Not in My Backyard: Keys to Addressing the Vocal Minority for your Sports, Recreation, or Parks Project

Recorded On: 02/25/2020

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In this session, city manager Charles Penny along with Dev Pathik and Evan Eleff of the Sports Facilities Advisory will provide city leaders with strategies for creating and harnessing community and political will for sports, recreation, events, wellness, or parks projects during project planning and development. Speakers will highlight real-world examples from their body of work in city/county government across the United States. Attendees will take away:

  • Strategies for controlling the message and narrative
  • The importance of data for combating misinformation
  • Early stakeholder engagement best practices
  • PR strategies for creating community support

ICMA Practice Areas: [2] Community Engagement; [9] Community and Resident Service; [10] Service Delivery

Charles Penny

City Manager, Statesboro, Georgia

Charles W. Penny is the current City Manager of Statesboro, Georgia, and former City Manager of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, with over 35 years of local government experience. He is a graduate of North Carolina Central University with a major in Political Science and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a Masters of Public Administration. His experience in local government includes serving as Assistant to the City Manager, Assistant City Manager, Director of Planning and Development and City Manager.  

Dev Pathik

CEO, Sports Facilities Advisory

Dev founded SFA in 2003 and is widely regarded as an industry thought-leader who has contributed to the well-being of communities around the world. Dev is a passionate social entrepreneur and innovator who has dedicated more than 25 years to the development of numerous businesses that empower and develop communities. He’s led numerous efforts to expand the youth and amateur sports in suburban, urban, and rural environments.

Dev’s passion for developing teams and for engaging kids and communities in sport led him to develop the Sports Facilities Advisory. His leadership has produced facilities that integrate traditional sports with special events, adventure sports, education, leadership-development, and amusement to turn early concepts into financeable and sustainable facilities that make a difference in communities. Dev is a sought after public speaker, leadership mentor, and advisor to public and private owners.

Under his leadership, SFA has become respected as the industry leader in strategy, program planning, and project finance; a position achieved through global brand presence and measurable impacts for communities. Dev’s expertise and thought leadership have been sought out by The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Market-Watch, CNBC, NBC, The Aspen Institute Sports & Society, The National Association of Sports Commissions, The National Recreation and Parks Association, The Sports Business Journal, Sports Travel Magazine and many others.

For more than 20 years, Dev has owned, operated, and advised a wide range of sport, adventure, education, and special events venues. Prior to the launch of SFA in 2003, Dev served as an Outward Bound Instructor, a Wilderness guide, and he founded and sold an International Eco-Tourism Company, a ten-acre corporate team development center, two specialized business-development firms, and he served as an active investor in a-number of other sport and recreation focused businesses. Dev has served on numerous Boards of Directors and has led executive team development efforts for large corporations in the sports and entertainment industries. Dev is a dedicated father and husband.

Evan Eleff

COO, Sports Facilities Advisory

Evan began his career with more than 8 years in facility operations and as a Program Manager within one of the largest YMCA systems in the U.S. Evan joined SFA in 2012 as a Business Analyst, Account Executive, and today Evan serves as the COO of SFA. He oversees the company’s customer service and delivery systems as well as the team of strategic advisors, business analysts, project managers, and research specialists who produce SFA’s market research, feasibility, and financing services. Since joining, Evan has served a portfolio of over 400 projects totaling more than $4.5 billion in planned and operational sports tourism, community recreation, and large-scale, master-planned sport, recreation, wellness, and entertainment destinations.

Evan holds a Master’s Degree in Sport Management from University of Florida and formerly served as Operations Director for the largest YMCA branch in the Tampa Bay region.


02/25/2020 at 1:00 PM (EST)   |  90 minutes
02/25/2020 at 1:00 PM (EST)   |  90 minutes
Evaluation Survey
15 Questions
1.50 ICMA CE credits  |  Certificate available
1.50 ICMA CE credits  |  Certificate available