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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The man who will take over as CEO of the Fair Board says he's very aware of the challenges he faces in his new job. Clifford "Rip" Rippetoe takes over on Jan. 1.
"It is no secret that the budget is obviously going to be an issue and a concern moving forward," Rippetoe told members of the media on Wednesday morning.
He says he's already met with Governor Beshear and Mayor Fischer and knows about the emotions surrounding the effort to reopen Kentucky Kingdom. "I certainly think there are a lot of people who hope that it opens," says Rippetoe, "and I know I will be fully entrenched in that issue beginning in January."
His biggest challenge will be to help reverse the Fair Board's financial losses which resulted from the closing of Kentucky Kingdom and the new U of L basketball arena.
One solution would be to bring more events to the Expo Center. "Part of the assessment I'll have to do," says Rippetoe, "is to find out what mix we have of trade shows and events and are we using the facilities to their best efficiency?"
With 30 years experience in the convention and trade show business, the Fair Board believes Rippetoe is the person who can attract more events.
He says, "I am hoping to be able to visit with some of the trade show producers and conventions that I have had a long relationship with and bring them to Kentucky as a destination."
Rippetoe comes from Las Vegas where he was president of a trade show and convention company.
He's replacing Harold Workman, who has been under fire during the past year and is retiring.