February 12, 2024
Welcome Benjamin “Ben” Rea to the position of Executive Director. Rea began his position last December and brings 24 years of experience to the role, most recently as the Director of Parks and Planning at Arlington Heights Park District.
Of course, there are challenges that go with every workplace. “Best laid plans for the day often get blown apart, but that’s okay!” Rea said. “With every challenge there is an opportunity to learn and grow, you just have to make the best of the situation.”
What attracted Rea to the Palatine Park District? “I knew it was a high-quality agency that was similar in size and capacities to the Arlington Heights Park District,” Rea said. “I felt that my experience at an agency of similar size could be beneficial to the Palatine Park District,” he added. “As I began touring the park system and facilities ahead of my interviews, I quickly became impressed with the level of care that was evident at each location.”
To Rea, the most exciting part of his job is getting to see patrons enjoy a program, special event, or a new park amenity. “I’ve also always enjoyed being present and accessible to help my co-workers,” Rea added. “I like meeting everyone and learning about what they do at the park district.”
Regarding productivity, Rea is a list maker. “Honestly, I like making a list of the things that I know I need to accomplish,” Rea said. “It helps serve as a reminder when my day moves in another direction and helps to refocus my efforts when I’m able to get back into my work. I’ve always enjoyed starting my day a little earlier and staying a little later to have that additional time to get things done.”
Rea has his parents to thank for instilling the value of a strong work ethic. “It doesn’t matter where I work or my role, I come to work each day with the drive to provide the best quality service internally and externally,” Rea said. “I have the mindset that I should be willing to do the same work that any team member is asked to do here at the park district. I plan to be out in the field helping our different teams this summer.”
Rea considers himself a bit of a morning person, as well as a night owl. “I’m like a kid and refuse to go to bed early and I’m up around 4:30am every morning to get a workout in before I start the workday,” he said.
Rea has been married to his wife Stephanie, a third-grade teacher for 22 years. They are the parents of three children, Trinity age 19, Catie age 16, and Noah age 14.
When they have time amongst their kids’ schedules, they take their small travel trailer out and go camping. “I could sit by a campfire for hours at a time,” Rea said. “I’m also looking to get back into fishing, the pandemic kind of put that hobby on hold and I miss it.” Rea also enjoys reading a good book and attending his kids’ events!
“I’m proud of my family,” Rea said. “Everything I do is for them. I’m also very proud to have this opportunity at the Palatine Park District,” he added. “You all are my extended family and I’m here for you too.”