Biographies
[ Up ]

Richard Rylance - return to Directors
Richard Rylance serves as President of Genesis of Innovation. He is currently
Regional President of Dacotah Bank, Rapid City. Richard graduated from Northern State University with a Bachelor of Science degree. He has been employed with Dacotah Banks Inc. since 1978 in various capacities in Aberdeen, Lemmon, Sisseton, Webster,and now in Rapid City, South Dakota. Richard has been involved in economic development for the past 15 years. He has served a President of local economic development boards in Sisseton and Webster, South Dakota. He is presently serving on the South Dakota Economic Development Finance Authority Board of Directors. Richard has served on Sioux Valley Regional Health Services Board of Directors since 1998.

Dr. Tad Perry - return to Directors
In 1994 Robert T. Tad Perry became Executive Director of the South Dakota Board of Regents. Perry previously served as the chief operating officer of Indiana’s Partnership for Statewide Education. Prior to moving to South Dakota, he concluded his twenty-three year career at Ball State University as Professor of Political Science and Associate Vice President. Previously, he served as Department Chair and Assistant Provost.  Perry received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia and his undergraduate degree at Central Methodist College (Mo.). Currently, he is vice-chair of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

Randy Morris - return to Directors
Randy Morris is originally from Ryder, North Dakota, and holds a MA degree in special education and school administration from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD. He received additional education at North Dakota State University in speech pathology, audiology, and psychology. Morris received a degree in secondary education from South Dakota State University as well as undertaking
additional training in a wide range of subjects throughout his professional development. In 1980, Morris was hired as the first director of the Black Hills Special Services Cooperative where he has served as Executive Director ever since. Under Morris's guidance and direction, the Coop has thrived and now has over 400 employees with an annual budget in excess of $22 million. In 1986, Morris formed the T.I.E. (Technology & Innovations in Education) Office in Rapid City to be a source of professional development, which assists and empowers educational communities to respond productively and responsibly in a networked global society. Moving into economic development, Northern Hills Community Development was established in 1981. Morris worked hard with local economic development efforts in Northern Black Hills communities to promote job creation and revitalize stagnate economies. Recognizing the need for capital in this area during the 1980's, Morris contracted with Northern Hills Community Development to provide an executive director and assume the administration of SBA 504 lending throughout the Northern Black Hills . In the 1990's, the Coop also contracted to provide the services of the Small Business Development Center throughout Western South Dakota , wherein trained business consultants assist business startups and expansions with technical services relating to business plan development, financial projections, market research and support. Recognizing the opportunity to provide low interest loans to applicants throughout Western South Dakota and understanding the demand for gap financing in this area, Morris established the West River Revolving Loan Fund in December 1998. Morris also organized and established the West River Business Service Center in Rapid City , which now serves as a one-stop-shop for economic development and financing.

Gregory J. Von Wald - return to Directors
Gregory J. Von Wald is the General Manager of Golden West Technologies, Inc. of Rapid City, a telecommunications company specializing in providing advanced voice and data consulting, equipment, and services to business customers. Previously, he was the General Manger and Partner in Tel Serv Telecommunications, Inc. of Aberdeen.
A native of Groton, South Dakota, Von Wald has been active as a leader in a number of state and community organizations as well as involved in South Dakota business development since his retirement from the U. S. Marine Corps in 1991. Among his numerous community development activities, he took a key role in the design, development and funding of the first regional South Dakota telecommunications network located in the NE part of the state. In an attempt to create a world class means by which this region could compete, the development group to which Von Wald belonged, created a network that linked together over 30 sites and 12 communities with video and broadband Internet access and allowed education, medical, governmental and business interests to share resources.
Additionally, as the Vice President and director of the Aberdeen Regional Airport, Von Wald was instrumental in the renovation and lengthening of the runways, development of new support facilities, and initiating a campaign to start the development process for a new terminal building.
Von Wald has also been involved as a director of APA Optics, Inc. of Blain, Minnesota since 1996. APA is a startup company specializing in the development and sale of leading edge electro-optical equipment used in the telecommunications industry. APA also specializes in sensor technology and was the first company to field a commercial product (the SunUV watch) using AlGan chip technology.
Von Wald is also a director of the South Dakota State Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Presentation Convent Development Council, and a state Ambassador for the Army Reserve.

