Two new department heads in Camas: Parks and Recreation director and communications director

Bryan Rachal assumes a new position as communications director; Trang Lam will become the director of parks and recreation

The city of Camas has selected two new department heads: former city of Boulder Deputy Communications Director Bryan Rachal will become Camas’ first-ever director of communications and current University of Portland Associate Vice President for Land Use and Planning Trang Lam will become the director of parks and recreation.

“Today I am pleased to announce two wonderful additions to our city of Camas staff,” said City Administrator Jamal Fox. “I am certain they will not only carry on a legacy of excellence within the organization but also bring new ideas for enhancing our commitment and connections to Land, People and Honesty throughout the community.”

“Bryan’s energy, positivity and overall experience in communications make him the perfect choice for our first director of communications,” said Mayor Barry McDonnell. “He is excited to bring his family to Camas and make it their home.”

Bryan Rachal assumes a new position as communications director for the city of Camas. Photo courtesy city of Camas.
Bryan Rachal assumes a new position as communications director for the city of Camas. Photo courtesy city of Camas.

Rachal has over 12 years of experience and earned his accreditation in public relations (APR) in 2016. As deputy director of communications for the city of Boulder, Colorado, Rachal served as a spokesperson and worked closely with city leaders on cohesive communications strategies.

Prior to joining the Boulder team, Rachal served as the director of university communications for the University of North Alabama. There he managed a team of award-winning professionals in the Office of Communications and Marketing, helping to rebrand the institution. During his time in Alabama, Rachal was a member of Rotary International and served as a board member for Downtown Florence Unlimited.

Rachal has also worked as a reporter for NPR affiliate KUAF in Northwest Arkansas, and as a reporter and news producer for ABC and NBC affiliates in Colorado and Arkansas. Rachal’s credentials include a B.A. in journalism from the School of Journalism and Strategic Media at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Rachal has been married to his high school sweetheart, Andrea, since 2006; they have two children, Alex (12) and Annabelle (9). The Rachal family is an outdoors family, enjoying hiking and evening walks with their two Brittany Spaniels, Lolli and Cocoa. Rachal is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys fly fishing and skiing.

Lam comes to the city of Camas with over 20 years of experience in leadership roles at the University of Portland, Portland Parks & Recreation, and Prosper Portland, and as an entrepreneur.

“Trang has a true passion for parks,” remarked Mayor McDonnell. “Her leadership and experience combined with her energy will help us take our parks and recreation department into the future.” 

Trang Lam replaces Jerry Acherson as the director of the Camas Parks and Recreation department. Photo courtesy city of Camas.
Trang Lam replaces Jerry Acherson as the director of the Camas Parks and Recreation department. Photo courtesy city of Camas.

Trang has led high-performing teams focused on outcomes that promote people’s health and wellbeing through connection to nature and recreation; community development that centers on economic opportunity and prosperity for small business and underserved communities; and, at the University of Portland, the creation of campus spaces that foster a complete learning environment for future leaders, across academia.

Prior to her work as a civil servant and in higher education, she led her family’s fledgling food manufacturing company and grew the company to a traded sector business. 

Lam immigrated to Portland when she was four, and her family members have called the Pacific Northwest their home ever since. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Portland State University. On her time off, you can find her and her husband in the great outdoors hiking and kayaking. 

Rachal will begin his communications post Jan. 11. He was selected from a pool of 130 candidates from across the country.

Lam will fill the former role of Jerry Acheson, who retired Oct. 31 after 30 years of service, starting Jan. 25. The city received 60 applications for the parks and recreation position from candidates nationwide.

Fox had proposed the replacement position be elevated from manager to director last fall. Included was a 25 percent increase in compensation. That triggered pushback from most city council members, resulting in a job posting with a smaller salary increase.

The promotion from manager to director includes a starting salary range of $8,384-10,042 per month. At the Oct. 8 City Council workshop, Mayor Barry McDonnell and City Administrator Jamal Fox proposed elevating the position to director, with a 25-percent salary increase. The original proposed monthly salary ranged from $9,676 per month in the first year, to $11,591 in the seventh and subsequent years, we reported.

Bryan Rachal’s monthly salary will be $9,309.  Trang Lam’s will be $10,243. Generally benefits are an additional 30 percent, but that depends on benefit coverages they select so can’t fully be determined until they complete new hire paperwork next month. That includes all required federal and state mandated benefits as well as medical insurance.

Both positions were advertised on local, regional, national, and diversity job boards. Prior to selection, each candidate went through a multi-week process that involved input and involvement from all staff levels as well as an initial round of video interviews followed by multiple virtual interviews with a variety of panels.