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South Dakota:
Under God, the People Rule

cabinet biographies


Scott Bollinger | Administration top

Scott Bollinger serves as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Administration (BOA). His over thirty-five year career in state government has included service as a budget analyst for the Bureau of Finance and Management, finance administrator for the Bureau of Administration, and director of operations for the Department of Corrections. Prior to his appointment as BOA Commissioner in 2017, Scott was the bureau's deputy commissioner for just over a year.

Scott is a Woonsocket native and graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Scott and his wife Deb have been married over thirty years and have four sons and four grandchildren. Scott enjoys his family, reading, golf, traveling, and volunteering with his church and the Knights of Columbus and the Pierre Tennis Association.


Larry Rhoden | Agriculture (Interim) top

Lt. Governor Larry Rhoden is South Dakota's 39th lieutenant governor. Lt. Governor Rhoden is a lifelong West River rancher, a dedicated husband and father, and a proven leader with a record of service for South Dakota.

Growing up, Rhoden understood true service at a young age. After graduating high school, he joined the South Dakota National Guard, serving six years and carrying on a family legacy of military service that began in the Revolutionary War. While his children were young, he served as a church trustee, earned a seat on the local school board, and led the Board of Directors for the area Cenex.

In 2000, Rhoden was elected to the state legislature. During his time as a citizen legislator, his peers repeatedly selected him to serve in leadership, and he's shown an aptitude for getting things done. Rhoden has served as House Majority Leader and has chaired both the Senate and House State Affairs Committees. Rhoden worked with Noem to reform South Dakota's tax code, led efforts to repeal the so-called "Trucker's Tax," and shaped legislation to limit the government's eminent domain authority. His work earned him the American Conservative Union's highest ranking in 2017.

Lt. Governor Rhoden, who currently runs a cow-calf operation and custom welding business, continues to live on the ranch where he was born and raised. He and his wife, Sandy, have four boys, three daughters-in-law, and two grandchildren.


Mike Leidholt | Corrections top

Mike Leidholt serves as the Secretary of Corrections. Prior to his current role, Mike spent forty-three years in law enforcement, including twenty-four years as sheriff of Hughes County. Mike is a past president of the South Dakota Sheriffs Association, the National Sheriffs Association, and the Dakota Territory Sheriffs Association.

Mike is a graduate of Stanley County High School, the South Dakota Basic Law Enforcement Academy, the National Sheriffs Institute, and many advanced law enforcement and leadership classes.

Mike and his wife Betty, who is retired from state government, live in Pierre and have two grown children and four grandchildren. Mike enjoys serving his lifelong church, Faith Lutheran Church, the local Kiwanis club, and the occasional game of golf.


Dr. Benjamin F. Jones | Education top

Dr. Benjamin F. Jones serves as Secretary of Education. Ben grew up in Sioux Falls and De Smet and graduated from South Dakota State University. Upon graduation he earned his commission and served in the United States Air Force for twenty-three years in a variety of logistics, strategic planning, and teaching assignments in the United States, Guam, Germany, Great Britain, Afghanistan and at the Air Force Academy.

Returning to South Dakota in 2013, Ben became the dean of arts and sciences at Dakota State University where he facilitated the growth of the General Beadle Honors Program, led the campus's "First In The World / Jump Start" grant, and expanded the role of the humanities, social sciences, and fine arts in the university's courses, degree programs, and public outreach.

A historian, Ben enjoys working to educate and prepare children for the changes they will experience over their lifetimes. He earned his master's degree from the University of Nebraska and his PhD from the University of Kansas. His book, Eisenhower's Guerrillas: The Jedburghs, the Maquis and the Liberation of France was published by the University of Oxford Press.

Ben is a descendant of Kansas abolitionists and so uses the handle @Jayhawker on social media. He and his wife Suzy have three children. They are happy to have returned to South Dakota where Ben can fly fish in Rapid Creek, hunt deer in Kingsbury County, and someday, write a biography of WWII Ace and former Governor Joe Foss.


