Fairgrounds Board Names New CEO

The Nevada County Fairgrounds Board of Directors announced this week the appointment of Rea Callender as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nevada County Fairgrounds, effective June 8, 2015. The Board of Directors retained Ralph Andersen and Associates to conduct the extensive search, which produced interest from talented candidates from across the nation.

An entrepreneur and philanthropist with corporate, start-up and non-profit experience, Callender, brings more than 25 years of sales and business development experience to the job; as well as accomplishments in fundraising, marketing, team building, and management.

Callender has served as CEO and Founder of several businesses. He founded Schoolpop, Inc., an online loyalty marketing company and fundraising tool for K-12 schools, which raised $250 million since 1999 for K-12 schools nationwide. Additionally, he founded and built Animated Systems and Design, Inc., a website development company, which he sold to Bozell Advertising.

“We are thrilled that Rea is joining the Fairgrounds’ team and will be leading the organization in the future,” said Arnie Romanello, president of the Fair Board. “This was an extensive process, with many applicants, and we are confident that Rea’s accomplishments, his active involvement in the business world, and his significant experience in fundraising for non-profits will serve the Fairgrounds well.”

Callender spent part of his youth in Nevada County, and his family owned a working 2,000 acre cattle ranch in Grass Valley. He participated in the Junior Livestock Auction at the Nevada County Fair in his youth, and his father ran the JLA for many years – and it was there that his love for the Nevada County Fair was born.

He is a former Board Member of Child Family Health International; The Menlo Park Atherton Education Foundation; and The Parker School, where he implemented the “Leadership Speaker Series,” which brings business education to high school students via access to business leaders and real-life leadership experiences. He is a graduate of University of California, Irvine, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics.

Rea Callender will begin as CEO at the Nevada County Fairgrounds on June 8. He replaces Sandy Woods, who became the CEO of the Fairgrounds in 2009, and has been at the Nevada County Fairgrounds since 1995. He will be responsible for overseeing the annual Nevada County Fair, the Draft Horse Classic, and the Country Christmas Faire; as well as the interim events and facility rentals, the RV Campground, and the infrastructure of the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Photo: Rea Callender, CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds

Rea Callender Photo (May 2015)


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