Paul Gnirk - return to Directors
Paul Gnirk was born in Burke, SD in 1937 and lived with his parents on their cattle ranch until he graduated from Burke High School in 1955. He graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree [with honors] in Mining Engineering, and from the University of Minnesota in 1966 with a Ph.D. in Rock Mechanics, with minors in Applied Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering. From 1963 until1973, he taught at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, first in the Department of Mining Engineering as an Assistant Professor and later in the Department of Mechanical Engineering with the rank of Professor. As one of the founders of RE/SPEC Inc., Dr. Gnirk became its President in 1972 and continued in that capacity until1988, and as a Principal Consultant for the company unti11991. In 1992, he founded Table Top Ranch Inc. and, in 1993, began operation of a cattle ranch near New Underwood, SD. From 1969 to 1993, he was registered as a Professional Engineer in South Dakota and Texas.
Dr. Gnirk has more than 30 years of experience in the areas of rock mechanics, geotechnical engineering, performance assessment, and, in later years, applied decision analysis, and has authored or co-authored more than one hundred technical papers, published in journals and proceedings of symposia and conferences, and technical reports, published by several national laboratories, research institutes, and state and federal agencies, including those reports for private companies that remain proprietary to this day. From 1961 unti11967, he worked for Shell Development Company as a Mechanical Engineer in the summers and as a Consultant. From 1968 until 1975, he was a Consultant to the Foundations Department of the South Dakota Department of Transportation. In 1969, he was the recipient if the first Standard Oil [Indiana] Foundation Good Teaching Award given in the engineering division of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and, in 1970, was selected as an Outstanding Educator of America.
From 1978 until 1993, Dr. Gnirk was involved with many activities conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy [DOE] for the purpose of siting and developing a geologic repository for the permanent disposal of radioactive wastes from nuclear reactors. From 1978 until 1983, he either chaired or participated in Working Groups for the development of DOE's Earth Science Technical Plan, the development of performance constraints for geologic repository designs in basalt, granite, salt, and tuff, and the preparation of the DOE's confidence rule-making testimony before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Between 1983 and 1989, under the auspices of DOE' Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, he was a member of the Task Force for the preparation of the Siting Guidelines for geologic repositories [10 CFR Part 960], the Methodology Lead Group for the comparative evaluation of five geologic repository sites nominated as suitable for characterization, the Site-Characterization-Plan Overview Consultants, and the Technical Integration Group for performance assessment of the proposed repository site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. In 1990 and 1991, he was the co-leader of Sandia National Laboratory's Decision Methodology Lead Group for the comparative evaluation of 34 competing exploratory-study-facility design alternatives for characterization of the rock mass at the Yucca Mountain site. From 1980 until 1992, Dr. Gnirk was one of DOE's representatives to the International Stripa Project, a project that focused on developing geotechnical characterization and containment technology related to the permanent disposal of radioactive wastes in granitic rock masses.
In 1999, Dr. Gnirk was awarded the March Medal from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and was elected President of the Alumni Association for that institution for a term of one year. In 2000, he was elected Executive Vice-President of the Alumni Association for a term of three years, and participated with the Rapid City Area Economic Development Partnership in the various activities of the Western Research Alliance. In 2001, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Rapid City Area Economic Development Partnership and to the Board of Directors for the Genesis of Innovation [the non-profit side], and, currently, is a member of the planning group for the National Small Business Innovative Research [SBIR] Conference to be held in Rapid City in October.

Robert DeMersseman - return to Directors
Robert Demersseman was born in Rapid City and graduated from Rapid City High School. He received a degree from Black Hills State University and has participated in economic development continuing education programs at the University of Arizona.
DeMersseman has worked in the field of Economic Development for over 25 years.  He has experience on the local, state, regional and multi-state levels. He has also worked with Development Resources Inc., Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Center for Innovation in Butte, Montana. Bob has been with Rapid City Economic Development for more than 14 years and has served as President for more than 12 years.
Bob's professional and civic involvement includes: American Economic Development Council, Past President of the South Dakota Chamber and Economic Development Council, South Dakota Housing Authority Board of Directors, Leadership Rapid City Class of 1988, Secretary - Treasurer, of the Rapid City Economic Development Foundation Member of the Board of Directors, South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Foundation, Black Hills Business Council, Black Hills Flyfishers Board of Directors, Black Hills Regional Food Bank, Board of Directors

