Erika Buri’s career vision of attaining the director position at Olander Park System is now a reality.
Olander's three-member board of commissioners appointed her to the position today following an executive session.
“I’ve been with the park system for 14 years, and once my husband [Todd Crail] accepted a full-time position at the University of Toledo [in 2012] I thought about the next steps for my career,” she said about setting her sights on the director position.
Ms. Buri, 39, has been managing the Sylvania park system’s five parks since August. Commissioners appointed her interim director shortly after ex-director Gary Madrzykowski resigned after park officials determined he had misappropriated $2,500 in park funds.
In the new position Ms. Buri will receive $64,000 annually. Ms. Buri joined the park system in 2000 as a naturalist. Although she graduated from Marquette University in 1997 with a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology, she has been working in park and outdoor organizations since 1997.
For two years she held the outdoor educator position at the YMCA Camp Campbell Gard in Hamilton, Ohio. She also was a naturalist and historical interpreter for the Metroparks of the Toledo Area.
Ms. Buri headed several projects at Olander as conservation manager, including the Catherine Frye PlayScape, an area where children are encouraged to freely explore the outdoors. She also oversaw execution of many programs and events the park holds throughout the year.
“She has been running the park system since August and many community leaders and citizens have called us and complimented her,” Commissioner John Zeitler said about the board’s decision to appoint her. The board had about 30 people, some out of state, apply for the position.
Mr. Zeitler said the park is heading in a new direction and Ms. Buri has the management skills and experience to lead it in that direction. The park has expanded, such as in the past year when it made two large purchases of property expanding Sylvan Prairie Park to 220 acres. He said the director will be more involved in the day-to-day project management at the parks.
As director Ms. Buri will continue grant writing, and she will oversee the park system budget plus overall operations of the five parks: Olander, Sylvan Prairie, Fossil, Whetstone Parks, and Southview Oak Savanna which it manages on behalf of Sylvania Schools.