Tom O'Rourke

Council Member Tom O'Rourke was elected to Council in November 2017.

His extensive experience in the Park and Recreation field has made him one of our professions foremost authorities in Parks Administration, Nonprofit Leadership, and Park and Recreation Education. 

Currently Tom serves as a Professor of Practice at Clemson University in the Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism Management. He is responsible for teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels and working with other faculty to assist communities, agencies, and practitioners in a variety of capacities. Tom’s focus at Clemson is in creating innovative and entrepreneurial models and solutions to issues facing the parks and recreation field. Tom is also is the Executive Director of the Parklands Foundation of Charleston County, a non-profit organization that provides access to parks for the underserved communities in Charleston County.

Tom previously served as the Executive Director of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission from 2001 – 2018, leading the Agency though the largest capital project, budget, and attendance growth in the agency’s history. During Tom’s tenure at CCPRC the agency grew from 5,000 acres of parkland to over 12,000 acres of protected parkland. CCPRC has been nationally recognized for operating an ever-expanding park system with little reliance on tax subsidies for growth.

Helping other Park and Recreation professionals and their agencies become their very best is the current foundation of Tom’s work. He is a frequent Keynote Speaker at State Recreation Conferences and his reach has extended to Canada and Mexico.  Tom has taught at the NRPA Supervisor Management School, The Revenue School, and the Directors School. Tom previously served as the Director of the NRPA Directors School. Tom is still very active in professional development of park and recreation practitioners.  

Prior to joining Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, Tom was the Director of the Mount Pleasant Recreation Department in Mt. Pleasant South Carolina, and worked as Manager of the Sports and Recreation Division for Seamon Whiteside and Associates, a Landscape Architect and Engineering firm. Tom’s first job was as a high school Athletic Director and Coach. 

Tom has been married to Jackie O’Rourke for 38 years. They have three grown and married children and two grandchildren. Recreation is Tom’s profession, but his passion has always been coaching. He is currently a Track and Field coach, (Pole Vault.) He has coached State Championship teams, a two-time State Champion, qualifying Pole Vaulters.