Rachel Bivens sits behind a desk covered with charts and graphs, candid photos of grinning toddlers and framed snapshots of miscellaneous events. She calmly works on her computer while simultaneously talking with a co-worker over her cubicle. Bivens beams as she gushes about her young sons to her co-worker and discusses the improvements her six-year-old is making in his kindergarten class.
Bivens has worked with the Lane Events Center in Eugene, Oregon for almost 11 years after moving to Eugene with her husband. Bivens grew up in Piedmont, California before moving to Beaverton, Oregon her freshman year of high school. She was always involved in the performing arts throughout her adolescence, especially with dance. After graduating from the University of Puget Sound with a degree in Business and Public Administration, she found a job at an events center in Portland.
Utilizing her love the for the performing arts and events, Bivens then found her way to the Lane Events Center, where she would be an Event Coordinator and now holds the position of Director of Sales and Marketing. “It’s interesting because in high school I loved marketing, in college I loved marketing, but I really wasn’t interested in joining an agency. Agencies are very competitive and it’s not my personality so I thought maybe I would fall into marketing some other way,” Bivens said.
Bivens’ passion lies in planning the annual Lane County Fair; an event filled with lively music, delicious carnival food and eclectic vendors. Bivens has a huge smile on her face as she talks about the fun events have to offer. She especially loves live music, the delicious foods, dried herbs that vendors sell, and taking her children to see animals like goats, cows and pigs.
Because the Lane Events Center houses a small staff of just 12 people, the incredibly busy fair season becomes challenging. Bivens, however, takes that challenge in stride. Her favorite part about planning the well-known and long-running fair, besides the food, is figuring out how to market to families, a demographic in which all ages are present.
All 55-acres of land that the Lane Events Center holds is controlled and managed by the small staff. Ron Eggleston, the Events Coordinator, says trusting the other team members to do their part plays an integral role in organizing a great event. “It’s all about teamwork and if even one portion, one-twelfth of that staff isn’t operating, it leaves a real gap,” Ron says, “So that’s one of the things that’s nice about Rachel, she’s able to fill in a gap.”
Working in a tight-knit facility, with narrow hallways and small office space, lets the employees get to know each other well. Bivens visits Eggleston’s office to fill him on a meeting that took place earlier in the day. They share a laugh about Eggleston’s sarcastic nature and how they play tricks on each other.
As a Eugene resident herself, Bivens enjoys interacting and communicating with the Eugene community. In her 10 years with the events center, she has found ways to keep the community content when they have events that drive in a lot of people. Bivens oversees that the Lane Events Center tries to accommodate to Jefferson Westside Neighbors residents as much as possible and to make the area a better place with their events.
Bivens always thought that she would move back to Portland after college, and stay there. “I would not have thought necessarily that I would end up in Eugene,” she says, “but you never know where your heart will take you.”