Congratulations to Mark A. Focht ('83 B.S. LArch), who received the Penn State Alumni Fellow award in October, the highest honor given by the Alumni Association. Focht is First Deputy Commissioner for Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, where he is responsible for operations, planning, property management, ecosystem management, and security for the 10,100-acre system. He oversees a staff of more than 385 and an annual operating budget of $24.1 million for PPR, which includes 150 parks, 156 recreation centers and playgrounds, and 71 outdoor swimming pools.
Prior to his PPR appointment, Focht was executive director of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park system and director of the park’s Environment, Stewardship, and Education Division. Previously, he was director of capital projects for the Center City District, a private sector business improvement district, where he managed the $26 million Walk! Philadelphia streetscape improvement project. A Pennsylvania-licensed landscape architect, he has more than 10 years of experience with two multidisciplinary design firms and was an adjunct professor in Temple University’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture from 1989 to 2010.
Focht is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and is currently immediate past-president of the Society. Focht served as ASLA’s vice president for communications in 2010–11 and president in 2014. Focht lectures extensively and has served on the boards of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust, Please Touch Museum, and the Philadelphia Sports Congress. He was the recipient of a 2007 College of Arts and Architecture Alumni Award. He holds an M.S. in landscape architecture from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, which honored him with an alumni achievement award in 2013.
Focht is a member of the Penn State Alumni Association and lives in Philadelphia.