Michael Derby - return to Directors
Michael Derby graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. He is currently Vice President of Lamar Outdoor Advertising and is a three term Republican serving as Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. He is also Vice Chairman of the Legislative Executive Board, Vice Chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures Economic Cultural Development Committee, Chairman of The Rapid City Chamber of Commerce Ellsworth Task Force, Chairman for Junior Achievement Rapid City. He is on the Board of Directors for Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mt. Rushmore National Memorial Society. Past professional positions include Chairman of the Board for Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, Honorary Commander for the 28 th Bomb Wing Ellsworth Air Force Base, President of the Allied Arts Fund Drive, Board of Directors for the Rapid City Art Council, Board of Directors for Black Hills Family Business Council, President of the Black Hills Advertising Federation, Vice Chairman for the Mayor’s Beautification Committee, Board of Directors for Mt. Rushmore History Association and Leadership Circle for Community Cultural Plan.

Duane E. Sander - return to Directors
Duane E. Sander grew up on a farm near Howard , SD and attended a country school for the first eight grades. After graduating from high school, Sander earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1960 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Iowa State University in 1962 and 1964 respectively. Sander served a two-year ROTC obligation in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain in 1966. Sander then joined the Electrical Engineering Department at South Dakota State University in January 1967, as an Associate Professor. Dr. Sander's research and teaching interests were centered on control systems and their application in biomedical applications. Sander also taught fundamental courses in electrical engineering and engineering economy. Sander developed an interest in entrepreneurship, which he continues to encourage and pursue with students and other regional entrepreneurs. Sander was awarded Teacher of the Year recognition in 1975 and 1983. His administrative and leadership duties began in 1984 when he was appointed the post of Director of Engineering Extension. In 1985, he assumed the duties of Department Head of General Engineering. He was appointed Acting Dean of Engineering in 1987 and became Dean of Engineering in 1990. Sander retired from that position and was awarded the honorary titles of Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus at South Dakota State University by the South Dakota Board of Regents in 1999. Presently, he is working with alumni and friends of the university as Director of Special Projects at the South Dakota State University Foundation. Professional involvement has been through numerous organizations such as the NSPE, IEEE, ASEE and other organizations related to engineering and education. Sander has held local, state and national offices in these organizations. His encouragement of engineering students to sit for the national Fundamentals in Engineering exam and the excellent record of the student performance on the exam will be important in each graduate's professional career. Sander was awarded the South Dakota Engineering Society Engineer of the Year award in 1999. Industrial experience has been gained through co-founding two companies, Daktronics, Inc. and Medical Engineering Services Affiliated, Inc. Daktronics has grown from a garage operation in 1969 to a world-wide company manufacturing and marketing large information displays for all sports as well as malls, highways, airports and Olympic displays at winter and summer games. Medical Engineering Services provided safety and function testing on patient equipment in over 25 hospitals in South Dakota , Minnesota and Nebraska from 1975 to 1995, utilizing students as technical analysts. Sander’s community service includes leadership positions in organizations promoting economic development through technology. Sander serves as a board member of the Brookings Chamber of Commerce, the Ron Reed Economic Development Center (an incubator) and Habitat for Humanity.

Joel D. Dykstra - return to Directors
Joel D. Dykstra is currently an independent consultant for international business ventures. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Administration from Oral Roberts University . Dykstra was born February 13, 1958 in Canton South Dakota . He has worked 19 years in oil and gas industry, 5 years in executive management, and 2 years in commercial real estate. Employment includes South Dakota AG Producer Ventures, Hegg Companies, LASMO Mineraria SpA., LASMO plc, LASMO Energy Corporation and Clyde Petroleum, Inc. Dykstra is currently a board member for Canton School District, Vice President of Canton Economic Development Corp., and Council Vice President of Redeemer Free Lutheran Church .

