City Council approved the appointment of Stephen Wright as the new director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department on July 5.
Wright brings decades of experience in providing a broad portfolio of community-based health and fitness programs to a wide range of neighborhoods, most recently at the YMCA of Greater Houston.
“All Houstonians deserve great parks with excellent programming,” Mayor Turner said. “Stephen has spent years in the nonprofit sector working to bring health and fitness programs to communities across the region. We have spoken about my vision to increase access to parks and recreational facilities and programs for all Houston neighborhoods, and I am confident of Stephen’s ability to deliver on that vision.”
Prior to joining the city, he served as the Vice President of Business Development and Healthy Living for 31 branches of the YMCA in the Greater Houston area. Mr. Wright has worked in both the private and public sector of the health and fitness field for over 30 years.
As the director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, Wright is responsible for overseeing the stewardship of the City’s parkland, urban forests and greenspace, park facilities and buildings; recreational programming and activities; parks budget management and facilities management practices. He administers a staff of approximately 700 full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees. He believes that neighborhood parks, recreation facilities and activities are the great equalizer for all regardless of socio-economic status and that parks and greenspaces should be preserved for park visitors of today and for those of tomorrow.
In the private sector, Wright worked in the fitness industry for both Golds’ Gym and World Gym and served as the CEO of the Maverick Sport and Athletic Clubs. In his leadership roles in all three businesses, he delivered both an increase in growth and membership for the clubs, as well as an increase in overall revenue. In the non-profit area, he has worked with the YMCA of Greater Houston to improve services for the public, reduce operating expenses, develop strategic plans, increase volunteer and membership numbers and implement programs to reach out to underserved populations.