O’Leary named executive director/CEO at State Fair Park

Wisconsin State Farmer
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Kathleen O’Leary named executive director/CEO at State Fair Park

The Wisconsin State Fair Park Board of Directors announced that Kathleen O’Leary, current Interim CEO at Wisconsin State Fair Park, has been named as Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer.

O’Leary has served as Interim CEO since May of 2016. She has worked for Wisconsin State Fair Park for nearly 20 years in various positions, including Chief Operations Officer (COO).

Prior to serving as COO, O’Leary was both a manager and director in Marketing, Communications and Sponsorship, where she was responsible for growing sponsorship revenues at the Fair from less than $400,000 in 1998 to more than $2.5 million in recent years.

O’Leary has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing & Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and holds a Certified Fair Executive (CFE) designation from the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE). She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the IAFE representing Zone 4, which includes four states and three Canadian provinces. She also serves on the board of directors for Visit Milwaukee and the Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce.

"Kathleen has extensive experience managing all aspects of Wisconsin State Fair Park, as well as the annual Wisconsin State Fair. She has a proven track-record in terms of budgeting, staffing, sponsorship, marketing and board governance," said John Yingling, Chairman of the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board of Directors. "Kathleen is very well-respected, not only within the organization, but also in the community and the fair industry. The board looks forward to working with her and the entire staff to continue the success of State Fair Park."

As Executive Director/CEO, O’Leary will oversee a staff of nearly 50 full-time permanent employees, along with approximately 1500 part-time and seasonal employees during the annual Wisconsin State Fair. The Fair event has welcomed more than one million Fairgoers each year for the past four years, and State Fair Park hosts events throughout each year, with an operating budget of approximately $23 million.

Wisconsin State Fair Park is a year-round entertainment venue hosting activities, events, meetings and more throughout the four seasons. Home to the Exposition Center, Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center, Milwaukee Mile Speedway, Wisconsin Products Pavilion and many other facilities, hundreds of events are held at the Fair Park each year, including the annual Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular.

The 2017 fair will take place Thursday, Aug. 3 – Sunday, Aug. 13, offering a unique experience to all who attend. The fair features 30 FREE entertainment stages, exciting rides and games in SpinCity, thousands of animals, endless family activities, events, contests, vendors and culinary delights. For the most up-to-date information please visit WiStateFair.com or /WiStateFair on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


PDPW announces November educational events

The Professional Dairy Producers® (PDPW) will bring three educational events to the dairy industry this November. The events planned for November are the Dairy’s Visible Voice® Media Training, the Nutrient Innovation & Dairy Technology Tours and the World Class Webinars: “Solving Common Challenges to Farm Transfers”. Each of these training events are developed by producers to assist fellow dairy farmers and industry professionals with furthering their businesses and understanding of our dynamic dairy industry.

The November PDPW educational offerings include:

  • November 3, Wisconsin Dells – Dairy’s Visible Voice, Media Training
  • November 9-10, Chilton – Nutrient Innovation & Dairy Technology Tours
  • November 9, Online - World Class Webinars – “Solving Common Challenges to Farm Transfers”

Dairy’s Visible Voice, Wed., Nov. 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at Buffalo Phil’s in the Wisconsin Dells This training focused on leadership development through effective communication is designed to empower participants with the skills needed to lead the industry while protecting their brand. The first module on media training will enable participants to increase their understanding of media, develop an effective message to share with media and ultimately, confidently interact with various media outlets. Along with teaching sessions, attendees will have valuable on-camera practice to further develop their media interaction skills. This is the first of five training modules in the Dairy’s Visible Voice and the remainder will be held over the next five months. Space is limited.

Nutrient Innovation & Dairy Technology Tours, Wed., Nov. 9 and Thur., Nov. 10, departing and returning to Chilton. These tours will showcase six well-managed dairy farms over two days and highlight different nutrient and technology management practices. Tour attendees will board the bus each day at Fox Valley Technical College in Chilton at 9 a.m. and return by 4:30 p.m. They will tour the following six dairies: Robinway Dairy LLC, School Hill; Majestic Crossing Dairy, Sheboygan Falls; Holsum Elm Dairy LLC, Hilbert; Brickstead Dairy, Greenleaf; Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy, Kewaunee; Kinnard Farms, Casco, Wis. Tour registration includes transportation, tours, refreshments and lunch. Space is limited.

World Class Webinars, “Solving Common Challenges to Farm Transfers,” Wed., Nov. 9, from noon to 1 p.m. Attorney Troy Schneider, a ‘family farm lawyer’ at Twohig, Rietbrock, Schneider & Halbach, S.C. in Chilton, has seen various scenarios involving family farm succession planning. During this webinar, Schneider will discuss some of the most common problems facing farm families during the succession process and will offer practical methods to manage and resolve those challenges. Pre-registration is required and due by Nov. 2. Participants can watch the webinar live on the designated date and time, or watch the recorded session later.

To learn more about any of these November PDPW training and education events and to register, visit www.pdpw.org or contact PDPW at 1-800-947-7379.


Ministry Health Care Inc. to bring medical expertise to rural Wisconsin

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that USDA is investing in 18 projects in 16 states to use communications technology to expand access to health care, substance misuse treatment and advanced educational opportunities.

USDA is awarding $4.7 million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program grants to support 11 distance learning and seven telemedicine projects.

“These investments will help provide better health care and educational opportunities for rural residents,” Vilsack said. “Hospitals, schools and training centers across the country are successfully using telecommunications to deliver quality educational and medical services. Telemedicine, for example, can help treat patients who are struggling with opioid and other substance use disorders that disproportionately affect rural areas by allowing rural hospitals to connect with resources in other health care facilities across the country to better diagnose and treat individuals.”

In Wisconsin, Ministry Health Care, Inc. is receiving a $432,258 grant to expand Ministry Health Care’s Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioners (APNP) telemedicine program to clinics across Clark, Forest, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Vilas, and Waupaca counties.  Due to a shortage of Family Practice and General Internal Medicine physicians in the rural hospitals and clinic sites, this telemedicine project will allow APNPs in rural areas to communicate directly with physicians in other areas who will consult on cases and provide direction when needed.

This telemedicine project will support 1 hub and 15 end-user sites.  As the program evolves over the next three years, Ministry Health Care envisions being able to add therapeutic services; such as dietary and diabetic counseling, tele-psychiatry, post-hospitalization, post-surgical follow-up and cardiac stress testing.  This project will allow these rural clinics and hospitals secure additional staffing where normally a loss of a single provider could result in the closure of a clinic.

USDA Rural Development has provided $239.5 million for 729 DLT projects in rural areas nationwide since 2009. Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.