News & Events
2014 Outstanding Alumni Award
Join us in congratulating Brent Smither as our 2014 Outstanding Alum. Brent is a 2001 graduate of the department. Whether as a river rafting guide, a church group mentor, a challenge course facilitator, or afterschool program coordinator, Brent is a passionate advocate for outdoor recreation and experiential education. For more than ten years, Brent has served as a project specialist for the Fresno County Office of Education, in this capacity, Brent is able to provide the students of Fresno County with outdoor, environmental, and experiential learning opportunities which include an adventure race, the Fresno County Leadership Academy, and access to afterschool programs to name of few of the projects he manages. We are also fortunate that he impacts the lives of the students in our department. Brent serves as a member of our advisory board, is an internship supervisor, and has partnered with our faculty to create evaluation projects for students. For his contributions to both the community and our department, we pleased to recognize Brent Smither as the 2014 Outstanding Alum and our 2014 Community Hero.
2013 Outstanding Alumni Award
This year the Department of Recreation Administration is proud to recognize Rico Guerrero as our Outstanding Alumni. Rico is a 1998 graduate of the program. After wading through the Florida swamps for his internship, Rico returned to the Valley and spent 16 years with the Boys and Girls Club of Fresno County. There he held a number of roles which allowed him to oversee the expansion of clubs throughout the county and collaborate with cities and other community-benefit organizations to maximize youth services. Moving from service provider to fund developer, Rico now serves as Donor Relations Coordinator for the Fresno Regional Foundation where he works with individuals throughout the Valley to build a healthy, vibrant and prosperous region. He also sits on a number of boards in the area including the Sequoia Natural History Association and the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Health and Human Services. We are fortunate to have Rico’s time and expertise in our classroom as well as he serves as a lecturer in our department and is a great resource for both our faculty and students. In addition to being named Outstanding Alumni. Rico was also this year’s recipient of our Community Heroes recognition and our Faculty Recognition award.
2012 Outstanding Alumni Award
Steven Aoki is a passionate advocate for the recreation administration industry and the young professionals eager to work within sports and entertainment facility management. He is the representative example of a professional with limitless enthusiasm and a commitment to excellence. Steve graduated from Fresno State in 1998. He started working at Selland Arena as an Usher / Ticket Taker / Parking Attendant June 1998 to understand what front-of-house employees go through during events. He began an internship at Selland Arena Fall '98 and was hired on part-time as an Event Specialist by the city the day after his internship ended.
On January 1, 2000, Steve was hired on with the City of Fresno as Events Specialist / Parking Manager. He joined SMG in 2003 with the opening of the Save Mart Center as a Parking Manager. In June 2004 he switched to Event Coordinator. His first event coordinated with the Crusty Demons (Indoor FMX over Cement). Currently, Steve is the Event Manager for SMG at the Save Mart Center. This position has allowed him to work with internationally known celebrities, their tour managers and event promoters.
Adoring fans pay money to attend events; however, it is Steve's unbridled dedication that allows the facility to come to life. This dedication has not gone unnoticed within the industry – in September of 2006, a parking snafu prior to a Raiders game at the Oakland Coliseum caused a situation in dire need of remedy. Steve was summoned for a game but ended up coordinating their parking for the entire season, while still coordinating events at SMC.
Steve is active within our Department, serving as an internship advisor, and as a guest speaker / venue host for a variety of classes. Most appreciated is his contribution to our students' who have completed their hands-on internship at the SaveMart Center. This service is invaluable for our students and the department is indebted to Steve for his efforts.
2011 OUTSTANDING ALUMNI AWARD
Jerry and Sarah Reid
Sarah Callen Reid was one of those students who came into the program knowing precisely what she wanted to do. Upon entering the major, she already had several years of experience in municipal recreation, making her a frequent contributor to class discussions as she was able to provide valuable insight and engage her applied learning throughout her tenure in the program.
Sarah is a passionate advocate for recreation. As Community Services Superintendent for the City of Reedley, she is responsible for enhancing the quality of life for all Reedley residents. But her advocacy for recreation extends far beyond Reedley. Sarah made significant contributions to the recreation profession, serving in multiple roles on the California Park and Recreation Society District 7 Board of Directors, including serving as President.
Sarah has been an advocate for our Department as well. She regularly supervises interns and works with students completing evaluation projects. Most appreciated is her contribution to our students’ preparation for internship. Several years ago, Sarah and one of her fellow program alums noticed a problem with the RA graduates they were interviewing. They knew the students had the skills, but the students were not effectively presenting themselves to the interviewers. Sarah came to the department and offered to help out. Since then, each semester Sarah has organized interview panels for our students. She recruits community professionals to serve, organizes the day, meets with students in advance to prepare them, and then sits through interviews of all the students. This service is invaluable for our students and the department is indebted to Sarah for her efforts.
Jerry Reid is the representative example of unbridled energy and enthusiasm. Jerry graduated from Fresno State in May of 1998. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Fresno State as well. Jerry worked for a several valley cities in the recreation field serving as Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Chowchilla before leaving for Wonder Valley Ranch Resort in 2007. Currently, Jerry is the Camp Director at River Way Ranch Camp, a children’s summer and family camp. This position has allowed him to travel internationally for staff recruitment as well as foster staff growth and collaborate with his team to develop unique camp and outdoor education programs.
Similar to Sarah, Jerry is active within our Department, serving as an internship advisor and serving as a frequent guest speaker in classes and at department-wide events. Jerry has been actively professionally as well with his involvement with California Park and Recreation Society (CPRS) for the past 15 years serving, holding every board position within District 7. Additionally, he serve as the Region 3 Representative to the State Board from 2004-2006.
