IBJNews

LEADING QUESTIONS: State Fair's boss plans for big bash

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Welcome to the latest installment of “Leading Questions: Wisdom from the Corner Office,” in which IBJ sits down with central Indiana’s top bosses to talk shop about the latest developments in their industries and the habits that lead to success.

Cindy Hoye, 54, grew up on Indianapolis’ north side and within about 10 minutes of the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Despite her utterly suburban surroundings, she developed a keen interest in agriculture, bolstered by visits to an uncle's 90-acre farm on the southeast side.



“I think I was one of five kids at North Central High School that was in 4-H,” Hoye said. “There weren’t many of us.”

As a youngster, she raised rabbits in her family’s garage and spent many summers participating in the Indiana State Fair as a 4-H member. Today, she is the executive director of the Indiana State Fair Commission, which oversees the annual fair as well as the infrastructure and all year-round activities on the sprawling grounds.

“I think a lot of people don’t understand that this is a $25 million business,” said Hoye, who served as the fairgrounds’ marketing director before being appointed the commission's executive director in 2004. “We’re talking about almost a million people during the fair, but then there’s another million people year-round. We never close our gates.

“Twenty-five percent of our revenue comes from the state, and 75 percent we earn ourselves and we have to look at all of the opportunities that either come knocking on the door to us or that we knock on doors to open up.”

For now, the focus is on the fair, the 17-day celebration of livestock, produce, midway games and deep-fried concessions that will run this year from Aug. 5-21. In 2010, the event generated $11.9 in revenue for the commission and attracted 952,000 visitors.

The current incarnation of the fair bears marks of Hoye’s influence. She pushed for expanding the fair from 12 to 17 days, which took effect in 2009 in what was originally planned as a three-year trial. Attendance jumped to 973,902 that year, a 13-percent increase from 859,621 in 2008.

Fair officials have since scheduled the 2012 event as a 17-day fair as well. “Most of the people within the fair family like the 17-day format, and so the nod right now is that we’ll keep the format,” Hoye said. “But each year we’ll take a look at it and ask, ‘How did it work this year?’”

Hoye also has reemphasized the fairgrounds’ mission of agricultural education. Her initiatives have included instituting a program that spotlights a different Indiana commodity during the fair each year. The 2011 theme is “Year of Soybeans.”

In the video at top, Hoye discusses her suburban roots in 4-H and on the fairgrounds, the creative-thinking skills needed to excel at her current position, and how her role shifts during the fair to that of the event’s unofficial “mayor,” managing the needs of a makeshift nation of visitors and exhibitors. She also reveals a lesson learned when she tried to institute the organization’s first official business plan without significant input from the departments and parties involved.

In the video below, Hoye addresses several issues directly related to the fair, including keeping it relevant for modern audiences increasingly alienated from agriculture, maintaining the 17-day format, and decompressing after the cows go home and the gates finally close.




 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • "Corner Office"
    Fortunately for those of us involved in the Agriculture, we have Cindy Hoye sharing her wisdom well beyond her "Corner Office" by devoting lots of time with other Fairs around the Country and expressing the important mission Fairs have in educating the public on Agriculture. Her years of involvement as an Industry leader,with the International Association Fairs and Expositions, (the "IAFE") have been a benefit to all....Many Thanks!!
  • Indiana State Fair
    One-hundred years ago, over 80% of Indiana residents lived and worked in rural communities. Today, less than 3% of our population is directly involved in Indiana agriculture but 100% of the people can enjoy the Indiana State Fair. Under Cindy Hoye’s leadership, the Fair (and the Fairgrounds) have become something else that’s great about Indiana. Cindy and her team work year-round to make sure that there is something for everyone at the State Fair and that everyone is welcome.
  • Cindy Hoye is the best!
    What a terrific ambassador for the State Fair and the State of Indiana!

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

ADVERTISEMENT