Board of Directors


Serving OC Fair & Event Center

Members of the Board of Directors are appointed by the governor of California and serve a four-year term without compensation. Board members, who may serve more than one term, serve until a replacement is appointed. Board meetings are held the fourth Thursday of each month in the Administration Building, which is located at OCFEC through Gate 4 off of Arlington Drive, unless otherwise noted. The Fair Board’s role is to set and approve policies for the organization.

Our mission: Celebrating Orange County’s communities, interests, agriculture and heritage.

View OC Fair Board Committee assignments.

All correspondence with the Board of Directors can be addressed care of OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

Questions and comments regarding OCFEC operational matters can also be sent to the executive team at the above address or to ocfexec@ocfair.com. Click here to apply to become a member of the Board of Directors.


Meet the current OC Fair Board of Directors

Douglas La Belle, Chair

Costa Mesa
Member since 2010

Doug 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. He serves on the Board of Directors for Boys Republic in Chino Hills and is Chairperson of the Knapp Golf Classic Committee which raises funds for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

Newton Pham, Vice Chair

Fountain Valley
Member since 2016

Newton 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.

Ashleigh Aitken

Anaheim
Member since 2012

Ashleigh has been Of Counsel at Aitken Aitken Cohn since 2010. She was an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Central District of California from 2008 to 2010, an associate at Morrison and Foerster LLP from 2005 to 2008 and an associate at Nossman Guthner Knox and Elliot LLP from 2002 to 2005. Aitken earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law.

Barbara Bagneris

Orange
Member since 2014

Barbara has been principal financial analyst at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems since 2010. She was a senior financial controls analyst at L-3 Interstate Electronics Corporation from 2008 to 2010 and held multiple positions at the Boeing Company from 1980 to 2008, including business analyst and program financial controls analyst. Bagneris is past president of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Orange County (CA) Alumnae Chapter. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix, Fountain Valley.

Sandra Cervantes

Irvine
Member since 2014

Sandra has owned Miniondas Newspaper since 2013 and Cervantes Real Estate since 2012. She was vice president of the Century 21 Professionals REO Division from 1993 to 2011 and administrative director at the Women’s Choice Clinic from 1983 to 1993. She is managing director of the Sandra Y. Cervantes Scholarship Fund at the Hispanic Educational Endowment Fund of Orange County and a member of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Advisory Board and the Heritage Museum of Orange County Board of Directors.

Nick Kovacevich

Newport Beach
Member since 2020

Nick has been chief executive officer of KushCo Holdings since 2014. He was chief operating officer for BigRentz Inc. from 2012 to 2014. In his role as CEO for KushCo Holdings, Nick directs all business relations and financial strategy for the company. He also oversees the organization’s senior management team. Nick has been integral in making critical strategic, growth, and financial decisions since the company’s inception. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Southwest Baptist University where he studied Sports Management and earned Academic All-American honors. While at SBU, he played small forward for the men’s basketball team, leading the Bearcats to the Sweet 16.

Melahat Rafiei

Anaheim
Member since 2021

Melahat has been Secretary at the California Democratic Party since 2021. She 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. 

Natalie Rubalcava-Garcia

Anaheim
Member since 2018

Natalie is COO of the Orange County Business Council, where she was vice president of investor relations from 2016 to 2018. She was associate publisher at the Southern California News Group in 2016 and held several positions at Freedom News Group and the Orange County Register from 2007 to 2016. She was audience insights analyst at ImpreMedia from 2006 to 2007 and held several positions at the Los Angeles Times from 1996 to 2004.

Robert Ruiz

Irvine
Member since 2014

Robert has been secretary-treasurer at Laborers Local 652 since 2003, where he was a field agent from 2002 to 2003. He was a foreman at Peter C. David from 2000 to 2002, crew leader at Pan Pacific Plumbing from 1999 to 2000 and a contractor for Steve P. Rados from 1995 to 1999. Ruiz was a warehouse administrator at TVT Electronics from 1988 to 1995.

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