Highland City has a new city administrator, and Lonnie Crowell, who has been both interim city administrator and community development director for the past six months, can finally take a vacation.

"Even on weekends it was hard to get away without worrying about what was going on," Crowell said. "[Now] I'm headed to Canada with a friend for a little fishing."

John Park joined Highland City on July 6 as the new city administrator. Park was selected from more than 60 applicants.

Crowell said the selection process was time consuming. Resumes were sorted by qualifications and 10 applicants were interviewed. The top four applicants then met with the City Council, which made the final decision. Park was selected for his experience, qualifications and personality, Crowell said.

Park said he looks forward to working in city government.

"We have many thousands of people that live in Highland City depending on me to do a good job today," he said. "That motivates me. It's pretty exciting."

Raised in Tooele, Park enjoyed growing up in a small town.

"By the time I was 8 years old, I was saddling horses and fishing all day," he said. He and his wife, Monica, moved to American Fork 18 years ago. They liked American Fork because his mother's family lived there. "I'm a descendent of Arza Adams who built the first cabin in American Fork, so I felt a special link to this part of the county," he said.

Park has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Utah State University, although many of his classes were taken at the University of Utah. He also has a master's degree in public administration from Brigham Young University.

He worked for Orem City as assistant city manager, building safety division manager and director of public works. He then left Orem and worked in business development for the last six years.

"I missed city government and making a difference," Park said. "I'd been looking for a city position and was offered a couple of positions, but we didn't want to move." He said he was excited to find a position only five minutes away from his home and to work with a lot of people he already knew.

Crowell said he looks forward to working with Park.

"The city administrator has a huge role," he said. "He basically manages and operates the city, the budget and administrates all the staff to make sure everybody's doing their jobs," Crowell said. "He communicates with the City Council on a constant basis, is heavily involved with the Legislature, the county, adjacent cities and other organizations."

Park has several priorities for Highland City, he said.

"We need to find ways to build the town center, to build a stronger tax base and continue to grow," he said. "We have Smith's and Walmart on our borders and we are getting a lot of the negatives of economic development without getting the positives."

Park said his business background will be an asset in his new position.

"A lot of typical city managers haven't had that and hopefully it will pay dividends for the city," he said.

John and Monica Park have six children and eight grandchildren. Monica Park works as a kindergarten teacher at Legacy Elementary School, and in their spare time, they enjoy riding bicycles.