Cape business community loses a ‘most respected leader’
Cape Coral lost one of its most respected business leaders on Friday when Patti Schnell, executive director of the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association, died at Hope Hospice.
Schnell, 47, was heralded by her peers as a tireless and devoted worker, who helped to steer the construction association through both good times and bad.
“There’s not enough good words to describe the dedication and leadership she’s provided to our industry and our community,” said CCCIA President Dave Mulicka. “She took on everyone’s issues as if they were her own.”
Diagnosed with cancer late last week, Schnell passed away in hospice care early Friday morning.
She came to Cape Coral after working for the chambers of commerce in Key West and North Fort Myers. She lived in the Cape Coral area roughly 15 years.
Mulicka said to honor Patti the CCCIA Board would act as singular unit, taking on the responsibilities of the duties of the executive director.
Letting the CCCIA falter in any way would be the greatest disservice to her memory and hard work, Mulicka said.
“You’ve been so comfortable with that leadership, to have lost it in five days, it’s a lot to absorb,” Mulicka said. “But we won’t allow it to fail … she would be upset with me if we did.”
The respect and admiration Schnell commanded, and earned, throughout the city and industry was unparalleled, according to city Councilmember Marty McClain, a contractor himself.
He said she was highly regarded in city hall, as Schnell became a familiar figure during her tenure as the construction association’s executive director.
“Patti was, without question, one of the most respected and loved people in the construction industry,” McClain said. “She was definitely respected.”
As the CCCIA mourns the loss of one their family, Mulicka said he remembered Patti Schnell not only as a great leader, but also a great communicator who was able to make anyone she spoke with feel unique.
“She had a talent of making anyone who was in front of her feel like they were her only customer,” he said. “She remembered you. She knew your business, she knew you personally, and always gave her undivided attention.”
Final arrangements were still being made as of Friday evening.