In January, the city of Beachwood welcomed its new community services director, Derek Schroeder.
After spending 22 years as Twinburg’s parks and recreation director, Schroeder looked to Beachwood for a change of scenery. He replaces Karen Carmen, who retired after 21 years. In his previous role, Schroeder had a hand in many parts of the city’s programming and behind-the-scenes responsibilities, including senior programming, special events, swimming lessons, brochures, marketing and computer systems.
Schroeder, 42 of Northfield, tells the CJN he is excited to try new things alongside Beachwood residents.
CJN: How did your time with Twinsburg prepare you for Beachwood?
Schroeder: I thought I would probably retire from Twinsburg, but then this opportunity arose to try something new. I brought Twinsburg to a good place and left it in really good hands and a great spot with equally great programming. I wanted to see if I could continue that here. I had every single role in Twinsburg, starting as a lifeguard and working my way up. So, I think I am a well-rounded parks and recreation director and a community services director. That background and experience have just prepared me perfectly for this role.
CJN: What brought you to Beachwood?
Schroeder: The job focuses a lot on special events, something that is my passion. I did as much as I could in Twinsburg. We had some major things like every other month, and it was probably all I could do. It would be the same rehash over and over. So, I liked the special events side of this position and that this role is different from the parks and recreation director role. In this role, we’re working to make businesses even better in Beachwood. For example, Beachwood Delivers was very resident-focused, but it also helped businesses. Additionally, we’re lacking an indoor recreation center here, but who says that can’t happen? We’re also looking to introduce an outdoor fitness component to the city in the next six months to a year. These are things that could probably never happen in Twinsburg, but can here.
CJN: What are you hoping to bring to the community?
Schroeder: Internally, there are a lot of things the public doesn’t see in the efficiency of our registration software and website. I’m good with that stuff, and I’ve already started changing things with staff internally. With the Beachwood pool, people can scan their phones to get in. It’s about using the technology people already have and exploit it more and make processes more user-friendly for residents and visitors. But again, special events excite me. We’re working on an unannounced joint event with the Mandel JCC. It’s things like that, like partnering with other groups, that make a difference.
CJN: What would you like the community to know about you?
Schroeder: I’m very accessible. I’m hands-on and I’m not one to just sit behind my desk. I’m always out and about looking for feedback and ways to change things. We’re making changes we never thought we’d make, but I’m making them because it’s the new direction we need to go in. Just reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns, and see how we can, or can’t, meet your expectations.