Stewardship Excellence Award: Joe Turner
Joe Turner was selected as the recipient of TCLF's 2016 Stewardship Excellence Award for his outstanding leadership as the director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD). Under his direction, the HPARD became the largest park system in the country to be accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies. Turner developed public-private partnerships at Buffalo Bayou Park, Hermann Park, and Memorial Park, and fostered diverse partnership agreements, inlcuding work with the Harris County Flood Control District at Keith-Weiss Park. He also led the HPARD through the recovery from Hurricane Ike and from the devastating drought of 2011. Additionally, Turner acquired the nearly 5,000-acre Lake Houston Wilderness Park from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and oversaw the design and implementation of its master plan. He has guided the renovations of dozens of neighborhood parks, and led the renovation and reimagining of Houston's oldest park, Emancipation Park. Perhaps most importantly, Turner has always led by example, practicing what he believed was right.
Turner earned a Bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Houston, and he holds an Executive Master of Business Administration degree from the Texas Woman's University. He was appointed by Mayor Bill White and approved by City Council to serve as the director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department in July 2004. Prior to serving the City of Houston, he was a parks administrator for Harris County Precinct 4.