60 Minutes with Miguel A. Santana

Miguel Santana 214x300 60 Minutes with Miguel A. Santana

When the company you work for hires a new President and CEO, you pick up your notebook as fast as you can, you walk over to his executive assistant and you schedule an interview. Sounds easy, right? Well, it would be if everyone wasn’t trying to do the exact same thing!

Fortunately for my colleague Heather and me, Miguel had an opening in his schedule so we met with him in his office where he walked us through his life, his goals and, most importantly, his passion for the work he does.

Did you always know you wanted to work in politics? If not, what inspired you?
The Rodney King riots in 1992 inspired me to work hard to make the Los Angeles general region a better and safer place for people. We have a responsibility to do everything in our power to strengthen and empower our community.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience at Harvard?
I knew what I needed to do, so I only applied to one school – which was Harvard. Packing my things and moving with my family to Cambridge, Massachusetts was truly a transformative experience. I was exposed to East Coast weather, urban living and a very diverse culture of students. That’s where I learned that school is a gift compared to working.

What motivates you to get up every morning?
My kids. I have 4 daughters, ages 19 to 28. Their creativity and their mindfulness of what they do, where they work and their beliefs. They’re courageous in that they pursue what they love and are passionate about it rather than just being practical. They write, sing, create art and have their hobbies. They are their own persons, representative of the future. They practice what they believe every day, and I think that is something Fairplex strives to be: a place where people can pursue their passions and interests. That is a core component of who we are.

Your CV is very impressive, what drew you to Fairplex? What is your vision for Fairplex?
I was drawn by the opportunity to build and expand on what we are currently doing here. From quilters to car aficionados, there are so many people who are drawn to what we have going on at Fairplex. There are so many interests and Fairplex is a place where people can develop their interests and share it with others, and hopefully even make a living off of it. Fairplex represents the best of who we are, and it revolves around the crossing of cultures and interests. The question we should be asking is how do we make this even more inclusive and how do we continue to foster and create new cultures? I look forward to transforming our work into a lifestyle, a community, and a place to live, play, learn and work. I think the Fair is the greatest expression of all of this.

What are some of your hobbies?
Exploring Los Angeles. I like to do something new every week, whether it’s trying new foods, visiting museums or historical parts of the city. In 2016, I spent a lot of time in the Westside areas from Venice to Westchester, so now I am really looking forward is to getting reacquainted with Pomona and the surrounding areas. As a food lover, my goal is to connect to places owned by real people, not chain restaurants.

During your 20+ years in government you’ve tackled some of the region’s most difficult challenges. How do you define success?
Success is what you take from something, what you discover and learn to appreciate from your experience. I’m always looking for ways to develop the potential in everyone, everything and everywhere. This can be applied to our mission at Fairplex, which is to give our guests something meaningful to take away. If we can accomplish this, we’ve succeeded.

Do you think it’s important to get to know the people working at Fairplex? Why?
Our employees are the heart and soul of what we do here. Our people are the ones who make Fairplex what it is and I aim to respect and appreciate the work of everyone here. Each person contributes something unique to the company.

In fact, I want Fairplex employees to know they can always stop by my office. I want to hear what they have to say and how they think we can best fulfill our mission and make company culture what they think it should be. Hope they stop by and say hello!   

It’s been more than 30 days since you assumed the position of President and CEO of Fairplex. What can you tell us about this milestone?
I’ve met with all of the elected representatives for Fairplex, and it’s been an interesting and educational experience.  I enjoyed discussing how we can support each other and how to make Fairplex a place to live, learn, work and play for all the residents of Los Angeles County. 

I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with the editors of the Southern California News Group, which not only includes our local paper the Daily Bulletin but the Los Angeles Daily News, the Riverside Press-Enterprise and the Orange County Register. We had a productive conversation that included discussion of the Monday, Feb. 13, Pomona City Council meeting’s study session on F-Zone land uses.

Last month, LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis toured the campus, including The Farm and the Child Development Center. We discussed how the county and Fairplex can work together. Our conversation was positive and we look forward to building our relationship with the entire board of supervisors. 

So far, we’re off to a very good start.

If someone wants to get a hold of you, how can they do so?
They can email me at ceo@fairplex.com, send me a tweet at @FairplexCEO or stop by my office. 

