HSU alum named state parks director

Grady Spann, a 1984 graduate of Henderson State University, has been named director for Arkansas State Parks. Spann will replace current director Greg Butts who will retire Dec. 31 after 42 years with Arkansas State Parks.

Spann holds a degree in parks administration from Henderson with a minor in military science. He served as a military officer for nine years before joining the state parks. As a 1995 graduate of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, Spann is a certified law enforcement officer and park ranger.

Spann brings more than two decades of experience with Arkansas State Parks, both in day-to-day operations and in executive leadership roles. He currently serves as Region 5 supervisor, a position he has held since 2012. He was previously the superintendent of the Ozark Folk Center State Park from 2005 to 2012, of Historic Washington State Park from 2002 to 2005, and of Parkin Archeological State Park from 1993 to 2002.

The Arkansas State Parks director is responsible for leading the operation of 52 state parks and central office divisions including administration, planning and development, marketing and revenue, program services and five regional offices. Additionally, the director oversees the Outdoor Recreation Grants Program, which provides technical assistance and grants to Arkansas communities, along with a $126 million annual budget for all of the Arkansas State Parks division’s responsibilities.