Javier Martinez Named to 30 Under 30 in the Field of Parks and Recreation

Feb 2
Friday, February 2nd 2024

Waukegan, Illinois (February 2, 2024) – Javier Martinez, Manager of Fitness & Aquatics at the Waukegan Park District, was selected as one of the 2024 30 Under 30 honorees by the National Recreation and Park Association’s Young Professional Network and Parks & Recreation magazine. The recognition program honors thirty top young professionals in the field of parks and recreation. 

The 30 Under 30 honorees were selected based on their impact on the agency’s community and service population, contributions to the professional development of the field of parks and recreation, and innovative ideas, programs, or research in the field of parks and recreation.

Since joining the Waukegan Park District in 2018, Javier Martinez has overseen innovative recreation programs related to nature, culture, fitness, and aquatics. His leadership has been instrumental in the success of the community initiative between the Waukegan Parks Foundation and the Waukegan Park District to provide every second-grade class in Waukegan with a free water safety swim lesson at the Field House Sports, Fitness & Aquatics Center. Javier is a lifelong Waukegan resident with a commitment to the community that is evident through his enthusiasm and aspiration to make a difference in the lives of individuals through parks and recreation.

Jeremiah Johnson, President of the Waukegan Park District Board of Commissioners, stated, “Javier Martinez has made significant contributions to the field of parks and recreation. His inclusion in 30 Under 30 is a reflection of his commitment to excellence and dedication in serving the community. The national recognition is well deserved and a testament to his remarkable achievements.” 

Jay Lerner, Executive Director of the Waukegan Park District, stated, “With his innovative ideas, Javier Martinez has played a pivotal role in enhancing the programs and events at the Waukegan Park District. He has displayed leadership that is truly making a difference at his workplace and in the community. The recognition validates the impact his work does to elevate the field of parks and recreation.”

Javier Martinez, Manager of Fitness & Aquatics at the Waukegan Park District, stated, “I am honored to receive this recognition from the National Recreation and Park Association. Working at the Waukegan Park District has been an incredibly rewarding opportunity for me to contribute to the community I grew up in. I am proud to be able to support enrichment in the field of parks and recreation and make an impact on so many lives.”

About the Waukegan Park District

Established on December 26, 1916, the Waukegan Park District (WPD) has 53 properties and more than 742 acres of land, including the 18-hole Bonnie Brook and 9-hole Greenshire Golf Courses. Properties are managed to the highest environmental and conservation standards. Facilities operated by the WPD include the Field House Sports, Fitness and Aquatics Center, Waukegan’s Greg Petry SportsPark, Waukegan Skate Park, BMX Track, SplashZone, Percussion Playground, recreational centers, disc golf course, dog exercise area and agility course, outdoor sports fields, picnic areas, playgrounds, splash pads, and sports courts including basketball, tennis and pickleball. A full range of programs and services are offered year-round for all ages, from infants to seniors, as well as special need populations. Healthy lifestyles, wellness initiatives, and a connection with the outdoors and nature are integrated throughout programs, services, and special events. Arts and cultural activities are provided by the Jack Benny Center for the Arts, Waukegan Symphony Orchestra and Concert Chorus, and the Waukegan History Museum. We offer something for everyone!

A member of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD), Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA), and the Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA), the WPD employs 73 full-time and 219 part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees and is recognized by the IPRA as an Exceptional Workplace.

Nationally accredited by the NRPA Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) and State accredited through the IAPD Distinguished Agency Accreditation, the WPD has received the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Triple Crown Award for receiving the GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, Popular Annual Financial Reporting Award, and the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. The WPD was awarded the NRPA National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management in 2013, and was named a Gold Medal Finalist in 2012, 2013, 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Media Contact
Josue Pasillas, MPA
Communications Supervisor
Waukegan Park District
(847) 360-4789