Board of Directors & Executive Staff

The California Exposition & State Fair is an independent state agency established by law in Food and Agriculture Code

Governed by an appointed Board of Directors, daily operations are managed by the Chief Executive Officer and permanent staff of approximately 55. Each year more than 2,000 temporary employees are hired by Cal Expo or key business partners to operate the annual 17-day State Fair. Cal Expo is a self–sufficient State agency that receives no government general or special fund support.

The governing body of the California Exposition & State Fair is an 11–member Board of Directors, that must all be residents of California. Nine (9) directors are appointed by the Governor, one director by the Speaker of the Assembly and one director by Senate Rules Committee.

Jess Durfee Profile Photo

Jess Durfee (Chair) of San Diego, is a volunteer community organizer focusing on LGBT issues and political engagement. Durfee had an early career as a high school horticulture/agriculture teacher and FFA advisor. Durfee currently serves on the Qualcomm Stadium Advisory Board and is a past member of the San Diego Community Forest Advisory Board.

Rex S. Hime Profile Photo

Rex S. Hime (Vice-Chair) of Loomis, is president and chief executive officer of the California Business Properties Association. Hime is a past president of the Cal Aggie Alumni Association, served as a UC Regent, is a past chair of the Greater Sacramento Valley Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and currently serves on the board of directors of The Governor’s Mansion Foundation.

Rima Barkett Profile

Rima Barkett (Member) of Stockton, has been reappointed to the California Exposition and State Fair Board of Directors, where she has served since 2012. Barkett has been president and founder at A Tavola Together since 2007. She was an international relations officer for the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates from 2006 to 2007, owner at Café Luna Spaghetteria from 2002 to 2006 and an Italian language instructor at the University of the Pacific from 1996 to 2002. Barkett is founder of the Architects of Peace Foundation and of Stockton Community Kitchen.

Erin Choi Profile Photo

Erin M. Choi (Member) of Sacramento, has been appointed to the California Exposition and State Fair Board of Directors. Choi has been corporate counsel at Sutter Health since 2020. She previously served as corporate counsel at the California Dental Association and as senior corporate counsel at PowerSchool Group, LLC. Choi earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law.

Sonney Chong Profile

Sonney Chong (Member) of Sacramento, has been a practicing dentist in Sacramento for the past 30 years. He was previously on the Cal Expo & State Fair Board of Directors from 2001 to 2005. Then appointed again to the Board of Directors in 2011 to 2014 by Senate Pro Temp Darrell Steinberg, and was reappointed by Senate Pro Temp Kevin De Leon for 2015-2018. Chong has been recently appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly. Sonney is Chair of CAPITAL (Council of Asian Pacific Islanders Together for Advocacy and Leadership) and on CSUS University Foundation, Chair of Board of Director for Asian Resources Inc, Chair of the SOCAB (Sheriff Outreach Community Advisory Board) for Sheriff Scott Jones, Fellow member of American Leadership Forum (Class II), member of the Sacramento FBI Citizen’s Academy Alumni Association and lifetime member of CACS (Chinese American Council of Sacramento) and SCCF (Sacramento Chinese Cultural Foundation).

Rina V. DiMare Profile

Rina V. DiMare (Member) of Clarksburg, has been reappointed to the California Exposition and State Fair Board of Directors, where she has served since 2015. DiMare has been a proprietor at Elevation Ten Winery since 2011. She held several positions at Government Strategies Inc. from 2009 to 2014, including president and senior partner and served as a legislative aide and consultant in the California State Assembly and from 1991 to 1997. DiMare is a member of the Clarksburg Wine Grape Growers and Vintners Association and the California Association of Winegrape Growers.

David Mallel Portrait

David Mallel (Member) of Los Angeles, has been reappointed to the California Exposition and State Fair Board of Directors, where he has served since 2012. Mallel has been an account executive at Redwood Mortgage since 2018. He was senior vice president of commercial lending at Patch of Land from 2014 to 2016, vice president of operations at Rodeo Capital from 2010 to 2014 and president at LCC Investments since 1996. He was regional manager at Moore Maintenance and Property Management from 1994 to 1996.

Brian May

Brian May (Member) of Sacramento, has been appointed to the California Exposition and State Fair Board of Directors. May has been a retired annuitant at the California Department of Food and Agriculture since 2013. He was vice president of operations for Sacramento Republic FC from 2014 to 2019. May held multiple positions at the California Exposition and State Fair from 1989 to 2012, including deputy general manager, assistant general manager and assistant to the general manager.

In addition to appointed members, the Board of Directors includes five Ex-Officio Members:

  • Governor Gavin Newsom
  • Senator Dr. Richard Pan
  • Senator Andreas Borgeas
  • Assemblymember Kevin McCarty
  • Assemblymember Robert Rivas

All California Exposition & State Fair board, sub-committee, and advisory board meetings are open to the public and are subject to a 10 day notice period. Agendas and pertinent materials are available on our Public Meeting Notices page.


Executive Staff

  • Rick K. Pickering, Chief Executive Officer
  • Tom Martinez, Chief Deputy General Manager
  • Marcia Shell, Assistant General Manager – Administration & Operations
  • Mitchell (Mitch) Pryor, Chief of Plant Operations
  • Craig Walton, Chief of Police
  • Sue O’Brien, Executive Secretary