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South Dakota:
Under God, the People Rule

Governor's Office staff


Beth Hollatz | Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor

Beth Hollatz serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor. She is also a member of the Governor's executive team. Prior to her current role, Beth spent eight years with then-Congresswoman Noem, first as Northeast director and then as state director. Beth also worked on all four Kristi for Congress campaigns.

Beth is a Watertown native. She and her husband, Alan, owned Playhouse Family restaurant in Clark from 1985-2008. Beth and her husband currently live in Watertown, where they own Hollatz Dragline Service, and where Alan works as a crane operator. Beth and Alan have four grown daughters and nine grandchildren.

Beth enjoys, first and foremost, spending time with her family and grandchildren, refinishing furniture, detailing automobiles, and reading. She is also an avid Nebraska Cornhusker fan.


Katie Hruska | General Counsel

Katie Hruska serves as General Counsel in the Governor's Office and is a member of the Governor's executive team.

A native of Fargo, Katie earned her bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and her J.D. from the University of South Dakota School of Law. Katie was a law clerk for the Sixth Judicial Circuit for two years, assisting the Court on a variety of issues from election law and public utility disputes to workers' compensation appeals and insurance actions. Following that service, Katie worked in private practice until joining the Governor's Office in January 2019.

Katie lives in Pierre with her husband, Eddie who is also an attorney and a member of the South Dakota National Guard, and their two children.


Ian Fury | Chief of Communications

Ian Fury serves as Chief of Communications in the Governor's Office and is a member of the Governor’s executive team.

Ian previously worked in a variety of communications and policy roles in both Kansas and Washington, DC. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Economy from Hillsdale College, where he also competed in collegiate speech and debate. A native of Houston, Texas, he has lived in four states throughout the Midwest before moving to South Dakota.

Ian lives in Pierre with his wife Hannah and son Gavin. They spend their free time skiing, playing disc golf, and exploring the beautiful Black Hills.


Leslie Hicks | Director of Scheduling

Leslie Hicks serves as the Director of Scheduling and Executive Assistant to Governor Noem. Prior to her current role, Leslie worked for the District Court of South Dakota as a Judicial Assistant.

Leslie grew up in rural Bennett County, graduating from high school in Martin. She then obtained a degree in court reporting and worked as a court reporter in both state and federal court in South Dakota.

Leslie and her husband Chad live in Pierre and have two daughters. Having recently become empty nesters, they are transitioning back to what life is like on their own again, enjoying time in the Black Hills hiking and kayaking any chance they get.


Jim Terwilliger | Commissioner of Bureau of Finance and Management

Jim Terwilliger is the Commissioner of the Bureau of Finance and Management and is a member of the Governor’s Executive Team. He most recently served for 3 years as the Secretary for the Department of Revenue under Governor Noem. In his 16 years of public finance service for the State of South Dakota, he also held the titles of Deputy Commissioner for the Bureau of Finance and Management and State Economist. In his time with state government, the state has made significant financial improvements that focus on the long-term financial health of South Dakota.

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 three children. He has served as president of the Capital City Baseball Association in Pierre and as 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.


Jim Hagen | Tourism

Jim Hagen serves as the Secretary of the Department of Tourism and is a member of the Governor's Executive Team. 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 Seeley | Human Resources and Administration

Darin Seeley serves as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Human Resources and Administration and is a member of the Governor’s Executive Team. 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.


Mackenzie Decker | Director of Policy

Mackenzie Decker leads the policy team and helps directs policy initiatives while also serving as a policy advisor for government operations through technology, human resources, and finance, as well as tribal relations. She has worked in government for over 12 years with experience in communications, workforce programs, and economic development.

Pierre has been home for Mackenzie, a Minnesota native, since 2014, but she also has family ties in the Winner and Yankton areas. She is a graduate of South Dakota State University and earned her master's in administration and organizational leadership from the University of South Dakota.

Mackenzie and her husband enjoy life just north of Pierre with their two daughters, taking advantage of all the recreational opportunities central South Dakota has to offer.


Ryan Brunner | Senior Policy Advisor and Director of Legislative Relations

Ryan Brunner serves as a Senior Policy Advisor and Director of Legislative Relations in the Governor’s Office, focusing on corrections, public safety, military, public utilities, and state lands. He served as the state Commissioner of School and Public Lands after being elected in 2014 and 2018 before joining the Governor’s office in 2022. Ryan also previously served on the Brookings City Council and worked for the Brookings Economic Development Corporation after graduating from SDSU with a degree in agricultural economics.

Ryan grew up on a family farm/feedlot operation at Nisland and graduated from Newell High School. Ryan and his wife Whitney now live in Pierre with their three children.


