(April 1, 2014) – Tom Shuster has retired after nearly 16 years with the Town of Ocean City. Shuster, who joined the Town’s Recreation and Parks Department in 1998, has spent his career working as the department’s director where he led the department through an era of growth and expansion of programs, facilities and services over a period of fifteen and a half years.
Shuster was a key player in the development of many amenities in Ocean City, including, the arena addition to the Northside Park Community Center, the creation and development of Sunset Park and the Dog Playground at Little Salisbury Park. He oversaw the planning of the Fiesta Park Pavilion, Northside Park’s Softball Pavilion, footbridge, and Military Flag Plaza, as well as the grant-funded replacement of the town’s aging playgrounds and the installation of the Northside Park outdoor exercise and fitness area.
Shuster played an integral role in various program and event transitions, economic impact studies, project planning, innovative landscaping applications, park and golf course improvements, beach patrol growth, marketing and management tools. He also led the department in redefining its mission and values, along with establishing positioning statements and strategic planning initiatives.
“I am honored to have had the opportunity to work for the Town of Ocean City,” Shuster said. “It has truly been a pleasure serving the residents and visitors of Ocean City. I will miss many of the relationships I built during my time here, especially those of my colleagues but I look forward to remaining a part of the community and continuing to contribute to the town’s parks and recreation.”
Shuster began his career with the Ohio State Parks system in 1972 following graduation, with a Master’s of Science degree from The Ohio State University. He has subsequently served as Director of Recreation, Parks & Community Services for the Township of East Brunswick, NJ, and Executive Director of the Waukegan Park District, Illinois and the Director/Secretary of the Metroparks, Serving Summit County in Akron, Ohio. He is also a fellow of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.
Shuster’s efforts have been acknowledged with many awards throughout his 42-year career; including having earned the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association’s John P. Hewitt Distinguished Fellow Recognition and the National Recreation and Park Association Distinguished Professional Award in 2011. Under his tutelage, the Department has received national and state-wide recognition for publications, innovative programs, and events. Furthermore, Eagle’s Landing Golf Course was recognized as a “Best in State” golf course, and the development of Sunset Park earned a state Landscape Site/ASLA Award.