Category Archives: Board of Directors
Thursday, October 27, 2022 (2:36 pm)
OC Fair Board names Newton Pham as Chair
COSTA MESA – The OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors has named Newton Pham as Chair and Nick Kovacevich as Vice Chair.
Pham, who previously served as Vice Chair, replaces Doug La Belle as Chair. The board voted in new leadership at its Oct. 27 meeting.
Pham is an executive vice president and head of leveraged finance at California Bank and Trust, the California division of Zions Bancorporation. Prior, he was the principal financial analyst in charge of corporate development at Mitsubishi Materials U.S.A. from 2012 to 2014, senior analyst at McGladrey Capital Markets LLC from 2007 to 2012 and equity research associate at Smith Barney, Citigroup Global Markets from 2004 to 2007. Pham is a graduate of San Diego State University. He lives in Fountain Valley and has served on the Board since 2016.
Kovacevich is the CEO of Greenlane Holdings, Inc., a leading provider of ancillary cannabis products and accessories. He is an entrepreneur who co-founded several successful businesses including KushCo Holdings, which merged with Greenlane in 2021, and BigRentz, an Irvine-based technology company. Kovacevich is a graduate of Southwest Baptist University where he captained the men’s NCAA II basketball team. He is a resident of Newport Beach and was appointed to the Board in 2020.
Exiting Chair La Belle will continue to serve on the Board of Directors.
Board officers typically serve one-year terms and are nominated for office by a committee of fellow Board members. Board members are appointed by the Governor of California and may serve more than one term.
Tuesday, June 28, 2022 (4:26 pm)
State of the Fair report presented to Board of Directors
On June 23, the OC Fair Board reviewed a presentation from CEO Michele Richards on the mid-year state of the Fair.
The report covered the agency’s budget process, our place in the fair industry, bringing mission and values into focus, engaging the community, new business development, transparency, technology, workforce development, the financial outlook and opportunities and challenges.
Tuesday, April 5, 2022 (10:57 am)
OC Fair Board updates mission, vision statements
As part of the Strategic Plan work the OC Fair Board of Directors voted to update OCFEC’s mission, vision, value and purpose statements:
Mission: Creating equitable community access to agriculture, entertainment, cultural and educational experiences
Vision: Orange County’s town square – the safe place where the community gathers and finds value
Values: Safety, People, Integrity, Stewardship, Compliance, Diversity & Inclusion, Excellence, Community & Neighborliness
Purpose: The OC Fair & Event Center is the 32nd District Agricultural Association (32nd DAA), a California state institution that is organized in accordance with the California Food and Agricultural Code. The 32nd DAA’s purposes under the Code are: 1) to hold fairs, expositions and exhibitions in Orange County to exhibit the industries and industrial enterprises, resources and products of every kind or nature of the state, with a view toward improving, exploiting, encouraging and stimulating them; and 2) to construct, maintain and operate recreational and cultural facilities of general public interest in Orange County.
Thursday, January 27, 2022 (4:11 pm)
OC Fair Board votes to fly PanAfrican flag in honor of Black History Month in February
OC Fair & Event Center celebrates and welcomes all communities. Today the OC Fair Board voted to approve the Community Affairs Committee’s recommendation to adopt a policy to fly the PanAfrican flag at OC Fair & Event Center each February in recognition of Black History Month.
A flag-raising ceremony is slated for Tuesday, Feb. 1, at 9 a.m. at the OC Fair & Event Center administration building and all are welcome.
This is the full text of the resolution that was approved:
RECOMMENDATION The Community Affairs Committee’s recommendation to the Board of Directors is to approve the proclamation and resolution below, and adopt a policy to fly the Pan-African flag at the OC Fair & Event Center each February in recognition of Black History Month.
