Inductee Judge Roger Wollman to take senior status

Read more about Judge Roger Wollman’s Story of Excellence here.

Argus Leader

Image of 2002 Inductee Judge Roger Wollman

2002 Inductee Judge Roger Wollman

A giant of South Dakota’s legal community announced Friday that he intends to step down as an active judge on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge Roger L. Wollman notified President Trump that he will assume senior status as soon as the U.S. Senate can confirm a successor, but not later than Dec. 31. Wollman, who will turn 84 this year, is the longest-serving judge of the 11 active judges on the circuit.

Trump has already appointed three judges to the 11-judge circuit, and Wollman’s successor would be the fourth of Trump’s brief presidency. In comparison, just one of President Obama’s nominees is on the court, Judge Jane Kelly, the circuit’s only woman on active status.

The Eighth Circuit is one of 12 federal appeals courts. They are one step away from the nation’s highest court of the land, the U.S. Supreme Court. The Eighth Circuit includes the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Arkansas. Its main courthouse is in St. Louis.

Wollman’s announcement indicated that he “intends to render substantial judicial service as a senior circuit judge,” which means he will continue to hear selected cases. The announcement said he was unavailable for interviews.

“Judge Wollman is a life-long South Dakotan, a highly respected and commonsense judge, and a credit to the judiciary,” Sen. John Thune said. “I congratulate him on a long and distinguished career.”

“I thank Judge Wollman for his service to our state and his lifetime commitment to our legal system,” Sen. Mike Rounds said in a statement.

Wollman had been on the South Dakota Supreme Court for 15 years when he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Eighth Circuit. He took his seat in 1985. At the time, he was the first South Dakota judge on the court in 25 years.

For some reason, South Dakota had lost its appointment to the court, said former Sen. Larry Pressler. At the time, South Dakota was the only state in the country without an appeals court judge.

Pressler, who at the time was the state’s senior senator, used his connections with the White House to secure a 10th seat on the court. He then forwarded Wollman’s name to be selected for the new seat.

“That’s one of the best things I did as a senator,” Pressler said.

Reagan wanted conservative judges who would decide cases based on a strict reading of law. Pressler felt Wollman was a perfect fit, and in more than 30 years on the bench, Pressler said he wasn’t let down.

“He’s been considered one of the best,” he said.

Wollman’s brother, Harvey, was the last Democrat to serve as governor of South Dakota.

Michael Henderson, who clerked for Wollman in 1997 and 1998, said the judge is soft spoken and not someone who wants to be in the limelight.

“He was great to work with,” Henderson said.

“He goes about his work and does it really well,” he added. “He’s one of the top legal minds the state has ever produced.”

Wollman grew up in a Mennonite family, which farmed in Frankfort, S.D. He entered the University of South Dakota School of Law in 1959. After a clerkship with a U.S. district judge and a year of graduate studies at Harvard Law, Wollman started a private practice in Aberdeen.

He worked as the Brown County state’s attorney before his 1970 appointment to the state Supreme Court.

Inductee Dana Dykhouse born in February

Wishing Dana a Very Happy Birthday!

Image Dana Dykhouse

2011 Inductee Dana Dykhouse

Born on February 16, 1957, Dana Dykhouse grew up just down the road from the South Dakota border in Rock Rapids, Iowa. His mother and father, Evelyn and Emerson, raised their son to enjoy life and to live each day to its fullest.

His early years were spent doing what young boys did back then – exploring life and creating an adventure for himself in this small farming community. At an early age, he loved horses and dreamt of being a cowboy. He also showed that he was a hard worker and quite the entrepreneur. On those beautiful spring days, Dana could be found going door to door offering his extermination services to catch the mice in peoples’ houses for a per mouse price. A businessman was born.

In 1975 he accepted a football scholarship to play at South Dakota State University (SDSU). He went on to letter three times as a Jackrabbit and earned honorable mention as an all-conference defensive tackle.

He met LaDawn Stenson from Mitchell, SD while they were both students at SDSU. They wed in 1980, and after graduation, he began his financial career with Farm Credit Services working in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1984, he accepted a position at Western Bank in Sioux Falls and began to establish deep roots in South Dakota. He quickly impressed the management team and was promoted to several leadership positions throughout his tenure at Western Bank.

In 1995, Dana was approached by T. Denny Sanford, owner of South Dakota based First PREMIER Bank to take the reins of the organization as President and Chief Executive Officer.

Read more about Dana’s Legacy of Achievement here.

Inductee and Daktronics Co-Founder Duane Sander born in February

Wishing Duane a Very Happy Birthday!

