Sue Black began as the Executive Director of the Arizona’s State Parks department on February 11, 2015. Black first worked for Arizona State Parks as the Operations Chief in the late 1990’s. Ms. Black will focus on the agency’s mission which she helped craft while serving in Arizona. “Arizona State Parks manages and conserves Arizona’s natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our parks and through our partners.” Specifically that includes overseeing the 32 State Parks, the State’s Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, managing two State Recreational Trails Programs, and the State Historic Preservation Office.
Black’s career spans 33 years in the field of parks and recreation. She left Arizona to become the Director of Wisconsin State Parks for six years where she led efforts to open three new State Parks and build the Hank Aaron State Trail. She also was responsible for the largest trail acquisition in Wisconsin State history, The Ice Age National Scenic Trail. As the Director, Black also consulted with international delegations from some of China’s park systems who were researching how to improve their national parks. Black was also the Director of the Milwaukee County Parks Department for eight years recreational system encompasses 154 parks and 15,000 acres of land.
Black grew up in Wisconsin and received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin Madison in Recreation Resources Management and Natural Resources. She received her Masters of Arts in Education from the University of Phoenix in Arizona. Governor Douglas A. Ducey described her as a “passionate public servant” in announcing her appointment, and “well-regarded as a visionary in her field for her entrepreneurial, creative and collaborative spirit.” Ms. Black’s other recreational park system experiences include serving as the Parks Director for the City of Portage and Green Lake and the Dane County Parks Operations Chief.
Ms. Black spent four years for the Arizona’s State Parks department and won an “Award of Excellence” from the agency while leading the preservation of the world-renowned Kartchner Caverns State Park. Black is also recognized nationally for her efforts to develop financial and in-kind partnerships for the agencies that she has led.Ms. Black has won many awards in the field of parks and recreation from state and national organizations. Some of the prestigious awards included the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in the Field of Park and Recreation Management for Milwaukee State Parks from the American Academy for Parks and Recreation Administration and Park Professional of the Year from the Wisconsin Parks and Recreation Association. Ms. Black is a member of the following professional organizations: The National Recreation and Park Association (2014-15 Judge - Board of the National Gold Medal Awards), the Wisconsin & Arizona Parks and Recreation Associations, National Association of State Park Directors and is an Executive Board member of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.