Heath Riddles is passionate about Austin’s green spaces and believes Pease Park represents all that makes Austin great.
This article first appeared in Texas Lifestyle Magazine on November 1, 2019.
For more than 15 years, nonprofits have been pivotal in Riddles’ life and front and center in his heart. He has helped raise millions of dollars for Equality Texas, Texas Advocacy Project, the Long Center for the Performing Arts and Hispanic Alliance, to name just a few. He met President Barack Obama which he considers “a personal highlight and such an honor to get to be involved in the visit of such importance.”
Before a job at Fox 7 News brought him to Austin, Riddles grew up in Oklahoma City, where he worked as a television news producer for an NBC affiliate. Decades later, he can still vividly recall the 1995 bombings in Oklahoma City and witnessing the community bonding in the aftermath. “It was such an inspiring response to a seminal tragedy,” he says.
Wanting to align his personal and professional life with the nonprofit sector while making an impact on the culture of Austin, Riddles became CEO of Pease Park Conservancy in 2018. Under his leadership, the Conservancy is celebrating its 10th year of maintaining and enhancing the 84-acre green space in Austin.
“A rising tide lifts all the boats, and Pease Park is at the forefront of an effort to develop a new model for managing green spaces in Austin. I hope to see this grow and develop into some really cool opportunities for our park and for our city,” says Riddles.
Riddles also serves on the boards of the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, Hispanic Alliance and Waterloo Counseling Center. He loves bird-watching on the trails while strolling through Pease Park with husband Marcus and toy fox terriers Paco, Giuseppe and their beloved Fitz who recently passed away.
We wanted to know what this altruistic nature lover never leaves home without—also known as his Texas Essentials.
A Yeti Cup
Hydration! Along with a crunchy apple, they keep me hydrated, healthy, plugged in and ready to take on the day!
For walks at Pease Park.
I need them to see!
I always love to have a soundtrack playing in my ears, it keeps me grounded and inspired.
Burt’s Bees Chapstick
It’s all-natural and hydrates without feeling sticky.
Pease Park Conservancy’s Past Present Pease gala is November 7th, 6-9 pm.
Cover: Heath Riddles, and toy fox terriers (left-right) Paco and Fitz, courtesy Jeremy A. Teel Photography
Lisa Davis lives in Austin and is the Editorial Assistant for Texas Lifestyle Magazine and an honors graduate of Concordia University Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Public Relations.