• July/August 2019

July/August Faces & Places

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    Amy O'Connor Hoback
    Kleenrite Company
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    Jay Soukup
    Great Western Bank
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    Cindi Johnson
    Spectrum Marketing Services
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    Brad Nelson
    Keller Williams Realty of Sioux Falls
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    Damon Punt
    MetaBank & Meta Financial Group
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    Stefan Szwarc
    Great Western Bank
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    Lindy Hill
    Avera Health
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    Stefanie Engebretson
    Goosmann Law Firm

Recognition of Chamber Volunteers

The Ambassador Committee promotes the Chamber and assists in bringing new members into the organization. The Diplomat Committee works to maintain membership strength in the Chamber and provide outstanding customer service to members. Their volunteer service helps keep the Chamber strong.

Featured Ambassadors and Diplomats this month are: Amy O'Connor-Hoback, Kleenrite Company, seven years as an ambassador; Jay Soukup, Great Western Bank, six years as an ambassador; Cindi Johnson, Spectrum Marketing Services, four years as a diplomat; Brad Nelson, Keller Williams Realty of Sioux Falls, three years as a diplomat; Damon Punt, MetaBank & Meta Financial Group, one year as a diplomat; and Stefan Szwarc, Great Western Bank, one year as a diplomat.

Diplomats who complete all their member contact calls each month are part of the 100 Club. One member of the 100 Club is recognized as the Service Star. The May Service Star was awarded to Lindy Hill, Avera Health. Stefanie Engebretson, Goosman Law Firm, was recognized as the Event Champion for consistently attending Chamber events.

Diplomat Team of the Month for May went to Captain Lindy Hill, Avera Health; Craig Lindes, HOM Furniture/Gabberts Design Studio; Megan Brown, Minnwest Bank; Christy Menning, McCrossan Boys Ranch; and Janel Cole.

New Faces & Promotions

Augustana University promoted Kiana Overby to Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations. Overby will be responsible for developing compelling integrated strategies and tactics to engage and inspire philanthropic support and recognize alumni through short- and long-term initiatives that align with the strategic vision of the university.

Augustana University has hired two new employees. Joel Gackle is Director of Development within Advancement. He will be responsible for managing relationships, with a portfolio of major gift prospects and current donors. Robin Anderson Thormodsgaard is Associate Athletic Director for Development/Executive Director A-Club. She will be responsible for managing fundraising efforts and working with donors.

Chris Hotzler, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, was promoted to Director of South Dakota Operations. She joined Wellmark in 2017 as a Team Leader in Operations supporting Customer Service teams and has previous experience in operations management.

Reliabank has promoted three employees in its Sioux Falls area banks. Erik Barnes has been named manager of the Tea branch. Barnes is a South Dakota State University graduate and has been a commercial loan officer in Watertown since joining Reliabank. Adam Lund has been promoted to a newly created operations leadership position. He most recently served the bank as Humboldt branch manager. Lund will continue to work at the Humboldt location while enhancing bank wide operations for Reliabank. Jamie Westendorf of the Sioux Falls branch has been promoted to Humboldt branch manager. Westendorf has significant banking experience and has been with Reliabank since last summer.

Sayre Associates, Inc. recently made two additions to their leadership team. Civil engineer Adam Slowey, P.E. became an associate owner. He has been with the firm for six years and has experience with residential, commercial and industrial development projects. Civil engineer Scott Schneider, P.E. joined the board of directors and is a voting member. He has been with the firm for 13 years and has been an associate owner for four years. Schneider has extensive knowledge in construction administration and management.

Claims Associates, Inc. has hired three additional adjusters for the Sioux Falls office. Each have earned designations and licensing pertinent to their profession. Joe Jares, HCRI-R/C, Multi-Line Adjuster has earned his Haag Certified Roof Inspector for both residential and commercial, his IICRC Water Damage Restoration Certification, as well as completed the Property course at Vale Training Solutions. Jares has his Adjusters License for Minnesota and Wyoming. Mike Weckman, HCRI-R/C, Multi-Line Adjuster has earned his Haag Certified Roof Inspector for both residential and commercial, as well as completed the Residential Policy Course at Vale Training Solutions. Weckman has his Adjuster License for Minnesota and Wyoming. Nick Hemme, AIC, HCRI-R/C, Multi-Line Adjuster, has earned his Associate in Claims designation and Haag Certified Roof Inspector for residential and commercial. Hemme has his Adjuster License for Minnesota and Wyoming.

Two long-standing leaders are taking on new roles at Innovative Office Solutions. Former president of Brown & Saenger, Lyle Dabbert is now Executive Vice President, Community Ambassador. He is responsible for spearheading Innovative's commitment to the Sioux Falls community. Former CFO Russ Heins is now Branch Director. He is responsible for day to day branch operations and growth in the market.

Honors & Awards

Four employees of Howalt-McDowell Insurance, A Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company were recently honored for their work. The International Association of Insurance Professionals recognized Nachole Gillis as Rookie of the Year. This award recognizes a new member who has made significant contributions to IAIP within the first 24-months of joining the association. Jennifer Christensen received the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI) Education Scholarship Runner-Up. The Insurance Professionals of Greater Sioux Falls chapter named Chris DeSchepper as Insurance Professional of the Year. The award recognizes excellence among those who have been employed in the insurance industry a minimum of ten years. Antje Peters was named Client Service Professional of the Year. The award recognizes excellence among those whose primary responsibility is in a service capacity with internal and external customers.


Doug Hoy, P.E., Sayre Associates, Inc., was elected to the board of directors for the International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE). He has been with Sayre Associates for 25 years and has been an active member in the Black Hills Chapter of ISEE. He has over 30 years of experience in the explosives and rock excavation industry.

Mary Howard was nominated by the South Dakota Legislature to serve a five-year term on the South Dakota Investment Council Board. The board oversees the group of professionals that manages the investment of the financial assets for the State of South Dakota, including public retirement systems, public trust funds and other financial assets.

Good Deeds

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust presented St. Francis House with a $7,500 grant to support its Homelessness to Hope Campaign. In addition, the staff from Helmsley's Sioux Falls office volunteered at the main shelter. The Homelessness to Hope Campaign supports the construction of a new, two-story facility that will have 60 double-occupancy rooms. Once complete, the new facility will better serve guests, not only with space and amenities, but with expanded programming and dedicated room for case workers and consultations.

Every day we hear about exciting accomplishments, historic milestones and other positive aspects of our member businesses that deserve to be shared. Faces & Places appears in each issue of Chamber News and features information about Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce members and volunteers. Submissions may include new hires, promotions, changes in management, expansions, award recognition and more.

Contact us with your submission here.

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