Hunter Roberts | Environment and Natural Resources top

Hunter Roberts serves as Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Hunter began his career in public service with the Governor's Office of Economic Development in 2007 as the Assistant State Energy Director and soon after transitioned to the Energy Policy Director where he led the state's efforts to promote business development in power generation, energy production and clean energy manufacturing until the end of 2014.

Hunter then went on to serve as a policy advisor to Governor Dennis Daugaard for four years. In this role, he oversaw issues related to transportation, agriculture, energy, environment, land management, and outdoor resources. Most recently, Hunter served as the deputy secretary and director of labor and management at the Department of Labor and Regulation.

Roberts holds a master's degree in business administration and a juris doctorate of law from the University of South Dakota.

Hunter resides in Pierre with his wife and two children. With his family, he owns and operates a farm and ranch southeast of Ft. Pierre.


Liza Clark | Finance and Management top

Liza Clark serves as Governor Noem's Chief of Finance and as Commissioner of the Bureau of Finance and Management (BFM), and she is a member of the Governor's executive team. She is also one of the Governor's appointees to the South Dakota Retirement System Board of Trustees.

Liza previously served as BFM Commissioner in the Daugaard administration, as well as policy advisor on issues relating to labor and regulation, workforce development, human resources, and higher education, and before that as chief budget analyst with the Bureau of Finance and Management.

A South Dakota native, Liza graduated from Miller High School and holds a bachelor's degree in finance and economics from Northern State University and an master's of business administration from the University of South Dakota.

Liza and her husband Zach, a small business owner, live in Pierre with their two daughters. Liza enjoys spending time with her family, playing a variety of sports, and having fun on the Missouri River.


Kelly Hepler | Game, Fish and Parks top

Kelly Hepler serves as Secretary of the Department of Game Fish and Parks. A South Dakota native, Kelly was born in Deadwood and graduated from Spearfish High School. He received his bachelor's degree in fish and wildlife management from Montana State University in 1978.

Hepler began his career as a fisheries biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), moving into various management and leadership roles. In his role as the assistant director, and then director, of the ADFG Division of Sport Fish, Kelly's primary responsibilities were in the planning, staffing, and development of strategic operations, while overseeing a $50 million budget and 450 employees.

Hepler was a principal investigator of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and supervised the development, the defense, and the reporting of research findings; in which the final results of the research were published in a peer-reviewed manuscript. Prior to returning to South Dakota, Hepler served as assistant commissioner of ADGC.

In addition, Kelly has extensive training and professional experience in the areas of communication, public policy, leadership development, and research applications. He has chaired multiple national committees that focus on fish, water, habitat, and administration of agency funds. Kelly has enjoyed over thirty years of marriage to Carol Riedner Hepler, who is originally from Wisconsin. They have two grown children and are avid fans of the Green Bay Packers.


Steve Westra | Governor's Office of Economic Development top

Steve Westra serves as the Commissioner of the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) and is a member of the Governor's executive team. Prior to joining the GOED, he served as the chief operating officer of Hegg Companies in Sioux Falls.

A native of Sioux Falls, Westra earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of South Dakota. He has spearheaded various public/private partnerships and has extensive experience in working with both in-state and out-of-state private equity and debt providers for the purpose of creating jobs in South Dakota. He served in the State House of Representatives from 2013-2016 and also served on the State Tourism Advisory Board.

Westra and his wife, Julie, have three children. When he's not busy at one of his children's activities, his family enjoys spending time boating.


Kim Malsam-Rysdon | Health top

Kim Malsam-Rysdon has been the Secretary of the Department of Health since 2015. She previously served as senior advisor to Governor Daugaard, Secretary of the Department of Social Services, Deputy Secretary of Social Services, and Director of the Divisions of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities in the Department of Human Services. Prior to working for the state of South Dakota, Kim worked to help people with disabilities live and work in their communities.

