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Spokane Ag Expo highlights a key industry for our region

Next month, Feb. 6-8 the 41st Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum returns to the Spokane Convention Center, bringing agriculture professionals, equipment, and experts to share about the industry.

Featuring gigantic equipment, bank lenders, universities, and exhibits from government agencies, the Ag Expo is one of Spokane’s biggest events during the year. The annual forum workshops paired alongside the exposition provide agriculture professionals with opportunities to learn the latest tips and trends throughout the industry.

Following the trend of adding new items to the show each year, the 2018 Ag Expo will include a beer and wine garden for attendees.

Myrna O’Leary, Greater Spokane Incorporated AgriBusiness Council Manager and Ag Expo Director, is one of the key figures for this event each year, and the 2018 show marks her final time at the helm. O’Leary announced her retirement last year, wrapping up a 30-year involvement with the event. She’s made connections with countless farmers, kept content fresh, and added new features to the event each year.

“It’s been a nice round 30 years directing the show,” she said. “It’s been a good run.”

O’Leary recalls a number of people who helped her throughout her time running the show. Some of those include AgriBusiness board members who have served alongside her for the past 30 years to Brad Hoyt, site manager for the Ag Expo; to Diahne Gill, who has worked alongside O’Leary for around 20 years.

Hamlin moves into Ag Expo Director role

Recently, GSI announced that Heather Hamlin, Investor Relations Director, will move into the role of Investor Relations Project Manager and Director of AgriBusiness and Ag Expo.

“It’s exciting to build on what Myrna has done,” Hamlin said. “Agriculture is extremely important. It’s the backbone of our region and has been a huge part of my life and moral compass.”

Hamlin grew up in rural Spokane County and, as a youth, actively took part in the National FFA Organization and 4-H. She continues her involvement in agriculture within her personal life.

In addition to Hamlin moving into her new role, Carsen Quinnett and Geneva Johns-Kloor, members of GSI’s Investor Relations department, will lend a hand with the Ag Expo’s administrative efforts.

O’Leary’s longtime coworker Gill will continue to lead the Pacific Northwest Farm Forum.

“Myrna has been the heart of Ag Expo for many years,” Hamlin said. “I’m excited to watch the show continue to grow and evolve.”

Having worked alongside Hamlin for the last few years, O’Leary is optimistic for the Ag Expo’s future.

“I’m going away with a lot of good memories and friends, and have seen a lot of changes over the years,” O’Leary said. “But, I’m passing the show into good hands. Heather will do a fine job.”

Discount tickets for the Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum are available prior to the event at North 40 Outfitter stores in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

For more information on the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum, visit

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