Name: Mike Nielsen
Title: Vice President of Finance & Operations
What is your role?
My primary role is the oversight of our accounting and finance function as well as risk management and information technology. My role on the operations side has increased over the last couple of years and I now oversee our operations & maintenance, horticulture & natural areas, education, and facility & events departments.
How does your team keep The Parklands safe?
The safety of both our employees and park visitors is paramount. We are constantly analyzing certain places and amenities, gathering feedback from our team and visitors, and determining ways in which we can make The Parklands as safe as possible.
What are you most proud of in your work?
One thing that gets overlooked with start-up companies is that they are organic job creators in the local community. Our employment has grown tremendously over the last couple of years and I am so proud of the strides that we’ve made to make The Parklands a wonderful place to work and grow in one’s career.
What inspires you to come to work every day?
I love the challenges and variety that come with my job. While I’m an accountant by trade, I’ve been given a tremendous opportunity to learn so many different things, from natural areas management practices to donor cultivation to information technology. There is much more that goes into running a park and non-profit organization than I ever expected!
Which trail would you recommend to visitors and why?
I really enjoy the Karst Climb Trail in Broad Run Park. It has varied topography that can turn a brisk hike into a phenomenal workout.
Which section or “thing to do” at The Parklands is your favorite and why?
I grew up fishing Hickman Creek in Lexington, so I love putting on a pair of old shoes and walking upstream in Floyds Fork with a pole in hand. To me, there was always something exciting about fishing streams and creeks, you never know what’s around the next bend! The Fork provides a wonderful opportunity to chase largemouth, smallmouth, rock bass, and in the cooler months, rainbow trout.
In your opinion, what makes The Parklands worthy of support?
I think it’s the standard of quality that one can expect with a trip to The Parklands. We have tremendously high standards not only in the way we operate and maintain the park itself but also in the way we steward resources. We’re diligent in the way we track funds, and we’re always striving to be as efficient and effective as possible with donor resources.
How would you say “Thank You” to someone who donates to The Parklands, or who is thinking about donating?
Thank you so much for your generosity! We couldn’t do what we do without your help, and please know that your donation will be put to use in the most effective way!
Being a donor-supported public park means we rely on donations, not tax dollars, for annual operations each year. Because of your generosity, we are able to maintain, program, and further develop this extraordinary public space without charging an entry fee. Together we work to enhance quality of life and help our community and economy grow in ways that are healthy, sustainable, and enjoyable for people of all ages. Help us reach our goal of sustaining The Parklands by becoming a Member today. Members make it happen!
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