Speaker Date Topic
Jim Hagen, SD Secretary of Tourism Jul 23, 2018 11:30 AM
Tourism 101
Tourism 101

One out of every nine jobs in South Dakota is in the tourism industry.  Tourism has a $2.6 billion impact on South Dakota’s GDP.  Tourism raises more than $291 million in state and local tax revenue. Secretary Hagen will share:

  • Tourism’s key target markets and audiences and why they are selected
  • Tourism’s growth and economic impact on South Dakota
  • The future of tourism in the Mount Rushmore State


Speaker Bio:  Jim Hagen was appointed by Governor Dennis Daugaard to serve as South Dakota’s Secretary of Tourism in 2011.  He has a passion for seeing the tourism industry in South Dakota grow to new heights. 

In March 2014, Secretary Hagen was appointed to the 32-member National Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB) by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.  The board is charged with advising the United States Secretary of Commerce on travel and tourism issues affecting our country.  In March 2016, he was reappointed by Secretary Pritzker to another two year term on the TTAB.  He also serves on the Executive Board of the U.S. Travel Association and chairs the Membership Governance Committee.  In January 2017, he was elected Chairman of the National Council of State Tourism Directors.

Secretary Hagen was honored as the National State Tourism Director of the Year in August 2014 by his peers in the National Council of State Tourism Directors and by the U.S. Travel Association.  Under his leadership, and in close partnership with the tourism industry in South Dakota, the state has set new economic impact records every year over the past seven years, including all-time spending and visitation records.  During his tenure as Secretary, the Department of Tourism has been the recipient of numerous regional and national marketing and public relations awards.

Before becoming the Secretary of Tourism, Jim served four and a half years as the National Fundraising Campaign Director and Public Relations Director for the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.  From 2004-2006, he served as South Dakota’s Secretary of Tourism and State Development.  In this role, he oversaw the Offices of Tourism, Economic Development, the South Dakota Arts Council, the South Dakota State Historical Society, the South Dakota Housing Authority and State-Tribal Relations.  From 1995-2002, he served as Chief of Staff and Special Advisor to Governor Bill Janklow.

Jim grew up in the northeast corner of the Mount Rushmore State.  He is a graduate of Aberdeen Central High School and the University of Southern California.

Dr. Alan Cureton Jul 30, 2018 11:30 AM
University of Northwestern (UNW) Expansion in Sioux Falls
University of Northwestern (UNW) Expansion in Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls is a highly successful community with a very low unemployment rate. The Chamber of Commerce, Workforce Development Group, and other organizations have made it clear that employers need more qualified staff than are currently available. University of Northwestern (UNW) advocates strongly that the three C’s (cities, corporations, and colleges) must work together to address the challenge of increasing the overall quality of the current and future workforce.

Join us as we listen to Dr. Cureton share how the expansion of UNW is an opportunity for Sioux Falls businesses to enhance the expertise of their current staff as well as a chance to increase the number of qualified staff and available interns in the area.


Speaker Bio:  Alan S. Cureton, Ph.D. has served as president of the University of Northwestern – St. Paul since 2002. Northwestern is a nondenominational Christian university with nearly 4,000 students enrolled in high school/college dual enrollment, traditional undergraduate, graduate, and non-traditional undergraduate degree programs. Dr. Cureton also serves as president of Northwestern Media, a ministry of the university, which owns and operates 18 stations in 11 markets in seven states with a total weekly listenership of over 1.1 million.

Northwestern has seen a nearly 40 percent increase in total enrollment under Dr. Cureton’s leadership with the creation of six master’s degree programs including the MBA, the addition of two adult undergraduate degree completion programs, the launch of several new traditional undergraduate majors, and the development of over 80 undergraduate online courses.

In 2017, Life 96.5 KNWC Sioux Falls began constructing a new facility to relocate their studios, as well as to bring the University of Northwestern’s rich Christian academic programs to the Sioux Falls community.

Dr. Cureton holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible and Christian Education from Sterling College (KS), where he received the Alumni of the Year Award in 2013. He also holds a Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Education from Iowa State University, having received the Alumni Achievement Award from the College of Human Sciences in 2007.

During his collegiate undergraduate career, Dr. Cureton played varsity football, earning all-conference recognition his senior year. He is especially proud of having started and played in every football game throughout his four-year collegiate career.

Dr. Cureton has been married to his college sweetheart, Gayle, since 1976. They have three children: Luke (Erin), Rachel (Ben), and Michael (Hope). The delight in their lives currently is being grandparents to 10 grandchildren.

