Special Olympics Florida announced that Rick Beddow, former SeaWorld executive, will serve as the new Chief Operations Officer (COO).
Beddow previously served on the Special Olympics Florida Board of Directors and was instrumental in the implementation of the first Polar Plunge in Central Florida, an event in which individuals jump into chilled waters during the winter to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics.
“Rick brings an extensive executive background to Special Olympics Florida, and his long-standing relationship with our organization makes him an excellent addition to the staff,” said Sherry Wheelock, President and CEO of Special Olympics Florida. Prior to joining Special Olympics Florida, Beddow spent 24 years with SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, serving most recently as the Vice President of Operations at SeaWorld Orlando for five years. He also worked for Ford Aerospace, a division of Ford Motor Company, as a Site Manager, overseeing the operation and maintenance of military simulators, and served in the U.S. Navy.
“Making a positive impact in the lives of others is our shared vision,” said Beddow. “I am proud to serve Special Olympics Florida.” Beddow serves on the University of Central Florida Rosen College Advisory Board and recently held the Chairman-Elect position for the Florida Attractions Association.
He holds a dual Master’s degree in Business and Information Resource Management from Webster University and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Training, Education and Development from Southern Illinois University.