A longtime Loudoun civic and business leader had been elected to lead the 12-member NOVA Parks board.
Cate Magennis Wyatt, of Waterford, is the new board chairwoman. The former Secretary of Commerce and Trade, business executive, and conservation leader follows Michael Nardolilli, who held the post for the past two years.
Sean Kumar, business consultant and former Army JAG Officer of Alexandria, was elected vice chairman. Brian Knapp, a former NOVA Parks chairman from the City of Fairfax, was elected Treasurer. Jeff Tarbert, former mayor of Falls Church, was elected as the at-large member of the Executive Committee.
“I am so excited to have Cate Magennis Wyatt assuming the role of chair. She is a leader of regional, state, and national significance. As the founder and president emerita of Journey Through Hallowed Ground, former chair of the Great Meadow Foundation, and a former cabinet secretary in Virginia, Cate is often called on to help with significant conservation and historical projects, most recently, the Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library. Her knowledge of our region, commitment to public lands, and leadership skills bode very well for the future of NOVA Parks,” stated NOVA Parks Executive Director Paul Gilbert.
“I am honored to serve and have rarely seen a finer, more entrepreneurial, mission-driven team of professionals than the team at NOVA Parks,” said Magennis Wyatt. “The citizens of Northern Virginia, including the 3 million who enjoy the parks, rarely if ever know that we, the taxpayers, only contribute 13% towards NOVA Parks total operating budget. The remaining 87% of the funds are earned through the enterprising, often pioneering, and always nimble efforts of the NOVA team.”
She said those talents particularly have been on display with their “herculean response to the COVID pandemic.”
“They had to shutter our waterparks and event venues, which typically generate 50% of our revenue, while simultaneously expanding visitor services to meet the demand within the parks, which remained open,” she said. “Even with these challenges, NOVA Parks is poised for growth. We all owe them a debt of gratitude for service above and beyond. If COVID has taught us anything, we’ve learned that the well-being of every citizen can be directly tied to our access to public parks.”
Founded 1959 as the Northern Virginia Parks Authority, NOVA Parks operates 34 regional parks totaling 12,240 acres and 100 miles of trails within the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun and cities of Alexandria, Fairfax Falls Church.