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Springfield, MO

2017 40 Under 40 Honoree: Matt Crouse, 37

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Matt Crouse puts Leslie Knope to shame. He’s worked in Nixa Parks & Recreation since he was 15, but always had his eye on being director. He realized that goal three years ago and has increased participation rates by over 56 percent since taking the reins. Like fictional deputy director Knope on the show “Parks and Recreation”, Crouse may never sleep. He also teaches continuing education classes at the Parks and Recreation State Conference, is a member of Nixa Rotary Club, Nixa Chamber of Commerce and Nixa Optimist Club. He coordinates parks and recreation efforts with local master gardeners, Nixa Public Schools and businesses. He’s also a graduate of the National Parks and Recreation Revenue School.

What was your first job? My first real job was with Nixa Parks & Recreation at age 15.  I worked as a canoe/kayak instructor. I also taught backpacking, orienteering and refereed soccer and basketball games.

What about your job would shock clients? The lack of park land available for a community of our size is definitely one of the issues that surprises people. Nixa has grown so fast that we are still playing catch-up in this area.

What did you learn the hard way? To pace myself. I am a person that likes to give my all, all the time. This can be a good thing, but it can also mean moving too fast and missing things.

What historical figure do you identify with most? Theodore Roosevelt – he is credited with starting our National Parks System and protecting our beautiful open spaces.

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