Today at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) 122nd Annual Convention, Marla Calico, director of education at the IAFE, was inducted into the IAFE Hall of Fame.
The highest honor bestowed by the IAFE, the Hall of Fame Award is presented annually in recognition of an individual’s distinguished achievement in, or contribution to, the fair industry.
Ms. Calico is the former general manager of the Ozark Empire Fair and served as a board member and president of the Convention & Visitors Bureau. She began her career in the fair industry at the Ozark Empire Fair, working her way up from a clerk in the livestock department in 1977 to the management team as assistant manager in 1983, then was named manager in 1995 and served in that capacity until 2004.
While at the Ozark Empire Fair, Ms. Calico was active in the IAFE, serving on a variety of national committees for the association. She received her designation as a Certified Fair Executive in 1988 and in 2003, she served as the chair of the Board of Directors of the IAFE.
She joined the professional staff of the IAFE in September 2006 and currently serves as director of education and manages the IAFE’s Institute of Fair Management. Ms. Calico is a frequent speaker for fair industry gatherings, presenting motivational keynote addresses as well as seminars on the topics of customer service, agriculture education for the urban public, competitive exhibit display techniques and marketing.
She is a past president of the Missouri Association of Fairs and Festivals and a recipient of that Association’s Hall of Fame award. She is also a past president of the Mid-West Fairs Association.
Ms. Calico grew up in Verona on a dairy farm. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Agri-Business from Missouri State University while working at the Ozark Empire Fair. She was named Outstanding Alumni of Missouri State University in 2003 and serves on the Advisory Committee for the Agriculture Department of the University.
She now resides in the rural area north of Springfield, where she enjoys outdoor activities such as running, hiking, bicycling, fishing, and nature photography.