The Los Angeles County Fair Association announced Wednesday that its Board of Directors selected Fairplex’s interim CEO Walter Marquez to lead the Fairplex permanently as its new president and CEO.

Marquez began serving as interim CEO in January after joining the Fairplex in 2018 as vice president and chief financial officer. He will be the nearly 100-year-old organization’s sixth CEO.

“Walter’s experience in finance, land management and planning is perfect for leading Fairplex out of the pandemic,” Board Chair Heidi Hanson said in a statement. “The last two years have been incredibly challenging for the organization as an events space. Walter has helped lead Fairplex through extensive layoffs, a reimagining of the campus as a true community benefit organization and has already developed a vision for the future. We could not have found a better choice.”

According to the Los Angeles County Fair Association, Marquez plans to work with partners within the regional leadership and local communities and institutions to find ways the Fairplex can assist he region and help the area recover from the pandemic.

“It’s not just Fairplex that has suffered these past two years, the entire region has. We have many opportunities, like the Gold Line Extension in La Verne and the Specific Plan we are working on with the city of Pomona. It’s a great opportunity for Fairplex to use our site to benefit the area and come out of the pandemic better than we went in,” Marquez said in a statement.

Marquez grew up in the Inland Valley, raised in the Ontario/Montclair area, and his family has roots in Pomona going back to 1917, according to the association.

Marquez received a bachelor’s degree from Cal State San Bernardino, an MBA from Cal Poly Pomona, and a doctorate of education from the University of La Verne.

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