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Mission Statement

To foster leadership development in the fair and event industries by providing support through educational scholarships and by enhancing training and professional services.


2020 NICA Foundation Scholarship Recipients Have Been Selected

The NICA Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of the 2020 NICA Scholarship recipients. This is an exciting time of year for the NICA Foundation. With the financial challenges that many of our students and their families are facing right now, we are honored to award life-changing funds to so many deserving students. Because of the overwhelming support from our donors in 2020, we were able to not only meet our goal of awarding $30,500, but exceed our goal and award $33,500 to our commendable recipients.

After a confidential and anonymous review of the over 30 applications received, the NICA Foundation is proud to award 18 scholarships.

Congratulations to our Recipients:

The 25th Anniversary Scholarship – Samuel Beach
Coca-Cola Refreshments Scholarship – Grace Owens
NICA Regional Councils Scholarship – Carmela Palmieri
NICA Leadership Scholarship – Emily Chambers
Norman Jean & Edgar Sivori Scholarship – Ashton Giordano
Visionary Scholarship – Colin Glushakow, Macey Kenna, Callie Pfile, and Delaney Woods
Membership Scholarship – Savannah Grout, Elizabeth Henry, Shelby Mogge, Abigail O’Brien, Olivia Owens, Sarah Riley, and Kaitlyn Zell
Gene O’Brien Vocational Scholarship – Don Jones and Tyler Mitchell

“We are confident that our scholarship recipients and applicants will do great things with their education in our industry and/or on their own individual path,” NICA Foundation President Audrey Poole said. “We are so honored to award $33,500 to such deserving students. To fulfill our commitment during this time of COVID will help these students achieve their dreams.”

This Scholarship Program would not be possible without the generous donations of so many of our supporters. Thank you to the 2020 Scholarship Program Sponsors: Coca-Cola Refreshments; Tina Hollis, FiServ; Cameron Murray, Chester’s Gator’s and Tators; Rey O’Day, Wings of Fame Productions; Carmel Dyer-Pittroff, CCE, The Original Australian Battered Potatoes; Fred Pitroff, Giant Slide, Inc.; Laura and Ron Porter, Fare Foods; Kathleen Ross, CCE, Ross Concessions; Jeff Ross, CCE, Ross Concessions; Lawrence Sivori, Sivori Catering; Ronald Smith, R.E. Smith; Whirley-Drinkworks! The additional fundraising efforts of the NICA Super Bowl Pool Participants, the NICA Past Presidents and Board of Directors, the NICA Regional Councils and the NICA Membership help to ensure this program truly makes a difference in the lives of our young people.

To learn more and help support The NICA Foundation Scholarship Program, please visit

Applications for the 2021 Scholarship Program will be available in early Spring 2021.

2020 NICA Foundation Board

The NICA Foundation Board of Directors is in the process of designing and approving the many things a new corporation must do including building a chart of accounts, creating sponsorship opportunities, generating financial procedures, constructing a website, accepting the Foundation-related strategic goals from NICA, and organizing mission-driven projects.

Right now, in 2020, the most important project is to keep the promise we made to award $30,500 in scholarships. We are proud to say that applications have been arriving every day (deadline was June 1). Once they arrive, the applications are appropriately redacted and sent to three readers who score them. After the results are final, we will present the recipients in NICA News. None of this would be possible without the gift of time and generosity that our members provide at our Fundraising Events. Thank you!

Meet our NICA Foundation Board of Directors, who collectively have 170 years of experience in the Fairs and Events Industries:

Audrey Poole

Audrey Poole, has had the opportunity to be associated with the fair industry for over 15 years. Currently, Audrey is the Vice President of Business Development at Fare Foods Corporation, Du Quoin, IL and Tampa, FL; and produces the annual Food Show in conjunction with NICA’s Business Expo during early February. Fare Foods has been a NICA member since 1994, and was built on excellent service and delivery. Audrey’s favorite work activities include working with Fare Food’s customers to develop long-term relationships and all special prints and marketing pieces for their customers. Audrey also serves on the Board of Governors for the Showmen’s League of America.

