World Dairy Expo has found its new leader and it is from within.
The organization, which draws thousands of visitors to Madison from around the world each fall, said Thursday it has named Laura Herschleb of De Forest as its next general manager.
Herschleb, who has been the marketing manager for World Dairy Expo since 2018, begins her duties Feb. 28. She will replace Scott Bentley who, who has been general manager since 2013 and plans to retire.
Herschleb’s charge will be to provide leadership, vision and strategic oversight to the organization and lead a team to produce the world’s largest dairy event, said Bill Hageman, president of the World Dairy Expo Board of Directors.
“Laura has the experience and perspective to truly know the challenges that are in front of us, and the commitment and vision to lead us into the future,” Hageman said. “Even more importantly, Laura has the passion to engage the World Dairy Expo family to seek continuous improvements and capitalize on opportunities.”
Herschleb, according to her Linked-In profile, is a 2001 graduate of UW-Madison where she studied dairy science, agricultural journalism and business. Her professional career began as a director of agricultural programs for the Fond du Lac Area Chamber of Commerce before joining Alltech as a marketing manager from 2006 to 2008. The former member of the the Badger Dairy Club, spent five years as World Dairy Expo’s Dairy Cattle Show manager in the late 2000s before working in marketing and public relation positions with Badgerland Financial in Prairie du Sac and Compeer Financial in Sun Prairie.
Since rejoining World Dairy Expo in 2018, Herschleb has assisted with projects related to education initiatives, attendee services and the trade show.
“It is an immense honor to be selected as general manager for the meeting place of the global dairy industry,” Herschleb said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the staff, the Board of Directors, committees, exhibitors and stakeholders to host the event this year and for years to come.”
Founded in 1967, the Expo is the largest convention in Dane County and typically has a $25 million annual economic impact on the region and is a boon to hotels, bars, restaurants and retail shops. The event usually draws more than 60,000 people, 2,000 cows, 650 vendors and uses about 500,000 square feet of exhibitor space at Alliant Energy Center. The 2021 event saw a lower attendance than 2019 due to the pandemic and travel restrictions and was canceled in 2020. This year’s expo is scheduled for Oct. 2-7.
Photos: World Dairy Expo over the years
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