After five and half years with the city of Norcross, Superintendent Rip Robertson of Norcross' Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Division will be the new director of the Parks and Recreation Department for Doraville come this Friday.
For Norcross, he's helped coordinate all city events, from the Spring Break Music Fest to the Independence Day celebration to the city's two car shows. He's seen the city grow from having small-town events to hosting some of the biggest festivals Gwinnett County has to offer.
"We've seen tremendous growth at our big city events, and that's something that I'm proud to be a part of," he said.
The event he's most proud of, though, is the Summer Concert Series. When he took over the event in 2007, he said, the concerts only had 10 tables and the city had a hard time renting out half of them, with only a few hundred people in attendance.
Today, the series is one of the Norcross' most popular events that brings together 2,500 to 4,000 people from all over the metro area, and all 45 tables tend to sell out in less than 48 hours.
He's also in charge of booking bands to play. Having been in the Parks and Rec field for 20 years (10 years in Hapeville, a few years in North Carolina and the rest in Norcross), he knows a lot of bands and booking agents, so he hires musicians who engage with the audience and get them dancing to the last song.
Even though he is sad to leave Norcross, Robertson is looking forward to Doraville because he's able to oversee a full recreation department as opposed to just being involved in special events. Doraville offers many amenities including a municipal pool, a civic center, programs for senior citizens, a recreation center and an athletic division.
"There's really where my passion lies, in the athletic department," said Robertson. "That's what I've done a lot of. That's what I'm most excited about, getting back into the full recreation aspect of my career."
His favorite sport is youth football, which he's coached in the past alongside basketball, soccer and more.
At the February Norcross City Council meeting, Robertson was recognized for passing the Certified Parks and Recreation Professional, the top certification for the career field. He's one out of 52 people in the nation to have passed the exam last year, with only four of those coming from Georgia.
With his last day in Norcross being June 8, Robertson said what he'll miss most is the people and community.
"I've been here for almost six years, and really through the events, being out here involved, I've gotten to know a lot of people," he said. "I'm going to miss Norcross. Norcross will always be special to me."