People You Should Know

FOR MARCH 14, 2017

From staff reports

Augustana University

The Augustana University board of trustees has approved a number of faculty members for tenure and promotions.

Two faculty members have been promoted to the rank of professor:

  • Patrick Hicks is the writer-in-residence at Augustana. He teaches courses on creative writing as well as Irish literature. When not discussing the literary arts with students, Hicks teaches such honors courses as Great Britain and the Great War, and Eleutheria: Freedom and Literature. He is the author of “The Commandant of Lubizec: A Novel of the Holocaust and Operation Reinhard,” as well as six poetry collections, most recently “Adoptable” and “This London.” He received his doctorate from the University of Sussex.
  • Michael Nitz teaches courses in communication, public relations, communication research, persuasion and other areas. He also is the coordinator of Norwegian programs. He is a Fulbright Scholar whose research interests are in international media coverage of political and environmental issues, as well as the role of late-night television comedy in the political process. He received his doctoral degree from Arizona.

Four faculty members have been granted tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor:

  • Cecelia Miles teaches in the biology department. Her courses include Developmental Biology, Vertebrate Embryology, Introductory Biology and Biology and Human Concerns. Her research is focused on the genetics of variation in egg size (per-offspring maternal investment) and how shifts in egg size affect key developmental events as well as fitness of parents and offspring. She received her Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Florida and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago.
  • Michael Rueter specializes in medieval Spanish literature and the writings of the Moriscos, the crypto-Muslim population living in Spain during the 16th and early 17th centuries. Some of his research interests involve relations and exchange among the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities of medieval Iberia. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Casey Trainor teaches psychology. His research interests focus primarily on anxiety and anxiety disorders. Specifically, he is interested in the factors that contribute to the development of anxiety, the relationship between anxiety and sleep, and the relationship between anxiety and substance use. Trainor received his doctoral degree from the University of Arkansas.
  • Seasson Vitiello in the biology department. Her courses include Genetics, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Cell Signaling. Her primary research project focuses on using yeast molecular genetics to study cystinosis, a pediatric lysosomal storage disorder. Vitiello received her doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and did her post-doctoral research fellowship there and at Sanford Research/University of South Dakota.


Dr. Dave Kapaska, regional president and CEO of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, is serving as the 2016-17 chair of the board for the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. His career experience ranges from the military to business and sales to medicine.

Avera has opened a new orthopedic practice, Avera Medical Group Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, which has welcomed its first three physicians:

  • Dr. Thomas Ambrose II specializes in adult reconstructive surgery, specifically hip and knee replacement and complex hip and knee revisions.
  • Dr. Patrick O’Brien specializes in arthroscopic reconstructive surgery of the knee, shoulder and elbow. A graduate of Lincoln High School, he’s returning to Sioux Falls to practice.
  • Dr. Michael Devish is an orthopedic trauma specialist skilled in treating various types of bone and soft tissue injuries, including fractures and dislocations. A graduate of O’Gorman High School, he is returning to his home community.

Melissa Goodwin has been named by the Innovation Institute as executive director for its newest member owner, Avera Health. She will help Avera’s clinicians and employees evaluate ideas, obtain patents and develop prototypes for new products.

Becker’s Hospital Review has named Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center in the 2016 edition of its annual list of 100 hospitals with great women’s health programs. Avera McKennan is the only hospital in South Dakota named to the list. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, the featured hospitals offer outstanding health services such as gynecology, obstetrics, women-focused heart care and women-focused cancer care.

Sanford Health

Wade Humphreys has joined Sanford Health as the senior executive director of digital marketing. He leads Sanford’s consumer-facing digital properties, including, web applications, mobile and social media accounts. Before joining Sanford, Humphreys was the marketing director at 44 Interactive.

Paul Weckman has been named as the director of military and veterans services for Sanford Health. He will lead a new department. Weckman served in the Navy for 26 years and held several leadership positions before his honorable discharge in 2011.

Professional golfer Andy North has joined Sanford Health’s board of trustees. North, who lives in Madison, Wisconsin, began his nine-year term earlier this year. He also  is serving a two-year term as chair of Sanford’s international board, a group that helps guide, direct and promote Sanford’s global efforts to improve the human condition, including oversight of the Sanford World Clinic. North won the U.S. Open Championship in 1978 and 1985. He currently serves as a golf commentator for ABC and ESPN and continues his playing career on the PGA Tour Champions.

SDN Communications

Brian Oyen has joined SDN Communications as a project manager. Oyen has 13 years of experience in broadband services and has specialized in customer service and product development.


Michelle Klobassa has been named the inaugural Influential Woman in Construction by the Greater Sioux Falls Chapter No. 237 of the National Association of Women in Construction. Klobassa is a principal and senior architect at TSP Inc. She also serves on the board of directors for the firm. Klobassa was nominated on the basis of her collaboration with construction managers and contractors, her mentorship of younger staff and her leadership in Architecture Forum and other initiatives that engage cross-disciplinary professionals and students in the architecture, engineering and construction industry. She sits on the AIA South Dakota board of directors and chairs both its Scholarship and Design Awards committees. Klobassa has been with TSP since 2004. In addition to being a member of the American Institute of Architects, she is a LEED Accredited Professional as designated by the U.S. Green Building Council and holds the advanced Building Design + Construction credential.

Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship

The Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship has named three new board members:

  • Jason Ball, president of the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.
  • Chad Hatch, managing partner at Bird Dog Equity Partners.
  • Laurie Knutson, CEO of EmBe.

Sioux Falls Thrive

Sioux Falls Thrive, a cradle-to-career coalition aimed at ensuring children have the resources they need to achieve their optimal educational and career potential, has chosen its board of directors.

Officers are Evan Nolte, chair; Deb Koski, vice chair; Beth Fuller Jensen, secretary; and Bill Baker, treasurer. Other members of the nine-person board are Lisa Beacom, Steve Crim, Dana Dykhouse, Doug Hajek and Fred Slunecka.

Sioux Falls Thrive was created in response to Forward Sioux Falls’ Strategic Workforce Action Agenda and founded by Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Sioux Empire United Way, Sioux Falls Development Foundation and Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.

Dakota State University

Mark Johnston has been selected to serve as Dakota State University’s vice president of institutional advancement.

Johnston most recently served as the East River regional director for U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds. From 2002-07, he worked as the press secretary to Rounds, who was serving then as the state’s governor. From 2007-14, Johnston served in various leadership roles for Sanford Health. In 2013, he retired as an Army colonel after serving more than 25 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve.

Great Western Bancorp

Great Western Bancorp Inc. stockholders have re-elected two members to the company’s board of directors and elected another member:

  • Re-elected were Frances Grieb, a retired partner of Deloitte LLP, and Stephen Lacy, chairman and CEO of Meredith Corp.
  • James Israel is the board’s newest member. He is a retired financial executive with 35 years of experience in various roles at Deere & Co.

At the company’s annual meeting, the directors appointed Ken Karels, Great Western’s president and CEO, as chairperson of the board. The former chairperson, Andrew Hove, was no longer qualified to stand for re-election because of the board’s age restriction. Thomas Henning was appointed as the lead independent director.

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