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Fair Board hires interim CEO

Outgoing interim CEO who is taking a job in Northern California praises replacement, calling him a hall of famer for fairs.

April 17, 2013|By Bradley Zint
  • Doug Lofstrom, former vice president of events at the O.C. Fair & Event Center, is seen here in 2008. He was appointed interim CEO on Wednesday.
Doug Lofstrom, former vice president of events at the… (DON LEACH )

After meeting for nearly two hours in closed session, the Orange County Fair Board announced Wednesday that Doug Lofstrom will take over as interim chief executive.

Lofstrom, who takes the helm Thursday, replaces interim CEO Jerome Hoban, who announced earlier this week that he is leaving for a new job as head of the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, a Bay Area suburb. Hoban's last day is April 30.

"My heart and soul is in this property," Hoban said Tuesday, adding that he was "going to miss this staff. They're very talented and dedicated to what they do. I'm going to miss them all."

Lofstrom, 63, of Newport Beach, worked for the O.C. Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa for nearly 10 years, last serving as vice president of events. In that capacity, he oversaw planning and project management, marketing, event sales and public safety.

He retired in 2011.

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According to information provided by the O.C. Fairgrounds, Lofstrom also worked for the L.A. County Fair and the National Orange Show in San Bernardino. He is a former president of the Western Fairs Assn. and was recognized in 2007 in that organization's Hall of Fame.

Board Chairman Doug La Belle said the board is pleased that Lofstrom will return until a permanent CEO is chosen.

"He brings with him years of experience, with not only this organization but with the fair industry in general," La Belle said. "This is a great opportunity to move forward. Doug's going to come in and he'll provide for a very smooth transition in that process."

Lofstrom will serve the fairgrounds "as much as needed," La Belle said. He starts Thursday on the month's comprehensive board agenda, which will be made public a few days before the April 25 scheduled meeting.

Six of the nine board members were present Wednesday. David Ellis, Kristina Dodge and Ali Jahangiri were absent.

"I'm very excited for the organization," Hoban said of Lofstrom. "They have selected somebody, in a transition capacity, who's talented. He's a hall-of-fame fair kind of guy."

Hoban, a nearly 21-year fairgrounds employee, and Lofstrom will work together until the former leaves.

Board member Nick Berardino called Lofstrom a "wonderful selection" with a "stellar record."

"He's a proven leader here and he has put on the best fairs ever," Berardino said.

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