Barnes earns IAFE Top Recruiter Award

SALT LAKE CITY – The International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) proudly honored Tom Barnes, Executive Director of Association of Iowa Fairs, with the 2023 IAFE Top Recruiter Award. 
This distinguished recognition was announced on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at the IAFE Convention and Trade Show held in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“The top recruiter award is given to the IAFE member who recruits the most IAFE members in one year,” stated Marla Calico, CFE, President and CEO of the IAFE. “Tom has been dedicated to achieving 100% of all fairs in Iowa as IAFE members and accomplished that in 2023. We are thankful for his efforts and proud to recognize him for his dedication to the IAFE.”
Sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company, the Top Recruiter Award recognizes the individual who recruited the most IAFE members between November 2, 2022, and November 1, 2023.
“It is quite a feat to accomplish this,” stated Barnes upon receiving the honor. “I was fortunate this past year to recruit the most members (with help from wife, Sue) thru my position with the Association of Iowa Fairs.”
Barnes has been the Executive Director of the Association of Iowa Fairs since 1997.
“Sue was also brought into the AIF at the same time as the AIF’s Executive Secretary/Treasurer,” commented Barnes. “We both work together to manage the organization. Quite a feat, as it takes quite a bit of time and travel.”
Barnes has been involved with the Mighty Howard County Fair since 1983, allowing him tons of experience in the county fair business.
Barnes noted the AIF works for its member Fairs to provide educational and governance/procedural oversight to help them succeed. 
“Each year the AIF tries to give back to its member Fairs something of extra value that the Fairs themselves might not be able to realize, due to logistics or because of additional costs,” added Barnes of the organization the couple runs. “The past two years, the AIF provided IAFE membership support to every Fair in Iowa. The cost to do this came from excess funds the AIF has from its annual operation. Sue and I were trying to find something of value that would help the Fairs in Iowa. We both feel IAFE does so much for the Fair industry for its members in the US, Canada and its members in countries overseas.”
Barnes stated they have been connected to IAFE thru their positions with the Association of Iowa Fairs for many years. 
“In thinking about the IAFE and what it has done for the AIF and ourselves, Sue came up with the idea to provide this membership stipend to our member Fairs,” added Barnes. “The IAFE has so much more resources and benefits for its members than the AIF can provide. So we, Sue & I, felt a membership in the IAFE for all our member Fairs in Iowa would be a great investment in our Fairs and the Fair industry in Iowa.”
The couple had put a proposal together for the AIF Board of Directors, which was approved by the Board. 
“Once approved, I handled the logistics of getting the paperwork completed for each fair in Iowa,” continued Barnes. “Sue takes care of the financial part of the program with IAFE. So, this award is also shared with Sue, but as the AIF’s Executive Director, I am the one who is recognized.”

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