On Friday evening, the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates board announced President and CEO Tomás Herrera-Mishler has resigned "to pursue other professional activities."
Herrera-Mishler lasted only one year after his hiring was announced in July, 2020. Herrera-Mishler had served the previous five years as president and CEO of the Balboa Park Conservancy in San Diego. Upon hiring Herrera-Mishler, SANCA Board Chairman Ronald Shapo said his unique background would help the park reach its goals and maximize future growth.
Stephen Rodriguez, who was the CEO and president at the time of Herrera-Mishler's hiring, was shifted to chief operating officer when Herrera-Mishler came on board. Rodriguez now shifts to interim CEO as the board considers its next move. The release said Herrera-Mishler has agreed to be available for consultation "as he transitions to his new activities."
The curt release also said the board members "wish Tomás much success as he moves forward, and good health for him and his family."
SANCA has a major event upcoming — the U.S. Dragon Boat Federation Club Crew National Championships — Oct. 1-3.
SANCA is a not-for-profit business created to manage Nathan Benderson Park for Sarasota County. It lists its primary purpose "to develop and promote Nathan Benderson Park as a world-class event center, team training site and Sarasota County park.
Herrera-Mishler had said he wanted to bring more cultural events to the park and said "SANCA before I was hired was just an operating organization and not charged with fundraising. The organization needs to develop a fundraising strategy. We need to hire fundraising staff. And we need to, most importantly, create relationships that are meaningful with donors."