August 2021 Spotlight Professional

Brandon Lange – Recreation Manager of Kennewick Parks and Recreation

Photo of Brandon LangeDescribe the scope of your position in parks and recreation.

As the Recreation Manager of Kennewick Parks and Recreation, I manage four full-time staff and five to seven Guest Services Representatives that work at our front desk. Our staff is responsible for contracted external events, internally produced events, tournaments, leagues, camps, activities, sponsorships, swimming lessons, marketing, and facility use.

How long have you been with your present agency?

This is my tenth year with the City of Kennewick. 

Background experience and previous careers?

Before the City of Kennewick, I worked for the Tri-Cities Fever Indoor Professional Football Team and managed corporate sales, group tickets, and community relations. The Fever was an amazing experience as my first real job out of college. I got to work in sports and because we only had a staff of four, I was able to learn so many different skillsets. I then accepted the Sponsorship and Sports Marketing Coordinator position with the City of Kennewick. That position allowed me to further my marketing, communication, and sales skills but also introduced me to internal and contracted events, a highly valued area in today’s recreation climate. The younger generation is less interested in traditional programming and more about experiences through events and festivals. I was promoted to the Recreation, Facility, and Marketing Supervisor about three years ago and now hold the Recreation Manager position.

What were some of your first jobs, and what did you learn from them?

I worked one summer at the Moses Lake Family Aquatic Center and managed the janitorial and maintenance staff which was an eye-opening experience. We did four hours of prep work every day before the facility opened, and at that time I had no idea how much work went into maintaining a facility of that size. I also worked at several country clubs over the years which taught me the importance of customer service and how to hustle to make tips.

How have you participated in WRPA?

I utilize WRPA resources when we need industry advice and assistance. I also worked on one conference when I was attending college. 

Why are you passionate about the parks and recreation field?

Parks and recreation professionals are often undervalued because people unfamiliar with our industry think we just run around and have fun all day. The truth is our job is fun, but recreation is also a business and I love navigating business challenges. I also love that what we do creates a stronger sense of community and increases the quality of life through programs, leagues, camps, facilities, and events. 

What has been your biggest professional challenge? 

I was turned down for two supervisor positions with the City and it was very challenging for me to work through those situations. At the time, I knew I had areas of growth, but felt like I was fully capable of handling supervisor responsibilities. Those situations taught me that just because a few people see something one way, it doesn’t mean you should stop believing in your abilities and someone will come along that does recognize your talents. 

What’s the best advice you can give to someone starting out in the field of parks and recreation?

Diversify and always improve your professional toolbox. Our industry is constantly evolving and acquiring new skills is extremely important. Skills like sales (sponsorships), marketing, and event management were not necessary 20 years ago, but in today’s recreation climate they will serve you well. Those skills helped me secure my first City of Kennewick position and without them, I would not be working for Kennewick Parks and Recreation today.