Systems and Service Keep Community Services Rolling

Devin Meister

November 16, 2022

Situated just outside of Washington D.C., in Virginia, Loudoun County Parks, Recreation, and Community Services (PRCS) serve a population of approximately 450,000 with a wide range of services and around 700 dedicated full-time employees.

Loudoun PRCS is a National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Commission on Parks and Recreation Accredited department and is one of only 14 other agencies to obtain this accreditation in Virginia. Nationwide only one percent of parks and recreation agencies receive CAPRA accreditation.

A sampling of services includes nine community centers, five senior centers, four large regional parks, and after-school programs at 50 elementary schools. The result is a 64-page activity guide and a lot of moving parts. They recognized in 1995 that they needed a robust and stable software program to meet their varied needs.  As the main liaison between the IT department and the department, Noah Coberly, System Administrator, Loudoun County, has a lot on his plate. “If it has to do with computers, I am probably the lead on it in some way, shape, or form,” he says. “It’s a lot.”

As power users in the program, he’s glad that Vermont Systems continues to evolve with their needs without losing the robustness and flexibility that enables them to serve their community.

Eliminating Finger Pointing

Starting with the DOS version in 1995, moving to the Windows version in 2000, and then to RecTrac 3.1, Loudoun County is now hosted with Vermont Systems.  While hosting offers a number of advantages from security to accessibility, one of the biggest Coberly identifies is one that often flies under the radar: responsibility. “Not pointing fingers at each other when there’s a problem, which was constant,” he says. Before “it was difficult for me to always determine where the actual problem was. I’d have to just gather information, gather information, gather information, go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth until finally it was resolved.” That’s changed with Vermont Systems Hosting. “Now Vermont Systems figures it out, it’s in their charge.”

Enabling and Streamlining Access

Like parks and recreation departments everywhere, Loudoun County faces labor challenges and the necessity to ensure simplified, frictionless access for patrons. For that reason, they were early adopters of key fobs for their member passes and have been using barcode scanners with Vermont Systems RecTrac for more than 20 years. “We have nine full-service recreation centers and we have five senior centers. If you buy a pass at a senior center, it’s good at all five senior centers. If you buy a recreation pass at either of the recreation centers, it’s good at either recreation center. But they don’t cross over. Back in 2001-2002, when we did the first senior center we actually printed the cards with color pictures and the whole thing, but that equipment was problematic. It’s enormously expensive and it gives no increase in functionality. We’ve been doing key fobs for eight, 10 years, and I love ’em. That was a great enhancement. It’s cheap and they work great.”

Legendary Personable Service

For any software solution at an enterprise level with literally hundreds of users’ hands in the system, customer service is going play a major role in getting value out of the system. The best software without equal support is going to ultimately fall short of expectations. That’s an area where Vermont Systems and its dedicated people shine. “I would say that consistently Vermont system’s biggest strength has been the customer service,” says Coberly. Historically he says “the customer service and the response has been pretty solid.”

About Loudoun County Virginia

  • Vermont Systems Customer, Since 1995, hosted since 2019
  • Population served: 450,000
  • Fulltime employees: 700
  • After-school programs: 50 different elementary schools
  • CAPRA Accredited and 3-time National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award Winner

See other customer stories here.