Ag Hall announces new director, hours for 2015
The National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame Monday announced that it has selected a new director of operations and development, and it plans to open to the general public for the 2015 season.
In a media release, the Ag Hall announced it has hired Dawn Gabel to oversee the running of the museum, stating that Gabel brings experience and plans for the 2015 season to the center.
The 50-year-old, nationally chartered center had been closed for the 2014 season for reorganization. Gabel started her position at the beginning of January.
“The board of directors is extremely pleased to have a person with Dawn's background and experience to head our efforts. She will provide dynamic leadership to our board,” Clausie Smith, board president, said in the release. "We are looking forward to a great summer."
The center will open April 18 to the public with Barnyard Babies, one of the annual events it had to cancel last year. Regular visiting hours for the museum will follow through October on Wednesdays through Sundays.
“Although the center was not open for tours last year, the special events did take place and were well attended,” Gabel said. “This year there are plans to make the events bigger and better.”
Gabel comes to the center with experience in nonprofit leadership that includes fundraising, marketing and organizational development. She most recently worked in the healthcare field helping Hays Medical Center, a private not-for-profit tertiary hospital in rural Kansas, launch a wound and hyperbaric center.
“Coming from rural Kansas, I have worked for public television, the American Red Cross and hospitals, all with one goal in mind: to bring services to underserved, agricultural-based communities,” Gabel said in the news release.
While working in these positions, Gabel has honed her skills for development, both financial and organizational.
"Having worked for and with the wonderful people who make the agriculture industry possible, I am pleased to have the opportunity to tell their story. The National Agricultural Center honors them and the work of the past, present and future of the industry. Although the center is a new direction for me, it is also very familiar."
Gabel started her career in nonprofit work with Smoky Hills Public Television and worked her way up from membership coordinator to director of development. During her tenure with SHPTV, which serves three quarters of the state of Kansas, a mostly rural area, she worked extensively with corporate agriculture sponsors. She went on to be the northwest Kansas Blood Donor Coordinator for the American Red Cross, working with 28 rural counties and 260 plus local volunteers.
“I have been blessed to know and serve rural areas,” Gabel said. “The National Agricultural Center is a natural extension of that work. I am excited to be a part of the center’s next fifty years of growth and new directions.”
Additional events scheduled this year are the Tractor Cruise, May 2; Tractor Daze & Touch a Truck, July 11; Show N’ Shine Truck & Car Show, July 25; International Lineman’s Rodeo, Oct. 17; and the return of the Santa Express, Dec. 4 and 12.