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Ohio Expo Center & State Fair General Manager Search

Virgil Strickler, General Manager of the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, announced his retirement on June 1, 2023. The Ohio Expositions Commission, in conjunction with Gov. Mike DeWine’s office, have begun a search for the new Ohio Expo Center & State Fair General Manager.

Interested applicants must apply for the position through Careers.Ohio.Gov.


Position Description

The Ohio Expositions Commission is seeking a visionary leader to shape the future look of the Ohio Expositions Center and Ohio State Fair, and to implement the vision of the Expo 2050 initiative. The Ohio State Fair is one of the largest state fairs in the country, and the Ohio Expo Center is one of the most dynamic and unique year-round event venues in the Midwest. The General Manager of the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair will drive the effort to give all visitors the best experience for themselves and their families.

The Ohio Expositions Commission has embarked on a long-term capital and strategic programming initiative to uphold Governor DeWine's vision of the Fair as the premier event of its kind in the nation. The strategic vision includes a new overall organization of the Ohio Expo Center property; including the renovation, modernization, or demolition of several buildings, and the addition of new exhibition facilities. The recommendations also include the development of a new town square. The improvements will benefit the State Fair as well as many events held at the site throughout the year, and the master plan framework will be used by the Expositions Commission as a guide for future development over the long-term. The General Manager will lead the continued development and implementation of this long-term strategy for the State Fair and Ohio Expo Center.

This initiative requires a visionary leader who knows how to form partnerships and promote Ohio as a destination for first-class attractions and events. Events are held year-round and range from the All-American Quarter Horse Congress to the Goodguys Rod & Custom Car Show and the Ohio Beef Expo. In fact, the Ohio Expo Center is home to five of the top ten events in Columbus each year, in addition to the State Fair.

The General Manager receives direction from the Governor and the Expositions Commission, and is responsible for the management and strategic direction of the State Fair and the Expo Center. This includes supervision of the senior management team, development and operation of the agency’s operating and capital budgets, and successful implementation of fairs, exhibits and promotional events conducted on the Expo Center grounds related to agricultural, industrial, educational, sports, and recreational purposes.

The General Manager, with the Commission, provides executive leadership and community outreach to local, county, and state governments, and other community partners. The General Manager is expected to establish and maintain strong rapport with local and State officials, as well as stakeholders – including those in the agricultural, livestock, equine, and vendor communities – to ensure a collaborative approach to maximizing the use and impact of the Expo Center facilities. The General Manager will also be expected to bring a robust approach to utilizing data analytics to measure success and develop short, medium, and long-term strategies.

About the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair

The Ohio Expo Center is one of the most dynamic and unique event venues in the Midwest. It occupies 360 acres in the heart of Columbus – just north of downtown, minutes from Port Columbus International Airport, shopping and hotels – and at the crossroads of two major north-south and east-west interstates, it is located within a half-day drive for half the nation’s population.

With more than one million square feet of event space under roof, on-site parking for 14,000 vehicles, seating for 20,000 people and ties for 2,000 cattle, the Ohio Expo Center is one of the most flexible and accommodating sites available.

For more information about the general manager position and the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, visit the official listing here.

Application Process

Applications are due by Friday, Sept. 15 — The application deadline was extended. Each application will be reviewed by a search committee chaired by the Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Expositions Commission member Mary Mertz.

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