Harold Workman of Louisville grew up on a family farm in Livingston County and received a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture in 1969. During his college years, he worked on the farm to pay for his expenses and to gain experiential education.
Since then, Workman has spent his career in public service with significant focus on development of livestock expositions, establishing agricultural events and developing agricultural opportunities for youth.
Workman began his career with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. In 1974, he was named general manager of the North American International Livestock Exposition. Beginning in 1986, Workman directed all agency-produced events for the Kentucky State Fair Board as director of exposition, and served four years as vice president of expositions and operations. In 1993, Workman was named to his current position as president and chief executive officer for the Kentucky State Fair Board.
Thanks to his efforts, the Kentucky Exposition Center is home to several signature events including the North American International Livestock Exposition. When he took on the challenge of establishing a major livestock exposition 38 years ago, he set the groundwork for an event that would annually attract thousands of producers and exhibitors. The event has grown from 2,500 head of beef cattle in its first year to becoming the largest all-breed, purebred show of its kind with 11 species and almost 25,000 entries from 11 countries and five continents.
Educational internship opportunities for college students have been included in this event allowing them to gain important skills that have been the springboard to future career opportunities. He has also been a supporter of youth activities for the North American as well as the state fair including youth educational tours and a sale of champions that rewards youth who have excelled in livestock production.
Under his leadership, the exposition center has been transformed into one of the 10 largest facilities of its type with more than 1.2 million square feet of indoor space. The facility is capable of housing many large national and international events such as the National Farm Machinery Show. The show ranks as one of Louisville’s the top attractions each year, generating more than $20 million in annual economic impact.
Workman serves on numerous boards including the Louisville Convention and Visitors Commission and the Kentucky Derby Museum. His many honors include induction to the Saddle and Sirloin Club on the club’s 100th anniversary in 2003; Distinguished Service Award by the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives; Mangeot-Oaken Award for his service to the tourism and hospitality industry by the Kentucky Travel Industry Association; Kentucky Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture award, UK Department of Animal and Food Sciences Hall of Fame and honors from numerous livestock and farm associations.