In his spare time, Dr. Cureton enjoys playing golf. Recently he completed a quick tour of several historic links courses in Scotland (for the second time). He and his bride love to travel to Northern Ireland, their home-away-from-home.

Doug Stensland Aug 06, 2018 11:30 AM
Stensland Family Farms
Stensland Family Farms

Doug will share the story behind Stensland Family Farms and what the last 22 months have been like launching a new family business in a highly regulated environment.

The family mission statement is:  Our family's mission is to inspire people to care about where their food comes from and how it is made by producing local farm fresh food that tastes delicious.

About the Speaker:

Doug Stensland was born, raised, and has lived his entire life on the family dairy farm outside of Larchwood, IA, more specifically north of Klondike.  Doug is one of six children of Art & Rosie Stensland.  Art (88 yr) & Rosie (84 yr) still live in the farmhouse they moved into in 1952.  Doug & Mona Stensland have been married 40 years and have 4 children and soon to be 11 grandchildren.  With four active generations working on the farm, dairy, creamery and retail stores, there is never a dull moment!

Doug and his family have been actively organic farming for 27 years.  With 1500 acres of crops and pasture, over 400 head of cows, heifers, and calves, the family embarked on a new journey by opening an on-farm creamery in October, 2016.  The family is now processing fluid milk, butter, cheese curds, brick cheese, butter milk and national award-winning ice cream.  Stensland’s are self-distributing to nearly 150 locations in the tri-state area and have two retail locations.



Greg Conrad Aug 13, 2018 11:30 AM
The Inaugural Sanford International PGA Sr Golf Tourney presented by Cambria
The Inaugural Sanford International PGA Sr Golf Tourney presented by Cambria

The Sanford International Golf Tournament is the first PGA event in Sioux Falls history. The tournament will attract 80 Senior PGA players and projections are 60-80,000 spectators will attend. This event has the opportunity to be the largest sporting event in South Dakota's history and will raise millions of dollars for charity.

Speaker Bio: Mr. Conrad is currently Tournament Director for the Sanford International as part of Pro Links Sports.  Prior to arriving in Sioux Falls, Conrad served as Assistant Vice President of Golf and Tournament Director for the award-winning Principal Charity Classic.  Before running PGA TOUR Champions events in Sioux Falls and Des Moines, he spent 6 years as the Vice President of Tournament Business Affairs for the LPGA, Championship Director for the record-setting 2006 U.S. Senior Open, and over 10 years with The International PGA TOUR stop in Colorado.  Conrad began his professional career with the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors of the NBA after graduating with a Sport Management degree from the University of the Pacific.  During his free time in Sioux Falls, Greg is actively involved as an Executive Board Member for the Alliance of Accessible Golf, attending any sporting event possible, and spending time with his wife Jennifer and their two children Elizabeth & Sam.

Dan Letellier Aug 20, 2018 11:30 AM
Airport Update: 2018 and a Look Ahead
Airport Update: 2018 and a Look Ahead

The Sioux Falls Regional Airport, also known as Joe Foss Field, is the largest airport in South Dakota.  It serves southeast South Dakota, southwest Minnesota, and northwest Iowa with scheduled passenger service, overnight cargo services, and complete general aviation services.  It is also a U.S. Customs Port of Entry. The Sioux Falls Airport is governed by the Sioux Falls Regional Airport Authority.

Please join us to hear Mr. Letellier share information on current activities and planned construction updates, including an expanded baggage claims area, at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport. 

About the Speaker:

Dan was born in western SD (Martin) on a farm/ranch and graduated from Kadoka High School in Kadoka, SD. Following graduation, he attended USD and National College where he received a  Bachelors Degree in Accounting. Dan worked for Northwest Airlines for over 23 years as a Manager in Rapid City, Denver, Minneapolis, San Francisco and finally Sioux Falls. He transitioned to the Executive Director of the Airport in 2009. Dan and his wife Coleen and have three sons.

Darin Bergquist, SD Secretary of Transportation Aug 27, 2018 11:30 AM
Roads and Bridges Matter when it comes to Economic Development in South Dakota
Roads and Bridges Matter when it comes to Economic Development in South Dakota

The condition and future of our transportation system is important to everyone who travels on our roads and bridges.  Maintenance and expansion of the transportation system also plays a role in ongoing and future economic development in the area. Join us to learn:

  • Impacts of the passage of SB 1 in 2015, the comprehensive state and local bridge funding legislation.
  • Status and future of federal highway funding and potential impacts to South Dakota
  • Update/status of ongoing and upcoming state road and bridge projects in the Sioux Falls area