A fourth-generation Oregonian with deep roots in agriculture and youth programs is the new Jackson County Fairgrounds and Exposition Park director.

A fourth-generation Oregonian with deep roots in agriculture and youth programs is the new Jackson County Fairgrounds and Exposition Park director.

Dave Koellermeier, a former Oregon State Fair operations manager and strategic planning manager, took the job this week, just in time for the Spring Fair and the Wild Rogue Pro Rodeo.

He replaces Chris Borovansky, who left April 1 to become chief executive officer of the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, Calif.

"I'm very happy to have a chance to take a well-run entity and take it to the next level," Koellermeier, 58, said, noting that much of his career has focused on rebuilding and turning around enterprises.

Most recently Koellermeier ran a consulting business. Before working with the state fair, he worked for Ralston Purina for 16 years and was chief executive officer at Micro Power Electronics in the Portland area for 10 years.

He earned an undergraduate degree in agricultural economics from Oregon State University in 1974 and a master of business administration degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

Since 1974, he has owned a family farm near Wilsonville, renting out the property for pasture and hay production. Active in 4-H and FFA in his youth, Koellermeier was named the state's "star future farmer" in 1970.

Jackson County Fair Board Chairman Bob Smith said Koellermeier's experience was just what the county fairgrounds was looking for.

"Our core mission is agriculture and he has the background and affinity with the youth organizations," Smith said.

He also praised Koellermeier's understanding of marketing and finance, as well as his familiarity with fair supporters in Oregon.

"We went through a process to get applicants from across the nation, but we found someone with Dave's background right here in our own state," Smith said.

Smith said the base salary for the fairgrounds director is $90,168.

Koellermeier said he has attended the Jackson County Fair and especially admired the youth livestock auction.

He said he wants to maintain the fairgrounds and preserve the "great events" it is known for while bringing in new events such as trade shows or conferences. He said he strives to build coalitions and create plans that the whole community can get behind.

His priorities include education, commerce, and attracting visitors to the fairgrounds as a regional center. He sees potential in the region's natural resources and orchards, as well as cheese, specialty food and wine industries.

"Food is pretty high on the list of things I enjoy," Koellermeier said.

He also likes that the Jackson County Expo has embraced technology and solar energy.

"Arts, innovation, sports — the Jackson County Fairgrounds can be a place to honor agriculture and all the other new endeavors," Koellermeier said.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Anita Burke at 541-776-4485 or aburke@mailtribune.com.