Dave’s passion for Parks began at an early age, camping in numerous Michigan State Parks with his family and hiking in the first National Park (Yellowstone) at age 14. Over the last 50 years he has explored 55 of our 60 National Parks, visiting many Parks numerous times. Dave’s professional interest in parks began after his college days (BA-geography and Masters in Urban and Regional Planning), Wayne State University (Detroit) writing his graduate essay on “Open Space- Tools for Its Acquisition and Preservation”. After service in the Air Force, he joined the Oakland County MI Planning Commission where he conducted water resource studies and represented the County at the sessions of the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Parks Authority. With the passage of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act in 1965, the Department of the Interior sought planners to join the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation (BOR) to assist states in developing their State Outdoor Recreation Plans ( required under the law to qualify for funding various projects).Dave joined BOR where he evaluated sites and plans and then was assigned to the legislative affairs division in DC This assignment lead to an opportunity to work on Parks legislation with the Senate Interior and Insular Committee headed by Chairman Henry (Scoop) Jackson. During this time legislation creating the Redwoods, North Cascades, Wild Rivers, and Scenic Trails were passed and signed into law by President Johnson on October 2, 1968.Upon returning to the Interior Department he joined the personal staff of the newly appointed SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, Walter J. Hickel. During the two years with Hickel, and at Hickels direction Parker worked with the BOR and the NPS developing the concept of the Parks to the People program (Gateway East and Gateway West).He was also involved with the discussions that led to the creation of NEPA.
Once Hickel left Interior Parker assisted the new incoming Secretary Rogers C.B. Morton with his transition. Shortly, there- after Dave joined the White House Staff as the President’s scheduling assistant. He remained in this position thru the rest of President’ Nixon’s tenure and stayed on with President Ford until he later joined the Department of Commerce as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Tourism,(the agency that was responsible for promoting travel to the USA from abroad). When Parker left government service in the late 70’s ,he became involved in the association community where he served as the VP Planning of the Edison Electric Institute ,in 1989 he became the President of the Aluminum Association and in 1997 joined the American Gas Association as CEO a position he held until he retired in 2011. During this entire time he served on the Board of the American Society of Association of Executives (ASAE) Chairman in 1997-1998. Since 2011, he has served as an Advisor on the Clemson University Institute for Parks, Vice President of Finance for the National Capital Area Council, Boy Scouts of America (Parker is an Eagle) and is an advisor to the American Red Cross.