People You Should Know: Mike Hernandez, McAllen Parks & Recreation Director

Mike Hernandez was raised in the Valley and proud of it. Being part of a very large family is what ultimately brought Mike back to the Valley after he graduated from St. Edwards University in Austin.

“I had found Mrs. Right and began asking myself questions,” Mike Hernandez, Director for the City of McAllen Parks and Recreation Department, said. “What if we decide to have a family? I want our kids to have the kind of life I had. There’s no better life than growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, getting to enjoy the outdoors and small town life.”

Moving back to the Valley, he began his work in the media/communications field as a photographer for Britton’s Photography in McAllen. Working a multitude of events, learning his craft, his expertise with people was evident to his clients, one of which was Sunglo Fellowship.

He was hired by Sunglo Fellowship to run their Mercedes facility, and then later worked for Mi Casa, an adult day care, which was located in McAllen.

“Working with seniors was one of the most gratifying things I could do,” he said. “At 70 or 100 years of age, they had such a great outlook on life.”

After seven years, he was ready for something new and found his position with the City of McAllen at Las Palmas Community Center in 1999. Growing through the ranks, he is now Director.

“Our city is continuously growing. We’re trying to make McAllen more of a destination city by organizing high-quality events and activities. We want people to experience  what McAllen has to offer and realize it’s a safe, clean and fun place to visit then realize they want to come back,” Mike explained.

This loving father of twins loves his work, the Valley, and McAllen.

“I feel our department has an obligation to ensure our youth have the chance to learn about team activities and be exposed to all sports. I really enjoy being  part of all these opportunities our department offers for people to enjoy life.”