Laura Ringling | Senior Policy Advisor

Laura Ringling serves as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Governor’s Office focusing on health policy, social services, and human services. Laura has served in state government working on legal, health, and social aid issues since 2008.

Laura is a South Dakota native. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Dakota State University and her law degree from the University of South Dakota School of Law, where she was an editor of The South Dakota Law Review.

Laura lives in Fort Pierre with her daughter Ellis. She serves on the board of the Capital Area United Way and enjoys live music, photography, and travel.


Megan Goltz | Policy Advisor

Megan Goltz serves as a Policy Advisor for Governor Kristi Noem in the area of infrastructure and resources, focusing on agriculture, natural resources, transportation, and game, fish and parks.

Megan grew up near Estelline where she graduated high school. She earned her degree in animal science from the University of Minnesota-Crookston, while playing basketball. Megan worked as a veterinary assistant and a horse trainer before joining the Kristi for Governor campaign in 2018. Following the election, Megan joined the Governor's Office and has held leadership positions for the entirety of the Noem administration.


Sarah Hitchcock | Policy Advisor

Sarah Hitchcock serves as a Policy Advisor in the Governor's Office focusing on industry and education, including workforce, regulation, economic development, and tourism.

A former high school teacher and coach, Sarah has also coordinated grassroots and campaign operations across five states for the National Rifle Association. She's a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in political science and a master's in public administration.


Alan Vester | Deputy General Counsel and Unborn Child Advocate

Alan Vester serves as a Deputy General Counsel for the Governor’s Office. He also serves as Unborn Child Advocate, a position that Governor Noem created when she first took office as governor.

Alan graduated with Honors from Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. After graduating, Alan clerked for the Honorable J. David Bruns of the Kansas Court of Appeals and later for the Honorable J. Caleb Stegall of the Kansas Supreme Court. After his clerkships, Alan prosecuted criminal cases as the Assistant Jefferson County Attorney in Jefferson County, Kansas and worked as an Associate Attorney for Kriegshauser Ney Law Group in Topeka. While in law school, Alan won the 2017 Judge John R. Brown Award for Excellence in Legal Writing for his Journal Comment Hybrid Immigration Preemption.


Brad Otten | Director of External Affairs

Brad Otten serves as a Director of External Affairs for Governor Kristi Noem. Brad previously worked as West River Director during the Governor’s eight years in Congress. Brad has also served on the Rapid City Board of Education and on the South Dakota Advisory Panel on Children with Disabilities.

Brad was born in Sioux Falls, grew up near Tea, and graduated high school at Lennox. He holds a bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master's in Public Administration from the University of South Dakota. In 1995, he moved to the Black Hills.

Brad is married to Holly, and together they have three children: Morgan, Alex, and Eden. When not attending children’s events, you might find the family out exploring South Dakota’s open spaces.


Ben Koisti | Director of Boards and Commissions

Ben Koisti serves as the Director of Boards and Commissions in the Governor's Office.

He previously served as a Policy Analyst and Director of Operations in the Governor's Office. He also worked on her 2022 gubernatorial re-election campaign.

Ben grew up in Northeast South Dakota near Lake Norden and graduated from Hamlin High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota, Crookston. In his spare time, Ben enjoys playing golf, visiting his friends and family, and watching his favorite series The West Wing.


Amelia Joy | Press Secretary

Amelia Joy serves as Press Secretary in the Governor's Office. Prior to her current role, Amelia was Regional Analytics Coordinator at the Republican National Committee. She also worked for multiple U.S. Senators and Representatives both on Capitol Hill and in campaign offices.

Amelia earned a Master of Arts degree in Political Communication from American University. She also has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Communication Studies from the University of Alabama. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Amelia was a competitive baton twirler and won numerous national awards. She went on to twirl in college as a Crimsonette in the Million Dollar Band, where she was featured in an ESPN commercial.

Amelia lives in Pierre and spends her free time with her dog, Reagan, reading, and, as always, cheering on the Crimson Tide.


Chad Kubis | Digital Director

Chad Kubis serves as the Digital Director in the Governor's Office. He focuses on managing the Governor's online communications platforms as well as photography and videography.

Chad is a North Carolina native who has worked on campaigns ranging from local elections to U.S. House races and U.S. Senate races. He has also advised numerous organizations on digital outreach and creative content.

Before joining Governor Noem's office, Chad served on her 2022 re-election campaign as Digital Director.


Jayden Bies | Policy Analyst

Jayden Bies serves as a Policy Analyst in the Governor’s Office. Jayden grew up in Fairburn, South Dakota on her family ranch. She graduated from St. Thomas More High School and earned her degree in Government with an emphasis in Legal Studies from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona in 2022.

