Flathead County

Flathead County Fairgrounds Manager Retires

After 11 years on the job, and nearly four decades in the business, fairgrounds manager Mark Campbell will retire in November

By Micah Drew
Flathead County fairgrounds manager Mark Campbell, pictured Dec. 3, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

For the fourth time this year, a top leadership role in Flathead County will have a new face.

Mark Campbell, the county’s fairgrounds manager, will be retiring at the end of November after spending nearly four decades in the fair business, including 11 years in Flathead County. Campbell’s retirement follows the departure of the county’s planning director, parks and recreation director and county administrator earlier this year. 

“I’m a little nervous in some ways, excited in others,” Campbell, 62, told the Beacon. “I’ve been in the fair career full-time for coming up on 37 years. I don’t know what I’m going to do with my summers.”

Flathead County hired Campbell in 2010 to take over as fairgrounds operations manager, a job that includes heading up the Northwest Montana Fair and Rodeo.

Prior to coming to Montana, Campbell worked as a manager at four different fairgrounds, including an eight-year stint at the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe, Wash. His involvement with fairs began with 4-H and FFA growing up, and during college he completed fair management internships at the Yuba-Sutter Fair in Yuba City, Calif., and the Calgary Stampede in Alberta. His first position as a fair manager came in 1986, and he subsequently served as the chair of the California Fair Services Authority from 1993 to 1996 and the Washington State Fair Association Board from 2000 to 2005.

Former County Administrator Mike Pence also announced his retirement last November but accepted an extended contract to continue serving in his role through the end of May to ease the transition for his replacement, Pete Melnick.

The county’s Parks and Recreation Department director, Jed Fisher, stepped down in March after 21 years leading the department. He was replaced by an internal transfer from the county’s Finance Department, Chris Maestas.

Mark Mussman, the county’s planning director, resigned after six years on the job to relocate with his family to the Midwest. His job remains posted on the county’s website.

The county posted Campbell’s job on Wednesday evening. The job has a starting salary of around $71,000 plus benefits. The application window for the position closes on Oct. 4.

“Someone will come in and take the model we have and make it even better,” Campbell said. “As for me, I want to explore the country a little more and maybe help out some small- and medium-size fairs with challenges they might be facing.”

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