Tacoma Public Schools, the City of Tacoma, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound and Tacoma Housing Authority and will break ground next year.

— Metro Parks