David Pensato’s connection to the Exchange District stretches back to his teenage years in the early ’90s, when he regularly visited to shop at the fledgling, alternative shops and eateries, walk through the galleries and occasionally take in a movie at Cinematheque. Most recently (prior to becoming Executive Director in 2017), Pensato was best known in the Exchange District as creator and co-founder of the award-winning Alleyways Market (in the Exchange) in addition to working closely with a number of the District’s key partners on strategic planning, brand strategy and public engagement initiatives. As an innovator and brand strategist, Pensato’s eye for detail and ability to continually see the big picture (and beyond) compliment his love for the area, making him the ideal person to engage and interact with the Exchange’s many members, businesses, and visitors.
Derek Manaigre, an expert in urban cleanliness and safety, is the Operations Manager at the Exchange District BIZ. Prior to joining the BIZ seven years ago, Derek worked for 10 years as Maintenance and Cleanliness Coordinator at the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, where graffiti removal and sidewalk sweeping became second nature. Before working for the BIZ groups, Derek dedicated over 15 years to operating a small organic dairy and mixed farm, where he learned the value of hard work and commitment. Now Derek juggles the mentorship and supervision of foot patrols and maintenance crew with image project planning and event orchestration.
Manager: Marketing, Communications & Events
When Karen Kornelsen’s not out in the Exchange meeting business owners, welcoming newcomers and promoting events like First Fridays in the Exchange, she is hard at work promoting the District to the world. Whether it’s marketing, advertising, social media, blogging, event planning or managing a great team of tour guides, Karen has the best interests of the Exchange at heart. She is passionate about the District and bringing the neighbourhood to the next level.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
With a background in journalism, filmmaking, marketing, and event management, Nicholas Friesen brings a unique mix of knowledge and experience to his position with the Exchange District BIZ. Having acted as a participant and promoter of the arts for over a decade, he has immersed himself in the city’s thriving creative scene by covering events and artists for street weeklies and radio, while also participating as a musician and video artist. As an “organized creative” he is excited to assist the people of the Exchange in bringing their ideas and stories to the rest of the city and beyond.