Shelley Khal, chairman of the World Ag Expo Media Committee, has been named 2008 World Ag Expo show chairman.
The future chairman brings a heritage of passion for World Ag Expo to her role. She is not only the wife of past chairman, Dan Khal (2003), but a member of a large family of Orange Jacket volunteers. Brother-in-law, Andre, works for Dan on the Building Committee; sister-in-law, Carla, helps in the Media Center as does son, Brian, 13. Son Chris, 20, is on the Motor Pool Committee while son David, 15 1/2, helps in the Media Center and in ‘07 will serve on the Freight Committee. Other family members serve as interpreters for the International Business Center.
After graduation from the University of Missouri with a master's degree Khal was whisked away to San Antonio, Texas, to work in public relations for the Dairy Council. In her spare time, she played soccer for a city league. There, she met husband Dan in 1981.
Married a year later, the couple moved to Visalia, Calif., to run a chain of convenience stores Dan's family owned. Former World Ag Expo chairman, Clyde Stagner (1987), a frequent customer, recruited Dan to come to the then-named California Farm Equipment Show to help spread bark.
“Dan was so passionate about it that not more than 30 seconds after I would relieve him at the store,” his wife recalls, “he'd be out the door and on his way to the show grounds.” Khal herself became involved 16 years ago because, “I was the typical ‘farm show widow’ and wanted to see what was going on.” She found the perfect niche to put her PR skills to work — in the Media Center, helping the former Rita B. & Co. (now named The Lockwood Agency) work with the media.
“The phone rarely rang and we had very little media visiting us,” Khal recalls of the Media Center's first year. The Media Center itself was so small, “I could have swung a cat and hit all the walls. Things are very, very different today. We are busy for four days straight and media come from throughout the world.” Over 90 people attended the 2006 World Ag Expo kick-off Media Breakfast.
Khal, who works for Cigna Health as a client service partner, is very excited about working with Bruce Shannon, 2007 chairman. Both bring a hands-on sense of business to their roles. “I have the ability to put myself in the other person's shoes,” Khal says. “I want to be able to make World Ag Expo as customer friendly as can be — whether it's for the volunteers, exhibitors or buyers.”
For more about World Ag Expo 2007, Feb. 13-15, under the leadership of Bruce Shannon, visit www.farmshow.org.