Board of Directors
The Dakota Resources’ volunteer Board of Directors guides our work to carry out our mission of connecting capacity and capital to empower rural communities. In addition to the affiliations set forth below, the board members are active in many community, trade, charitable, educational and religious organizations.
Jon Farris, Chair
Jon grew up a farm kid in a town of 800+ people and is a dedicated advocate of rural South Dakota. His position as a lending programs specialist at BankWest in Mitchell helps him understand the needs and challenges of rural South Dakota, and provides Dakota Resources with strong, financially responsible guidance and counsel. In addition to banking expertise, Jon has a deep understanding of agriculture due to his upbringing on a diversified farm and his former positions with DuPont Pioneer and the South Dakota Department of Agriculture. He has a passion for helping communities who want to help themselves and is proud to have been part of the significant “change making” at Dakota Resources over the past thirteen years.
Ruth Christopherson, Vice Chair
Ruth is the Senior Vice President of Citi Community Development with 20+ years of experience in the financial services area—ten of those focusing on community development. Her skillset is a direct benefit to the Dakota Resources board, made even stronger by her desire to help shape the future of rural. Through her work at Citi and 30+ years in the military, Ruth understands the impact strong communities have on youth and families and is proud to be part of an organization that helps build those impacts. She lives on an acreage near Garretson where she connects to the rural landscape through organic gardening and is a proponent of sustainability and giving back. In her words, taking care of each other is what rural people do.
Heidi Zeller-Crawford, Secretary/Treasurer
As a successful Independent Sales Director for Mary Kay Cosmetics and co-owner of Brown County Choppers, LLC, Heidi’s ambition, enthusiasm and genuine love of South Dakota provides the Dakota Resources board with unique ideas and the perspectives of a home-based business owner. She grew up in South Dakota and her love of the state led her to pursue a job with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and an internship with the SD Department of Tourism. Her roles on the Dakota Resources board and RuralX Design Team allow her to be part of something bigger, where she can feel like her efforts are directly making a difference. Her experience as a successful home-based entrepreneur is a great asset to Dakota Resources, as working from home is a rapidly growing option for people in rural communities.
Gary Cammack, Cammack Ranch Supply, Union Center. Gary is a well-recognized face in the agricultural retail market and also owns a cow-calf operation, among many other ventures. Cammack Ranch Supply has 13 employees, and serves agriculture producers across the state and region. Cammack Ranch Supply is located along South Dakota Highway 34 and extends across one mile of frontage. Gary was a member of South Dakota Agriculture and Rural Leadership class 1, and served as Meade County Commissioner. Gary is currently in the House of Representatives, and is a very practical problem solver.
Justin is a Business Banking Manager with Wells Fargo. Justin is responsible for Ag and Business Banking for Wells Fargo’s Business and Ag Banking operations in Watertown, Brookings, Huron, Madison, Milbank, Dell Rapids, and Marshall MN. With more than 17 years of experience in the financial services industry, Gray assumed his current role in 2013. He joined Wells Fargo in 1997 with their Management Development Program. He has held leadership positions within Wells Fargo Community Banking since 2010. Gray holds a bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University in Brookings. He has served on leadership boards for the Rapid City YMCA, United Way of the Black Hills, and United Way of Siouxland.
Terri has been an economic development professional for two decades, and is currently the Executive Director at Ascent Innovation in Rapid City—an organization dedicated to nurturing tech-related start-ups in the area. While she is located in Rapid City, she believes her role on the Dakota Resources board allows her to bridge the gap and support the exciting innovation efforts in truly rural South Dakota. Her insights into technology and innovation help the board think progressively and creatively. She likes being part of an organization that is committed to meeting benchmarks and getting results and is excited to help expand new opportunities in rural areas.
With experience as Mayor in his rural community combined with his job as Plant Engineer for Golden West Telecommunications in Wall, South Dakota, Marty brings extensive budgetary knowledge and leadership skills to the Dakota Resources board. Growing up on a ranch and working for a company that serves 60 rural communities helps him appreciate the importance of rural relationships and people who look out for one another. He enjoys networking with board members who share his passion for impacting small towns, and is committed to thinking outside the box in helping those communities gain access to the resources and connections they need to achieve success.
Mark was born in Breckenridge, MN and attended Moorhead State University where he graduated with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Finance. He has served the banking industry for 35+ years within the states of SD, ND, NE, CO, and MN. Mark is the Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer of BankWest, Inc., in Pierre, SD. He has held this position since 2004 and was elected as a Director in 2011. Mark supervises the lending, sales and branch functions of all nine BankWest branches throughout the state of South Dakota.
