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Tampa Bay’s movers and shakers: Preston Rudie

Learn more about the business owner, CEO, storyteller, and adventurer helping to shape our area’s future.

Preston Rudie is wearing a blue jacket and beanie with his arms spread wide. He is up a mountain and a blanket of clouds is behind him, stretching into the distance like a carpet.

The sky’s the limit for Tampa Bay.

Photo by Amy Pezzicara via Preston Rudie

As informed + engaged Tampa Bay area citizens, we are fully aware of the growth happening around us. From developments like Water Street Tampa, to transformations of historical spots like Armature Works, and significant financial interest in TBAY’s future, there has been plenty of change, and there is more to come.

In our new “Movers and Shakers” series, we’ll sit down with those helping shape Tampa Bay’s future. One of these people is Preston Rudie — Founder and CEO of Catalyst Communications Group. We wanted to learn more about who he is, his work, and what’s to come.

Who is Preston Rudie?

A Wisconsinite, Rudie went to the University of Madison-Wisconsin to study mass communications + media studies. A lengthy journalistic career followed, beginning with more than six years in the Badger State.

In 2002, Rudie moved to Tampa Bay and enjoyed over a decade working at WTSP. That’s when the awards started rolling in, including 23 Emmys and six Edward R. Murrow awards. His people-first storytelling — like this — would set the stage for his career beyond the screen.

Preston Rudie stands at the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro holding a Tampa Bay Lightning flag. The summit signpost is behind. He is wearing wintry gear, including a jacket, hat, and protective glasses.

There’s never a bad place to show off some TBAY pride.

Photo by Amy Pezzicara via Preston Rudie

What does he do?

Catalyst handles media relations and communications strategy for businesses + individuals, as well as nonprofit organizations. Rudie founded the Tampa-based company back in 2017.

Today, the company takes care of communications needs for folks on the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Power 100 list. With Catalyst’s help, the Florida Aquarium shares how it protects our waterways, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority spreads the word about initiatives like free rides for veterans, and developers like KETTLER detail major plans shaping the city’s future — including Gasworx + Ybor Harbor.

“There’s nothing I won’t do within the company,” he told us, as he explained his culture-driven approach to employment. A glance at the leadership team at Catalyst reveals journalistic backgrounds throughout the business. When asked, Rudie’s explanation was simple: They understand deadlines, and they pick up the phone.

Outside of work, Rudie recently climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro — the tallest mountain in Africa. Why? He told us it was to take his own life back, restore a sense of personal balance, and show his daughter the fruits of hard work. Keep your eyes peeled for a documentary he’s working on about the experience.

Let us know who we should speak to next.

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