Jim Barringer - return to Directors
Jim Barringer currently holds the position of the Executive Vice President of the Aberdeen Development Corporation. Barringer attended Rider College, Trenton, New Jersey. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1974, having a major in Accounting. Barringer attended the Basic Economic Development Course at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, in November 1987. He is involved in economic development and job creation for the northeast region of the State of South Dakota, and particularly for the Brown County/City of Aberdeen area. Barringer joined the Aberdeen Development Corporation in October 1986. The position carries the responsibility for planning, consulting and coordinating a program designed to promote economic growth in the Aberdeen area. Also, the Executive Vice President must possess knowledge of loan packaging, grant writing, marketing/promotional skills, industry attraction and retention skills. The work includes designing and implementing an overall business attraction program, research and analysis of the situations, and land use planning. Previously Barringer was employed for over twelve years was within the Bethlehem Mines Corporation, a subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Positions held were in the accounting field, ranging from Management Accounting Trainee in the Home Office in Pennsylvania, to Cost Analyst, and finally as Mine Controller in Jenkins, Kentucky. Resignation from the position at Bethlehem was tendered in order to accept a new, challenging career in industrial development in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Dennis D. Anderson - return to Directors
Dennis D. Anderson, age 55, serves as President of the Board and is a founder of the Company. Mr. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Science degree from South Dakota State University. He worked eight years for the USDA, then left to pursue his entrepreneurial interests in Wall, SD. He is currently Vice President and a Board member of Full House, Inc., a Hotel/Casino gaming company; Partner/Co-manager of Anderson Brothers Farms; Partner/Co-manager of Anderson Investments; Managing Partner of Lazy BS-LLP, a farm/ranch company; and Partner Co-manager of Elkton House Restaurant. In addition to founding the above companies, Mr. Anderson has performed due-diligence for many other potential ventures, and has performed consulting services for various gaming and hotel ventures. He has invested in many publicly traded technology companies over the years, and has been a student of innovation, entrepreneurism, and new technologies, attending national and international conferences on those subjects. Anderson also has extensive involvement in non-profit community and industry development organizations. He serves on the board of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Deadwood Chamber of Commerce, Black Hills Central Reservations, South Dakota Visitor Industry Alliance, Wall Economic Development Committee, Neighborhood Housing of Wall, and Deadwood Economic Development. Mr. Anderson will utilize his statewide community and industry contacts to assist in fund raising, and will lend his experience in financial projections, market research, and other skills related to performing due-diligence for potential investments. Anderson also offers significant hands on experience in start-up ventures, and will help to develop the exit strategies for the Company's investments.

Melvin Ustad - return to Directors
Melvin Ustad graduated from University of South Dakota in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and History. In 1991, he graduated with an M.A. in Political Science and in 1994 he graduated with an Ed. D. in Adult and Higher Education. Ustad is currently the Associate Dean of the University of South Dakota. Ustad is also Director of South Dakota Health Technology Innovations, Inc. and the Small Business High Technology Institute. Previous appointments include: Associate Professor at Dakota State University and a legislative aide for Senator Larry Pressler.
Ustad can be reached at:
Office of Research
107 Slagle
Vermillion, SD 57069
Email: [email protected]

Julie Johnson - return to Directors
Julie Johnson is the Executive Director of the South Dakota Rural Development Council, the first Rural Development Council in the country. She is an attorney by trade, and has served twice in the Governor's Cabinet, as Secretary of the SD Department of Labor and Secretary of the SD Department of Revenue.  In between those Cabinet assignments, she served as President/Chief Lobbyist for the Industry and Commerce Association of South Dakota, the "Voice of South Dakota Business". She started her career in her hometown of Aberdeen, practicing law, before the state challenges were presented. She's a graduate of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, and also has a Masters in Political Science and a Juris Doctor. She's the third generation of a family business in Aberdeen, and a real advocate for small business and family business.

Julie Gregg - return to Directors
Julie Gregg attended the Institute for Organizational Management and the University of Oklahoma in 1994 and 1995. She is presently Regional Representative for the Governors’ Office of Economic Development Western South Dakota Region. Previous employment includes Ranchers National Bank in Winner, SD, Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce, and Rapid City Economic Development Partnership. Gregg’s professional and civic involvement includes work with American Economic Development Council, Black Hills Workforce Development and Black Hills Business Council. In 2000, Gregg was named SBA’s Women in Business Advocate of the Year.

[ Home ] [ Up ] [ Contact ]
Contact: Greg Bartron ( [email protected] ) or Dona Leavens ( [email protected] )
Phone: (605) 394-1706 or Toll Free 1-888-662-2880 South Dakota only
Copyright @ 2001-2002 Genesis of Innovation. All rights reserved.