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Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy hires new COO

Bruce Patneaude replaces Stephen Rodriguez, who guided the Sarasota park to being one of the world's top rowing facilities.

The Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy announced a shakeup of its leadership on Wednesday.
The Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy announced a shakeup of its leadership on Wednesday.
File photo
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A former IMG Academy executive has been hired by the Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy to be its chief operating officer.
Bruce Patneaude will replace Stephen Rodriguez, who has served the nonprofit both as a chief executive officer and a chief operating officer.
A Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy press release said Rodriguez is transitioning out of his current role in early March.
Rodriguez was hired in 2017 by the nonprofit, then known as Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates. Shortly after his hiring, Rodriguez guided the park through the 2017 World Rowing Championships and many major events afterward.
The release said, "Rodriguez stewarded the park through challenges including two named hurricanes and a global pandemic. He also attracted and hosted major championships, grew programming and launched community events such as Fireworks on the Lake and Trick or Treat on the Lake."

Stephen Rodrigues is leaving after serving roles as the Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy's CEO and COO.
File photo

Michael Taaffe, chair of the Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy's Board of Trustees, said in the release, "We are grateful to Stephen for his contributions and leadership. As a new chapter for the park is set to begin, we will continue to build on the success of recent years including attracting major international sporting events to the region and building the new multi-sport indoor complex. We welcome Bruce and are confident he has the skills and experience to expertly lead the park’s future.”
Patneaude was hired by the conservancy in August 2022 as vice president of operations. He had been IMG's vice president of operations for the previous 12 years.
Then Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy was created to manage Nathan Benderson Park for Sarasota County.


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