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.
Operations, Community Safety and Beautification
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.
Strategic Initiatives Coordinator & Executive Assistant
Active in the local arts scene as well as a history nerd, Sandy has always been drawn to the rich creative and heritage offerings of the Exchange District. A Creative Communications grad, Sandy has a background in journalism and project coordination and is delighted to bring her skills to an organization committed to enhancing one of Winnipeg’s most vibrant neighbourhoods. Most recently she worked as Manitoba coordinator for the International Boreal Conservation Campaign, after a stint as a news producer at CTV Winnipeg. In her spare time, Sandy is a visual artist exploring the obscure and nearly lost historic craft of Victorian hairwork, as well as a stage manager for local indie theatre.
Special Assistant Administration, research & historical initiatives
Sabrina is passionate about history and feels lucky to be supporting an area with such remarkably unique old buildings and a small-town community feel. Along with running tours throughout the summer, she uses her B.A in History and love of telling stories to create original tours that show visitors what a truly complex and rich history our city has.
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’s always excited to assist the people of the Exchange in bringing their ideas and stories to the rest of the city and beyond.