Leadership

The State Fair of Texas Board of Directors consists of a long line of distinguished community leaders who have provided governance for the State Fair of Texas since it was originally chartered in 1886.

Mitchell Glieber

President

Mitchell joined the State Fair in 1999, spending the majority of his time working with corporate partners developing sponsorship, marketing, and promotional programs, more than tripling sponsorship revenue. To attest to Mitchell’s success during his presidency, he was recently named one of the most admired CEOs by the Dallas Business Journal in 2023. The Most Admired CEO Awards honor the executives who inspire those around them, hold their employees, products, and services in the highest regard, run their companies with integrity, and are shining examples of how all companies should be run and managed. Prior to joining the State Fair, Mitchell spent nearly a decade with the Dallas Mavericks marketing team, serving as the organization’s sales manager for season and group tickets. Raised in Dallas, Mitchell graduated from Southern Methodist University with a double-major in Finance and TV & Radio. He served as captain of the SMU Mustangs football team in 1989 and was chosen as one of only 11 National Football Foundation Scholar Athletes in the country, that same year. He is the former president of the SMU Letterman’s Association and is an active member of the Dallas Salesmanship Club, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming children’s futures by serving at-risk families in the Greater Dallas area. Mitchell is son to nationally-known CBS Sportscaster, Frank Glieber, who passed away in 1985. Mitchell and his wife, Lisa, are devoted parents to their three adult children; Thomas, Kaki, and Charlotte.

Jaime Navarro

Chief Operating Officer

Jaime joined the State Fair of Texas in 2001 as a senior accountant. After serving in other accounting and finance roles, in 2013 he moved into the position of chief financial officer. In 2022, he was promoted to chief operating officer. In this role, Jaime oversees all Fair & Midway operations, agriculture & livestock, concessions, and the safety & security aspects of the organization. Before joining the State Fair of Texas, Jaime began his career in telecommunications and public accounting. In addition to his professional responsibilities, he actively serves as Treasurer on the International Association of Fairs & Expositions (IAFE) Executive Committee, and on the investment and safety & security committees of the State Fair of Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. Jaime enjoys spending his free time with his wife, Joyce, and their two daughters, Isabella and Olivia.

LINDSAY CLARK

Chief Financial Officer

Linsday joined the State Fair of Texas in 2018 as the controller, and in 2022, she was promoted to her current role as chief financial officer, where she oversees the compliance, accounting, and seasonal finance teams. During her time at the Fair, she has transformed its financial systems and operations, driving better decision-making through transparency in financial reporting, policy development, and budget management. She was recognized for all her work by D CEO, being named a finalist for Outstanding CFO in 2024. Previously, Lindsay held financial positions in several high-profile nonprofits as well as advising them as a consultant with Lane Gorman Trubitt, building her professional reputation on driving change initiatives that increase the effectiveness and value of financial policies and processes. Among her leadership roles, she has served as Director of Accounting and Treasury at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Controller at The Sixth Floor Museum, Assistant Controller at the Dallas Museum of Art, and Finance Manager for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. She began her professional career with Weaver and Tidwell, a regional public accounting firm in its not-for-profit niche. Lindsay got her education at the University of Dallas, receiving an MBA & MS in Accounting and a BA in Spanish Literature. She is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the State of Texas. Lindsay is a proud East Dallas resident and enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter.

Karissa Condoianis

Senior Vice President, Public Relations

Karissa joined the State Fair of Texas in early 2014. In addition to serving on the leadership team for the State Fair, Karissa serves as the spokesperson for the nonprofit organization and event of the same name, which is the Fair’s largest community program and fundraiser each year. She oversees all public relations efforts and outreach functions, including communications, community relations, philanthropic fundraising initiatives, scholarship programs, media relations, and guest services.

Before joining the State Fair of Texas, Karissa was senior manager of marketing and public relations for BeautiControl, a subsidiary of Tupperware Brands Corporation, and before that, she was with Highland Capital Management, L.P. managing marketing, public relations, and advertising initiatives. In addition, Karissa has worked for numerous broadcast outlets, including Fox Sports Net (AKA, Fox Sports Southwest and Bally Sports), ABC Sports, ESPN, and News 9 in Oklahoma City. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication – Broadcasting & Electronic Media. Karissa is passionate about giving back, actively participating in community projects and organizations, and has previously served in volunteer leadership roles or on the board of organizations like the Junior League of Dallas, Women Helping Others Foundation, and Helping Hands for The Family Place. Karissa is Texas-born and bred, growing up in Dallas most of her life. She enjoys life with her husband, Danny, and their two children in the DFW area.

Rusty Fitzgerald

Senior Vice President, Midway Operations

Rusty assumed the role of vice president of operations at the State Fair of Texas in 2001. Prior to joining the State Fair, he spent 23 years at Six Flags in operations management. In his current role as senior vice president, Rusty has oversight of the Midway and all if its operations. The department’s responsibilities include coordination and daily oversight of games, rides, guest relations, safety inspections, and, is in charge of all things regarding Big Tex.  Rusty also serves as the State Fair’s resident weather expert to ensure guest safety.

Nate Gross

Vice President, Fair Operations

With 30 years of operational and executive leadership experience in theme parks, Nate joined the State Fair of Texas in 2022 and quickly embraced the culture, while learning all aspects of the Fair.  He immediately began making an impact on the organization, so much so, that he was voted by State Fair employees to receive the “Outstanding Innovator” award his first year on the team. Nate became the Vice President of Fair Operations in 2024, leading the way on a robust capital projects lineup and introducing new systems and concepts to improve the guest experience and create a world-class operation. Nate has always been a PEOPLE FIRST leader and remains driven toward success. His tireless work ethic goes along with one of his favorite phrases…difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week!