BACKGROUND PROCLAMATION AND RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE 32ND DISTRICT AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATION REGARDING BLACK HISTORY MONTH AND THE EQUAL REPRESENTATION OF DIVERSITY PRESENTED AT THE ORANGE COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS
WHEREAS, the mission of the 32nd District Agricultural Association (the “District”) is the celebration of Orange County’s communities, interests, agriculture and heritage; WHEREAS, the District recognizes and affirms the Black/Afro-American community as one of the communities that makes up the fabric and heritage of Orange County;
WHEREAS, in fulfilling its mission, the District is proud to celebrate the Black/AfroAmerican community;
WHEREAS, February is observed across the United States as a month to recognize, educate, and celebrate the history of Black/Afro-American contributors to American history, infrastructure, politics, entertainment, education, business/entrepreneurship, science/technology/engineering/math, anthropology/culture, and global civil/human rights movements; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Directors of the District recognizes the Pan-African/Black Liberation flag as a symbol of welcoming and inclusiveness of the Black/AfroAmerican community specifically and of all ethnically diverse communities generally;
NOW, THEREFORE, the Board of Directors of the District hereby proclaims February as Black History Month at the OC Fair & Event Center;
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors of the District hereby reaffirms the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and nondiscrimination as core institutional values of the District and the OC Fair & Event Center;
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors hereby reaffirms its policy prohibiting discrimination by the District on the basis of any characteristic protected by law, and, in proclaiming Black History Month at the OC Fair & Event Center, expressly notes that this prohibition applies to discrimination against any person on the basis of their race, ethnicity, or nationality; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors hereby directs that the PanAfrican flag be flown every February henceforth alongside all official flags that are displayed on the District’s property, as a symbol of the District’s belief in the equal dignity of all persons who visit the Fair’s grounds and of the District’s commitment to welcoming and including people of all backgrounds and identities to the OC Fair & Event Center; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors, in the continued belief in the equal dignity of all persons who visit the Fair’s grounds and commitment to welcoming and including people of all backgrounds and identities to the OC Fair & Event Center, hereby proclaims that no community member be left in the dark, unrepresented by the OC Fair & Event Center.
Friday, December 17, 2021 (2:25 pm)
Fair Board pays tribute to International Day of Persons with Disabilities
During December’s OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors meeting, members paid tribute to International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which was Dec. 3, 2021.
The presentation slide is below (click to view pdf):
Thursday, November 18, 2021 (12:03 pm)
OC Fair Board revises committee assignments
At its Nov. 18 meeting, the OC Fair Board of Directors revised its committee structure and added two new committees.
• Chair La Belle and Vice Chair Pham
This committee provides executive support to the Board and acts on behalf of the full Board during emergency situations.
• Consult with CEO
• Develop Board meeting agendas
• Address Board issues
• Conduct annual safety/security meeting
• Initiate strategic planning
• Complete the strategic planning process and provide ongoing monitoring
Financial Monitoring and Audit Committee:
• Director Kovacevich and Director Bagneris
This committee monitors the organization’s financial position and ensures financial controls are in place.
• Monthly financial oversight
• Annual budget review
• Annual audit process
• Participate in the scoring process for key RFPs, including for carnival services
• Director Ruiz and Director Aitken
This committee reviews buildings and grounds related projects and issues and recommends site planning direction
• Construction projects
• Capital expenditures
• Master site planning
• Director Cervantes and Director Rubalcava-Garcia
This committee ensures compliance with all Board policies and regulatory requirements
• Policy updates
• Bagley-Keene open meeting compliance
• Annual form 700 reporting
• Annual required Board training
Community Affairs Committee:
• Director Bagneris
This committee oversees the Board’s relationship with the community
• Diversity, equity and inclusion
• Community engagement
• Relationships with local, county and state officials
Entertainment and Business Development Committee – NEW
• Director Rubalcava-Garcia, Committee Chair; Director Cervantes
This committee, in coordination with staff, evaluates opportunities at all District entertainment venues and pursues business development opportunities
• Pacific Amphitheatre programming enhancement opportunities
• Hangar and Action Sports Arena programming enhancement opportunities
• Development of year-round and fairtime business opportunities
• Utilizing Board contacts and relationships for sponsorship and new event sales opportunities
Governmental Relations Committee – NEW
• Director Aitken, Committee Chair; Director Pham
This committee evaluates opportunities for expanding programing with the county and cities in Orange County and monitors legislative matters.
