Shari Black named executive director and CEO of State Fair Park

Shari Black
Shari Black

Last updated on March 11th, 2022 at 12:11 pm

Shari Black, the interim executive director and CEO of Wisconsin State Fair Park, has shed the “interim” status of the title and been officially promoted to the position, the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board of Directors announced today.

Black has served in the interim role since October of 2021, after the retirement of Kathleen O’Leary.

Black has held several positions at State Fair Park since 2016, initially serving as event services director.

Black came to Wisconsin State Fair Park after working for the Waukesha County Fair Association for nearly 20 years, including 15 years as executive director.

Growing up in Waukesha, she exhibited livestock at both the Waukesha County Fair and Wisconsin State Fair.

Black formerly served as the board president of the Wisconsin Association of Fairs, which represents 75 district and county fairs in Wisconsin.

“Shari is a strong leader who has the skills and abilities necessary to continue the success of Wisconsin State Fair Park,” said John Yingling, chairman of the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board of Directors. “She brings extensive experience in operations, fair programming, budgeting, board governance, and relationship management to this role, and is well-respected within the organization and the fair industry. The board looks forward to working with her well into the future.”

As executive director/CEO, Black will oversee a staff of nearly 50 full-time permanent employees, along with more than 1,000 part-time and seasonal employees.

The annual State Fair has averaged attendance of one million Fairgoers over the past five fairs, and State Fair Park hosts hundreds of public and private events throughout the year at its various facilities.

The 2022 Wisconsin State Fair will take place from Aug. 4-14.

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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