Kim grew up in Wisconsin and New Hampshire before her family returned to South Dakota. She attended college at the University of South Dakota, where she graduated from the University Honors program and received her bachelor's degree in political science. Kim went on to receive a master's degree in social work, with a concentration in health care policy, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kim and her husband Steve have been married over twenty-five years, and they are blessed to have two sons. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening, traveling and enjoying the Missouri River with her family.


Mark Lauseng | Housing top

Mark Lauseng is Executive Director of the South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA). He began his career at SDHDA in 1986 as the Director of Finance and Administration.

He served on the Governor's Reentry Council, has served on the Governor's South Dakota Workforce Initiatives, and has served as a member of South Dakota's Interagency Council on Homelessness. Lauseng also is a board member of the National Council of State Housing Agencies, serves on the executive committee of the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition, is a member of the Homes for South Dakota Coalition, and serves as manager and vice-chairman of the South Dakota Authority Captive Insurance Company.

Mark is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the South Dakota Board of Accountancy. He grew up and graduated from high school in Watertown and received his bachelor's degree in accounting and business administration from Northern State University in Aberdeen. Mark and his wife Sherry have two sons.


Darin Seeley | Human Resources top

Darin Seeley serves as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Human Resources (BHR). He has spent his human resources career in the private sector, serving all levels of organizations across energy, retail, logistics, and manufacturing industries. For the last three years, he was the Director of Human Resources for Harms Oil Company in Brookings. Prior to that was a member of human resources leadership with Black Hills Corporation in Rapid City.

Darin earned his bachelor's degree in agriculture business from South Dakota State University and his MBA from the University of Findlay.

Darin and his wife, Andrea, have been married for 23 years and have a daughter and son. Most of his time outside of work is spent going to their various activities in the arts and sports.


Shawnie Rechtenbaugh | Human Services top

Shawnie Rechtenbaugh serves as Secretary of the Department of Human Services. Before joining the Noem administration, Shawnie served as the interim secretary, deputy secretary, and state 9-1-1 coordinator for the Department of Public Safety, and as the state prevention coordinator for the departments of Social Services and Human Services. Prior to joining state government, Shawnie worked in the private sector in the human services field.

Shawnie grew up in Mobridge and attended Northern State University, where she received her bachelor's degree in psychology. She went on to receive her State Government Leadership Excellence Certificate from the University of South Dakota.

Shawnie and her husband Scott, assistant director for the Division of Criminal Investigation, have been married for nineteen years and they have two young daughters that keep the days interesting and always entertaining. In her not-so-spare time she enjoys watching her girls play basketball, volleyball, or piano. As soon as the weather allows you will find her and her family on the Missouri River or the golf course.


Jeff Clines | Information and Telecommunications top

Jeff Clines serves as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications. He has 20+ years’ experience in technology and leadership positions in State Government and non-profit organizations. Prior to his service for the State of South Dakota Jeff spent a few years in Illinois State government and 15 years at the American Heart Association. Using technology to find solutions that help people is a passion for Jeff, who believes that technology correctly applied should help people serve and help each other better.

Jeff grew up in Colorado and Wyoming and loves to be outdoors, especially in the wide open spaces of the mid-west. Prior to relocating to Pierre Jeff lived in Illinois, Texas, Utah and Colorado but calls the great plains and the beautiful rocky mountains home.

Jeff and his wife Suzanne have been married over twenty years and have five children currently all living at home. Jeff’s hobbies include being with his family, volunteering with his church, and a exploring new technology.


Marcia Hultman | Labor and Regulation top

Marcia Hultman serves as the Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR). Marcia was first appointed by Governor Dennis Daugaard in 2014 and reappointed by Governor Kristi Noem in 2019. Prior to this, Marcia had served in a variety of leadership roles with DLR for seventeen years.

Throughout her career, Marcia has been involved in the delivery of workforce training, employment, adult education and literacy, and federal unemployment insurance services, as well as state-specific wage and hour, workers' compensation, and human rights programs.