Fairplex Embraces Aquaponics System

Aquaponics System at The Farm

We love The Farm at Fairplex. Besides being one of the most peaceful places on our grounds, this place is LIFE and constantly changing. We’ve shown you the crops, the lovely animals and now we want to explain the purpose of our aquaponics system.

Aquaponics combines aquaculture (the raising of fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants). When combined, fish and plants grow together in one integrated system.

Here is a diagram that explains things a bit more:

Aquaponics Fairplex Embraces Aquaponics System

 

Motocross in the House

Ryan Dungey vs. Marvin Musquin
red bull Motocross in the House

 Photo Credit: Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool

For the third straight year, Red Bull Straight Rhythm took over Fairplex this past weekend for the most unique race in the world of professional motocross. Fans from all across the SoCal visited our campus with family and friends to cheer their favorites riders. This Supercross game changer took place on a 1/2-mile “unwound” racetrack — no turns, just a half-mile-long straight rhythm section. This year featured a revised format where practice, qualifying and racing all took place on the same day, with the final taking place at night under the lights to crown the 2016 Red Bull Straight Rhythm champion.

Congratulations to Marvin Musquin for winning the 2016 Red Bull Straight Rhythm’s Open Class and to Shane McElrath for winning the Lite Class!

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Fairplex Snapvideo: Oktoberfest Dance Hall

If you haven’t heard about our Dance Hall at Oktoberfest, then you haven’t been keeping up with our posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Blog. This hall is by far one of our guests’ favorite places to hang out and have fun.

Take a look at these two buddies dancing to RUN-DMC’s It’s Tricky.

Have you visited Oktoberfest at Fairplex?
Share your photos and videos with us by using #OktoberfestLA!

Oktoberfest Must-Knows

If you’re planning to hit Oktoberfest, here’s what you SHOULD know:

Oktoberfest2014 07 300x199 Oktoberfest Must Knows1. Lots of beer Oktoberfest is all about the beer. Whether you’re into IPA’s or into something lighter – something like Bud Light – we have a beer for everyone! Our beer selection is quite lengthy, so do yourself a favor and visit our website for a full list of available beers. Trust us, you’ll want to do this so you have more time to drink!

2. Lots of food  Drinking makes people hungry. We know that and you know that. shutterstock 445154743 300x200 Oktoberfest Must KnowsWe also know freshly baked pretzels go well with all types of beer. If you’re not feeling like having some bratwurst or pretzels, we have King Taco, grilled sandwiches and Pink’s Hot Dogs.  We’re celebrating from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday through Oct. 29 and we hope to see you here with your squad. #SquadGoals

3. Lots of music & dancing  If you want to get the most out of Oktoberfest at Fairplex, we recommend leaving your inhibitions at the door and doing some traditional (and not-so-traditional) dancing with our oom-pah-pah band. We’ll take you through the Chicken Dance, group dances and partner dances, and we will definitely have you up and on your feet by the end of the night! P.S. – Our cover bands are always a good time too!

4. Lyft Don’t drink and drive! We’ve partnered with Lyft to provide safe transportation from Oktoberfest. First-time users receive $20 off their first ride with promo code LACF! To buy tickets and learn more, visit OktoberfestatFairplex.com.

Share your Oktoberfest photos with us on social media by tagging @fairplex and using #OktoberfestLA!

oktoberfest pic 1024x768 Oktoberfest Must Knows

Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas

If you’ve driven anywhere in the last few days you’d know Christmas carols are being played non-stop on the radio. I love this type of music, but I wish they would hold off a bit since we still have to go through Thanksgiving.

So, before any of you start busting out your Christmas trees and other decorations, remember that the last Thursday in November is a day to enjoy with family and give thanks for all of the good in our lives.

Whether you are driving to someone’s home, hosting people or coming to our Thanksgiving dinner at McKinley’s Grille, here are three things you can do to make this Thanksgiving the best one E V E R!

1. Thanksgiving Message Board: As family or guests arrive for Thanksgiving, have them write what they are thankful for on a paper leaf and pin it up. Once everyone is finished having dinner, pass the paper leaves and read the messages. It’s great for bonding.

Thanksgiving Board Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas

2. Family Tree: Holidays are the perfect time to teach our young family members about their heritage. Have your loved ones bring baby photos and arrange them on the wall in a “family tree.” The fun starts when people start guessing who’s who.

