LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Change is coming to the Kentucky State Fair Board as the new board president gets ready to take office.
Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe comes to Louisville from Las Vegas, and he’s bringing more than 30 years of experience with him. While he said he hasn’t yet toured Kentucky Kingdom, it’s high on his priority list along with the board’s budget.
“I’m aware of the budget issues,” Rippetoe said. “I’m aware that Kentucky Kingdom may open again. All those operationally are going to have challenges.”
Beyond Kentucky Kingdom, Rippetoe says he’ll focus on using the facilities at the Exposition Center and brining more trade shows to the area. He says he understands the connection between the success of the Kentucky Exposition Center and the success of the state.
“If we create a great experience for a person coming to an event, then they’re going to be more likely to return and invest further in Kentucky,” said Rippetoe.
Rippetoe is a native of Oklahoma and a graduate of Oklahoma State University. He started his career in tourism development in 1988 as Facilities Director of the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Field. While at the convention center, Rippetoe was recruited by the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau to serve as its liaison with the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee. He helped with fundraising and sponsor relationships for the 2002 games. During that time, he also served as Executive Director & CEO of Visitor Information Services of Utah, followed byu associate director of community services for Salt Lake County.
In 2004, Rippetoe joined GES Exposition Services, a global exhibition design and management service for convention, tradeshow and corporate business events. He served as Vice President of Exhibit & Design, and Senior Vice President of Facility & Account Relations. In 2008, Rippetoe launched his own consulting firm, with GES as a client. Rippetoe Solutions Group focused on creating efficiencies and productivity for public assembly facilities.
Rippetoe’s community service includes founding the Miracle League of Las Vegas, a non-profit organization serving those with disabilities. He assisted with construction and management of a new Miracle League baseball facility.