We met him this morning at our employee townhall, and he officially steps into his new role at the beginning of the new year.
We’re excited to begin 2017 under his leadership and look forward to the future of Fairplex under his guidance.
Please see the press release below to learn more about our new leader:
POMONA, Ca. (Nov. 30, 2016) – Miguel A. Santana, City Administrative Officer for the City of Los Angeles, has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Fair Association (LACFA), the private nonprofit Association that manages the 487-acre Fairplex in Pomona.
LACFA Board Chair Dr. Michael Ortiz hailed Santana’s appointment as a “game changer” for the Association, coming after an extensive executive search and as the nonprofit begins the countdown to the Fair’s 100th anniversary in 2022.
“We are gratified to have found someone with Miguel’s vision, management expertise and history of dedicated public service,” said Ortiz. “During his 24-year career in county and city government, Miguel has tackled some of the region’s most intractable problems with amazing results.”
Santana said he sees his selection as an opportunity to guide the future development and management of one of the largest public assets in L.A. County.
“This is 500 acres of pure potential,” said Santana, 47. “My hope is that by forging even closer ties with nearby communities, local educational institutions and county, federal, state and local public officials, we will transform the mission of Fairplex into a lifestyle – one that creates a 21st century sustainable community and economic engine grounded in its agricultural roots, from the micro-sourcing of our food and craftsmanship to culinary entrepreneurship.”
Dubbed “LA’s Mr. Fix-it” by Los Angeles Magazine, Santana spent 16 years in county government, where he rose to become a Deputy Chief Executive Officer overseeing several social service agencies whose annual budgets exceeded $9 billion a year. He was recruited to the city in 2009 by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and as City Administrative Officer helped successfully restore the City’s finances.
Santana, who reports both to the Mayor and the 15-member City Council, was reappointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2013. Since then, Santana worked to strengthen the City’s bond rating and developed a comprehensive strategy, in coordination with the county, to address the region’s homeless crisis.
Santana comes to LACFA after developing the effort that won overwhelming voter approval for Proposition HHH, a $1.2 billion bond issue to build housing for the city’s homeless population, one of the largest in the nation.
Santana said leading LACFA is “a return back to the county family.”
Santana’s selection comes at an important time in the relationship between LACFA and the county, its landlord, as recent audits have suggested an evaluation of the Association’s lease agreement. Santana, who has a 20-year working relationship with First District Supervisor Hilda Solis and long-term ties countywide, is looking forward to hitting the reset button on LACFA’s nearly 80-year partnership with the County, bringing a renewed sense of trust, mutual respect and shared vision.
Santana earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University and earned his B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Studies from Whittier College.
He also serves on the boards of the United Way of Los Angeles, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), Discovery Cube Los Angeles and LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes.