When you find a career that allows you to wake up in the morning and say “I get to do this”, you know you’re on the right path. John Chase is one of the lucky people who gets to say that every morning as the Director of Parks and Recreation for Grand Traverse County. In his role, John is responsible for the stewardship of approximately 1,400 acres of park property and ensuring that residents of the county have beautiful and functional spaces to recreate. John brings previous experience managing recreation centers, water parks, fitness centers, a nature center, senior programming, and even a fishing pond operation.
Known as someone who never stops moving, John has an insatiable love of the outdoors. When not supporting staff and customers in the parks, John can frequently be found in a kayak, on a mountain bike, or exploring parts near and far. John is supported fully by his wife, Kellie, and two daughters, Rachael and Sara, also known to be adventure addicts.
Ryan Walsh, Office Manager
Ryan Walsh was hired to the department in 2008 and promoted to Office Manager in 2014. He has since been a familiar face at the Civic Center. Primary responsibilities of his job include managing daily operations, planning and coordinating upcoming reservations, and addressing maintenance concerns.
Ryan resides in East Bay Township with his wife, Nicole, and three children, Brecken, Carsen, and Ayla. While not at work at a park, Ryan can often be found exploring other parks and trails in the area with his family.
Katelynn Brown, Office Coordinator
Katelynn grew up near Traverse City and is a proud Northern Michigan Native. She enjoys spending time outside throughout the year with her family or traveling to new places. More recently she has found spending most of her time when not working outside hiking and enjoying nature with her dog. She has a bachelor's degree in Natural Resources which helped her get her start as a Park Ranger with the County Parks and Recreation department to transition to her current role as the Office Coordinator, using her education to better help her hometown community.
Ariel Perreault, Office Specialist
Ariel Perreault grew up in Traverse City, Michigan, and spent her summers at her family cottage on Platte Lake. For seasonal breaks and vacations, her mother would bring her and her siblings to National Parks around the States, embedding Ariel's passion for nature, history, and parks. Today, Ariel spends most of her time in a park or at an extracurricular event with her two children and husband. When she finds the calm in the chaos, she can be found turning every stone and exploring the trails and waters of Northern Michigan.
Ariel studied locally at Northwestern Michigan College and transferred to Grand Valley State University to major in Integrative Studies with specialties in Business and Leadership. She uses her education towards her job with Parks and Recreation as the Office Specialist. She began her journey with the Parks Department in 2015 when she was hired as an Easling Pool Office Clerk. Since then, she has had the pleasure of being a part of many Parks milestones and accomplishments over the years and considers herself "fortunate”.
Scott Halliday, Park Attendant/Custodian
Scott was born and raised in northern Metro Detroit where he developed an early interest in the outdoors, exploring natural areas and parks while fishing, cycling, paddling and hiking. He became familiar with the beauty of the Benzie / Traverse area over frequent summer trips to his family property in Frankfort.
While earning his Bachelors Degree in History from Oakland University, Scott worked for a local Parks and Forestry department and grew his passion for being outdoors and helping create and maintain spaces for everyone to enjoy. After graduating, he made a foray into the craft beverage industry, working and living in Detroit.
Post-2020, Scott resolved to leave the Detroit area and relocate to Northern Michigan full time, and is happy to have found a home helping to preserve and improve the beautiful natural resources of Grand Traverse County.