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Press Release


Members of the Blue Ribbon Task Force enjoy a tour of the Horse Center

Blue Ribbon Task Force Meeting

Ernie Oare

Glenn Petty

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Virginia Horse Center Foundation Conducts Successful Inaugural Blue Ribbon Task Force Meeting

Written by: Courtesy of Client
Client: Virginia Horse Center Foundation
Release Date: 2014-07-25

Lexington, VA – July 25, 2014 – The Virginia Horse Center Foundation (VHCF) hosted its inaugural Blue Ribbon Task Force Luncheon on June 30, 2014. President Ernie Oare, together with several Directors of the Board, VHC employees and consultants led the event. In attendance were eighty members of the Blue Ribbon Task Force plus representatives from the equine community and local business and government. 

Following a trolley tour of the Center, the attendees gathered in the Anderson Coliseum for a wonderful luncheon catered by the VHCF’s new food and beverage partners, John Blackburn and Stephanie Wilkinson. (Blackburn is the owner of the popular Lexington, Virginia restaurant, Good Eats, and he is a partner with Wilkinson in the highly rated Red Hen restaurant, also in Lexington.)

Oare kicked off the event by presenting an overview and assessment of the past, current and future challenges the newly seated managers and Board are tasked with. Oare shared management’s short and long-term goals for the VHC.

Following Oare’s presentation, Interim Executive Director Glenn Petty introduced members of the Board Buddy Derrick, Gardy Bloemers and Tom Clark, the current staff and consultants as well as Emily Riden and Chip McKenney of Phelps Media Group.

The group presented short- and long-term business plans and comprehensive updates of approximately two dozen projects the staff and consultants are working to complete. Bloemers’ comments specifically focused on the critical role that development and fundraising play in the Horse Center’s ongoing success and eventual growth. 

Derrick, Lexington’s former mayor, and Otis Meade, who played a key role in Rockbridge County winning the bid to host the Horse Center, recounted their historic perspective of the VHCF.   

John Nicholson, the former Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park and a retained consultant to VHCF, explained how the evolution of the Kentucky Horse Park over the past 17 years from a small Standardbred farm to an international event destination, is a road map to the future vision for the Virginia Horse Center.

Next on the agenda was a question and answer period during which Task Force members were able to ask questions of the presenters.  

Following a short break, Chip McKenney, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Phelps Media Group, facilitated an interactive S.W.O.T. exercise designed to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as perceived by the Task Force members. A tremendous amount of information was collected during this exercise that will aid the management in their efforts to elevate the VHC to world-class status.  

Overall, it was a great day for the Virginia Horse Center. Many thanks to all the participants and attendees!  The next Blue Ribbon Task Force meeting will be held in late October or early November. 

For more information contact Glenn Petty at 540-219-9732.


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