Marcia chairs the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council, and serves on the Workers' Compensation Advisory Council, Workforce Development Council, Governor's Workforce Cabinet, and the DOL Retirement Board. Additionally, Marcia is responsible for regulatory functions related to the banking, insurance, and securities industries, as well as occupational and professional licensing boards and commissions.

Marcia received a bachelor's degree from Black Hills State University and completed the Council of State Government Henry Toll Leadership program in 2016. She is a native of Belle Fourche, South Dakota. Just as her grandmother and mother before her, Marcia was trained to be a teacher. She taught school in Hot Springs, Custer, and Rapid City before joining state government in 1997.

Marcia and her husband Brian live in Pierre. They have two grown sons, who each live eight hours away in opposite directions. Marcia enjoys reading, gardening, and all things baking - related.


Jeff Marlette | Military top

Major General Jeffrey P. Marlette began his military service, enlisting in the South Dakota Army National Guard in 1980. He received his commission through the South Dakota Military Academy Officer Candidate School in 1982. General Marlette's command assignments include Commander, 235th General Supply Company, Commander, 2nd Battalion, 147th Field Artillery, Commander, Joint Forces Headquarters, Commander, 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and Assistant Adjutant General - Army. During his 41-month tenure as Commander, 2nd Battalion, 147th Field Artillery, the Battalion successfully deployed for 14 months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. The Battalion received the Distinguished Unit Citation for their outstanding performance during their deployment.

Prior to Major General Marlette's selection as South Dakota's 22nd Adjutant General, he served as a Policy Advisor and West River Regional Director for U.S. Senator Mike Rounds. In that role, he supported Senator Rounds in his committee assignments on Senate Armed Services and Senate Veteran's Affairs. He also served many years as a Superintendent of Schools in South Dakota school districts.

Major General Marlette holds bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Northern State University, an education specialist degree from the University of Sioux Falls. He also has a master's degree in strategic studies from the United States Army War College.

Major General Marlette and his wife Sandy live in Rapid City. They have three grown children and six grandchildren. They enjoy spending time with family, the outdoors and traveling.


Craig Price | Public Safety top

Craig Price is the Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

Craig graduated with a bachelor's degree from South Dakota State University in 1996 and began his law enforcement career in South Dakota in 1997. Craig has held the positions of correctional officer, state trooper, special agent, supervisory special agent, assistant director of Criminal Investigation, and served as the 13th Superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol until January 2019.

Craig is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, is a licensed polygraph examiner, and has held several key positions on various boards, commissions, national and international organizations throughout his law enforcement career.

A lifelong resident of South Dakota, Craig and his wife Kami have been married for over twenty years and have two daughters.


Jim Terwilliger | Revenue top

Jim Terwilliger serves as the Secretary of the Department of Revenue. Previously Jim spent twelve years with the Bureau of Finance and Management serving as deputy commissioner and state economist.

Jim graduated from Guthrie Center (Iowa) High School in 1998. He chose to make South Dakota his home when attending the University of South Dakota, where he obtained a bachelor's in mathematics and a master's in business administration.

Jim and his wife Alexis have been married fifteen years and have three children. He serves as president of the Capital City Baseball Association in Pierre and is a member of the Saint Joseph School council. Jim enjoys spending time with family, exploring the great outdoors and watching his children compete in various activities.


Laurie Gill | Social Services top

Laurie Gill serves as the Secretary for the Department of Social Services. Previously she served as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Human Resources, a post she held since 2013. She has over twenty years of experience in state government, including two years as Secretary of the Department of Human Services. Laurie is also one of the Governor's appointees to the South Dakota Retirement System Board of Trustees.

Laurie's passion for working in government extended beyond her full-time role with the state, and she served as the part-time Mayor of Pierre for nine years, and for nine years on the city commission prior to that. Under her leadership, Pierre responded to and recovered from the historic 2011 Missouri River flood.

