Program Manager

POSITION: Program Manager, Tennessee RiverLine
LOCATION: The University of Tennessee, Institute of Agriculture, UT Extension, Tennessee RiverLine, Knoxville, TN
EFFECTIVE DATE: Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until both positions are filled


The salary range for this position has been set at $55,000-$70,000 annually. Salary is commensurate with training and experience. Benefits include group hospitalization and life insurance, State Employees Retirement; Workers’ Compensation; sick and annual leave; numerous University of Tennessee and state benefits programs, including liberal time off for holidays and longevity pay after three years of service; reimbursement for official travel. This is a limited-duration appointment. Continuation of the position after June 30, 2024 is contingent upon additional funding and satisfactory work performance.


The Tennessee RiverLine seeks candidates to fill two Program Manager positions on our rapidly growing team. Tennessee RiverLine Program Managers support delivery of the vision for North America’s next great regional trail system through the development and successful execution of a range of community and user engagement programs and activities, principally through the Tennessee RiverTowns Program, outdoor recreation and stewardship programming. These individuals will work directly with and report to the Programs Director of the Tennessee RiverLine Partnership.

Candidates are expected to possess the experience, knowledge and skills necessary to advance the implementation of the Tennessee RiverLine vision by managing the delivery of programming & event initiatives that are aligned with its mission, guiding principles and strategic plan. This position requires an understanding of general outdoor recreation programming, the ability to execute paddlesports programming, and help community partners develop and execute their own programs. Successful candidates for this position perform a range of essential duties that requires the experience, knowledge and skills necessary to cultivate relationships with community partners and other program stakeholders for the Tennessee RiverLine. This position collaboratively manages multiple concurrent and successful programs, provides technical assistance for community partners, and develops resources and tools for community partners that enable them to do the same.

About the Tennessee RiverLine

The Tennessee RiverLine is North America’s next great regional trail system, a continuous system of Tennessee River experiences – including paddling, hiking and biking – along the river’s 652-mile reach from Knoxville, TN, to Paducah, KY. The Tennessee RiverLine reframes the Tennessee River, adjacent public lands and Tennessee River communities as a 1.2 million acre “River Park” that functions locally and regionally and advances the legacy of landscape whose modern history has been shaped by regional planning and systems thinking. By providing a framework for a region, communities and individuals to recalibrate their relationship with the Tennessee River, the Tennessee RiverLine is equally an innovative infrastructure strategy to catalyze economic development and entrepreneurship, promote public health and active lifestyles, ensure equitable access to river spaces and experiences, and inspire a culture of natural and cultural resource stewardship among generations of valley residents, ecotourists and visiting adventure enthusiasts.

The Tennessee RiverLine is an initiative of the UT Institute of Agriculture and principal partners, UT Knoxville and TVA, in collaboration with the Tennessee RiverLine Partnership, a diverse consortium of organizations committed to realizing the vision for the Tennessee RiverLine. The initiative began in and continues to be supported by the UT School of Landscape Architecture, which is a partnership of the UT College of Architecture and Design and the Herbert College of Agriculture.  Students, faculty and staff in departments and colleges of allied disciplines across the UT Knoxville campus, the UT System and other regional institutions support the ongoing development and implementation of the Tennessee RiverLine vision. For more information visit Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

To achieve our vision, the Tennessee RiverLine aspires to reflect the diversity of experiences, ability levels and backgrounds that defines this region through our staff. We achieve this by exercising equitable and inclusive hiring practices as well as facilitating professional development opportunities that enable our team to support our community partners in realizing their own unique, local vision for the Tennessee RiverLine and engaging diverse communities with empathy and authenticity.


With direction from the Tennessee RiverLine Programs Director (Director), and in creative collaboration with the Programs Director, Tennessee RiverLine staff, members of the Tennessee RiverLine Partnership and supporting staff, the responsibilities of a Tennessee RiverLine Program Manager include but are not limited to:
  • Lead the execution of community outreach programs including the Tennessee RiverTowns Program, in collaboration with Tennessee RiverLine staff and community partners
  • Serve as a guide for communities enrolled in Tennessee RiverTowns to achieve benchmarks and requirements within the program
  • Provide technical assistance to community partners in the planning and execution of programs and events, such as community engagement events, paddle events, outdoor recreation and leisure programs, river stewardship activities and advocacy activities
  • Serve as a resource for volunteer development, engagement and coordination for community partners, as well as facilitating these activities for internal Tennessee RiverLine programs
  • Develop and foster both community and allied initiative engagement opportunities, relationships and partnerships
  • Facilitate internal programs that align with the Tennessee RiverLine guiding principles and collaborate with the programs and events team to identify and execute strategic initiatives
  • Develop and manage resources, planning tools and reporting mechanisms that support programs
  • Collaborate with Tennessee RiverLine staff to develop, manage and execute new programming and community outreach initiatives, or new aspects of existing initiatives
  • Support the development and implementation of Tennessee RiverLine risk management practices
  • Collaborate with peer programs staff and other members of the Tennessee RiverLine team
  • Mentor students, specialists or other entry level team members

All responsibilities will be conducted in a manner aligned with the Tennessee RiverLine’s guiding principles, as well as its established commitment to creating and providing innovative programming, exceptional service, continuous improvement and an inclusive and collegial workplace.



  • A Bachelor’s degree and 3 years of professional experience in one of the following disciplines is required: recreation management, community development, outdoor program management, environmental stewardship, environmental education, experiential education or related disciplines. The degree requirement may be waived in lieu of an additional 5 years of experience in one or multiple of these fields, totaling 8 years of experience.
  • The ability to understand complex, multi-scalar initiatives with a regional footprint
  • The ability to collaboratively manage the planning, safe and orderly execution, reporting and continuous improvement of multiple concurrent and successful programs, and provide technical assistance, and develop resources and tools, to program partners that enable them to do the same
  • Interpersonal skills necessary to manage relationships and serve as a primary point of contact with community partners and other project stakeholders
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent critical thinking, time management and project/critical path management skills
  • Ability to implement risk management and safety best practices and execute sound judgment
  • The ability to manage supporting staff
  • Ability to exercise a keen attention to detail
  • Interpersonal skills and professional attitude to lead a healthy environment for successful collaboration
  • Knowledge and ability to support the development and facilitation of programs through outdoor recreation, stewardship, or experiential education activities.


  • 3 years of experience in the planning and execution of on-water or other recreation programs or environmental education programs and activities in accordance with best practices and safety regulations, and appropriate recreation association standards
  • Experience working in a professional setting on program initiatives of a scope or scale similar to that of the Tennessee RiverLine
  • Active industry certifications for outdoor recreation programming, paddling instruction, water recreation safety, recreation stewardship, environmental sustainability, environmental education or related areas
  • Experience in non-motorized water recreation (canoeing, kayaking, SUP) and outdoor recreation/leisure activities
  • Connections or volunteer experience with related outdoor recreation, environmental or related groups, organizations and associations


Submit a complete application packet which includes 1) a letter of interest that articulates the candidate’s relevant qualifications and job experience, as well as their understanding of and interest in the Tennessee RiverLine initiative, 2) a resume or curriculum vitae with at least three professional references, 3) and official or unofficial transcripts showing degree(s) conferred.


Job Features

Job Category

Other Positions


$55,000 - $70,000


Knoxville, Tennessee

Apply directly via the instructions above.

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