Gov. Doug Burgum today appointed Cody Schulz to lead the North Dakota Department of Parks and Recreation, citing his extensive record of public service and strong leadership at the state and county levels, including through some of the most challenging periods in recent state history.
Schulz joined the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (DES) in 2007 and has served as director of Homeland Security since March 2018. During his 13 years with DES, he also has served as disaster recovery chief, business manager and finance officer, and hazard mitigation grant specialist. Prior to joining DES, Schulz spent nearly 13 years in the private sector as a business owner, account specialist and government and public affairs analyst.
Schulz also served on the Morton County Commission from 2012 to 2020, including as chairman in 2016, 2017 and 2020, helping to guide the county through the historic Dakota Access Pipeline protests and COVID-19 pandemic. As a county commissioner and member of the Morton County Park Board for eight years, Schulz also oversaw major infrastructure upgrades and expansion of park services and amenities.
“Cody brings demonstrated leadership skills and a strong passion for providing a high quality of life for North Dakota citizens to the role of North Dakota Parks and Recreation director,” Burgum said. “Throughout his service to state government, he has embodied the concept of ‘working as one’ across state agencies with a whole-of-government approach. And as a former county commissioner and park board member, he understands how parks can enhance communities and help attract and retain workforce, drive tourism and improve quality of life. We look forward to his continued leadership in state government, which will serve all North Dakota citizens well.”
A native of New Salem, N.D., Schulz earned an associate’s degree from Bismarck State College, a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Dickinson State University and an MBA from the University of North Dakota. He currently services as chair of the North Dakota State Emergency Response Commission and the North Dakota State and Local Intelligence Center Executive Committee, and as vice chair of the National Emergency Management Association Legislative Committee. He is a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Region VIII Advisory Council and a past board member of the Bismarck Mandan Development Association and the Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC.
Schulz’s appointment as Parks and Recreation director is effective Oct. 11, 2021.
“It’s been an honor to serve our state at DES for over a decade, helping to keep our citizens safe. I have been incredibly fortunate to be a part of great teams over the years, and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to lead this great Parks and Recreation team of servant leaders and take our parks system to the next level after a year of record camping numbers,” Schulz said. “We are at a time of boundless opportunity here in North Dakota, and Parks and Recreation is positioned to seize that opportunity by continuing to enhance partnerships and collaboration, making smart and lasting infrastructure investments and focusing on what really matters most – the people who visit our great parks.”
Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, director of DES, has appointed Preparedness Chief Debbie LaCombe to serve as interim homeland security director until a replacement for Schulz is named.
Burgum expressed his gratitude for the leadership provided by Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Paul Taylor, who has served as the agency’s interim director since former director Andrea Travnicek was appointed Department of Water Resources director effective Aug. 1.
The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department has about 60 full-time team members, 18 long-term seasonal staff and approximately 150 short-term seasonal staff and a biennial budget of $43 million to manage and operate 15 statewide parks and recreation areas, enriching generations through experiences that connect people and places. The department actively promotes and supports access to North Dakota’s great outdoors through a diversity of recreation opportunities and sustainably managed resources. The department is additionally responsible for off-highway vehicle planning and safety programs, snowmobile safety programs and trails, the Nature Preserves Act and outdoor recreation grants and statewide recreation planning.