Laurie and her husband Bob moved to Pierre with their four children in 1991. She earned a bachelor's degree in commercial economics from South Dakota State University. In addition to her time in state government, Laurie has worked as a business manager for a non-profit agency, served in management positions in state government, and worked as a clinic administrator in the private sector. When time allows, she enjoys visiting her children and grandchildren, traveling, going to concerts, and reading.


Jim Hagen | Tourism top

Jim Hagen has served as South Dakota's Secretary of Tourism since 2011. He has a passion for seeing the tourism industry grow to new heights in all regions of the state, and is excited to continue to serve as secretary for Governor Kristi Noem.

Before becoming the Secretary of Tourism, Jim served more than four 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 the administration of Governor Mike Rounds. From 1995-2002, he served as chief of staff and special advisor to Governor Bill Janklow.

Jim was honored to be named the National State Tourism Director of the Year in August 2014. He was chosen by his peers in the National Council of State Tourism Directors and 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 the past eight years, including all-time spending and visitation records every year. During his tenure as Secretary, the Department of Tourism has been the recipient of numerous regional and national marketing and public relations awards.

In March 2014, Jim 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 nation. In March 2016, he was reappointed by Secretary Pritzker to another two-year term on the TTAB. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recently reappointed Jim to another two-year term in September 2018. Jim has also served on the Executive Board of the U.S. Travel Association. He recently completed a two-year term as Chairman of the National Council of State Tourism Directors.

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


Darin Bergquist | Transportation top

Darin Bergquist has served as Secretary of the Department of Transportation since 2007. After two years in private law practice, Bergquist began working for state government in 1996 as an administrative law judge with the Department of Labor. He joined the Department of Transportation in 1998 as an assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel and served as the program manager for the Right of Way Office and as director of operations before his current appointment.

A Milbank native, Bergquist is a graduate of Jamestown College in North Dakota, with a degree in Business Administration. He earned his J.D. from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 1993.

Bergquist and his wife Leslie, a registered nurse, reside in Pierre.


Dave Flute | Tribal Relations top

Dave Flute serves as Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations. He was born and raised in northeast South Dakota on the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation and is a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe. Prior to his appointment, Flute served one year on the tribal council and three years as tribal chairman. During his chairmanship he was also elected to serve as the chairman of the United Tribes of North Dakota and Vice-Chairman of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Health Board.

Dave served in the South Dakota Army National Guard and was part of Task Force Coyote, a humanitarian mission in Louisiana, to assist in the aftermath left by hurricane Katrina. He also deployed to Afghanistan with the 235th Military Police Company and was medially retired from service in 2009.

Dave attended college at North Dakota State University and graduated in 2014 with bachelor's degrees in history and in public history, with a minor in anthropology. Dave has two sons, a black lab, and enjoys hunting, fishing and riding horses.


Greg Whitlock | Veterans Affairs top

Greg Whitlock serves as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Greg's passion is his continued service to our veterans and their families and to insure all South Dakota veterans receive eligible benefits they are due.

Prior to his appointment, Greg served as the military and veterans service representative for then-Congresswoman Noem from 2015-18. In that role, he assisted South Dakota veterans and family members in receiving benefits and resolving issues with federal agencies.

Greg graduated from Selby High School. He received an associate degree through SDSU and Colorado Technical University in business management. Greg enlisted in the South Dakota National Guard when he joined the 153rd Engineers in Huron SD in 1975. He then started his fulltime career with 2nd Battalion 147th Field Artillery in 1985. He was promoted to Master Sergeant with the 196th Maneuver Enhanced Brigade in Sioux Falls. He retired from military service in 2015 with over thirty-nine years of total service.

During his career with the South Dakota National Guard Greg was deployed twice for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He deployed first to Iraq and later to Kuwait, where he served as a Senior Personnel Sergeant. Greg has served on the Boys and Girls Club board and is a member of the American Legion and the Watertown Sea of Goodwill. He and his wife, Michelle, have four children, and one grandson.