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The League's Founding

by David Mott, Founding Member

The League began as a means for a certain, newly appointed director of an agricultural exposition center to meet others who did comparable work so that he might pick their brains about facility design, management, and operations procedures. That certain someone was me, David Mott, former manager of a cost-recovery professional development business in higher education (and not equestrian facility operations) whose clients included professional organizations and whose training and development I designed and funded through registration fees, grants, and sponsored events.

In the winter of 1996 - prior to my first show season, I reached out to other facility managers with the hope they would be convinced of the benefits of attending such an envisioned meeting, and I hosted the first event that same year at my facility in Georgia. The following fall, Bill Chambers, an attendee of the first meeting, contacted me to find out where the next meeting would be held. Appreciating his enthusiasm, I easily convinced him to host the second meeting in 1997 at his facility in Maryland.

Subsequent, similarly-spirited meetings ultimately yielded the appointment of Bill - alongside several other facility directors - to an Advisory Board whose task it was to see that the meetings continue, identify facilities to host these meetings, and reach out to corporate sponsors to seek funds necessary to underwrite the events’ expenses. Consequently over the following years, regularized meetings were held in Tampa, Tunica, Lexington, and other locations. Eventuallyas directed by the latest meeting attendees, the Advisory Board took action that up-leveled the the practice of convening annually by forming an organization that ultimately obtained incorporation.

These efforts brought forth the creation of the League of Agricultural and Equine Centers, and the organization embraced as its objectives to a) provide education and networking opportunities for facility directors and their staff to learn from one another, b) create a training program that could be articulated into a certificate program, and c) seek to represent the facility end of the nation’s livestock exposition industry whose other stakeholders included breed, performance, and competition entities from across the country. Accordingly, the League sought to spoil our customers, lower our overheads, and maximize our revenue streams by learning from the successes and failures of one others.

By the winter of 2003, as the meeting had evolved into a Symposium, the first directors and officers were elected to the Board, and I myself was voted the first Chairman of the League. My role in the initial symposiums was logistics, marketing, and communications in addition to developing the curriculum and schedule for each event. I served in this role from 1996 until 2004 when I lost my eligibility to serve on the Board because my facility closed for business in 2003. At the 2004 Miami Symposium, I was graciously awarded the title of Founder of the organization.


Hear from former Chairman of the Board for The League - Bill Chambers - in this 2020 interview

The League of Agricultural & Equine Centers

P.O. Box 5537

Aiken, South Carolina 29803


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