Mark’s community involvement starts with Team BankWest, which is a group of employees who volunteer their time each year on various community projects including: raising money for various community fundraising efforts, Meals on Wheels, stocking the shelves at the local food banks, etc. He has also held positions within the following clubs: Optimist Club, Habitat for Humanity, Elks Member, President – Huron Community Development Corporation, Board Member – Huron Clinic, President – Huron Sertoma Club and Board Member – Community Counseling. He has also been very active in his church and numerous hockey boosters clubs.
As a successful entrepreneur and Dakota Rising alumni, Chris brings unique insight to the Dakota Resources board. In addition to his 20+ years as a business owner, Chris also serves in the roles of coach, instructor and design team member for Dakota Resources. His aggressive nature and keen business sense have driven him to establish and grow three successful companies, including Black Hills Urethane. His interests in mentoring and training small business owners makes him a strong advocate for rural entrepreneurship. He believes the work being done by Dakota Resources is setting new trends for rural economic development across the region.
Kelly is a farmer, an inventor, a business owner, a former Dakota Rising Fellow and is involved in economic development for Faulk County, where he was born and raised. His love of rural brought him back to his family’s farm after moving to Minneapolis to pursue a career as an electrician. After moving back home, he began designing and patenting farm equipment to help make feeding cattle easier. His products eventually grew into Common Sense Manufacturing, one of the largest employers in the county. His experiences as a “rural risk taker” make him a valuable asset to the Dakota Resources board, where he offers his insights as farmer and rancher, a Dakota Rising alumni and a mentor for other business owners. He believes in giving back to his community and knows that it takes a village to help rural communities thrive—something he has been able to witness first-hand through the significant economic and community growth in Faulk County–considered a “poster child” of success for Dakota Resources.
As the Mid-Dakota Region President for Dacotah Bank, an investor with Dakota Resources, Brad has a committed interest in helping the organization improve the lives of people living in rural communities. After 40 years in banking for the rural Redfield and Aberdeen communities, he has a solid understanding of the challenges small towns face, and the opportunities available to help them. He was born and raised in Gettysburg, South Dakota and appreciates Dakota Resources’ mission of enriching communities and empowering people. His involvement in the banking industry and other non-profit boards and service organizations allows him to make important connections and build relationships across the state.
Scott retired in 2016 as Assistant General Manager for Member Services at East River Electric Power Cooperative, headquartered in Madison, South Dakota, where he worked for 30 years. He is a native of Brookings, South Dakota and earned his B.A. degree from Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa. Scott is past President of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Board, is a past member of the Touchstone Energy® Board of Directors, serves as Vice-President on the Board of Directors of Consumer Federation of America, and is a past member of the South Dakota 4-H Foundation Board of Directors. In addition to serving on the Dakota Resources board, Scott is currently serving as the Past President of Habitat for Humanity South Dakota and is on the board of the Greater Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity. Scott and his wife, Valerie, have a son, Nicholas, two daughters, Caitlin and Christina, son-in-law, John and grandson, Archer.
Rachael’s role as Senior Vice President of Rural Health Services for Avera Health brings a vital perspective to the Dakota Resources board, as healthcare is a critical economic partner of any rural community. She is an engaged Dakota Resources board member, providing experience with community facilitation, grant writing, management and the ability to quantify and document outcome data. Rachael still lives in the same small town where she was born, choosing to commute from her rural community to Sioux Falls each day because of her deep love of the rural lifestyle. She finds it a privilege to serve on a board dedicated to helping rural communities succeed and is proud of the positive influences Dakota Resources has on South Dakota.
Greg Von Wald
As Executive Director of the Skilled Workforce Advocacy Council, Greg is involved with helping identify and solve the skilled workforce shortage in the state, which significantly effects our rural communities. This, combined with his vast leadership experience as a former military officer, business owner and CEO, higher education president and rural economic development advocate, provides Dakota Resources with unique insight into strategic planning, operational execution and financial discipline. Rural people and places are his passion, as he attributes his many successes to the values and work ethic learned from growing up in the small town of Groton, population 1,500.
With a positive attitude and a “can do” mentality, Carrie’s years of experience in the communications and marketing industry provides Dakota Resource with a strong voice and extensive community connections. She currently serves as the Director of Communications and Government Relations for Sioux Valley Energy, a rural electric cooperative that identifies economic development as one of its strategic initiatives. Growing up in a declining rural community helped fuel her desire to help small towns thrive. She believes there is no better organization than Dakota Resources to help propel rural South Dakota forward, and is committed to making a positive impact through her role on the board.