Alumni Newsletter – January 2017

Alumni Newsletter – January 2017

Alumni Newsletter – January 2017

Posted by on January 1, 2017 in

A Message from the Leadership South Dakota Directors

As we reflect on 2016, the need for a program like Leadership South Dakota has never been more evident. In his book, The Vanishing Neighbor, author Marc Dunkelman illustrated the fact that we all have three rings of relationships. The inner ring consists of our intimate contacts (family and very close friends) and the outer ring is our social media “friends” who think and act like us. It is the middle ring that is “vanishing”. This ring is composed of our neighbors and colleagues who may not think and act like  us but an association with the middle ring helps to broaden our thinking and improve our perspectives about our community and world. A study was conducted on how many Americans were spending at least one evening socializing with their neighbors and the figure had fallen dramatically from 44 percent in 1974 to 31 percent in 2008. Also, the proportion of Americans saying they never socialized with a neighbor grew from roughly 20 to 30 percent between the 1970’s and the 2000’s.

Leadership South Dakota is grounded in the idea that we can learn from others. We  learn about South Dakota from the places  we go and the people we meet. More importantly, we learn about our state by interacting with our “neighbors” in the class. Our alumni have clearly stated that one of the greatest parts of the program is the interaction between class members – our neighbors – and the knowledge and inspiration we gain from those associations.

Thank you for making the investment in the Leadership SD program. We plan to create alumni activities that will allow you to continue to foster those relationships with your Leadership SD “neighbors”.

Melmers & Osters
Leadership SD Directors


Leadership SD Class of 2017: Overview of recent sessions

The class of 2017 met in Rapid City on November 17-19 where they visited the Army National Guard Air Facility and South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. Guest speakers for the weekend were Julie Schmitz-Jensen, Executive Director of Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau; COL. Mike Oster, SD National Guard; Daniel Ainslie, Sturgis City Manager; Dr. Heather Wilson, President of SDSM&T; Megan Whitman, Executive Director of Main Street Square; and, Jason Salamun, Leadership SD ’16 Alumni. Tiffany Smith from Regional Health (Leadership SD ’16 Alumni) organized a Rapid City Collective Impact panel. The class also attended a Black Hills Forum that focused on race relations and policing. The class   kicked off 2017 in Watertown on January 18-20, where they toured the Terry Redlin Art Center, Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI), Joy Ranch, and Silver Lake Colony. While in Watertown they heard from the following speakers: Mike  Cartney  and  LuAnn  Strait, LATI; Lee Schoenbeck; Jay Vogt; Joe Bartman; and, Mark S. Roby, Watertown Public Opinion. During an Education Panel, the class heard from panelists Dr. Lesli Jutting, Watertown School District; Mike Cartney, LATI; Bert Falak, Northeast Technical High School; Dr. Mike Butts, Watertown High School; and Dr. Calvin Krogman, Mount Marty College. The class will meet next in Kyle on February 23-25 followed by their final session and graduation  in Sioux   Falls on March 30-April 1.


Leadership South Dakota Alumni Updates and Celebrations

Shawn Ludemann (’15) got married to Sara Reuter on January 14, 2017.

Dr. Pam Lange (’15) was  recently elected to serve on the board for Belle Fourche Economic Development Corporation.

Scott Duke (’16) and his wife Darcy celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary  on December 20, 2016. Their daughter, Ashlea, married Trenton Semmens September 24, 2016. Their son, Justin, will marry Abby Bumgarner on May 6, 2017.

Tom Hurlbert (’16) got married on June 30, 2016. In November, his architecture firm, CO-OP Architecture opened a third office in Rapid City. He is currently profiled in the latest addition of South Dakota Magazine (“7 things I love about South Dakota”).

Kelsey Doom (’16) was named “Citizen of the Year” in Wagner, SD.

Laura Mitchell (’16) celebrated her 10 year work anniversary with  Lawrence and Schiller in Sioux Falls.

Will Bushee (’16) published a book last fall called “Wired for Coding”. You can find the book at

Alissa Matt (’16) started in August 2016 as the Associate Director of Alumni  Engagement at the University of South Dakota Foundation.

Bobbi Thury (’16) co-founded Legacy Law Firm, PC with business partner Jayna Voss, which opened on June 20, 2016 in Sioux Falls.

Laura Shattuck (’16) joined the firm on August 23. Legacy Law Firm, PC focuses on three areas: estate planning, elder law, and business planning.

Eileen Briggs (’16) began working for the Bush Foundation in October 2016 as the Native Nation Building Portfolio Director.