ParkTalk Podcast S34 Episode 03: Science-based Careers in Parks

Friday, April 28, 2023

Ben Palczynski, Park Specialist II with the Naperville Park District, tells how his career has given him flexibility and the opportunity to apply his knowledge of horticulture in his daily work.

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Ben Palczynski

Quotes from the episode:

"I focused on golf courses in school...You look at the PGA events and you see how nice those courses are. Working on the golf courses, you want to strive for that excellence. I started my career there, thinking that's where I was going to end up in the long term. You've got the rough, the tees, everything is managed a little differently." - Ben Palczynski

"While I was at an interview for a position at Springbrook Golf Course, they mentioned that there was an open turf position in the Parks Department. Being from Iowa, I was not familiar with park districts, but I said I would be interested, because it was in the turf-related industry that I wanted, using my major and my college experience. So, I went in for the interview and they said it would be basically like taking care of a golf course, but managing turf in a park, and taking care of all of the turf duties on the south side of town. It's in my industry, so I said I would give it a shot."- Ben Palczynski

"What I really like is that I get to use my knowledge of turf and what I went to school for. I also love the flexibility of the Park District. The flexibility to try new things, such as equipment or finding better ways to accomplish tasks. I feel like the Park District really promotes learning and exploring and coming up with better ways to do things." - Ben Palczynski

Ben with fellow staff members Trevor Stibbe and John Teper, who worked together to invent a dust shield for the ballfield rake.

Ben Palczynski and Trevor Stibbe showing an earlier step in the design of the dust shield

Current Opportunities for Employment at Naperville Park District

Learn about current openings at the Naperville Park District here.

Examples of Science and Technology-Based Work at Naperville Park District

Park Maintenance - manage turf fields, woodlands, prairies, wetlands, ponds, pond and river shorelines, flower beds, shrubs and trees
Park Development - design park landscapes, work with contractors to develop and renovate parks and restore natural areas
Golf Course Maintenance - manage golf greens and natural areas
Trades - apply knowledge of materials, chemicals, machines, etc. to maintain and repair amenities across the District
Fleet - maintain, test and repair the District's fleet of vehicles and equipment

Frontier Sports Complex, with both prairie landscape and turf athletic fields