DuPage Forest Preserve Board to Hire New Executive Director

Update: The board of commissioners unanimously approved the appointment.


News Release

DuPage Forest Preserve Board to Hire New Executive Director

Top candidate brings more than 27 years of experience in public service and management

(March 11, 2021) — The DuPage Forest Preserve District board of commissioners is expected to approve the hire of Karie Friling as the agency’s executive director at its March 16 meeting.

Friling was chosen for the position from a robust slate of applicants. Since 2019, Friling has served as village manager for Homer Glen, where she initiated the first open lands preservation program; expanded recreational and special event programming by more than 100%; and facilitated creative public and private partnerships. She previously served as assistant village manager and director of development services for Orland Park for over a decade.
Karie-Friling-204x250 “I truly believe that community development and planning are intrinsically tied to land preservation and conservation” Friling said. “Quality neighborhoods and great communities are desirable because of balanced development that promotes recreation, open spaces, parks, trails and pedestrian connections. I am honored and excited to join the District’s team.”

The Forest Preserve District sought a creative and mission-driven professional to be responsible for general leadership and staff management; financial management; commissioner relations; community and volunteer relations; and external management. The position will supervise senior management and report to the Forest Preserve District board of commissioners.

“I am thrilled to welcome Karie to the District,” said Forest Preserve District President Daniel Hebreard. “Our current leadership team has the organization moving in a great direction, and the addition of Karie’s experience, talent and proven leadership gives us even more momentum as we implement our districtwide master plan.”

Friling has a B.A. from Western Illinois University, a master of public administration from Southern Illinois University, and a Leading Educating and Developing certificate from the Senior Executive Institute at the University of Virginia. She is a credentialed city manager and has Lean Six Sigma yellow belt certification from Northern Illinois University.

With board approval of her contract, Friling will assume her new role on April 9. Ed Stevenson, who served as executive director since November 2016, will transition into a new role as executive advisor and serve as an advocate for staff, a resource for the board of commissioners, and an advisor to the leadership team, including the new executive director.

Stevenson will also continue to have direct involvement in the oversight of the District’s golf operations, after serving as director of golf operations for the District since 2011.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years. More than 6.2 million people visit its 60 forest preserves, 166 miles of trails, six education centers and scores of programs each year. For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org, where you can also link to the District’s e-newsletter, blogFacebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.


The Forest Preserve District offers a monthly e-newsletter that includes timely information about projects, programs and events in our DuPage forest preserves. Subscribe to our e-newsletter, and get the latest nature news straight to your inbox.