Michael DiBerardinisDeputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources
As Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources, Michael DiBerardinis provides leadership for over 10,000 acres of land, 150 recreation centers and playgrounds, 150 neighborhood and regional parks, 54 library branches and thousands of programs and events throughout Philadelphia.
Since his 2009 appointment as Commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation, DiBerardinis has raised over $34 million in government grants, philanthropic funding and private partnerships; overseen the merger of the Fairmount Park Commission and the Department of Recreation; renovated City-owned ice skating rinks; restored swimming season at public pools and expanded outdoor recreation offerings.
Previously, DiBerardinis served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. In this State Cabinet-level position, he protected 150,000 acres of land in Pennsylvania—more than had been conserved in the preceding 30 years combined—and led the creation/development of Pennsylvania Wilds, a project that dramatically increased economic development and ecotourism in Pennsylvania’s northern counties.
Mark FochtFirst Deputy Commissioner of Parks & Facilities
As First Deputy Commissioner, Parks & Facilities, Mark Focht is responsible for operations, maintenance, planning, capital, property management, urban forestry, ecosystem management and security for Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.
Focht holds Bachelor of Science and Masters degrees in landscape architecture from Pennsylvania State University and the University of Massachusetts, respectively, and is a PA licensed landscape architect.
Prior appointments include Executive Director of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park System; Director of the park’s Environment, Stewardship & Education Division and Director of Capital Projects for the Center City District, a private sector business improvements district. Additionally, Focht has over ten years experience with two multi-disciplinary design firms and was an adjunct professor in Temple University’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture from 1989-2010.
Focht lectures extensively and serves on Boards of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust, Please Touch Museum and the Philadelphia Sports Congress. He was the recipient of the 2007 Arts and Architecture Alumni Achievement Award from Penn State University and was inducted as a Fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects in October 2008. Focht currently serves as the 2012-13 President-Elect of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Susan SlawsonFirst Deputy Commissioner of Recreation & Programs
Susan Slawson is the First Deputy Commissioner for Recreation & Programs. In this capacity, Slawson has led Philadelphia Parks & Recreation in several transformative initiatives. Her responsibilities have included converting the 5,800 person capacity Dell Music Center into a premiere music venue; leading the Mayor’s Splash & Summer FUNd Campaign, which raised more than $1 million to help keep 69 pools open following significant budget cuts in 2009; and increasing safety at recreation facilities through strategic partnerships with the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD).
Prior to the departmental merger, Slawson was appointed Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Recreation by Mayor Nutter in June 2008. Her previous leadership with the Philadelphia Police Department as Commanding Officer of the Police Athletic League (PAL) unit from 2002-2008 prepared Slawson well for this role. PAL serves 26,000 at-risk boys and girls ages 6-18 at 26 youth centers throughout Philadelphia.
Slawson began her civil service career as a Philadelphia Police officer in the 1st District before becoming Commanding Officer of the PPD Public Affairs Unit, representing the Police Department following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.