INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – Nov. 30, 2022 – Today at the Convention of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions, Jennifer Giesike, President/CEO of the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce and the manager of the Washington Town and Country Fair, Washington, Mo., was named 2023 chair of the IAFE.
Giesike has been with the Washington Chamber for 22 years. She was involved with the Fair for many years before becoming the manager, showing market animals, exhibiting 4-H items, and serving as a fair assistant.
The day-to-day operations of the Chamber and the Fair are overseen by Giesike, and she works closely with a 24-member volunteer Fair Board and a 16-member volunteer Chamber Board.
Giesike received her IAFE Certified Fair Executive (CFE) designation in April 2008 and graduated in the first class of the Institute of Fair Management in December 2009. She has served as the IAFE Zone 5 director, co-chair of the Young Professionals Initiative, chair of the 2019 IAFE Convention Program Committee, CFE Committee, the Membership Committee, and the County Fair Committee, and was awarded the first IAFE YP Rising Star Award in December 2009. In 2020 Jennifer completed the IAFE Institute of Fair Management Leadership Graduate Track requirements.
In her spare time, Giesike enjoys spending time with her family, working on the family farm, playing volleyball, running, and coaching the Washington High School varsity volleyball team.
IAFE is a voluntary, not-for-profit corporation, serving state, provincial, regional, and county agricultural fairs, shows, exhibitions, and expositions. Its associate members include state and provincial associations of fairs, non-agricultural expositions and festivals, associations, corporations, and individuals engaged in providing products and services to its members, all of whom are interested in the improvement of fairs and allied fields.
The IAFE began in 1885 with a half-dozen fairs. Today, the IAFE represents more than 1,100 fairs around the world and more than 900 members from allied fields. Throughout the years, the IAFE has remained true to its purpose of promoting and encouraging the development and improvement of agricultural fairs, shows, and expositions.
2023 Board of Director Nominees
The Washington Area Chamber of Commerce has one Board of Directors position to fill for 2023.
The following three nominees were selected from a highly qualified field of candidates: Nicole Desmond, Steve Underwood, and Shelley Vollmer
Ballots will be mailed to members by November 15 and are due back to the Chamber Office by December 1.
Nicole Desmond is employed at Deppe Farms, a family-owned business established right here in Washington in 1950. She is a graduate of Washington High School earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Economics from the University of Missouri before returning to the family farm.
Nicole enjoys being involved in the community and volunteering her time. She served 9 years on the Washington Town and Country fair board and still continues to volunteer her time there whenever needed. She coached basketball for 12 years, served 5 years on the Athletic Board, and volunteered on the Auction Committee at St. Gertrude School. Currently, Nicole is serving on the board for the FFA Foundation which helps all our surrounding High School FFA chapters. She has joined the Washington High Athletic Association auction committee and is in her 2nd year as an assistant coach for the WHS girls varsity basketball team.
Nicole is married to JJ Desmond. They reside on the family farm with their 5 kids. Nicole enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Her hobbies include gardening, spending time outdoors, and cycling.
Michel "Shelley" Vollmer is a lifelong Washington resident who for the past 23 years has been the owner of Wimpy's Sandwich Shop on Jefferson Street.
Shelley is a graduate of Washington High School, East Central College, and Missouri Baptist University.
For the past 10 years, she has been on the Board of Public Water District #1 and she is active in the day to day operation of American Legion Post 218, serving as bookkeeper.
She has been responsible for the management of the Main Lunchstand at the Washington Town & Country Fair for the past 2 years and serves on the planning committee for the annual GoFund Charity Golf Classic.
Shelley and her husband, Joe, have two sons, Colton and Connor. In their free time, they enjoy all outdoor activities, especially camping and vacationing.
Steve Underwood graduated with a Finance Degree at Missouri State University, formerly Southwest Missouri State University, in Springfield, MO.
Upon moving to Washington, MO in 1997, Steve began working at what is now United Mutual Insurance Company, formerly St. Johns Mutual Insurance.
Steve has served in many trade and professional organizations including several terms on the Missouri Association of Mutual Insurance Company board and currently serves on the Grinnell Mutual Board of Directors, a regional property and casualty insurance provider. Steve is the incoming President of the Rotary Club of Washington.
Steve is married to his wife, Kathy, of 33 yrs. Steve & Kathy have two children, ages 25 & 27. Steve says that raising his family here in the Washington community is one of the best decisions he has made. The opportunities and friendships this community offers has been a tremendous blessing.
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