For the Public: Ed Scofield, Grass Valley/Alta Sierra
My job title: Chief executive officer of the 17th District Agricultural Association (Nevada County Fair).
What I do in my job: Oversee the operations of the Nevada County Fair, Draft Horse Classic, Country Christmas Fair and all daily activities at the fairground.
Why my job is important to the public: The fairground is a wonderful community asset. It is the host to (nine major events). In addition, there are hundreds of smaller rentals, camping facilities, the senior center and two nursery schools on the grounds. I think that each person can think of reasons why the successful operation of the fairground is important to our community.
The special skills and talents I bring to my job: I guess you would say my skills are people skills. The fair and its daily activities require working with a multitude of people and their personalities. Major friction among segments of the fair or the community will result in a stressed or even failed operation.
The best part of my job is when: When the fair is up and running, everything is running smoothly, and I have time to enjoy fair activities with my grandchildren. I have a picture in my office of my grandson John and I walking down the Gold Path during the 2000 Fair. It says it all.
The part of my job that I like least is: Lawsuits.
A day of work I’ll always remember was: Sept. 18, 1988, a day of appreciation for the firefighters who had fought the 49er Fire. The fairground was the firefighters’ headquarters. The Draft Horse Classic was canceled, and on the spur of the moment, the community came together for this tremendous gathering. The grounds held several thousand people, and by the end of the day, over $100,000 had been raised for the fire victims.
How I got my job: The board of directors was looking for a general manager who knew the county and could work with its various personalities.
Besides being a native of Grass Valley, I also had been a member of the Grass Valley City Council for seven years and knew some of the politics.
How long I’ve been working here: This year’s fair will be my 20th. My actual 20th anniversary will be Nov. 1.
My dream job would be: I don’t think there are many jobs that are better than CEO of the Nevada County Fair.
I admit there are times when I think I might like the challenge of a larger fair; however, each time an opportunity presents itself, the idea of leaving Nevada County rules out a bigger fair challenge.
My family: My wife, Carol, is a very outgoing personality and is a professional motivational and management-training speaker.
I have three wonderful children: Wendy Oaks and her husband, Bill, who live in Phoenix; Ed Scofield IV (Yep, I’m the III), who lives in Sacramento; and Nicole Hodge and her husband, who live here in Grass Valley. Nicky has our grandchildren, two boys, Brandon and John; Wendy has our girls Elaina and Allysa.
My mother, brother and sister still live in Grass Valley. Family dinner is at Mom’s every Wednesday night, when anywhere from 12 to 20 people are always there. (Just let her know if you cannot make it!)
My hobbies: A health issue has slowed me down a bit, but I have been a runner for many years, and I love to downhill ski. I always have a book in progress that ranges from mysteries to historical. I also enjoy spending time with my grandson John. (Well, most of the time!)
When I was a kid, I: loved baseball and was the president of the Peardale Pines 4-H Club, which I always credit for my start in community service – first through the Grass Valley Jaycees, on to the Grass Valley City Council, and eventually to this position.
If money were no object, I would: I think I would probably retire, but before I left, I would build a large indoor pavilion that would house the Draft Horse Classic and allow for large events throughout the year.
My dream vacation: We are working on one now that will include a three-day hike in Kauai with my son, and then meeting up with Carol at one of the nicer hotels on the island. (Carol’s idea of roughing it is a hotel without room service.)
The people who have made the biggest difference in my life: My wife, Carol, and my children have, and continue to be, a major influence in my life. One person who stands out in a specific instance is Dennis Hill, a former mayor of Grass Valley. Dennis and I became close friends during my tenure with the Grass Valley City Council. He stayed in touch with me when I left the council and moved to San Jose. He kept saying, “We need to get you back in Grass Valley, where you belong.” When the general manager position at the fair opened up, it was Dennis who strongly encouraged me to pursue the fair business.
My hero: For those who know Carol, it is easy to understand when I say that my hero is my wife, Carol.
The best book I’ve read lately was: I always have a book in progress. I enjoy a good mystery, and currently am reading and enjoying “The Emperor of Ocean Park” by Stephen Carter. I like a book that can draw you into the environment of the story.
For this reason, I enjoyed “Provinces of Night” by William Gay. I also enjoy historical novels. I enjoyed “Snow Mountain Passage” by James Houston because the Donner Party is so close to home and names and places are so familiar.
I like living in Nevada County because … I like the diversity of activities, but most of all, I like the people who live in Nevada County.
“For the Public” appears each Wednesday. To suggest a public servant to be profiled, call The Union newsroom at 273-9561.
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“There is a cult of ignorance in this country … nurtured by the false notion that ‘my ignorance is as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov, 1980.