San Juan County's newly appointed fairgrounds and events manager has a clear challenge ahead.
That's according to her new boss, county Parks and Fair Director Dona Wuthnow, who hired Maddie Ovenell of Lake Oswego, Ore., to fill the position formerly held by Rev Shannon, who stepped down in September.
Ovenell, whose began her tenure as manager of the San Juan County fairgrounds Jan. 7, most recently spent five years as community events specialist with Lake Oswego, where she managed the city's farmers' market and coordinated a variety of events, including a Fourth of July parade, summer concert series, harvest festival and an assortment of holiday events.
“The top priority is making the both Fair and the fairgrounds sustainable as long term community assets,” Wuthnow said of the primary task ahead for Ovenell.
A former Central Washington University event and facility coordinator, Ovenell has a Master of Science in recreation administration, nine years of experience managing events in both the public and non-profit sector, and is no stranger to the San Juans. She spent two years at Orcas Island's Camp Orkila, owned and operated by the Seattle YMCA, as director of the camp's environmental education and leadership programs. She relocated to the islands with two young daughters and a husband in tow.
“We can’t imagine a more perfect place to raise our children and become active in the community," Ovenell said as part of a press release announcing her appointment. "I truly enjoy the logistical steps and partnerships that go into coordinating events and creating something that the community can be truly proud to call their own.”
In other Parks and Fair personnel moves, Jennifer Allen, a six-year department assistant, was promoted to program coordinator, and is expected to work closely with Ovenell in producing events and programs at the fairgrounds, as well as at other park facilities.
“Jennifer brings a lot of experience and talent that complements Maddie’s background,” Wuthnow said. “People should watch for new programs, events and promotions for the fairgrounds in coming months, and they’ll be meeting Maddie at all sorts of local meetings and community events.”