Recreation Specialist is City's Employee of the Year

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

Recreation Specialist is City's Employee of the Year

Posted: 10/17/2018
Reinvention, innovation and creativity have earned a Parks and Recreation staff member this year’s City of Knoxville Employee of the Year Award. 

Daniel Alexander, Recreation Specialist for the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, is the second recipient of the award, which was established in 2017. Mayor Madeline Rogero presented the award today at the City’s annual Employee Appreciation and Benefits Lunch at Caswell Park. 

Daniel Alexander named Employee of the Year
From left: Parks and Recreation Director Sheryl Ely, Recreation Specialist Daniel Alexander, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero

“Daniel’s commitment to innovation and collaboration benefits all Knoxville residents,” Mayor Rogero said. “He’s started new recreation programs and found novel ways to expand access and create opportunity.”

Alexander was nominated and selected by his colleagues for his creation of numerous dynamic recreation programs that include people with disabilities and involve multiple City departments and community partners. These programs have led to the reinvention of the Inskip-Norwood Recreation Center from a standard recreation center into a specialized hub for accessible sports. 

“Daniel pours his heart into events and programs,” Director of Parks and Recreation Sheryl Ely wrote in his nomination application. “For example, during the softball league at Caswell Park, he helps get everything set up; he umpires and coordinates all aspects of the game, from showing where the batter should stand to making sure everyone has gloves.”

In addition to creating the adaptive softball league, Alexander has helped implement and grow participation in power soccer, human foosball, tennis, bocce and pickleball.

The Employee of the Year program was created for non-uniformed City employees by the City Ambassadors, an internal group with representatives from multiple departments focused on customer service and employee engagement. (The Police and Fire departments have their own employee recognition programs.) Each non-uniformed department can nominate one employee, and then a review panel of City Ambassadors selects one of those as the overall Employee of the Year. 

Besides Alexander, the other employees nominated by their departments were:

• Tracey Berry, Plans Review and Inspections; 
• Brian Blackmon, Sustainability / Redevelopment / Communications; 
• Maranda Bowness, Fleet; 
• Janna Cecil, Community Development; 
• Richard Cureton, Information Systems; 
• Caitlin Darden, Municipal Court; 
• Denise Johnston, 311 Center for Service Innovation; 
• Penny Owens, Finance; 
• Larry Spencer, Public Service; 
• Katie Tanner, Employee Benefits/Risk Management; and 
• Scott Williams, Engineering. 

Employee of the Year Nominees
From left: (back row) Maranda Bowness, Fleet; Daniel Alexander, Parks and Recreation; Caitlin Darden, Municipal Court; Denise Johnston, 311 Center for Service Innovation; Richard Cureton, Information Systems; Larry Spencer, Public Service; (front row) Scott Williams, Engineering; Katie Tanner, Employee Benefits/Risk Management; Madeline Rogero, City of Knoxville Mayor; Janna Cecil, Community Development; Penny Owens, Finance. Not shown: Tracey Berry, Plans Review and Inspections; and Brian Blackmon, Sustainability / Redevelopment / Communications.