Meet the people who make the Kent County Youth Fair happen
Bruce Doll is one of many people who make the Kent County Youth Fair happen along with fair manager Jessica Marks
Name: Bruce Doll
Position: Vice President
Residence: beautiful Vergennes township
Education: Studied Computers and computer graphix at the New York Institute of Technology ( not Oral Roberts University )
Experience: 16 years at the Computer Graphix Research Lab at New York Institute of Technology, 24 years IT Manager at Alternate Postal Direct
Family: My son Tom and his wife Nicole, and son Justin
Hobbies: Photography, woodworking
How did you get started in the fair business?
I visited the Kent County Youth Fair 15 years ago while living in Kentwood and fell in love with it. I sent then a bunch of pictures I took to the board and was asked to attend a board meeting and the rest is history.
What were some of the early challenges, and how did you overcome them?
My level of knowledge was about the same as the level of technology in use at the fair, very low. However, the folks at fair, both the board and exhibitors are always willing to share their knowledge about agriculture and animals. It was a bit harder for me to explain the technology side, when I talked about having a website I did get some blank stares.
What were some of your early accomplishments?
We updated the computers and software and did some training. The first website was created.
What goals do you set for yourself?
I always try to make things better and provide a better experience for the general public and our exhibitors. Programs such as Reading-for-Rides and the Handi-Capable day are always being tweaked.
How do you accomplish them?
Lists — I am a list person. I make lists and check off items as I get them done. This is especially true during fair where I have a list of what needs to be done on each day. This year the list was about 5 pages long.
What motivates you?
When I hear people say the week of fair is the best week of the year. When I see hundreds of kids showcasing their projects. When I see the smiles of the kids. When the general public visits the fair, I hope that they realize how much work goes into the projects that the exhibitors do. They learn what hard work is, and it shows in the quality of the projects.
How do you want your peers/customers to view you?
I believe that you have to be passionate about what you do. Yes, you can do something if you are not passionate about it, but the difference between doing something and doing something amazing comes when you are passionate about what you do.
What gives the fair competitive advantage?
We provide a safe family friendly fair. We have hardworking people who are great at what they do all coming together into what is fair. We provide a great experience for folks and it keeps them coming back year after year, generation after generation.
How do you integrate technology and innovations into the fair?
We use a fair management software package that helps us with the exhibitor and livestock sale. Our website, www.kcyf.org has all of the information about the fair for the general public and for exhibitors. We use eventbrite.com to register people for various events, constant contact for our email blasts and of course, facebook.
How has the fair changed over the years?
It has changed significantly behind the scenes, but we try to keep our “look and feel” close what we have been doing for years.
How do you make big projects happen? How long does it take ready for the fair?
When a project arises, there is almost always someone to take charge of it, otherwise we will volunteer someone. We have a wrap-up meeting 2 weeks after fair and then we begin working on the next years fair.
How do you make the fair thrive in hard economic times?
We try to keep our prices down on rides and fair food. We provide a good value. Our parking is one of the few ways that we make money to support our operating budget. Without our parking revenue, there probably would not be a fair.
How do you feel you have most contributed to the fair?
I have this problem with the word “No” in that I don’t use it much. I currently manage the technology. I also am the sponsorship and entertainment coördinator.
What do you like most about it?
It just makes me happy.
What makes you successful?
Again being passionate about what you do and also having great people who share the passion.
What does a good/bad day at the fair look like?
There is no bad day at fair.
What was new at the fair this year?
We had a dodge ball tournament, princess tea, and scavenger hunt, disc golf, Audacious Hoops, Alpacas! We had a new educational area that will be growing every year. We added a book exchange to the Reading-for-Rides program that was a great success.
Where do you see yourself and the fair in five years?
I see the same culture of our fair in a new location that will provide us with the venue to improve what we do now and add more and more fun and educational aspects to the fair.
Copyright (c) 2014 All rights reserved by Emma Palova