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Posted on: September 29, 2020

Chesterfield Names New Director of Parks and Recreation


Parks and Recreation

Sept. 29, 2020

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA — After a nationwide recruitment, Chesterfield County today announced Robert Smet as its new director of Parks and Recreation. Smet, who currently serves as the county’s assistant director of Parks and Recreation, will begin his new role effective Oct. 1. He will replace Dr. James Worsley, who was appointed deputy county administrator for Human Services by the Board of Supervisors in August. 


With more than 25 years of management experience across various industries, Smet joined the Department of Parks and Recreation in 2012. As manager of the Rockwood Nature Center, he increased the center’s revenues by nearly 300% while greatly expanding the range of programs offered to Chesterfield County’s residents. Promoted to chief of finance in 2016, Smet was responsible for the department’s financial management, including report preparation, budgeting, purchasing, accounting, fixed assets and multi-year planning. In 2018, Smet became assistant director and played an instrumental role in the department’s attainment of national accreditation, the opening of the Stonebridge Recreation Center and the operational overhaul of River City Sportsplex.


Before joining Chesterfield County Government, Smet accumulated significant management and leadership experience in the private sector, holding positions with Dominion Energy, aluminum producer Alcoa, Inc., heavy marine construction contractor Skipjack Marine Development and Evergreen Enterprises, Inc.


As the director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, he will serve as a key advisor to the county administrator and the Board of Supervisors while leading the county’s sports tourism efforts and overseeing maintenance of more than 180 parks, playground, and athletic facilities. 


“I’m confident Bob will continue the exemplary work of Dr. James Worsley, and I believe the Department of Parks and Recreation will continue to grow under his leadership,” said Scott Zaremba, deputy county administrator for Community Operations. “Bob brings a great depth of experience to this position that will be an asset to the department and the county as a whole.”


Smet is also a published author, with over thirteen articles appearing in nationally circulated publications in the last seven years.  His work in recreation and conservation has received awards from the National Association of Counties, Virginia Association of Counties, National Association of County Parks and Recreation Officials and the National Parks Conservation Association. 


A certified Parks and Recreation professional, Smet holds a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin. He earned a graduate certificate in public management from Virginia Commonwealth University’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, where he is currently finishing working to attain his MPA.

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