MANATEE -- Eight Port Manatee managers recently completed a Certified Port Executive program, training that familiarizes each of them with the operations of every department at the port.
According to Carlos Buqueras, the port's executive director, the group is the largest graduating class from the program at any port in Florida. The five-day, 40-hour course gave instruction in operations, marketing, finance, security and other port functions to the group.
"It's an intensive masters program in port business," Buqueras said.
Graduates include port marketing director Matt Appice, harbor management deputy director Malcolm Edwards, security director Frank Holden, finance manager Sheila Neal, maintenance director Shawn Smith, security deputy director David St. Pierre, finance director Denice Stufflebeam, and marketing manager Virginia Zimmermann.
Stufflebeam said the graduates all came away "in awe" of what they had learned in the class.
The Port Manatee employees received the training for free. Buqueras said that had anyone not working for the port taken the class, it would have cost $3,000.