Featured Rotarian: Russ Guiney

Russ GuineyRuss Guiney
Director, Los Angeles County Department of Parks & Recreation

In a career that has stretched from serving as a California State Park Peace Officer, to living in a ghost town, to overseeing one of the largest parks departments in California, LA5 Rotarian Russ Guiney will be retiring from the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation at the end of September.

Graduating from college with a bachelor's degree in religious studies, the San Luis Obispo native also graduated from the FBI National Academy for Law Enforcement Managers, and served as a State Park Peace Officer. He ended up serving 27 years with the California State park system in a wide variety of roles, including living for three years in the ghost town at Bodie State Historic Park as the Supervising Ranger, and ending his time there as Superintendent for all State Parks in California.

In 2005, Russ was appointed as the  Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, which operates 177 parks serving over 20 million visitors annually, including 14 lakes and lagoons, and the nation's largest municipal golf system and the Hollywood Bowl.

In addition to his service on the boards of the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Russ joined LA5 10 years ago. It was there that he met fellow Rotarian Pat Wright, and they were married in 2008.

For his fellow Rotarians, Russ has one piece of advice—no matter what industry you work in, always focus on customer service, trying not just to meet the customer's expectations, but to exceed them.

What's next for Russ? He plans on taking time to enjoy his hobbies of hiking, riding trains, studying history, and reading books—lots of them. And of course, he will be helping Pat with her business, the Arroyo Vista Inn bed and breakfast in South Pasadena. As you see Russ at Rotary over the next few weeks, be sure to wish him well on his retirement—and ask him for a good hiking recommendation!

On Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015 Rotarians and friends are invited to help celebrate his retirement with dinner and dancing under the stars at a special sunset garden party at, appropriately enough, one of the premiere parks in the L.A. County system, the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. The cost for this event is $35 and reservations are due by September 14. For more information, email Elva Espinoza at eespinoza@parkslacounty.gov or call 213.381.8347.