Getting to Know Andy Sims :: Assistant Director of Operations for the Wausau & Marathon County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department

Written by Mark Dorow

 We are excited to announce the promotion of Andy Sims to Assistant Director of Operations in the Wausau & Marathon County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department. Prior to his new role, Andy served as the City Forester for two years and an Operations Manager. Andy is a great leader and will be an asset to growing our team while upholding the high standards our community has come to know and appreciate.

I recently sat down with Andy to learn more about his favorite parts of the job, what he enjoys doing in his free time, and why he’s so passionate about the amenities we have here in Marathon County.

Q. What do you enjoy most about working for the Wausau & Marathon County Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department?

A. Marathon County is the largest county in Wisconsin and larger than the state of Rhode Island. It has a unique mix of parklands, forests, and natural features that the Parks Department has the pleasure of managing. I am fortunate that my career with the department has allowed for involvement in many different areas and the opportunity to work with great people. Clear direction and planning have enabled our department to provide the services and experiences our users desire. Receiving positive feedback from our residents and other park users is the most rewarding part of what I do.

Q. What are some functions the Park Department does that people might not know?

A. In my experience, many people, including my family members, think all we do is cut grass. While that is one of our functions, it is a very small portion of what we do. Turf management (fertilization/irrigation) of the Sports Complex, Athletic Park, and the city and county ball diamonds require the effort of several staff members during the summer months. Additionally, the department oversees the flower program that enhances downtown Wausau, four aquatic facilities, over 30 playgrounds, three campgrounds, water systems, trail systems, multiple bike trails, including the gravity course at Sylvan Hill Park, multiple boat launches, events, and shelter rentals.

Andy Sims talks with Wausau Mayor Katie Rosenberg about the goats on Barker-Stewart Island. (Video courtesy of the City of Wausau).

Our department operates a Nordic ski facility at Nine Mile in the winter months, makes snow and operates the tubing hill at Sylvan Hill Park, maintains two sheets of ice at Marathon Park, plows parks, trails, and county facilities, and maintains over 24,000 boulevard trees.

Q. What do you like to do in your free time outside work?

A. Spending time with family encompasses much of my time outside of work.  Our children are in several sports and activities and share dad’s love of the outdoors as well.  It is especially rewarding teaching my boys what I know about trees and nature and see them soak that information up like a sponge.  We spend a lot of the summer at our cabin fishing and the rest of the year hunting, hiking, and snowshoeing.

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We look forward to Andy’s leadership in his new role. He has been a great asset to our department, and we look forward to his new ideas and continued great work.

Have a question about one of our many parks, recreation facilities, or county forests? Email Andy.

Mark DorowMark Dorow joined the Wausau & Marathon County Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department as the Recreation Superintendent in March 2021. He graduated from UW- LaCrosse majoring in Recreation Management in 2009.  He spent his first 8 years of his career in Colorado working as a Recreation Coordinator running youth and adult sports followed by a job as an Aquatics Coordinator.  He moved to Wausau in 2018 when he took a job as the Aquatics Manager for the Grand Lodge Waterpark and Resort in Rothschild  When not at work, you will most likely find Mark working around his hobby farm with his wife and son, fishing with his dad, or hunting birds with his dog Ruby. Email Mark Dorow.

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