UNCG Alum named GSO Parks & Rec Director 

Posted on February 21, 2023

Phil Fleischmann at Bicentennial Gardens.

“Greensboro feels like home,” says alumnus Phil Fleischmann ’05 MS, who recently returned to Greensboro in his new role as the City of Greensboro Parks and Recreation Director. “I’ve spent most of my adult life here, and I value the diversity of our city and the variety of available opportunities.”

Since December 2022, Fleischmann has been taking time to get to know his team and reconnect with community partners and stakeholders. “I want to talk with folks and really listen to them,” he says. “I am pushing for excellence as the department and our partners offer engaging activities and programs and desirable facilities and amenities. We also strive to provide equitable access and investment throughout the community.”

Paying It Forward  

Initially interested in a teaching career, Fleischmann was attracted to UNCG’s master’s degree in education. But his pool manager job at Bur-Mil Park led him down a different path. UNCG alumni Christian Wilson ’98 BS and Tracy Lowery Pegram ’94 BS, ’02 MS, his bosses who also served as mentors, encouraged him to look into a master’s in Parks and Recreation Management degree. 

“I’m so glad I listened to their advice,” says Fleischmann. “I was a competitive swimmer, and lifeguarding was my first job. It wasn’t until I started looking into the parks and recreation management field that I realized the influence it had on me. I learned both sports-related and life skills through those programs. Through my work today, I push to improve individuals’ quality of life, advance social equity, impact economic development, enhance health and wellness, and promote environmental stewardship.”

Fleischmann’s grandmother is another source of inspiration. She retired from Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources at age 88, her aquatics career spanning 45 years. “She had an impact on countless individuals; her work and dedication inspire me to make a positive difference through providing parks and recreation services,” he adds. 

Striving to Enhance, Expand, Connect 

Since 2001, Fleischmann has served in various City of Greensboro Parks and Recreation roles. In between, he worked with the City of Raleigh, Mecklenburg County, and, most recently, the Town of Chapel Hill. 

“It’s a great honor to be back here leading this nationally recognized and award-winning department. The team of staff and community partners that make it run are outstanding,” says Fleischmann.

As director, he will utilize Greensboro Parks and Recreation’s comprehensive plan, Plan2Play. “I am excited to guide our work toward the department’s vision – enhance existing assets; expand offerings by strengthening partnerships and creating transformational programs; and connect communities with a vibrant, healthy, and equitable park system,” Fleischmann says. 

The department is also working to further develop the Greensboro Parks Foundation and collaborating to advance other initiatives, including facility improvements and the development of the Windsor-Chavis-Nocho community services complex and the Battleground Park District at Country Park.

With local and regional parks, lakes, golf courses, athletic complexes, swimming pools, recreation and active adult centers, and more than 100 miles of trails, Greensboro offers residents opportunities to be involved in their community and enjoy the outdoors. 

“Parks and rec is woven into Greensboro’s fabric,” Fleischmann says. “We’re very fortunate to have support from our city leadership, partners, and community, including voters who approved over $100 million in parks bonds since 2016. We are leaders in looking at parks and rec as a human-centered service to uplift and transform the community in positive ways.”

Bridging Past and Future 

Fleischmann credits UNCG for providing the practical and technical skills necessary to be successful in the field: “I’m grateful to UNCG. The coursework is well thought out, and the faculty and other graduate students were truly top notch. We built great relationships in addition to our skills.” 

Relationships have proven incredibly valuable to Fleischmann’s career, and he advises current parks and recreation management students to take advantage of every opportunity. “Don’t underestimate the power of networking,” he says. “Get to know your instructors, faculty, peers, and guest speakers. All become part of your network.”

He also encourages students to get involved with their community: “Go out and enjoy your parks system. Seek out a volunteer opportunity or part-time job. Find out what you’re passionate about and engage with that passion. If you connect with your ‘why,’ it won’t feel like work.”

Fleischmann has remained connected to UNCG by serving as a member of the School of Health and Human Sciences’ Alumni Leadership Council and as an adjunct instructor for the Community and Therapeutic Recreation program. 

“UNCG provided me with a wonderful experience,” he says. “This is a way for me to give back and engage with future leaders.”

Phil taking a selfie with friends at PR fun month event.

Improve your community with a Parks and Recreation Management degree:

Story by Amanda Saber, AMBCopy, LLC
Photography by City of Greensboro Parks and Recreation


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