After a nationwide search, Arnold Biondo, 60, has been named the executive director for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
“I’m looking forward to working with someone from DuPage County who will continue to ensure the district remains the premier conservation agency in the country,” said Forest Board President D. “Dewey” Pierotti Jr. “DuPage County residents love their forest preserves and that legacy must be preserved for future generations.”
Biondo has served as the executive director for the Carol Stream Park District since 1995. During his tenure, the park district earned two National Gold Medal Awards for parks excellence from the National Recreation and Parks Association. The National Gold Medal Award is the highest recognition a parks and recreation agency can receive.
Biondo is credited with effectively managing Carol Stream Park District’s $6 million budget and helping the district become recognized as an Illinois Accredited Agency in 2008 and 2013.
“I’m looking forward to forging more community partnerships to help better communicate the wonderful amenities the Forest Preserve District provides county residents,” said Biondo. “I live in DuPage County and know of the phenomenal preserves and their benefits. But I believe we need to connect more with citizens to ensure everyone knows how they can benefit from our preserves.”
Pierotti has been serving as the district’s interim executive director since former executive director Brent Manning resigned his post in June 2012.
“I wanted the new board to help decide who should serve as our next executive director,” said Pierotti. “So we waited before we initiated the process.”
Forest preserve officials hired the Evanston-based Alford Executive Search firm to help launch a nationwide search for a new executive director in June. There were more than 110 applicants from states across the country with two finalists interviewed by the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners. The process was expected to take between five and seven months.
“Our timing was right on target,” said Pierotti. “We’ll move into the new year with a new executive director and a fresh start.”
Biondo was given a three-year contract and will be paid $188,000 annually. He will begin work on Jan. 13.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County owns and manages 25,000 acres of prairies, woodlands and wetlands.