A Conversation With Chris Wiseman
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A Conversation With Chris Wiseman

Chris Wiseman has been the General Manager of the Colorado State Fair since 2004. He is a Pueblo native and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology from CSU-Pueblo. Chris spent six years as a staff member for Colorado Senator Tim Wirth. During his time with Senator Wirth, Chris worked as the Southern Colorado Office Director in charge of natural resources, water, and economic development. He began his association with the Colorado State Fair while serving as an aide to former Governor Roy Romer. In 1996, Romer assigned Chris to assist in the expo’s return to state government.
In 1998, Chris became Assistant Manager of the Fair and in October of 2004, he was named General Manager. He now oversees the year-round operations of the Fairgrounds and is dedicated to building a strong financial future for the expo, while educating youth on the importance of agriculture in Colorado.
If you are considering going cashless you won’t want to miss this interview! Chris and his team took a leap and used a Smart Card system during their 2013 Fair. Learn about the reactions from fairgoers and concessionaires, as well as the lessons learned from implementing a cashless system at a State Fair. There are some surprises and sage advice for going this direction in the future! Since the interview, Colorado State Fair has decided not to use the Smart Card system for the 2014 Fair for financial reasons, but they are considering different options for bringing it back in the future.    

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Key Episode Moments:

  1. 3:45 – The importance of having customer service representatives at every kiosk to help explain the Smart Card system and help customers load their cards.
  2. 4:30 - Don’t be surprised if there is a small faction of your clientele that is vocally opposed
  3. 5:45 – Having a cashless system may be revenue neutral, but it improves the fair experience for most
  4. 8:50 – The surprise is in the labor required on the back end to reconcile the accounts each night.
  5. 10:10 - The concessionaires were resistant at first, but they ended up liking the system because they got to go home at the end of the day, check their accounts online that evening, and get a check for their earnings the next morning.
  6. 13:03  There are ways to turn the Smart Card system into a marketing tool with specials and bonus deals that you cannot do with cash!
The Amplifier is brought to you by Saffire in cooperation with IAFE, IFEA, IAVM and WFA. For more information or feedback, please contact info@saffire.com.

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