College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

Cody Cashman Shines at the Maryland State Fair

Nina LaTassa
Cody Cashman puts ag marketing to practice with QR Codes
Image Credit: 
Cody Cashman

IAA second-year student Cody Cashman simply can’t do enough of a good thing. The 20-year-old agribusiness major and former 4-H fanatic set so many goals for himself during his summer 2012 internship at the Maryland State Fair that “he was told he couldn’t do it all,” said his adviser, Ray Gless. “He had so many ideas!”

Indeed Cashman, who hails from Carroll County, has always dreamed of running the show at the 133-year-old fair—just like his dad, Andy, who serves as its assistant general manager to fair president, Howard (Max) Mosner.
“Since Cody’s father has worked for me for 15 years, I have seen Cody grow into the fine young man he turned into. Cody has always taken interest in this fair,” says Mosner.

According to Mosner, Cody’s responsibilities while interning included working on beef cattle tie-outs, handling social media, refining the fair’s Energy Management Plan, and developing QR codes, which enable people to access information about the fair through their smartphones.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Cody, who worked over 100 hours each week after the fair began. “It was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had so far.”
One of Cody’s favorite memories of the summer was being able to make people smile each day through his “Fair Family of the Day” initiative, in which a family was selected at random to receive free food tickets and wristbands for rides.

“I tried to pick families who would really need it,” Cody said. “One family showed up with only $20 to spend, so that made their day.”

Between mingling with the likes of actor/singer Victoria Justice, celebrating Mosner’s 50th year at the fair with a spectacular Cake Boss-created cake, and jamming to famed The Band Perry, Cashman practiced his oral communication skills, too.

“I really got a chance to develop better social skills, leadership skills, and decision-making skills,” said Cody, who had just completed the Oral Communication class, taught by IAA director Glori Hyman, before the internship began. In that class, he tried his hand at video production and he designed a Facebook page promoting the fair and highlighting its features. “Cody’s one of those students you love to have in class because his enthusiasm is contagious and he’s just so likeable,” says Hyman.  “But on top of that, he is focused on his career path and realizes how vital effective communication will be to his success.”

Beginning this fall, the IAA will see many more skilled communicators emerge from Jull Hall. The IAA has added three full-time faculty members—Nina LaTassa, Tony Pagnotti, and Ed Priola—to teach Oral Communication, which is now required for every freshman under UMD’s new general education requirements. “We’ve assembled a dynamic team of oral comm instructors, we have a great course, and I expect great things,” Hyman smiles.  “It’s an exciting new direction for the IAA and I’m proud that IAA courses are now being taken by students across the campus.  I truly believe all students can benefit from an oral communication course.”
And as for Cody’s communication skills? He’ll put them to use—as well as his infinite supply of internship ideas—at the Wisconsin State Fair next summer, a fair that is three times the size of Maryland’s.
“I’m so excited,” said Cody. “I can’t wait. I was born into this stuff!”

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