Audrey has also always been in the food industry, as a member of the executive team for a grocery wholesale company for 24 years. Audrey is honored to be asked to serve as the first NICA Foundation President. For her it is a dream come true. Audrey’s vision and passion will lead the Foundation to grow its scholarship and educational programming. She adds “I am very passionate about scholarship programs, and ways to further assist in the education of our young people; as well as, those who have chosen an alternate career path later in life.”

Greg Miller CCE
Vice President

Greg Miller, CCE owns and operates Miller & Company Food Concessions, LLC, Lewisburg, West Virginia, with his wife Janey. Greg served on the NICA Board for 6 years and as NICA President in 2012-2013 and 2014-2015.  He continues to be active in the organization today.

Soon after high school, Greg entered the family-owned John Deere business, and spent a decade working his way through all aspects of the dealership, expecting to someday own the dealership. When he received that opportunity, he ran it for four years before selling, and then found himself intrigued by the concession business. Greg started his operation, selling soft serve ice cream, and since has expanded to several other food products. Today his route includes much of the Southeast and is as far west as Kentucky.

Greg earned his Certified Concessionaire Executive Designation in 2009, and has been a guest speaker at many local, state and national fair conventions. He is also very proud of his three sons, Gentry, Holland and Peyton and their spouses. Greg’s philosophy of life—“walk a mile in another man’s shoes”—has served him very well in life;  especially when managing his concession business and communicating with the Fair Industry.

Rey O’Day

Rey O’Day started her fair career as a young performer at State Fairs.  Then as owner of Wings of Fame Productions, a Los Angeles based training and entertainment production company; she built Costumed Characters and produced or directed hundreds of theme park, fair and special event shows. After being the Entertainment Manager at Busch Gardens LA, she went to work for Fairplex, the home of the LA County Fair, where during 18 years she held a number of key management positions including Assistant Operations Manager, Retail Sales Manager, Entertainment Manager, Director of Food and Beverage, and General Manager of Cornucopia Foods, LLC. 

Her food and beverage responsibilities led her to NICA where she served two terms on the NICA Advisory Committee during the 1990’s. In 2006 she began working for NICA part time, served as Interim Executive Director from 2015 – 2016 and today serves as NICA’s Executive Director.

Currently, she also teaches the IAFE Institute courses on “The Principles of Food and Beverage” and “Guest Services,” and is an Instructor at UC-Riverside in “Principles of Event Management.”

She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management and a California Community College Credential in Dance.

Rey added, “She is honored to be the NICA Foundation Secretary, proud of the scholarships that we provide, and looking forward to the educational and leadership opportunities we will develop for our members and the Fair Industry.”

Jennifer Giordano CCE

Jennifer Giordano CCE, owns and operates C&C Concessions, La Verne, CA with her husband Ken and family;  a company started by her father-in-law in 1964. It is a cafeteria/barbecue concession business with a route in California. Jennifer’s business strives to have a product they are proud to serve and believes no one should sell anything they would not truly enjoy experiencing themselves.

Jennifer served as a member of the NICA West Council for six years and as the NICA Board of Directors Treasurer for three years beginning in 2015. She earned her Certified Concessionaire Executive designation in 2018. She has also participated in many Communication Committees at the fairs she works on the West Coast. Jennifer believes in our industry, and in the need for open and honest communication, among concessionaires, fairs, and employees. In her Board confirmation letter she delightfully added, “I am looking forward to great things.”


Deborah Aschmann

Deb Aschmann grew up showing her sheep at fairs in New York State and working concessions at the Dutchess County Fair. 15 years ago, she was hired at the Dutchess County Fair, NY as Administrative Operations and Vendor, Concession & Partnership Manager.  Because of aging parents, in 2014, she was able to split her job, move to Florida and now manages the concessions, vendors and partnerships from her office in Florida. 

