By BRIAN WALKER
Hagadone News Network
COEUR d'ALENE — The Kootenai County Fairgrounds board didn't have to look far to find its next general manager.
The board has hired Alexcia Jordan, who has been the assistant general manager since February 2015, as the next leader of the fairgrounds and North Idaho State Fair.
Jordan, who will become GM on Jan. 1, has been serving as interim general manager since after Dane Dugan resigned on Sept. 1.
"I'm thrilled for the opportunity; it's a great group of people to work with," Jordan said. "When I applied for the assistant position, I hoped that one day it would lead to the general manager job. I just didn't think that it would happen so soon or in this manner."
Jerry Johnson, the fair board's chairman, said five candidates rose to the top after a search, but Jordan's knowledge of the fairgrounds and North Idaho stood out.
"She understands the operations and is a local girl from Sandpoint," Johnson said. "We concluded that the best candidate is right here."
The fairgrounds has four full-time employees and three part-timers.
The hiring of Jordan, who attended Sandpoint High and the University of Idaho, comes after a roller-coaster year for the fairgrounds.
Two audits, first by the county clerk's office, then one by an outside CPA firm, revealed sloppy business practices but nothing criminal or malicious. Dugan resigned after the first audit and the North Idaho State Fair.
The fairgrounds also had a record attendance of 84,600 during the North Idaho State Fair in August.
"All things happen for a reason," Jordan said of the bumpy year. "It's how you take those and make the best of them. Even though there's been some negativity, we'll learn from it and become so much stronger because of it. It's time to move past that and see what the future holds.
"We offer the community something special."
Jordan said the theme for the North Idaho State Fair in 2017 — "May the Fair be with You" — was chosen this week.
She said she would like see more involvement from the local school districts at the fairgrounds, including with invention and robotics contests.
"I'd like to see science back in the fair programming," she said.
Jordan said her mom, Rhonda Livingstone, was involved in the Bonner County Fairgrounds operation.
"I grew watching her, so it's instilled in me," she said.
Prior to coming to the Kootenai County Fairgrounds, Jordan worked at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston as the development coordinator for the college's foundation and organized volunteers for the NAIA World Series. She also led the Appaloosa Horse Club in Moscow for nearly five years.
Jordan, 35, and her husband, Ryan, live in Athol with their two children — son Ryder, 6, and daughter Charlee, 3.
"It's a new day at the fair," Johnson said. "We've made several improvements and we're coming off record attendance. We want to continue to improve the fairgrounds as a year-round facility. Alexcia has a passion for the fair and we believe she'll do a great job."