People You Should Know

MAY 28, 2019

People You Should Know features new hires, promotions and awards involving top executives and organizations. For consideration, email Guaranteed placement is provided only to partners of SiouxFalls.Business.

Avera Research Institute

Amy Elliott

The first findings from the PASS ECHO study, in which the Avera Research Institute’s Center for Pediatric & Community Research is a cohort and grantee, have been published in the medical journal Pediatrics. Avera’s contribution to it, in conjunction with other cohorts in the National Institutes of Health Prenatal Alcohol in SIDS and Stillbirth (PASS) Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) study, focuses on general health and life satisfaction in children with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma or epilepsy. While chronic illnesses are associated with worse general health, they do not limit children from leading satisfying lives, the researchers found. While associations between chronic illness and negative health outcomes are well-established, much less is known about the relation between chronic illness and positive health outcomes, such as life satisfaction. “We expect this data will help many people who are living with chronic illnesses — that it will provide them hope and show that these conditions need not limit future life satisfaction,” said Amy Elliott, Ph.D., chief clinical research officer with the Center for Pediatric & Community Research, a division of the Avera Research Institute. She served as one of the study’s lead authors.

Interstate Office Products

Interstate Office Products has been named one of 29 Premier Partners by Steelcase. The program rewards dealers for growing Steelcase sales, aligning with its strategies and bringing superior value to customers. Interstate Office Products is one of only three dealers in North America to earn the distinction every year since its inception in 2010.

Sanford POWER Golf Academy

Sam Vosler

The Sanford POWER Golf Academy has hired two full-time golf instructors.

Sam Vosler previously was a part-time lead instructor with the academy. He also spent three years coaching at the University of Sioux Falls and in 2018 was promoted to director of the men’s and women’s golf programs. He also coached at the University of Colorado Springs-Colorado, co-managed an indoor golf training facility and worked with the Hank Haney International Golf Academy in Hilton Head, S.C. He has been a PGA-certified instructor for five years and won the SCCC Pro-Am on the Dakotas Tour in 2009.

Matt Stricker

Matt Stricker served as the head men’s golf coach at the University of North Dakota for two years. Before he became a college coach, Stricker was the general manager at the Whispering Oaks Golf Club in Manvel, N.D., and was an assistant golf professional at King’s Walk Golf Course in Grand Forks, N.D. He is a graduate of the PGA of America professional golf management program and spent 15 years as an assistant golf professional. He also coached boys and girls high school golf in Montana and played collegiately at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont.

Sidney Smith

TSP Inc.

Sidney Smith of TSP Inc. has attained her professional credentials as a mechanical engineer. She is licensed in South Dakota and practices in TSP Inc.’s Sioux Falls office, where she has worked since January 2015. She also is a LEED Accredited Professional with the additional Building Design + Construction designation.


Michelle Klobassa

Michelle Klobassa has been elected to serve a second three-year term on the TSP Inc. board of directors. Klobassa is a principal/senior architect in the Sioux Falls office of the full-service integrated firm — and the first woman to serve as a voting board member during its almost 90-year history. She is an AIA licensed architect and a LEED Accredited Professional with the additional Building Design + Construction designation.


Jacob Fleck

Jacob Fleck has joined TSP Inc. as an engineer-in-training. Fleck, who recently completed his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, initially will work in the Sioux Falls office. He’ll transfer to the regional firm’s Rapid City location in July.


Caliber Creative

Jamie O’Brien

Caliber Creative has hired Jamie O’Brien as an account executive. O’Brien has almost two decades of marketing and advertising experience, holding multiple roles ranging from project management for web development to vice president of operations.


Holmes Murphy

Al Gonzalez has joined Holmes Murphy as a loss-control expert in the company’s property and casualty division. Gonzalez is a seven-time corporate safety award winner with 14 years of experience in environmental, safety and health management claims.

Jessica Walter

Melissa DeNeui

Keller Williams Realty Sioux Falls

Keller Williams Realty Sioux Falls has added four agents.

Melissa DeNeui started in real estate two years ago. She is part of the Prostrollo Team.

Jessica Walter, who has a master’s degree in social work, began the transition to real estate when she started flipping homes. She is the team lead for the Walter Group.

Mert Kramer

Alexandra Fontenille

Alexandra Fontenille has been a real estate agent for one year and is part of the Walter Group.

Mert Kramer spent 30 in the business world before transitioning to real estate. He is part of the Walter Group.


Lawrence & Schiller

Les Cotton

Kyrie Bussler

Lawrence & Schiller has promoted seven staff members.

Kyrie Bussler to media specialist. Bussler started at L&S as a consumer insights and media intern in 2017.

Les Cotton to senior art director. Cotton started at L&S in 2010 as a designer.

Marta Lehn

Olivia Larson

Olivia Larson to senior account coordinator. Larson started at L&S in 2017 as an account coordinator with experience in the insurance industry.

Marta Lehn to business development and consumer insights specialist. Lehn joined L&S in 2016 as a consumer insights coordinator.

Taylor Vavra

Cortney Slaight

Paige Schwitters

Paige Schwitters to account executive. Schwitters joined L&S in 2015 as an intern and was hired in 2016 as an account coordinator. She specializes in travel and tourism and higher education.

Cortney Slaight to group director. Slaight joined L&S in 2013 as an account coordinator. She specializes in telecommunications, gaming and hospitality.

Taylor Vavra to digital specialist. Vavra joined L&S as a digital marketing intern in 2017.

South Dakota Advertising Federation

The South Dakota Advertising Federation has named Maggie Saugstad as its executive director. Saugstad has 12 years of experience in the marketing/advertising field and serves as the director of client service for VVI. She will begin her new role June 3.

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