Jeff Curtis Chosen to Lead Fair as New CEO

Former CEO of Portland Rose Festival brings decades of experience

Palmer, Alaska – Jeff Curtis, former CEO of the Portland Rose Festival, has been selected as the new CEO of the Alaska State Fair. Curtis will assume the role previously held by Jerome Hertel, who served as the Fair’s CEO since December 2014.

Curtis, who is relocating to Alaska from Portland, Oregon, served as CEO of the internationally recognized Portland Rose Festival for 18 years, from 2004 to 2022. The annual 30-day festival is comprised of more than 30 events, drawing an estimated attendance of over 1.2 million. Among other achievements during Curtis’ tenure, the festival received the Grand Pinnacle Award from the International Festival and Events Association twice, in 2007 and 2011. The prestigious award is given to the top festival in the over $1.5 million budget category. Curtis’ efforts as CEO, built strong partnerships and created innovative programming that maintained the Portland Rose Festival’s national and international appeal as one of the top festivals in the world, recognized by the IFEA, (International Festival and Events Association). 

Prior to his role as CEO, Curtis served as sponsorship manager and director of sales and marketing for the Portland Rose Festival Foundation, amassing a total of 25 years with the nonprofit organization before stepping down in September 2022.

“I made the choice to step away from a 25-year career with the Portland Rose Festival Foundation with the sole purpose to begin an exciting new chapter of my life and career,” Curtis said. “This new chapter is one where I can take my experience with the Rose Festival Foundation and apply it to an organization like the Alaska State Fair. I am also eager to meet new people, embrace a new community and make a difference!”

Curtis brings decades of festival and event experience, covering all aspects of management and leadership responsibilities. He received his bachelor’s degree in sports management from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Among his multiple professional affiliations, Curtis sat on the World Board of the International Festival and Events Association from 2012 – 2019, serving as president in 2018. Prior to the Portland Rose Festival, he worked for the Seattle Mariners and the Milwaukee Brewers Class A Affiliate.

Fair Board President John Harkey says, “Jeff has a proven track record of success and a passion for community engagement, he brings a fresh perspective and innovative vision to the Alaska State Fair. Having demonstrated exemplary leadership skills and a deep understanding of the festival industry, Jeff is well-equipped to take the fair to new heights, creating an unforgettable experience for both visitors and participants”.

For more information, contact Melissa Keefe, director of marketing and communications, at [email protected].

Author: Melissa Keefe

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