LIMA — In his first year heading the Allen County Fairgrounds, Bob Fricke learned quickly it’s a different ballgame on the inside.
He also learned a good staff is key to the boss’ success.
Fricke credited his staff of five with taking care of him and having the experience to make sure everything runs on time or just plain runs.
Fricke spoke to Lima Rotarians on Monday less than two weeks out from what he called “the crown jewel” of events each year at the fairgrounds, the Allen County Fair.
“The Allen County Fair is my favorite,” the fairgrounds general manager said.
And why not. He grew up on a farm outside Elida, still lives on a farm and met his wife through 4-H events at the Allen County fairgrounds.
His first year has had a lot of learning and he’s enjoyed the challenge. Fricke said he’s always on the clock.
“I talk to people who say I don’t want to call you after hours. Really, if it’s not late, late at night, my phone is always on,” Fricke said.
The hardest part of managing the fairgrounds is learning timelines, which translates to the task that needs to be done or the orders he needs to place before an event takes place to make sure it runs smooth, he said.
“I didn’t know what the timelines were and what dates things need to be done by,” he said.
Again, he turned to the staff of which it was far from their first day on the job.
Another challenge, weather. Fricke cannot predict the weather and he definitely cannot control it.
Rain can destroy an outdoor event.
“It dictates the success or failure of the event,” he said.
Fricke has weathered the storm of his first year on the job. Now he’s just hoping for sunny skies and temperatures not too high for the fourth week of August when the 166th Allen County Fair is underway.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.