Outside of work, Nate is a man of faith and family – he and his amazing wife, Lori, are the proud parents of six wonderful children, five boys and a baby girl (now 13), and they have just become grandparents for the first time. Nate and his family remain committed to education and their children’s extracurricular activities, most particularly competitive dance and hockey. They also love to be outdoors and are avid Dallas Stars fans!

Margaret Hannah

Vice President, Human Resources

Celebrating more than 30 years with State Fair, Margaret first joined the organization as a seasonal cash collector, she moved on to be a finance data entry clerk part-time, then the payroll coordinator. Her love for the Fair and career continued as she was promoted to manager of human resources and information technology, and then to director of human resources. Margaret is known for her dedication to the organization and her strong work ethic, so it’s no surprise that she was voted by State Fair employees to receive the “Workhorse” award in 2018. In 2023, Margaret led the HR team in implementing the Tex Team Resource Center and has continued to grow the HR, IT, and office services teams. In her current role as vice president of human resources, Margaret will continue to hire, develop, train, and advocate for thousands of State Fair employees each year. Outside of work, Margaret enjoys spending time with her husband of more than 40 years, Andy, as well as their kids, Lisa and Taylor, and their grandchildren.

Jason Hays

Senior Vice President, Brand Experience

Jason joined the State Fair of Texas team in 2008 as an intern in public relations. While working seasonally for the organization, Jason worked as an associate producer of advanced graphics for Sportvision, where he worked with ESPN, ABC, FOX, SKY, BBC, and other major broadcast networks in various sporting events. During his tenure with Sportvision, Jason was part of two teams awarded Emmys for outstanding technical achievement in America’s Cup and NASCAR productions. In 2013, Jason joined the State Fair family full-time as director of creative services. He focused on the organization’s brand development, essential marketing and revenue initiatives, in-park enhancements, and mission-related projects such as the Big Tex Urban Farms system. Jason was named creative director of the State Fair, where he further focused on brand and marketing strategy. In 2017, Jason was promoted to VP of brand experience, which brought oversight of all entertainment and non-Midway attractions under his purview. In 2022, he took on the role of senior vice president, and in 2024, he assumed leadership over Big Tex Urban Farms and Horticulture.

Jason is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Electronic Media & Communications. Originally from Allen, Jason currently lives in East Dallas with his wife, Molly, and daughter Birdie.

Melanie Linnear

Senior Vice President, Concessions

Melanie started her journey with the State Fair of Texas in January 1989 as a secretary in the concessions department. She has certainly moved up through the ranks as she was promoted to coordinator, then director, and now, senior vice president. In 2013, Melanie received a Leadership Certificate from the Texas Event Leadership Program (TELP) through the Texas Association of Fairs and Events (TAFE) in conjunction with the Texas Agri-Life Extension Program at Texas A&M College Station. In December 2018, she graduated from the IAFE Institute of Fair Management (IFM) after having completed a two-year curriculum in fair operations and fair management. In 2023 she completed certification as a Certified Fair Executive (CFE). She currently serves on the Board of Directors for EWI as a Board Advisor after having served as Board President in 2017-2018. In December 2018, she was selected to serve on the National Independent Concessionaire Association (NICA) Advisory Board for a 3-year term.

In her current role as senior vice president of concessions, Melanie works with the State Fair’s manager of community relations and events to implement the Big Tex Business Masterclass, a program that educates and helps to incorporate minority vendors as participants within fairs, festivals, and events. In 2021, she chaired the International Association of Fairs & Expositions (IAFE) Concessions/Exhibits Committee. She serves on the Executive Board and board of directors for the Texas Association of Fairs & Events (TAFE) and is Lead Ambassador for the TAFE Texas Young Professionals. Most recently, she joined the Executive Board and Board of Directors for the Greater Dallas Texas Restaurant Association (TRA.) When she is not working on all things “Food and Fair-related”, Melanie enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Daryl Real

Senior Vice President, Agriculture and Livestock

Daryl joined the State Fair of Texas in 2004. Prior to joining the State Fair, he worked for the National Swine Registry promoting purebred hogs in the southwestern U.S. As senior vice president of agriculture and livestock, Daryl oversees the livestock operations of the Fair and other mission-focused programs, including fundraising for the Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction and Scholarship Programs. In addition to his duties at the State Fair, he is frequently a livestock judge at national, state, and local shows and stays involved in FFA and 4-H in Denton County. Furthermore, he is involved in the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE), the Texas Association of Fairs and Expositions (TAFE), and serves as president of the North American Livestock Show & Rodeo Managers Association (NALS & RMA). A graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science, Daryl went on to finish a Master of Science at Kansas State University. Daryl and his wife, Sue, devote much of their time to Denton Bible Church and raising their four children; Kyle, Grace, Campbell, and Prestynne

Jennifer Schuder

Senior Vice President, Marketing

As senior vice president of customer engagement for the Fair, Jennifer leads the marketing and sales programs for the organization including brand management, creative development, media/promotions, and ticketing operations. She oversees the Fair’s business-to-business partnerships with the commercial activation, Texas Auto Show, and sponsorship teams. Additionally, Jennifer leads engagement initiatives for the Creative Arts program to expand participation in the Fair’s Arts & Crafts and Cooking competitions.

Prior to joining the State Fair of Texas in 2013, Jennifer was the chief marketing officer and director of community outreach for the Dallas Opera for nearly nine years. Jennifer also served as an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University, teaching marketing classes in the Meadows School of the Arts from 2013 to 2018. She is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a MS in Communications, emphasis in Public Relations, and a BS in Management Information Systems. Jennifer grew up in Allen and currently lives in Oak Cliff with her husband, Kurt, when not spending time at Cedar Creek Lake.