Before joining the Kristi for Governor campaign in 2022, Jayden worked on two political campaigns in Arizona. Following the election, Jayden joined Governor Noem’s official staff.

In her free time, Jayden loves spending time with her family on the ranch along with her dogs and cows.


Travis Dovre | Fiscal Officer

Travis Dovre serves as the Fiscal Officer for Governor Kristi Noem's office, a role he also held in the Daugaard administration beginning in 2015. Wearing multiple hats, Travis also oversees the fiscal operations of the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED), Department of Tourism, and Department of Tribal Relations. Previously, he worked for GOED as assistant finance director, loan officer, grant administrator, and as interim commissioner.

Travis grew up in Spearfish where he developed a love for the outdoors, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, and graduated high school. After learning the welding trade at Lake Area Technical Institute, he spent several years working in Watertown and served as a member of the South Dakota Army National Guard in the 147th Field Artillery. After relocating to Pierre in 2004, Travis earned a bachelor's degree in banking and financial services from Northern State University.

In his spare time, he and his wife Dawn enjoy outdoor activities, culinary experiments, and spending time with family and friends.


Judy Davis | Office Manager and Executive Assistant

Judy Davis serves as an Office Manager and Executive Assistant for the Governor's Office. Before coming to the Governor's Office in 2011, Judy worked at the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office in Deadwood.

Judy is a Winner native and graduated from Winner High School. She went on to further her education at Western Dakota Technical Institute and graduated with a degree in computerized office careers.

Judy has two sons. In her free time, she enjoys cheering on the Pierre Governor athletic teams, spending time outdoors, working in her yard and spending time with family and friends.


Lana Blair | Administrative Specialist

Lana Blair serves as Executive Assistant to Governor Kristi Noem. Before joining Governor Noem's office, Lana worked for the Department of Social Services as the Executive Assistant to the Cabinet Secretary. Prior to working for State Government, Lana worked many years in sales and marketing in Pierre, SD and Houston, TX.

Lana grew up in Sioux Falls and Aberdeen before attending college at South Dakota State University in Brookings. She earned a bachelor's degree in Printing Management/Business.

Lana and her husband Ron live in Pierre and enjoy traveling, time on the water, motorcycling, gardening and spending time with family, friends and most of all grandchildren.


Morgan Wiegel | Executive Assistant

Morgan Wiegel serves as an Executive Assistant in the Governor's Office. Morgan previously worked for Sanford Health in Sioux Falls in the Patient Access Management department for three years.

Morgan is from Huron, SD and attended college at South Dakota State University where she earned a bachelor of Science degree in Community and Public Health with a minor in Health Sciences.

In her free time, Morgan enjoys spending time with family & friends, listening to music, and binge-watching a good Netflix or Hulu series.


Lisa Lei | Administrative Assistant

Lisa was born in Pierre and grew up in Nebraska. She attended Black Hills State University where she earned a bachelor's degrees in elementary and special education. Lisa taught in the South Dakota public school system before joining a large nonprofit social service agency in the Twin Cities as a program coordinator. Prior to joining the Governor's Office, Lisa worked as an executive assistant for the Department of Social Services.

Lisa and her husband Jeff Kroll have six children and are excited to become first time grandparents. They enjoy time fishing and relaxing on the Missouri River, walking their dogs and tackling home improvement projects.


Sheri Arnold | Constituent Services Representative

Sheri Arnold serves as Constituent Services Representative in the Governor’s office and works remotely. Prior to her current role, she was proud to be a part of the Governor’s 2022 re-election campaign.

A native of Colorado, she has made South Dakota home for the past 24 years. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from ORU in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is also a Certified Dietary Manager. She has spent the past 3 plus decades using her skills to serve others in various hospitality and client-oriented settings.

She resides in Watertown with her husband, Guy, 15 yr. old son Sam, and German Shepherd, Ava. She has 6 other grown children. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, writing, studying about nutrition, and staying active and fit with the family.


Claire Rydberg | Administrative Assistant

Claire Rydberg serves as an Administrative Assistant in the Governor’s Office. Claire previously served as the Legislative Communications Director for the SDGOP during the 2019 South Dakota Legislative Session. Claire served as an intern in the Governor’s Office prior to working on the Kristi for Governor re-election campaign. Following the election, Claire again joined the Governor’s Office.

Claire graduated from Pierre T.F. Riggs in 2020. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree online in Local Government and Public Policy. In her free time Claire likes to go fishing with her boyfriend Brant, as well as spend time with her friends and family.