Susan Sankey, a longtime leader in the nonprofit world and in the animal agriculture industry, has been named by the Kansas State Fair Board to succeed Denny Stoecklein who resigned earlier this year as general manager of the fair.
During the 2014 and 2015 fair seasons, Sankey served as the Director of Competitive Exhibits for the Kansas State Fair. In this role, she oversaw activities of 27 departments that comprise the Competitive Exhibits department, led a staff of two administrative assistants, department superintendents and show managers, and more than 200 of the Fair’s approximately 550 part-time seasonal employees, and collaborated with the Grand Drive Committee to provide recognition and support for 4-H and FFA exhibitors participating in youth livestock shows. She participates in a network of professionals among national and international fair associations, and works with donors and sponsors for continued improvements to livestock shows and other competitive exhibits.
“The Kansas State Fair celebrates a long history, and I’m excited to be a part of its continued success,” said Sankey. “Being a part of the Fair is a great way to give back to the community of Kansas by celebrating our deep heritage and the future of agriculture, industry and culture. I look forward to working with a great team – dedicated and seasoned staff, volunteers, sponsors, loyal fairgoers – who are the heart of the Fair and its legacy to Kansans.”
Sankey has served in quality assurance leadership roles in animal agriculture and prior to the Fair as executive director of the Rice Community Healthcare Foundation. In addition, she has served on local, state and national boards and committees.
Coming off a record-breaking year for attendance at the Fair, Harmon Bliss, Kansas State Fair Board president, says the board was looking for the best candidate to effectively lead the state’s largest single event into the future and represent the Kansas State Fair at a local, state and national level.
“The Kansas State Fair has a long, stable, and rich tradition in promoting and showcasing agriculture, our state’s largest industry, with both entertaining and educational experiences,” said Bliss. “When the fair board interviewed candidates, we were looking for someone who could add to that tradition, and we believe Susan has the right skills and talents to do that.”
As general manager, Sankey will lead all activities related to the Kansas State Fair and non-fair events held on the 280-acre fairgrounds. She will also represent the fair, a standalone state agency, at public and agriculture industry organizations as well as at government agencies and the state legislature.