Michael Klitzing has received the National Distinguished Professional Award by the National Recreation and Park Association. He is chief operating officer for Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation. The award is presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the parks and recreation field through leadership, research, advocacy, community outreach and program development.

Under Klitzing’s leadership, CCPR obtained its national accreditation in 2014, and the NRPA Barb King Environmental Stewardship Award and NRPA Excellence in Inclusion Award in 2015 and 2016 respectively. During his tenure, CCPR has also won numerous state and regional awards for its innovative facilities and programs, including its commitment to serving people with disabilities.

Klitzing, who has served Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation since 2004, directed the opening of its $55 million community center and waterpark, initiated a contract to manage the local school district’s before and after school program serving over 2,400 students daily and guided the growth of the department from 40 to nearly 600 employees.

Klitzing is an active member of NRPA, serving as Chair of the Program Committee for the 2018 Conference. He is a commissioner on the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation agencies. Klitzing is a former member of the Brownsburg Parks Board (2009–2016), serving five years as president, and is a current member of the Lake Lemon Conservancy District Board. He was the recipient of the New Professional Award from the American Park and Recreation Society/National Recreation and Park Association. At last year’s NRPA Conference in New Orleans, Klitzing was inducted into the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.

Klitzing’s education includes a bachelor’s in economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and a master’s in Administration of Parks and Recreation Systems from Southern Illinois University–Carbondale where he was recognized as the 2015 Alumnus of the Year.

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