Manchester man named to fairs Hall of Fame

President and general manager has worked for Maryland State Fair more than 42 years

February 05, 2006|By DAVID P. GREISMAN | DAVID P. GREISMAN,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For more than 42 years, Howard "Max" Mosner has worked for the Maryland State Fair, earning leadership and volunteer awards from groups such as 4-H and the Red Cross, as well as citations from the state government.

He recently added another award when the International Association of Fairs and Expositions inducted him into its Hall of Fame.

For the 65-year-old Manchester resident, it was recognition of his work as president and general manager of the State Fair in Timonium.

The honor accentuates Mosner's remarkable accomplishments, said Jim Tucker, president and chief executive officer of the Springfield, Mo.-based association.

Tucker said one person is selected for induction each year out of a trade organization consisting of about 1,300 member fairs worldwide.

Mosner received the top honor at the association's 115th annual convention in Las Vegas late last year.

"He's an innovator, and he is very involved in his community," Tucker said. "He anticipates what is needed, not only by his fair, but by those that produce agricultural fairs around the world."

Mosner was nominated by Andy Cashman, the fair's assistant general manager, and Grove Miller, chairman of the board of the Maryland State Fair and Agriculture Society Inc.

"I've never worked with a better general manager," said Miller, who has worked with Mosner for more than 25 years. "He keeps me posted on things that are going on. I never get surprised at things that happen at the state fair."

When Mosner accepted the award, he thanked his colleagues and expressed appreciation for his staff. That's when he discovered that some of his staffers had flown to Nevada to congratulate him in person.

Even with decades of service and a ledger full of accolades and experience, Mosner is not ready to stop working.

"My goals are to work through the 2012 fair, which would be 50 fairs, [and] would make me 72 years old. If my health allows me to do that, I would love to make 50 years of service. We're talking about some improvements to the facility. We do have some plans to do a new building next year that would be our first ... in quite a number of years."

Mosner said he found the job at the state fair "by accident."

The fair was affiliated with McDonogh School, where he graduated and where his mother worked. State fair employees contacted his mother about doing the payrolls, but she was too busy, and she suggested hiring her son, who was a college student at the time.

He worked his first fair, returned the next year, and after graduating with a business management degree from the University of Baltimore, he came back for his third.

Mosner was offered a job as an assistant general manager, a role he held until he received his promotion in 1972.

Mosner has been married for 37 years to his wife, Nancy, with whom he has one daughter, Jamie, the office manager at the fair. In his free time, he enjoys driving his sports car, doing target shooting and taking care of his property. He also hopes to someday shoot his age on the golf course.

"I've come close a couple of times," he said, "but I haven't managed to do it."

Mosner said he enjoys his job, a role he feels is necessary to the community.

"The fair is about our young people, it's for the young people," he said. "It's education, and therefore we've made a great commitment to the 4-H and Future Farmers of America programs to give the young people participating in these two wonderful organizations an opportunity to participate in the fair. It's one of the primary things we do here."

For many of its visitors, the fair is "the only place they can come to see agriculture, livestock, calves being born, pigs being born," said Mosner.

"We feel we have a strong role in today's society to provide a forum of education for people who are now three or four generations from the farm," he said.

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