One of Anna Maria Island’s best-known restaurateurs was chosen to help rally the Manatee County community and engage the area’s private, government and business sectors before and during the 2017 World Rowing Championships.
Ed Chiles was selected by Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker for the volunteer position of event co-chairman and the other co-chairman, Rod Hershberger, was chosen by Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer.
“These strong community leaders are a representation that this event is for the community,” Meredith Scerba, SANCA’s designated World Rowing Championship 2017 executive director, said in an email. “They represent the two counties that will be positively impacted by the event.”
Scerba estimates the event will have a $25 million economic impact on the Manatee-Sarasota area.
Chiles is owner and CEO of the Chiles Group restaurants, including the Sandbar, Beach House and Mar Vista on Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. He serves on Manatee County’s Tourist Development Council and is the managing partner for the Pine Avenue Restoration project in the city of Anna Maria, according to a release from the World Championship Rowing staff.
“It’s an honor to be asked to serve as co-chair along with Rod Hershberger,” Chiles said in the release. “This event will showcase our world class location and the incredible rowing facility at Nathan Benderson Park to thousands of premier athletes, sponsors and attendees. The economic development that this will provide to our area will be substantial, as will the long term impact in reinforcing our area as a premier, international sports destination.”
Hershberger is a co-founder of PGT Industries, Inc., in Venice, and is president of nonprofit the Argus Foundation, according to the release.
The chairmen will provide guidance to the World Rowing Championship’s Local Organizing Committee and attend quarterly meetings to report progress.
“There will also be a series of community events they will attend as the face of the event in the community,” Scerba said in the email. “That really begins in September, as we kick off our one year out countdown campaign.”
The World Rowing Championships, organized by the International Rowing Federation, start Sept. 23 and end on Oct. 3, 2017 at Nathan Benderson Park. According to the release, in the 48 years since the event began, the U.S. hosted one other World Rowing Championship event, in 1994 in Indianapolis.