The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba has announced its new general manager.
Ron Kristjansson, formerly of Agriculture Canada and Federated Co-op, will head up the Ex. The announcement comes nearly two months after the previous GM, Rob O’Connor, stepped down after just seven months in the position to pursue a job in Saskatchewan.
Kristjansson has volunteered with the organization for about 30 years in various positions and served on the board of directors for the last four years.
"I’m really excited about it, I think the Provincial Ex and the events they put on here in Brandon are a huge benefit to the whole area," Kristjansson said.
The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba holds three fairs annually — the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, the Manitoba Summer Fair and the Manitoba Livestock Expo.
Kristjansson said the timing was right for him to take on the lead role.
"Our events are strong events and I think they’re ever-changing," he said, "but there’s not a need for a change."
The biggest project on Kristjansson’s plate will be fundraising for restoring the interior of Display Building No. 2.
"It’s something I’m really looking forward to," he said. "It’s a big undertaking, but we have a great team in place to make it all happen."
If interior work goes ahead as scheduled, the Provincial Exhibition is hoping to open offices in the building within two years.
The next step will be installing new windows and doors, for which the Ex has received a matching grant of $30,000 from the province.
The original cost estimate for the full building restoration was $7.1 million — the exterior has cost $3 million already and the interior will be around $3.4 million.
In early July, O’Connor stepped down to move back to Saskatchewan.
Before that, GM Karen Oliver hung up her exhibition hat last year after being in the position for 10 years.
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