Paul Blackketter Paul Blackketter - Chief Operating Officer, SANCA

Paul is a proud Florida native, born in Manatee County as a 5th generation manatee resident. He is married to wife, Rhonda Ellis and father of two children, daughter Chloe, a current sophomore and rower for Stetson University and daughter Madison, a current soccer player and senior in high school with a strong interest in engineering.

Paul has had an extensive background in both the army and urban planning. In 1984 Paul Joined the United States army as an enlisted soldier and as an infantry mortar man 11C. In 91’ he attended officer candidate school and received his commission as 2nd lieutenant and branched infantry. He quickly graduated with honors and received the second highest award as the leadership graduate of his class. Since then, Paul has been deployed to 15 major natural disaster locations to assist others in need, some including disasters from hurricane Andrew and hurricane Katrina. After 9/11 he was deployed and assigned as the company commander for the unit that secured the Orlando international airports where he ran security operations for the next 6 months. In 2003, Paul was deployed to Iraq for one year where his duties included: the development of relationships between the local sheik leaders in AR Ramadi Iraqi, the reconstruction of the city of Ramadi and to develop and construct force protection for the 1/124 infantry battalion and assigned units. He received the bronzed star at the combat infantry badge for his services in Iraq. Currently, Paul is an Army Major, serves as the brigade logistical officer for the 641st RSG where he is responsible for brigades’ logistical operations.

Paul also attended the University of Arkansas in the mix of his extensive army participation and training. He received a BA degree in urban planning from the University of South Florida. Immediately after graduating, Paul went on to work for some of the top engineering firms, residing at Benderson Development where he has been for the past 7 years. He has been a part of many major projects including self-storage centers to major shopping complexes. His major focus has been on the due diligence, land use approvals, community and government liaison, board presentations, and project management duties.

Over the past 10 years, Paul has traveled around the world conducting due diligence for the top world rowing and aquatic center facilities. He has teamed up with the federation of international rowing to develop one of the top rowing and sporting designations in the world. His two major duties include executive director of planning for Benderson Development where he is responsible for community and government relations and second, taking part and overseeing the development of The Nathan Benderson Park where he has been selected as the Chief executive officer for the nonprofit group called the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center (SANCA)

Bob Whitford Bob Whitford - Park Manager, Sarasota County

Robert "Bob" Whitford is the Park manager for Nathan Benderson Park and World Class Rowing and is very excited for be part of the Sarasota County team.

For the past 23 years, Bob has served the Associated Students of California State University, Sacramento as the Director of Rowing and Facilities Manager at the SAC Aquatic Center. There he was part of a team that operated a "Boating Instruction and Safety Center" on behave of the Department of Boating and Waterwats on Lake Natoma, a nationally recognized rowing venue. Bob is a native of Newport Beach, CA, attended Orange Coast College, The University of California, Berkeley (CAL), and graduated from the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Growing up Bob and his family lived on a Sea Scout Base, allowing them the opportunity to operate all sorts of watercraft. Neighboring the base was the OCC crew boathouse where Bob began his rowing career as a coxswain at the young age of 10 (5th grade). In high school, Bob founded the Newport School Boys rowing program and became an oarsman for the following 7 years. His next determination was to take his experience and dilute it amongst others by coaching. He went on to coaching some of the top rowing universities in the country including Long Beach, Stanford, UCI, Santa Clara and residing at Sac State University. Bob has coached rowers of all levels including novices to elites as well as sailing and power boating. Bob has been recognized for his outstanding achievements and efforts as a coach in the rowing word. He was two time USA National Sculling coach, once in 1986 and then again in 1987. In US Rowing, Bob served two terms on the Board of Directors and is currently a chief referee, coaching education clinician. Through US Sailing, Bob serves as a powerboat instructor.

Bob's experience as a certified facilities manager has taught him how to create a venue that attracts world class athletes to participate in world class events while in turn maintaining openness to serve our citizens as a community park. He has had the pleasure to be part of a team that has installed all the waterside facilities for two Olympic Games. He has worked with Precision Racing, installing the majority of the first catamaran style coaching launch built in America. In 2009, Precision racing installed the first buoyed race course at Benderson. Bob has said that it is from the humble start that the seeds of what can be were first sewn; World Class Rowing. To Bob, the park reflects the vision of the best minds from sports. Many have had a say in what our park will be. With the innovation of the world's first floating wave abortion attenuator for our sport and the creation of a 30 acre island, Nathan Benderson Park truly sets the standard of "World Class". Bob is the proud husband of Lee Ann Whitford and the father of two children, daughter Alexandra a current student at Stanford University and son, Broderick, a junior in high school in California.

John Krotec John Krotec - Volunteer Coordinator, SANCA

John was born In Germany while his parents were stationed there in the service. He grew up in Sarasota, Florida, where he attended public school and later graduated with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from Florida State University. With his degree, John worked in corporate restaurant management in places such as Puerto Rico, USVI, California and Texas.  John joined the US Army in 1987 and spent three years serving our country as a Non-Commissioned Officer in the 4th Infantry Division. John has been recognized for his outstanding service in the army with numerous awards, which include an Army Achievement Medal (3rd Oak Leaf Cluster), An Army Commendation Medal (Oak Leaf-Cluster) an Army Good Conduct Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal.  John was the Distinguished Graduate of AIT, Ft. McClellan, Alabama, a Distinguished Graduate of NCO Academy, Ft. Carson, Colorado, and a Member of the prestigious Audie Murphy Club, recognized as an outstanding NCO amongst his peers.

In 1991 John became an entrepreneur by starting his own company called Environeers Inc., selling quality backpacks and clothing gear. Becoming self-employed has allowed John to become very active in his community. Since 2005, John has co-founded and chaired the Fruitville 210 Community Alliance, was on the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Advisory Board, is a former board member of the Council of Neighborhood Associations, Co-Founded the Oliver Branch Forum and most recently was approached by Benderson Development to support the UTC and NBP. He has been extremely involved with that project ever since and is currently the Volunteer Coordinator. John believes that “The Nathan Benderson Park is a rare opportunity for Sarasota and Manatee Counties, the State of Florida, and for the United States Of America. It will be an incredible quality-of-life asset and sustainable economic driver for the future generations of residents, athletes and their families.