Mr. Jay Bender, Chairman of South Dakota State University Growth Partnership, is the President of Falcon Plastics Incorporated. Falcon Plastics is a family owned business that provides injection molding, blow molding, finished good assembly, tool design and building, rapid prototyping and engineering. He is also the past chair of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Brookings Economic Development Corporation.
Dr. Barry Dunn is the President of South Dakota State University. Dunn received a bachelor’s degree in biology at SDSU in 1975 and subsequently completed two graduate degrees in animal science—a master’s in 1977 and a Ph.D. in 2000—at the Brookings campus. He became the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council endowed dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences in 2010. He also served as director of SDSU Extension and as a professor of animal science. Dunn has a rich academic background, was a successful rancher and farm operator and is a published author and researcher. He is a nationally recognized expert in beef production and ranching systems, and is a member of several professional organizations, including the Society for Range Management, the American Society of Animal Science, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Mr. Kevin Tetzlaff is the President/CEO of First Bank & Trust Brookings. Kevin joined Fishback Financial Corporation as a college intern in 1991, and upon graduation from South Dakota State University, has been with the organization since. He has served in various roles within the organization, including a nine year stint as President/CEO of First Bank & Trust Milbank. He returned to Brookings in his current capacity in 2008. Mr. Tetzlaff currently serves on the SDSU Foundation Board of Trustees, as Chairman of both the Brookings Economic Development Corporation and the SDSU Jackrabbit Advocates, and is also a Past-Chairman of the South Dakota Bankers Association.
Dr. Aelred J. Kurtenbach is cofounder of Daktronics, Inc. and recently retired after 45 years as chairman of its Board of Directors. Dr. Kurtenbach is a native of South Dakota who was twice named South Dakota’s Small Businessman of the Year and also inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 1992. He served on the Education Committee for the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry, as Chair of the South Dakota State Junior Achievement Program, and as Chair of the South Dakota EPSCoR Committee. He currently serves on the boards of the South Dakota Enterprise Institute, the Growth Partnership, and the National Association of Manufacturers.
Mr. Ope Niemeyer is the current Mayor of Brookings after serving on the Council for 10 years. He has been a resident of Brookings since 1997. Mr. Niemeyer graduated from SDSU in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in Ag Business. During college, he worked part-time at Sexauer Seed and two summers on the combining crew for Red Allen Custom Harvesting. For two years before he started college, he apprenticed for a floor covering installer, and in 1989, Niemeyer started a floor covering contractor business that is still running today. He is married his wife, Beth, another SDSU graduate, in 1986, with whom he shares two daughters, Margo and Carmen. Within the community, Niemeyer strongly supports Habitat for Humanity.
Senator Larry Tidemann is a member of the South Dakota State Senate. He previously served as a member of the South Dakota State House of Representatives from 2004-2010. Senator Tidemann is a graduate of South Dakota State University and is a retired Director, Associate Dean and Agriculture Program Leader. He also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is the Chair of the Government Operations and Audit Committee and the Retirement Laws Committee.
Mr. Ryan Krogman has been a licensed real estate broker in the State of South Dakota for over 18 years and a broker/owner of Century 21 Gustafson Krogman and Assoc. since 2001. Born and raised in Brookings as well as a current resident of Brookings County, Ryan has a bachelor's degree in business economics from South Dakota State University and was a four year letter winner in baseball. Ryan was recently elected to a second term to the Brookings County Commission.
Mr. Tony Venhuizen is a member of the South Dakota Board of Regents. Appointed to the Regents by Gov. Kristi Noem in 2021, he previously served on the Board from 2003-08 during the administration of Gov. Mike Rounds. An attorney, Venhuizen is COO and general counsel of Standard Trust Company in Sioux Falls. He previously served as chief of staff to Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Gov. Kristi Noem, spending ten years in the governor’s office. Venhuizen is a 2005 graduate of South Dakota State University and a 2008 graduate of USD School of Law.
Mr. Dwaine Chapel is the Executive Director of the Research Park at South Dakota State University. Mr. Chapel previously served as the Executive Director of the Madison-based Lake Area Improvement Corporation since 2006, where he worked closely with state legislators, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and members of South Dakota’s congressional delegation on economic development and growth in the area. Dwaine is a South Dakota State University graduate, with a master’s degree in Industrial Management from the College of Engineering.