CCPR Director Receives Regional Award

CCPR Director Receives Lawson Award for Significant Contributions to the Parks and Recreation Profession

Carmel, Ind. (Feb. 29, 2024) – Michael Klitzing, Director/CEO of Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation (CCPR), received the 2024 Richard Lawson Award for Professional Excellence from the Great Lakes Park Training Institute (GLPTI) Board of Advisors. Since 1953, the Lawson Award has been presented annually to individuals who exemplify continued and significant contributions to the parks and recreation profession in the Great Lakes region.  

The GLPTI is an annual conference that brings together park professionals to explore trends, network, and recognize outstanding people and projects. It is operated by the GLPTI Board of Advisors and Indiana University faculty and staff at the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands

“It is a tremendous honor to accept the Lawson Award,” Klitzing said. “I aspire to reach the incredible standards set by past recipients, many who served as my mentors in the field of parks and recreation.” 

Klitzing is a seasoned park and recreation professional with more than 25 years of experience in the field. Under Klitzing’s leadership, CCPR has become recognized as one of the best and most innovative park and recreation agencies in the nation, receiving the National Gold Medal for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management in 2014 and 2020, the highest honor for a municipal park and recreation agency. CCPR is nationally accredited, employs 650+ people, and serves 17 million visitors annually. CCPR has also received national, regional, and state awards for the design of its parks and facilities, outstanding programs, excellence in providing services to people with disabilities, and commitment to environmental stewardship.  

Klitzing is an active member of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and served as the Conference Program Committee Chair and Local Host Committee Co-Chair for the association’s 2018 conference hosted in Indianapolis. That same year, Klitzing received NRPA’s National Distinguished Professional Award, presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the parks and recreation field through leadership, research, advocacy, community outreach and program development. In 2021, Klitzing was elected to the Board of Directors for the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. In 2023, Klitzing was appointed to a three-year term on the Eppley Institute for Parks & Public Land’s National Advisory Board. 

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