The Carmel Valley Recreation Center is getting a new center director as the much-liked Johnny Chou has been reassigned to Ocean Beach.
Chou's last day at the rec center will be July 10. He'll be replaced with Rob Powell, who comes from the Cadman Recreation Center in Clairemont.
Chou has been reassigned to Robb Field in Ocean Beach. Robb Field is more of a sports complex, Chou said, with a gym, fitness center and fields that host rugby, football, baseball and more.
Carmel Valley Community Planning Board member Dave McIntyre said Chou was a big help as the Carmel Valley Skatepark was being developed.
"He always had a smile on his face and always took the time to explain things," McIntyre said. "He was a major asset to Carmel Valley. I'm sorry he's leaving."
Chou said that he is leaving the rec center in good hands - he has worked with his replacement Powell before and said he's a very personable guy with a lot of experience as a center director. Powell's first day will be July 13.
"It's mixed feelings," said Chou, who's been in Carmel Valley for 4 1/2 years. "I'm definitely excited to go there, but I do enjoy being here, too."
Chou said he liked how the frequent rec center users would always stop to say hello and "chat it up" - he's made some good friends.
"I love this community and the kids and adults that come here," Chou said. "Everyone seems to know everybody."
Part of Chou's job was working with the Carmel Valley Recreation Council, composed of community members and representatives from area sports leagues.
"Johnny was the most effective city employee I've ever encountered," said Jeb Spencer, volunteer fields coordinator for the Del Mar Little League. "He raises the bar for everyone around him, regardless of age or tenure, and I suspect his career will be one to watch closely."
McIntyre nearly echoed Spencer's statement, saying he was the most professional and energetic city employee he's worked with.