CHANGES - From left

New CEO at the helm of Westerner Park

  • Jan. 13, 2016 4:23 p.m.

Community stakeholders and members of the Westerner Park association met last week to announce a new CEO, new events to the grounds and to celebrate 125 years of operation.

President and Board Chair of Westerner Park Association Graham Heron was pleased to announce the position of CEO has been filled by Ben Antifaiff. He excitedly addressed a crowd, announcing his pleasure in joining the team and his vision looking forward into the year.

“I’m quite excited to be joining the Westerner Park organization. I’m very much looking forward to becoming an active member of our community in Red Deer and the surrounding rural communities. I’m looking forward to the chance and opportunity to build relationships with all of you and the folks in our community.”

Previous to his position with Westerner, Antifaiff acted as the vice president of finance administration and chief financial officer with the Regina Exhibition Association. Additionally, he taught finance and accounting at several Regina post-secondary institutions.

He said he was eager to use his experience within the fair and exhibition community to heighten the experience of Westerner Park for patrons, exhibitors and members of the association.

“2016 will certainly be an exciting year for our organization. There are a number of milestones, as Graham had introduced. Our 125th celebration, the Memorial Cup are two exciting opportunities for our community,” Antifaiff said.

“Guests will be able to take in the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo in April, and we’re excited to welcome a Comic and Entertainment Expo in June. That will be a very interesting event, I promise. We’re also introducing the Home and Renovation Event in October,” he announced.

Westerner Park recently completed an environmental scan to address satisfaction and needs of patrons, exhibitors and community stakeholders. Through this survey and research, Heron said the organization was able to assess and develop a new strategic development plan, assess awareness of structures and sources of funding and assess the satisfaction of customers. As well, the scan helped to develop a customer service optimization standard for future planning.

“We learned that Westerner Park has a position in the community that we weren’t utilizing to the best extent we could. The challenge to us was to become more to the community in our objective to be the destination for celebration,” Heron said.

“We want to be central in organizers’, participants’ and attendees’ minds. We don’t want to have the same fair that it was 20 years ago. We’ve got entertainment for the new generations and for generations coming up.”

One of the results of the research is a newly redesigned and mobile-friendly Westerner Park web site. The site has been retrofitted to be more user-friendly, with an easy to follow format and updated event calendar, officials said.

“We’re really pleased to introduce and encourage people to have a look at our new mobile friendly web site. The web site now allows all of our guests and users to access all information on the site from a my device. It’s very user friendly for either a smartphone, tablet, computer or whatever platform you choose and the user experience will meet the expectations,” Antifaiff said.

“With the confidence and knowledge I have from my prior positions in Regina, I can be really successful in helping our organization to get some things done and build upon some of the issues that came up with the environmental scan. I see a tremendous opportunity to add more value to our community. If I can do a small amount of that, my job will be very successful,” he added.

kmendonsa@reddeerexpress.com

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