COLUMBUS – After conducting a national search, the Ohio Expositions Commission selected Virgil Strickler as the new general manager of the Ohio Expo Center and state fair.
“We reviewed a number of qualified candidates for this position,” said Director of Agriculture Fred Dailey, chair of the executive search committee.
“The commission chose Virgil because of his strong agricultural contacts and his ability to build consensus. We feel Virgil can advance the reputation of the Ohio State Fair as the premier agricultural exposition in the United States.”
New challenges. “The commission is excited to have Virgil as the new general manager,” said David Madison, chair of the Ohio Expositions Commission.
“He will have lots of challenges ahead with the new 12-day fair, but we have the utmost confidence in his ability to lead the staff and the facility into the future.”
Duties. Strickler will be responsible for the management of the Ohio State Fair and the more than 175 events held at the Ohio Expo Center each year.
Included in Strickler’s duties are the leadership and direction of the agency’s 72 employees.
In addition, he will be responsible for directing the development of a budget consisting of both state funds and revenues generated by events.
“I am very honored and excited to have been chosen for this opportunity,” said Strickler.
“My roots are in Ohio, agriculture and most importantly the fair, and I can assure everyone I will do the best job possible to make the fair and Expo Center a success.”
Past positions. Strickler has been employed at the Expo Center since 1993, serving as agriculture director. In this capacity he oversaw the more than 35,000 agricultural, livestock and horse show entries at the Ohio State Fair.
Strickler was instrumental in implementing the nationally recognized Youth Reserve Program in 1995.
In 1998 Strickler also took on the additional responsibility of assistant general manager, in which he oversaw the maintenance and special events’ departments.
Before his arrival at the Ohio Expo Center, Strickler worked in livestock marketing, banking and farming.
Background. Strickler was born in Amanda, Ohio, where he grew up on a farm. A 1973 graduate of Amanda-Clearcreek High School, Strickler was involved in FFA and was awarded the State FFA Degree.
After graduation, he went on to attend Findlay College. He received his Certified Fair Executive designation in 2000 from the International Association of Fairs and Expositions.
In 2000, Strickler was also recognized with the 4-H Fifth ‘H’ Award for his contribution to youth development. He lives in Gahanna, Ohio.
Search committee. The executive search committee that led the national search was comprised director of agriculture Fred Dailey, director of development Bruce Johnson, Ohio Expositions Commission past-chair Dorothy Jones and Ohio Expositions Commission chair David Madison.
More than 57 applications from across the United States were submitted for the position.