2010 OUTSTANDING ALUMNI AWARD
L. Scott Miller (class of 1992) - Senior Partner & Principal Action Learning Associates
Action Learning Associates (ALA), founded in 1989, is an international consulting firm dedicated to helping organizations achieve competitive advantage through educational programs that link team and leadership development to business strategy. ALA is recognized as the worldwide leader in the design and delivery of dynamic, high involvement, experiential learning environments for the purposes of executive development. Scott Miller is a Senior Partner and Principal at Action Learning Associates (ALA). Scott designs and delivers programs that skillfully blend relevant classroom content with experiential learning, psychological and behavioral assessments, and various forms of peer and observer feedback. He is particularly focused on translating program experiences into sustained, long term behavioral change through peer coaching and follow-up. In other words, the end of the program is not the finish line. With over 16 years of experience working with global executives across a variety of industries and in over 20 countries, Scott has particular skills and interests in building and coaching high performance teams, leadership development, action learning, and service learning. Additionally, he has created a number of tools and processes to help organizations harness the “wisdom of the crowds” and to drive large scale change and innovation. A sampling of current consulting engagements follows:
Dow Chemical Company - H.H. Dow Academy--Creating our Future: Sponsored by Dow’s CEO, Andrew Liveris, Dow Academy utilizes an action-learning approach to engage its high potentials selected from the top 1% of the company. As a team coach, Scott jumpstarts the project teams by introducing a blend of personality assessment tools and experiential activities. He assists the participants in establishing both their individual learning goals as well as the team’s rules of the road or operating principles. As the team coach, he facilitates weekly team sessions as the actionlearning team navigates the learning journey and works toward their deliverable to the Office of the Chief Executive (OCE).
National Australian Bank (NAB Group) - Enterprise Leadership Program: Sponsored by NAB’s CEO, Cameron Clyne, the Enterprise Leader Program (ELP) is aimed at developing the leadership mindsets and behaviors of the top executive talent from the NAB Group. Participants are gathered from multi-business units all across the globe into a small cohort group of thirty for this two week program. For the ELP, Scott designed, developed and delivers a leadership simulation that clearly highlights the power of enterprise thinking and enterprise behavior as a platform for competitive advantage through the simulation and Scott’s facilitation, NAB leaders explore such topics as leading laterally, leading without formal authority, and leading beyond one’s sphere of control in order to win as an enterprise. Starting with the CEO and the Senior Team, the ELP will be rolled out to the top 150 global leaders over the course of 2009-2010.
University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business – IBEAR (International Business Education and Research) MBA program: Comprised of one of the most diverse selection of students from around the world, the IBEAR program is a unique MBA aimed at an international (non-US) population. Over the past fourteen years, Scott’s work with IBEAR has afforded him the opportunity to explore how experiential learning methods intersect with the challenges of cross-cultural diversity. Scott works closely with Dr. Jack Lewis, the Chair of the IBEAR MBA program and Dr. Morgan McCall, the Leadership in Organizations professor, to design a curriculum aimed at building unity and cross cultural competence within this multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and international community. Scott lives with his wife Kara, 7 year old son Nathan and 5 year old daughter Sierra in Crested Butte, Colorado. Crested Butte is a small ski town located high in the Rocky Mountains - a great place to raise a family and spend time teaching his kids about his favorite outdoor pursuits.
2009 OUTSTANDING ALUMNI AWARD
Dr. Andrew Hoff
Dr. Hoff earned a bachelor's degree in Geography in 1973 and a second major in Recreation Administration in 1975. In 1978 he earned a master's in Recreation. He has been a Fresno State Bulldog for a long time. One could also say that being a bulldog runs in his family as his daughter Shelley and son David are current students and his wife Diana is also an alum!
Dr. Hoff served as City Manager and Director of Parks, Recreation, Buildings and Grounds for the city of Mendota, and he also was the Executive Director of Windstar Leisure Services. He completed his Ph.D. in Recreation and Leisure at the University of Utah in 1989 and returned to Fresno State to teach part-time and then full time.
Dr. Hoff taught the very popular RLS 80 course taking students on a variety of trips to connect them with outdoor recreation opportunities in our region. He has amazing knowledge of the National Parks and Forests and is an avid outdoorsman having backpacked Mt. Whitney. In addition to teaching, Dr. Hoff was actively involved in faculty governance on campus serving on numerous committees and task forces. He served as President of California Society of Park and Recreation Educators, and published articles in the Journal of Leisure Research and the Journal of Recreation and Parks Administration.
The breadth and depth of his experiences, coupled with his expertise in leisure and human behavior, led to the creation of the Life+Work+Links program that focused on life and work balance for faculty and staff at Fresno State. Dr. Hoff's appreciation for quality of life is evident in his devotion his family, and in his active pursuit of many hobbies including car restoration. He was instrumental in establishing the annual faculty and student volleyball game where the faculty had prevailed as champions for years. The Andy Hoff Invitational Volleyball Tournament will always have a very special place in our hearts. Dr. Hoff is one who truly lives leisure philosophy.
Dr. Hoff moved up the ranks serving as the program's coordinator for six years before becoming Associate Dean in the College of Health and Human Services. His insight, communication skills, and keen ability to build a sense of community have served the College of Health and Human Services well since 1999. In fact, he had done such a fine job that in 2005 he was requested to serve as interim Dean of the College of Engineering, which resulted in the successful revitalization of what is now known as the Lyles College of Engineering. In 2007 he returned to the College of Health and Human Services as Associate Dean.
So you might be asking yourself, "So what's next for this alum?" Dr. Hoff's experiences as an undergraduate and graduate student, faculty member, department chair, and administrator provide him with remarkable insight into the needs, interests, challenges and opportunities that exist on a university campus. As such, we are delighted since July, 2009, that Dr. Hoff has been serving as Dean of College of Health and Human Services. We are so very proud to call him one of our own!