By David Markham
A Shawnee native who grew up playing sports at JCPRD facilities is the agency’s sports new facilities north manager.
Mark Brull began July 10 after being selected from 102 applicants for the job.
“It became clear through the interview process that Mark had the unique combination of experience, drive, and commitment to take on the challenge of this role,” said Superintendent of Recreation Shannon Sonnier. “Mark is going to bring a systematic approach to learning the many different tasks involved with the Sports and Facilities North position, as well as an expectation befitting the tremendous investments that have taken place at the sports complexes. This has been one of the most challenging and competitive (in a good way) hiring processes that I’ve been through in my career.”
“I have lived in this area my whole life, so I grew up playing, coaching, and working in other various roles at these facilities, and have many great memories with them,” Brull said. “I was really excited at the possibility of overseeing the north facilities and programs as I want to help others in our community create those same great memories, and with my work experience, felt like this would be a great fit for me and the department.”
The Sports and Facilities North department oversees management of Mid-America Sports Complex, Mid-America West Sports Complex, Okun Fieldhouse, and Heritage Park Softball.
Before coming to JCPRD, Brull worked for about nine years in the sports department at Olathe Parks & Recreation, where he worked his way up from entry level specialist to program manager II. In the manager’s position, he oversaw the department’s planning and operations, including more than 10,000 annual youth and adult participants.
Earlier, he was umpire in chief at the Johnson County 3&2 Baseball Club for about two years, and an intern for about six months with the Shawnee-based Midwest Sports Productions, a youth baseball and fastpitch event company. Brull holds a bachelor’s degree in sports management from the University of Kansas, and in late April completed a master’s degree in business administration.
Asked to name what he feels is his biggest accomplishment in his field so far, Brull noted a 50% overall growth rate in programs during his time with Olathe.
“I feel that I will bring a lot of innovation and efficiency to the operations in everything that we do,” he said. “I take pride in finding solutions to problems and trying to make sure that we are offering the best product that we can. I am coming into this role at a very exciting time. We have great staff and our facilities have seen tremendous upgrades that are ongoing. Having the opportunity to come in at a time like this to help create a new path forward is what really excites me the most.”
Brull’s goals for his new position are: “to provide the best product we can with a focus on customer experience, to help or lead all staff in whatever way I can to reach their goals, and to be recognized locally and nationally as an elite destination for athletic events through excellence in everything that we do.”
Staying “ahead of the pack” and not getting “complacent with success,” are the greatest challenges he sees ahead.
“We need to always look for continual improvement to stay at the top,” he said. “JCPRD has a tradition of excellence not only locally but nationally for the high-quality parks and programs that it offers.”
Brull and his wife, Katie, are the parents of two children; daughter Finley, 5, and son Hudson, who turns two this fall.
In his free time, Brull enjoys a healthy and active lifestyle, and especially enjoys lifting weights. He referees college football and looks forward to his first full season working at the division 1 level this fall.