DURHAM, N.C. -- The Park Institute of America has named Nicholas School of the Environment alumnus Tyler Sammis, DEL-MEM ’20, as its first executive director.

“It is exciting to have such a cross-functional and experienced individual take charge of the Institute,” said Maureen Finnerty, board chair of the Institute. “With nearly two decades of strategic planning and leadership experience, Tyler brings a robust partnership development and program management capacity to our organization.”

Sammis served as a U.S. Army officer for six years in addition to nearly a decade spent resourcing hazardous site remediation activities on four continents. He holds an MBA, and in 2020, he received a Duke Environmental Leadership Master of Environmental Management (DEL-MEM) degree from the Nicholas School. Sammis is an avid outdoorsman based in Durham. He starts his official duties as executive director on Nov. 1.

Toddi Steelman, Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School and ex officio board member of the Institute, said “The Nicholas School is very excited to take this next step with the Park Institute of America. Tyler is the right person at the right time in the right job to help forge deeper connections between the Institute and the school. Our parks and protected areas have never been more important, and Tyler will keep these issues in the public eye.”

“I am humbled and thrilled to join such a dedicated organization that is so committed to our protected spaces,” said Sammis. “I look forward to working closely with the Institute’s incredible team of accomplished professionals and world-renowned partners to help build more cohesive and accessible park systems.”

The Park Institute of America was established in 2016 as a nonprofit organization affiliated with Duke’s Nicholas School. Its main goals are broad-based communication, partnerships, leadership development, and innovative approaches to park management and use.

For information on the Institute, visit www.parkinstituteofamerica.org or contact info@parkinstituteofamerica.org.