Michael J. Ortiz
Joined Fair Association: 2003
Michael Ortiz was named a LACFA director in 2011 and vice chairman of the board in January 2012. He is the fifth president of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, a position he has held since Aug. 2003. He is the recipient of a 2011 Alfredo G. de los Santos Jr. Distinguished Leadership in Higher Education Award being presented by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education in March, 2012, and received a Service to the Community Award by Hermanos Unidos in Feb. 2009. In 2008, Dr. Ortiz was selected by Latino Leaders magazine as one of the Top 25 Latinos in Education. He serves as a Bright Prospect board member, as secretary on the Pomona community foundation board, and is a member of the Executive Advocacy Group for the city of Pomona Youth & Family Master Plan, on the board of directors of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and a member of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment Leadership Circle. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of New Mexico and a Ph.D. in early childhood special education from University of North Carolina. He engaged in postdoctoral studies at Harvard University. Mike is a native of New Mexico.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Joined Fair Association: 1995
James Henwood was named president and CEO of the Los Angeles County Fair Association in November 1995, one of only four managers or presidents since the Fair's inception in 1922. He guides the vision and implementation of the mission and growth strategies of the non-profit association. Henwood has a strong commitment to the community and was the catalyst in the establishment of the Fairplex foundations, now known as The Learning Centers at Fairplex, and is actively involved in year-round programming, fundraising and educational projects. He serves on a number of boards and organizations including as president of the Pomona Community Foundation; member of the Pomona Youth and Family Master Plan committee; on the board of Fairplex Child Development Center; member of Pomona Leadership Forum and Pomona Blue Ribbon Committee; member of the University Educational Trust at Cal Poly Pomona; serves on board of directors for Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation; and board member of Winners Foundation. He has been recognized by a number of organizations including as recipient of 2012 PUSD Community Service Award, also received in 2010 and 2011; 2008 Corporate Leadership Award from Inland Valley News; recipient of 2005 Pomona Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award; and recipient of the Pomona YMCA 2003 Volunteer of the Year award. Henwood is a native of Niagara Falls, NY.
Vice President - Business Growth & Development and Chief Revenue Officer
Joined Fair Association: 1990
Dale Coleman assumed the title of vice president of business growth & development and chief revenue officer in 2012. He will provide leadership and serve as the arbiter for all revenue initiatives at Fairplex including all business revenues, internal and external and all business development opportunities. He oversees all areas of year-round sales, sponsorship sales, commercial sales, creative development and entertainment. He was named vice president of sales in March 1997 and vice president of sales, marketing and creative programming in 2002. He previously worked as manager of special production projects for General Dynamics Corp. in Pomona where he was honored with General Dynamics Extraordinary Achievement Award in 1984 and 1987. He formerly served on the board of directors of International Association of Exhibition Managers, now Int'l Association of Expos & Events, southwestern states chapter. He is a member of the National Association of Consumer Shows and International Assn. of Venue Managers and was a former board member of La Verne Chamber of Commerce. He also volunteers as a La Verne Little League coach. Coleman is a graduate of IAVM's Public Facility Management School at Oglebay, West Virginia as well as IAVM's Senior Executive Symposium at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. Coleman is a graduate of University of La Verne with a B.A. in social science. He has 22 years experience in the Fair and events industry.
Vice President-Branding & Knowledge Management
Joined Fair Association: 1998
Michelle DeMott was named vice president of branding and knowledge management in April 2012. She was previously director of marketing and communications since 2007. In her new role she oversees marketing, communications, branding and the LACFA's community outreach programs. She also provides leadership for all aspects of The Learning Centers including fundraising development. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of La Verne and is currently working on her master's of science in leadership management at the University of La Verne. She has 14 years experience in the Fair and events industry.
Joined Fair Association: 1997
Dwight Richards was named vice president of operations in 2001. He oversees facilities, security, parking, environmental services, capital investment, information technology, and community and government relations. He previously owned and operated his own computer consulting business which provided computer and information system consulting services to various industries, including fairs and expositions, child development agencies, accounting firms and small businesses. Richards was a consultant to Fairplex before being named Information Technology Manager, developing many of its key application systems. He served as 2006 president of Pomona Chamber of Commerce. Richards is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College with B.A. in accounting and economics. He has 27 years Fair experience.
Vice President - Finance and Chief Financial Officer
Joined Fair Association: 1984
Mike Seder was named CFO in 1989, after serving as corporate controller, controller and assistant controller. He oversees all financial activities, including accounting, payroll, corporate financing, and treasury functions. He also oversees the Child Development Center and Human Resources departments and risk management. Additionally, he is responsible for equine activities at Fairplex including live horse racing and Barretts Equine Limited. He leads the Fairplex Strategic Planning effort and serves on the Fairplex investment committee. Before joining Fairplex he was an accountant for Bechtel Investments Inc. in San Francisco. He formerly served on the board of directors for San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter of American Red Cross and as chair of the Claremont Youth Basketball league; and as a board member of Claremont Education Foundation. Seder has competed in several distance races, including the Boston Marathon. He graduated cum laude in 1982 from Claremont McKenna College, with a major in economics with an emphasis on business, and also played basketball for three years. He received an Executive MBA from Claremont Graduate School in 1993. He has 28 years experience in Fair industry.
Vice President-Business Management
Joined Fair Association: 2013
John Gilbert was named to current position in August 2013. In his new position, John will use his experience and capabilities to strengthen Fairplex’s current businesses and create new business growth opportunities that complement the organization’s mission. John most recently served as General Manager of the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center, a position he held since 2007.