Dynamic board keeps Ag Expo on right track

of WVAE Tom Wells, former longtime member of the Willamette Valley Ag Expo board of directors.

The French have a saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

That’s the perfect tagline for the makeup of the Willamette Valley Ag Expo’s nine-member board of directors.

The board members are nominated by the WVAE membership and each serves a minimum three-year term. They are elected at the annual meeting of the organization, which usually takes place on the final morning of the Expo during the exhibitor breakfast meeting.

The Expo board makeup has changed little through the years, but each change has been seamless, keeping its dynamic stable and smooth.

The most recent change involved one of the original board members, Tom Wells, who left Salem for another ag-industry opportunity in Othello, Wash.. He was replaced by Carl Laux of Papé Machinery. But that just means the Expo will stay the same as it has for the past 15 years — on an upward path of success.

“Tom had been on our board since the beginning, and always had good input about the farm economy, trends and ideas on how to move the focus of the event to remain relevant and on top of the curve,” said Jill Ingalls, Willamette Valley Ag Association manager. “He just had a great perspective, and we miss him a bunch.”

Wells also had praise for the Expo.

“The event has exceeded all of our expectations,” Wells said of the successful, growing Willamette Valley Ag Expo. “The reason being is we filled a niche left by another show that addressed the ag industry,” but which couldn’t handle the larger equipment.

Wells also noted the Expo’s important ag scholarship program, informational seminars and classes — including pesticide certification courses — and the “pleasant surprise” of the three-day event, Dine Around Oregon.

“That event (Dine Around Oregon) gave that Wednesday evening time slot a whole new dynamic,” Wells said. “The pulse and vibe of that event has really given the show a new life.”

The Expo board in 2016 is a mix, which includes long-serving members such as Bill Lusk of Ag West, the chairman; Eric Fery of Ag Chains Plus, the event’s vice chairman; and Don Kropf of Linn-Benton Tractor, secretary.

Seasoned members such as treasurer Terry Marstall of Les Schwab Tires, Steve Prouty of NW 94 Sales, Mike Brown of DeJong Products and Stacy Koos of Citizens Bank are joined by relative newcomers Andy Steinkamp of Wilco and Laux of Papé Machinery.

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