Deb’s background includes owning an international computer training company, managing banking IT systems, newspaper operations and retail management.  She and her husband, Andy, travel to New York for events during the season and enjoy going to the southern fairs in the winter. She states, “I am truly excited about the opportunities to support an industry which I love!” 



Mark Lancaster

Mark Lancaster brings 25 years’ experience in the outdoor event industry as the President of Vista Mobility Inc, a company his father started in 1987. Mark graduated from St Nobert College in Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1992 with a BA-Finance degree.

After graduation, Mark joined the theme park division for his fathers’ company. A year later, he launched the outdoor event division where he developed and specialized mobility equipment programs to assist state fairs across the country. In 1995, Mark and his father were the pioneers of handicap scooters to the outdoor event industry. Through hard work, passion, and involvement with NICA, WFA, and IAFE, he has developed a solid foundation of 40+ clients across the U.S.

Mark’s experience, relationships and charisma will be instrumental in exposing vendors across the country to the benefits of The NICA Foundation and the importance of continued support and donations. Mark observed, “Educational scholarships, training and support are essential for the success of our industry.”

Sponsorship Opportunities

Presenting Partner ($15,000 and up)

  • Company Logo on ALL printed/published Foundation Materials
  • *Named Scholarship Opportunity
  • 4 NICA event Spotlight opportunities
  • Full page color ads (choice of 6 months) in NICA News Magazine
  • 6 total social media, website and/or NICA Now platform opportunities
  • 1 full page color ad in NICA Annual Directory
  • 4 Annual NICA Memberships
  • Annual donation tax deductible to full extent of the law

Visionary Partner ($10,000 - $14,999)

  • Company Logo on ALL printed/published Foundation Materials
  • *Named Scholarship Opportunity
  • 2 NICA event Spotlight opportunities
  • Full page color ads (choice of 4 months) in NICA News Magazine
  • 5 total social media, website and/or NICA Now platform opportunities
  • 1 Full page color ad in NICA Annual Directory
  • 2 Annual NICA Memberships
  • Annual donation tax deductible to full extent of the law

Distinguished Partner ($5,000 - $9,999)

  • Company Logo on ALL printed/published Foundation Materials
  • *Named Scholarship Opportunity
  • 1 NICA event Spotlight opportunities
  • Full page color ads (choice of 3 months) in NICA News Magazine
  • 4 total social media, website and/or NICA Now platform opportunities
  • ½ page color ad in NICA Annual Directory
  • 2 Annual NICA Memberships
  • Annual donation tax deductible to full extent of the law

Supporting Partner ($1,000 - $4,999)

  • Company Logo on ALL printed/published Foundation Materials
  • ½ page color ads (choice of 2 months) in NICA News Magazine
  • 3 total social media, website and/or NICA Now platform opportunities
  • ½ page color ad in NICA Annual Directory
  • 1 Annual NICA Membership
  • Annual donation tax deductible to full extent of the law

Honorary Partner ($500 - $999)

  • Company logo on ALL printed/published Foundation materials
  • Annual donation tax deductible to full extent of the law

*Named Scholarship

  • 20% Administrative fee
  • 3 year commitment in the first three categories with a 20% administrative fee qualifies for a Named Scholarship
  • Available in the Presenting, Visionary, and Distinguished Partner levels

Donate to the NICA Foundation Today

Contributions of any and all amounts will be considered. To use a credit card, please use the Donate button below. For all check or money orders, please submit them to NICA Foundation, 1043 E. Brandon Blvd. Brandon, FL 33511. Thank you once again for your generous support and dedication to the mission of NICA Foundation.

NICA Foundation is a non-profit, exempt charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code – Tax Identification Number 84-2778496. No goods or services were provided to you in consideration for your generous contribution. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

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