• Legislative monitoring
• Evaluate City and County programing opportunities
• Annual “State of the District” presentation
• Monitor the development of the Joint Powers Authority initiative
Centennial Farm Foundation Liaisons
• Director Kovacevich
Heroes Hall Veterans Foundation Liaisons
• Director Cervantes and Chair La Belle
Fair Board pays tribute to Native American Heritage Month
During November’s OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors meeting, members paid tribute to Native American Heritage Month.
The presentation highlighted the contributions Native Americans have made to Orange County’s communities, education and heritage, and to agriculture throughout California.
Monday, November 1, 2021 (10:19 am)
OC Fair Board names Doug La Belle as Chair
COSTA MESA (Nov. 1, 2021) – The OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors has named Doug La Belle as Chair and Newton Pham as Vice Chair.
La Belle, who previously served as Vice Chair, replaces Natalie Rubalcava-Garcia as Chair. The board voted in new leadership at its Nov. 28 meeting.
La Belle is retired and most recently served as City Manager for the City of Chino Hills from 1995 until 2009. Prior to that he served as City Manager for the City of Signal Hill and began his career in local government in 1964 with the City of Garden Grove and has worked in various administrative capacities for the cities of Cerritos, Huntington Beach, La Mesa and Marysville. La Belle, pictured right, is a resident of Costa Mesa.
“I am excited to take on the reins of Board Chair again and help lead the organization as we move into 2022,” said La Belle. “I look forward to using my experience serving on the Board since 2010 to create opportunities for families, businesses and local organizations to come together to enjoy the annual OC Fair and all the year-round activities at the fairgrounds.”
Pham has been vice president at California Bank and Trust since 2014 and was the principal financial analyst at Mitsubishi Materials U.S.A. from 2012 to 2014, senior analyst at McGladrey Capital Markets LLC from 2007 to 2012 and associate consultant at Smith Barney, Citigroup Global Markets from 2004 to 2007. Pham has served on the Board of Directors since 2016 and resides in Fountain Valley.
Exiting Chair Rubalcava-Garcia will continue to serve on the Board of Directors.
“I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as Chair of the Orange County Fair Board,” said Rubalcava-Garcia. “It is with great pleasure that I can highlight our many accomplishments this past year which included navigating the pandemic, serving as a vaccine super pod site in an effort to help get the community vaccinated, hosting a very successful in-person 2021 OC Fair, initiating a community affairs committee which is tasked with ensuring OC Fair & Event Center is engaging with the community and focused on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and launching the organization’s three-year strategic planning effort.”
The Board also recently welcomed a new director, Melahat Rafiei. She has been Secretary at the California Democratic Party since 2021. Rafiei has been Principal at Progressive Solutions Consulting since 2009 and a Co-Founder of WeCann since 2017. Rafiei was Executive Director at the Democratic Party of Orange County from 2007 to 2009 and a Board Member at the Community Action Fund from 2007 to 2013. She is a delegate for the California Democratic Party and a member of Democratic National Committee and the City of Anaheim’s Cultural and Heritage Commission. She was appointed to the Board by Governor Gavin Newsom in September.
Board officers typically serve one-year terms and are nominated for office by a committee of fellow Board members.
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 (1:57 pm)
3-Year Strategic Planning Workshop #2
OCFEC Board of Directors will hold a board meeting today (Tuesday, October 12, 2021) at 3 p.m. to discuss strategic direction for OCFEC programming.
The meeting will be held in the Administration Building at OC Fair, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa.
Guests are invited to join via Zoom:
Dial in option: 1-669-900-9128
Meeting ID: 853 2288 3030
Wednesday, September 29, 2021 (2:03 pm)
Fair Board pays tribute to Hispanic Heritage Month
During September’s OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors meeting, members paid tribute to National Hispanic Heritage Month.
The presentation highlighted the contributions Hispanics have made to Orange County’s communities, education and heritage, and to agriculture throughout California.