Recreation and Parks Staff
1111 E. Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43205
Paul Rakosky, Interim Director
Paul Rakosky joined the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department on February 1, 2016 and assumed the role of Deputy Director. His responsibilities include working with the planning and design, fiscal and human resources sections along with overseeing current projects that include the development of the cost recovery policy, five year capital planning process and a training and safety program. In addition, Paul will serve as acting director in the absence of current Director Tony Collins.
Since 2002, Paul has worked for the City of Columbus in the Department of Finance and Management. He brings his knowledge and expertise in business operations, management, budgeting, finance and capital planning which will greatly aid the department in future growth and sustainability.
Eric Brandon, Assistant Director
Eric has been with the Columbus Recreation and Parks
Department team for over 10 years. His more than 24 years of public service
includes the State Auditor’s Office, Equal Business Opportunity Commission
Office (EBOCO), Public Safety and Mayor’s Office. Currently, Eric leads the Youth & Family
Development Division which includes Applications for Purpose, Pride &
Success (APPS), Food & Nutrition, Capital Kids Enrichment Program, and the Rapid
Resource and Outreach Offices.
Eric has a wealth of experience in city government and
community. He is a Columbus native and
graduate of Columbus West H.S. Eric played basketball for Denison University,
then completed his undergraduate degree at Wilberforce University. Eric is an
active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., a service organization. Eric serves on the Early College Academy and
IMPACT Community Action Agency Boards.
Eric is a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio since
2001. He is a donor and member of the National Bone Marrow Association. His greatest rewards come from being a
husband, father and mentor. Eric firmly
believes to whom much is given, much is required. He is married to Nichole “Nikki” Brandon and
they have one son, Eric Jr.
Troy Euton, Assistant Director
Since 2016, Troy has served as an engaged leader of the
Parks, Facilities and Forestry sections at Columbus Recreation and Parks. Most of Troy’s career has focused on park
construction and operations where his focus has been on high quality standards
to provide for long term sustainability.
Previously he served the City of Gahanna for 10 years as the Director,
and Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department. Earlier in his career Troy served the
Anderson Park District for 13 years as Operations Director and Planning
Director. Prior to his public service,
Troy worked for Winegardner and Hammons, Inc., a national hotel management
company, for six years as a Maintenance Engineer.
Troy’s passion for parks goes beyond his day job. He is a member of the Ohio Parks and
Recreation Association and the National Recreation and Parks Association, where
he is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional. Troy Previously served on
the Board of Regents for the Great Lakes Park Training Institute. Troy has a Bachelor of Science Degree in
Industrial and Systems Engineering from Ohio University.
Executing oversight of all the parks and facilities within
the CRPD system, Troy interfaces with all sections of the department. Troy is passionate about his role in serving
the community and takes great pride in providing quality spaces for residents to
improve their mental and physical wellbeing. The impact of Recreation and Parks
on communities feeds Troy’s passion and motivation for his service.
Bernita A. Reese, Assistant Director
Bernita Reese joined the City of Columbus
Recreation and Parks Department in January 2018. Bernita joined us from the
DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs Department where she
served as the Divisional Manager for 12 years.
a background of specialized training and experience that surpasses 25
years in the parks and recreation profession. She is a practical, problem‑solving,
professional administrator, educator and self‑motivated organizer who welcomes
evaluation based on performance. She is active in a diverse range of
professional activities at national, state and local levels. She is currently a
member of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the Ohio
Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA). She is the current president of the
Bridge at Austin and, previously served on numerous boards to include Sports
Bernita has experience working with public, private and
military recreation. She has worked
nationally and internationally in recreation, athletics and therapeutics. Her
life has not only been steered to motivate people but to implement programs
that have a lasting impact in the community.
Sophia Fifner, Community Relations Chief
Sophia is a nonprofit executive
with experience working in both the private and public sectors as a development
and communications professional. Some of her most noteworthy experiences
include working as a Senate staffer on Capitol Hill and working as a corporate
fundraiser for Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
As the Community Relations Chief
for Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, she oversees media relations,
external affairs, and corporate philanthropy. Sophia has a B.A. in
Organizational Communication from Miami University, a M.S. in Marketing and
Communications from Franklin University and is a Certified Fund Raising