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Eugene J. Cassidy, president and CEO of Eastern States Exposition, was elected Chairman of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) during the organization’s annual business meeting, conducted virtually Dec. 8, 2020.
Cassidy said, “I am excited to be leading our trade association during this crucial, unprecedented time. We have recently embarked on the first year of a new decade, and with it, we will have new approaches to our business. We will find creative new ways to conduct our business and we will struggle through the end-days of this pandemic, carrying on with our missions intact, and the public gratified for how we support the most wholesome way of life on earth.”
He added, “We are all engaged in making our industry, the events we produce, the propagation of agriculture and our missions better.”
Cassidy will serve in this international leadership role for 2021, spearheading the direction of the international group of fairs forward – from our corner of the world in West Springfield, Mass., to places such as The Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to the Sydney Royal Easter Show in Australia, fairs in Alaska, Hawaii and England, and the hundreds of fairs all across North America. The IAFE currently has 911 member fairs and affiliated organizations worldwide.
The theme for IAFE 2021 is “Grow Fair Strong,” with a focus on “growing” as in all things agriculture; the importance of growth in fairs and the economies they impact in the wake of the pandemic is consequential. Cassidy stated that the economic horsepower fairs bring to their communities, regions, states and countries is immeasurable.
Cassidy joined ESE as Director of Finance in 1993 and was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in March, 2011. He assumed the position of President and CEO June 27, 2012 and is the Exposition’s seventh CEO in its 105-year history. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Accounting from Western New England University.
He serves as Vice Chairman of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, Treasurer of the Western Massachusetts Chapter of Legatus, Treasurer and Board member of MassHire Hampden County, is a member of the Springfield Technical Community College Foundation Board as well as the Finance Board of St. Mary’s Parish and the St. Thomas the Apostle School Board.
He is also accredited as a Certified Fair Executive by the IAFE and has served the organization as Treasurer, second Vice President and first Vice President before assuming his role as Chairman. He is also actively involved as a member of the Budget and Finance, and Program committees, is a frequent presenter at IAFE meetings on a national level and served as Program Chair of the organization’s International Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2010.
"The entire staff is looking forward to working with our 2021 Chair Gene Cassidy and his leadership team from the various committees for an exciting Convention in San Antonio, November 28 to December 1," Marla Calico, IAFE President and CEO, said.
IAFE is a voluntary, not-for-profit Corporation, serving state, provincial, regional, and county agricultural fairs, shows, exhibitions, and expositions. Its associate members include state and provincial associations of fairs, non-agricultural expositions and festivals, associations, corporations, and individuals engaged in providing products and services to its members, all of whom are interested in the improvement of fairs and allied fields.