SA Parks Foundation announces new leadership

Board of Trustees names former Mayor Howard Peak president

Published On: Jan 02 2013 03:25:33 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 02 2013 03:28:56 PM CST
howard peak

The San Antonio Parks Foundation announced Wednesday that Howard Peak will succeed former Mayor Lila Cockrell as the organization's president.

Peak, also a former mayor of San Antonio as well as a current Parks Foundation board member, comes to the organization from AT&T. The foundation said he brings over 20 years of experience in civic service, corporate leadership, and the non-profit community.

According to the foundation, a search committee comprised of its chairman and trustees enlisted Bacon Lee & Associates to identify qualified candidates from within the community. After a review of several candidates, and interviews with the finalists, the search committee came to unanimous agreement on Peak. 

"What we were ultimately tasked to do was to find a qualified, well respected, and experienced person to serve as her successor and build upon the numerous accomplishments and achievements put in place by Mrs. Cockrell," said Parks Foundation immediate past Chairman Sam Bell Steves.. "Howard was collectively the right choice for the job."

"I am very excited to begin this new chapter in my professional career, and with parks and green spaces close to my heart, the Parks Foundation is perfect fit," said Peak.  

The San Antonio City Council recently voted to name the greenway hike and bike trail system for Peak, a long standing advocate of the greenway program since its inception. Peak was honored in 2001 with the naming of Peak Park, a pocket park located on the River Walk just east of the Chamber of Commerce. 

Cockrell announced her retirement in late December, after 14 distinguished years at the helm of the foundation.

“We don't like to say we were searching for a replacement for Lila Cockrell, because she is absolutely irreplaceable," Steves said.

The foundation credits Cockrell with single handedly raising over $5 million for numerous City park projects, including restoring of the Japanese Tea Garden, acquiring over 350 acres for dedicated park space, and supervising some of the city’s largest and most popular special events.

“I am so pleased that Howard was selected as my successor, and confident that he can continue with the critical leadership needed to further expand the role of the San Antonio Parks Foundation," said Cockrell.

Cockrell's retirement was effective at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31. Peak officially took over the position on Jan. 1, 2013. The foundation said he looks forward to a smooth and easy transition.

Meanwhile, Cockrell said she plans to devote herself to completing the memoir she is writing about her life, extensive career and often colorful experiences she had while serving as a councilwoman and mayor.