Arizona State Parks Board

Executive Director

Sue Black

Sue BlackSue Black is the first Arizona State Parks Board Executive Director to be sworn in as an appointed public officer for the State of Arizona.

This official ceremony was held on February 20, 2015 at the Secretary of State headquarters.

Sue is Arizona’s eighth Arizona State Parks Board Executive Director since the State Parks Board was created in 1957 by Governor Earnest McFarland.

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.


Board Chair

Kay Daggett, Sierra Vista

Kay DaggettKay Daggett of Benson was appointed by Governor Janice K. Brewer in May 2012 and is the newest member of the Arizona State Parks Board. Daggett replaced Reese Woodling of Tucson, whose term expired earlier in the year.

Daggett has over 35 years of managerial experience with an emphasis in marketing and tourism development. She has worked at the City of Sierra Vista for over 10 years and is currently the Sierra Vista Public Affairs Manager. She was previously the Communications and Marketing Analyst as well as the Director of Tourism.

Daggett is a member of the Arizona Tourism Alliance and is a former member of the Tourism Advisory Council, Governor's Motion Picture and Television Advisory Commission, Cochise County Tourism Council, Arizona Film Commission and Arizona-Mexico Commission.

In 2011, the Arizona State Legislature changed Arizona Revised Statute §41-511 to have one member of the Arizona State Parks Board who would be professionally engaged in the tourism industry replacing one of two members in the livestock industry.

Term Expires 04/28/2018

Board Vice-Chair

Shawn Orme

Shawn Orme

Ms. Orme is currently the Business Manager for Third Generation (1988 - Present).

Earlier, Ms. Orme worked as: Director of College Guidance for the Orme School (2004-2011), was the Co-Founder, Educator & President, Board of Directors of the Ash Creek School (1990-2003) and was a Resource Specialist for Amphitheater Public Schools (1977-1981).

Ms. Orme holds a BSE & BA in Elementary Education/Special Education from ASU (1976).

She also serves as the Governing Board Chair of the Verde Valley Medical Center (2014-Present) and as the Governing Board Secretary of Northern Arizona Healthcare. She had previously served on the Advisory Board of the Yavapai County Community Foundation (2003-2006).

Term Expires 01/18/2021

Board Member

R.J. Cardin

R.J. Cardin

Mr. Cardin’s career in parks and recreation spans 30 years. He has been Director of the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department since 2006, a role in which he is responsible for all facets of parks operations and development for the Nation’s largest regional park system.

Earlier, Mr. Cardin worked as: Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Glendale (2001-’06); Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Sioux City, Iowa (1998-2001); Chief of Park Operations (1998), Chief of Research and Marketing (1994-’98) and Recreation Planner (1991-’94) for Arizona State Parks; Research Assistant for the Department of Recreation Management and Tourism at Arizona State University (1989-’91); General Manager of the Ballard Golf and Country Club in Huxley, Iowa (1988-’89); and Manager of Operations at Sheldon Country Club in Sheldon, Iowa (1986-’88).

Mr. Cardin holds a Master of Science in Recreation Management and Tourism from ASU (1993), as well as a Bachelor’s of Science in both Recreation Management and Business Administration from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa (1987).

Term Expires 01/01/2017

Board Member

Bernard Sanden, Phoenix

Bernard SandenBernard (Bernie) Sanden has spent over 30 years improving processes and coaching others to better meet customer needs through collaborative problem-solving.  A certified Six Sigma Black Belt, Bernie’s 20 year career as a process engineer and engineering manager at the Motorola Semiconductor Sector prepared him to focus his strengths toward helping others develop their problem-solving capabilities.  During the next seven years as a Corporate Lean Six Sigma Black Belt for Rogers Corporation, Bernie trained, coached, and lead work teams to tackle the company’s largest technical and value-stream manufacturing problems.  Bernie became impassioned to apply improvement methodologies and help imbed cultural transformation into the public sector. 

He established the Continuous Quality Improvement group within the Arizona Department of Health Services, mentoring many Agency employees to apply the concepts of Lean into their areas, improving both internal efficiencies and improved mission outcomes to the AZ public.  Most recently, Bernie assisted the Government Transformation Office to facilitate the improvement of over 40 processes within 25 cabinet agencies resulting in an average 65% reduction in permit/license lead times.  Bernie firmly believes respect for people to be a fundamental pillar in any cultural transformation.  Bernie is currently a Lean Leader within the Government Transformation Office, helping to implement the Arizona Management System based upon Lean principles throughout the State enterprise.

Bernie has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Arizona State University and Master of Business Administration from Keller School of Management.
Bernie is an avid hiker, camper, backpacker and landscape photographer living in the Phoenix AZ metropolitan area since 1981.  He has a son and daughter both born and raised in Arizona.

Term Expires 07/2020

Board Member

Orme Lewis, Jr.

Orme LewisMr. Lewis is currently a semi-retired real estate advisor/broker and is the sole proprietor of Select Investements. LLC.

Earlier, Mr. Lewis worked as: U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee and Receiver for U.S. Bank, and was the Senior Advisor at World Resources Company. He was previously the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Land Management for the U.S. Department of Interior and Chaired the Advisory Committee on Mining and Mineral Resources for the Emergency Minerals Administration. In 1966-68, he served as the Majority Leader and Chair of the Finance Committee for the Arizona State Senate.

Mr. Lewis holds a BS in Economics from the Univeristy of Arizona (1958).

He also served as the past Chair on the Boards for the Arizona Historical Foundation and Phoenix Childrens Hospital.

Term Expires 01/20/2020

Board Member

Lisa A. Atkins, State Land Commissioner, Phoenix

Lisa AtkinsLisa Atkins was appointed by Governor Douglas A. Ducey to serve as Commissioner of the Arizona State Land Department on June 15, 2015. Lisa is the 21st Commissioner in the 100-year history of the State Land Department, and is responsible for managing and administering 9.2 million acres of State Land that is held in a Trust for 13 beneficiaries, the largest of which is Arizona’s K-12 education.

As an Arizona native, Ms. Atkins combines a well-rounded understanding of the State with more than 40 years of experience in the federal and state legislative and policy arenas. Ms. Atkins served for more than 23 years as Chief of Staff to Congressman Bob Stump (R-AZ) in both Washington, D.C. and Arizona, 18 months as the Executive Director of the County Supervisors Association of Arizona (CSA), representing more than 50 elected Arizona County Supervisors on policy and budget matters, and 11 years as the Vice President for Public Policy for Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL), a group of the Region’s top business and industry leaders focused on the State’s economic growth and vitality.

Lisa Atkins is well respected in the Arizona community for her involvement in a variety of organizations. Among her current community activities, Ms. Atkins represents Maricopa County as an elected member of the Board of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD), which is responsible for operating, maintaining and managing the Central Arizona Project. She also serves as an Advisory Member of the statewide Governor’s Military Affairs Commission, which is the permanent body to monitor and make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature on executive, legislative and federal actions necessary to sustain and grow Arizona’s network of military installations, training and testing ranges and associated airspace.

She and her husband John reside in Phoenix; they have two grown children and three very handsome grandsons. Lisa is a graduate of the University of Arizona.

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Mission Statement

"Managing and conserving Arizona's natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our Parks and through our Partners."