Image of Duane Sander

2015 Inductee Duane Sander

2015 Inductee Duane E. Sander was born February 14, 1938, and grew up on a farm near Howard, SD. He graduated from Howard High School in 1956 and then South Dakota School of Mines in 1960, receiving MS and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University in 1962 and 1964.

His US Army ROTC commitment was served in 1965 and 1966 as an intelligence analyst in Washington, DC after which he became a professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in 1967. His entire teaching career was at SDSU. He retired in 1999 after serving as Interim Dean and Dean of Engineering for 10 years.

He and his wife, Phyllis were cofounders along with Al and Irene Kurtenbach of Daktronics, Inc. in 1968. He has been active in entrepreneur support activities in the community and state, and help found the Enterprise Institute in Brookings and participates in angel investment in South Dakota.

Read more about Duane’s Legacy of Achievement here.

Larry Ness Awarded ‘Outstanding Display’ at Sioux Falls Gun Show

Find Larry Ness’ Story of Excellence here



2012 Inductee Larry Ness

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- One of the biggest gun shows in the Midwest passed through Sioux Falls this weekend attracting many gun enthusiasts.

This was just one of 14 shows held by the Dakota Territory Gun Collectors Association. It was held at the Sioux Falls Convention Center and was one of their biggest years yet with nearly five thousand visitors, 400 dealers, and one thousand table displays.

Anyone from gun lovers to inexperienced folks were welcome, and the guns were not only for show but also for sale.

“We have a very gun friendly culture in South Dakota, and here they get the chance to see guns they may not see in other parts of the country as well as deal with good reputable dealers,” said Gun Show Manager, Rob Moore.

Some of the vendors won awards at the show including Larry Ness who won “Outstanding Display” for his native artifact collection.

If you missed this year’s event, they still have four more shows coming up in this year in Rapid City, Pierre, Watertown and Grand Forks North Dakota. The Dakota Territory Gun Collectors Association has all the times and dates on their website

Jeff Scherschligt Elected to SD Wildlife Foundation Board

Rapid City Journal

Jeff Scherschligt

Jeff Scherschligt, 2017 Inductee

The South Dakota Wildlife Foundation recently announced the election of officers to its board of directors for 2018, according to a release from South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.

Karen Gundersen Olson of Rapid City will serve as president while Sarah Larson of Sioux Falls will serve as vice president. Tom Krafka of Rapid City will be the secretary/treasurer.

Other members continuing their service on the board include: Kevin Nyberg, Kathryn Anderson, Dale Jahr, Jeff Stingley and Jeff Scherschligt, all of Sioux Falls; Spencer Hawley of Brookings; Dick Behl of Scotland; Jim Spies of Watertown; and Jack Lynass and William May of Rapid City. GFP Department Secretary Kelly Hepler and GFP Commissioner Gary Jensen of Rapid City serve as ex officio members of the board.

Pat Wyss and Bob Paulsen of Rapid City were also newly elected to the board.

“Those of us who serve on the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation are honored to support our cultural and natural resources through partnerships that build, protect and enhance South Dakota,” Gundersen Olson said in the release. “We, like all South Dakotans, know that South Dakota’s outdoor places are precious and must be cared for and protected for future generations.”


Daktronics Celebrates 50 Years In 2018


Al Kurtenbach

Al Kurtenbach, 1992 Inductee

BROOKINGS, S.D. – When you think of small businesses in South Dakota, you probably don’t consider Daktronics eligible given its size.

Currently, the company has manufacturing facilities worldwide and employs more than 2,500 people.

2018 marks 50 years for the company that got its start in a small garage in Brookings, thanks to the vision of two South Dakota State University professors. Co-founder Al Kurtenbach said it was easy to recognize back then that there was a lot of young, local talent that was underutilized, and not all of them wanted to leave to find a good job.

“There are a lot of talented people in South Dakota and a lot of them come to Brookings. We’ve developed a unique system to attract them to work for us,” said Kurtenbach.

The company hires hundreds of college sophomores and juniors in the area to work full-time during the summer and part-time during the school year in the hopes of keeping local talent in the area.

Kurtenbach says the experience helps them realize they don’t have to go elsewhere to be challenged.

Personal banking’s future: Smarter faster better – while keeping a personal touch – Inductee Dana Dykhouse

Read Dana’s story of excellence here.Snapshot(36)

“I’ve been banking for 35 years, and I may have built my last branch,” said Dana Dykhouse, CEO of First PREMIER Bank in Sioux Falls.

Perhaps the most disruptive change in recent years – one evident in institutions throughout the Northern Plains – is how banks are using technology to take their services to customers. Offices remain important for some services, but mobile devices are increasingly popular platforms for transactions.

The most recent developments in banking include voice-activated equipment. Banks’ interest in providing useful information in real time also continues to advance.