Tree Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas

3. Cornucopia: Much like the turkey, cornucopias are a staple at the Thanksgiving table. Although I usually just include pumpkins and gourds in mine, many people like to add dozens of different fruits, vegetables, candy and nuts in theirs. At the end of the day, always go with whatever you think looks the best. icon smile Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas

cornucopia1 Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas

Hope you have fun decorating this Thanksgiving! 

‘Tis The Season To Volunteer

I’ve always believed volunteering is a great way to impact the community and teach our young ones the importance of getting involved in something dear to our hearts. 

So, if you are looking for family volunteer opportunities this holiday season, see below for more information about how you and your family can get involved in our Farm at Fairplex this #NationalFamilyVolunteerDay

I don’t know about you, but I am so looking forward to getting dirty, becoming one with nature, and learning more about California agriculture this Saturday.

2015917 Family Volunteer Day Invitation Final Tis The Season To Volunteer

Hope to see you and your family in our Farm this Saturday! icon smile Tis The Season To Volunteer

Auto Club NHRA Finals Recap

What a weekend!

We’ve been having so much fun out at the racetrack that we completely forgot tomorrow is Monday again! If we could have drag racing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we would totally do it! I mean, come on, the thrill and excitement that comes from seeing your favorite race car drivers take home the coveted prizes is priceless!

nhra Auto Club NHRA Finals Recap

NHRA World Champion Del Worsham
Photo Cred: NHRA/NATIONAL DRAGSTER 

Here are some of the highlights:

- This weekend’s race marked Del Worsham’s second victory NHRA world championship title and his first in Funny Car.

- Other winners included Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock), and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

- Langdon earned his second Top Fuel win of the season, sweeping both Wallys at this track for the second time in his career.

- Krawiec closed the Pro Stock Motorcycle season with a victory and earned a second-place points finish when he defeated two-time champ Matt Smith in the final round.

- Johnson claimed his second win of the season and 26th of his career by holding off Vincent Nobile in the final round.

From everyone at Fairplex, CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners this weekend and we look forward to kicking off the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season in February!

The Circle K NHRA Winternationals are scheduled to take place Feb. 11-14 at our venue! Hope to see everyone in 87 more days! Not that we’re counting, or anything like it! icon smile Auto Club NHRA Finals Recap

For more information about NHRA and the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series visit nhra.com. For more information about Fairplex and the Auto Club Raceway visit fairplex.com.

Fairplex Snapshot: The Farm

If you visited The Farm during your visit to the LA County Fair, you know how beautiful and peaceful this area of our grounds really is.

But, did you know our Farm is one of the largest urban farms in Los Angeles? Yep. Our five-acre Farm is host to dozens of specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables and herbs.

In honor of our new Farm Field Trips Program, today’s snapshot is a glimpse of our Farm:

In case you’re wondering…

This new program is actually an extension of the FairKids Field Trips Program that brings 150,000+ students to explore agriculture, animal husbandry and STEM topics during the annual LA County Fair. 

The goal of this program is to teach students about the foods they eat, their nutritional value, where they come from, how they are grown/raised, the role Mother Nature plays on our food supply, sustainable agriculture, effective use of energy and water supplies and much more.

To learn more about this new program, click HERE.

Convention for “Makers” Comes to Fairplex

Dozens of entrepreneurs, inventors and families stopped by the SoCal Maker Convention at our grounds this weekend. Everywhere you looked people were enjoying themselves – children were entertained by the drone races, parents saw how trash will soon be taken out and hobbyists were in complete awe by the robots. Check out this quick video:

The driving force and motivation behind this event is the emerging “Maker Movement” – a movement of amateurs, hobbyists, entrepreneurs, DIYers, students, and professionals united by nothing but the common desire to tinker, design, hack, innovate and invent.

The great thing about the Maker Movement is that it is not a movement you join. It’s a movement you’re already a part of as long as you have a fundamental curiosity about the world and the basic human impulse to create something.

With that said, start thinking and build something. You’ll be surprised by how much fun you’ll have. icon smile Convention for Makers Comes to Fairplex Hope to see you next year!

Were you able to make it out to SoCal Maker Con? If you did, tell us what you thought about the event in the comment section below. 

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Photo Courtesy of SoCal Maker Con

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Photo Courtesy of SoCal Maker Con

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Photo Courtesy of SoCal Maker Con