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Serving: WI

New Leaders Take Charge of World's Elite Dairy Show

World Dairy Expo has new directors this year.

During the past year, World Dairy Expo ushered in a new era of leadership with the hiring of Mark Clarke as general manager and the election of Mike Holschbach as president of the board of directors. Both say they are eager for the show to begin.

"I'm really looking forward to the show to start so I can get one under my belt and I can see all the work we've done come to fruition," Clarke says.

This may be Clarke's first expo as general manager, but this isn't the first expo that he's attended. Prior to being appointed to his new position last November, Clarke was the milking equipment and trade show manager for Boumatic for three years. Before that, he served six years as general manager of Pharming Health Care, Inc., a state-of-the-art, biotech transgenic facility based in DeForest. Clarke, 40, began his career working as an independent sales and marketing representative for ABS Global for nine years.

"Between the different companies I worked for, I always was involved with World Dairy Expo," Clarke says.

Clarke says there is some irony that he was hired as expo general manager.

"When I accepted this job, my wife Michele reminded me that when we got married in 1992, she originally wanted to get married the first Saturday in October," Clarke recalls. "I told her that was a great day, but I said I didn't know if I'd be there. I told her I'd be at expo. She didn't really know what expo was, but we moved the wedding back a week!"

Clarke grew up in Emerald Grove in Rock County near Janesville and graduated from Clinton High School in 1986. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, he has a degree in animal science with a production management emphasis.

Clarke is the fifth person to serve as general manager in World Dairy Expo's 41-year history. Bruce Walter managed the first show in 1967. Bev Craig led the organization for the next 12 years. Brad Rugg was named general manager from 1980 to 1987 and Tom McKittrick, who resigned in August 2007, was the chief executive for 19 years.

Clarke and his wife live in DeForest with their son Brandon, 12, and 7 year old daughter Mikayla. When he's not at work, he enjoys hunting, fishing and camping with his family.

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