Our dedicated staff is committed to carrying out our mission of connecting capacity and capital to empower rural communities.
Joe is a rural economic and community development global thinker—strategic facilitator—rural shaper and BALLE Local Economy Fellow. As President of Dakota Resources, Joe combines his passion for rural economic and community development with his deep experience in community building, systems thinking, group processes, leadership and innovation. He served as Vice President of Community Innovation at Dakota Resources for three years before being selected to lead the organization alongside an empowered team of people. Joe’s visionary style, honesty and diversified skill set allow him to bring out the best in the people around him and to continually evolve, learn and grow alongside them. He is excited about the direction rural is taking and is ready to help Dakota Resources blaze new trails for a better, more impactful future.
Misty provides administrative support to the Dakota Resources executive team through her role as the Executive Leadership Coordinator. Prior to joining Dakota Resources, Misty was the Administrative Manager, Office Manager, and Help Desk Specialist for an account resolution corporation in Sioux Falls for 20+ years. Misty currently lives near Renner, SD with her family and participates in the business operations of their family masonry business.
Ali is a Certified Public Accountant (licensed in the state of SD) with over six years of experience in accounting and financial reporting. Prior to joining Dakota Resources, Ali was based in Des Moines, Iowa, where she worked for national and international public accounting firms and served on the Board of Directors of a non-profit animal rescue. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Iowa State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration from the University of Iowa. Ali resides in Vermillion, SD.
Paula Jensen, Vice President of Advancement
Paula’s roles with Dakota Resources include resource development, community coaching and implementation of programs. Her passion for community leadership and development is what drives Paula in her personal and professional life. She resides in her hometown of Langford, South Dakota, population 318+, where she and her husband have owned and operated an auto repair shop for the past 26 years. Paula serves on several local boards and as Vice President of the Leadership South Dakota board of directors.
Mike facilitates and orchestrates the Dakota Resources Community Learning Network. He also serves as a community coach for rural communities. He has spent 15 plus years working in rural community development. His commitment to rural communities began when he recognized that his own behaviors (i.e. – the lack of community involvement and buying locally) were contributing the decline of his community. Since 2008, Mike has operated his own business, MAK(e) Strategies, working primarily as a facilitator and coach in rural settings. Among his volunteer activities, Mike has served as the chairman of the board for Glacial Lakes Tourism, Dakota Wesleyan University Alumni Association, and Southeast SD Tourism. Mike grew up outside of Harford, SD, and graduated summa cum laude from Dakota Wesleyan University.
Dustin Ludens, General Counsel / VP NMTC Portfolio Management of Dakotas America
Dustin J. Ludens is the Senior Portfolio Manager for Dakotas America. Prior to his current position, he was a transactional attorney with MorganTheeler, LLP located in Mitchell, South Dakota. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and English at Dakota Wesleyan University and his Juris Doctor degree at the University of Nebraska where he served as an Executive Editor of the Nebraska Law Review. In addition to being admitted to practice law in South Dakota, Dustin is admitted to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota. His practice focuses on business planning and transactions, commercial financing and real estate law. Dustin also serves as the South Dakota liaison on the American Bar Association Corporate Laws Committee. He is a faculty member for the MBA program at Dakota Wesleyan University and assisted in building the University’s distance learning and degree completion programs to bring business education to rural areas of the Midwest. Dustin has experience on both the CDE and QALICB sides of NMTC transactions. Dustin resides on a farm near White Lake, SD – population 372, where he farms and raises cattle
Ellie Naasz, Program Impact & Support Coordinator
Ellie grew up in Jefferson, South Dakota. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of South Dakota and her Master’s degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Colorado State University. She currently resides in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with her husband.
Tyrelle brings a passion for branding and marketing to Dakota Resources, as well as enthusiasm and appreciation for rural. Tyrelle grew up in Timber Lake, SD and graduated from South Dakota State University in 2015 with a major in advertising and minors in art and marketing. Her experience as a project manager at Street Factory Media and as account manager at Bolster, both advertising agencies in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area, is a valuable asset to the Dakota Resources team, as Tyrelle handles everything from expanding brand value to experiential marketing to storytelling and overall marketing tactics. After nearly four years in the “big city,” Tyrelle was excited to come back to her rural roots and make an impact on communities across the region. In her spare time, Tyrelle enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, running, and spending time outdoors. She also considers herself an ice cream connoisseur – and has labeled SDSUs cookies and cream the best of the best.
Kristi Wagner, Connector and Senior Community Coach
Kristi markets and oversees the community capacity building programs for Dakota Resources. She is a trained facilitator and has delivered Dakota Resources Leadership Plenty SD and Creating Value Added Communities programs. Kristi is the owner and CEO of the Rushmore Center for Civic Leadership providing her clients with non-profit management & capital campaign fundraising; organization and workplace team building; training & educational workplace seminars. Her previous positions were in economic development, leadership training, fundraising, sales, marketing and public relations. She has served as a member of the board of directors to the South Dakota Department of Tourism, Rural Learning Center, Chiesman Endowment for Civic Education, University of South Dakota Farber Center and the South Dakota Issues Forums Steering Committee.
Lin manages the operations of Dakotas America since its formation in 2005 and has led the CDE to receive 5 NMTC allocation awards, overseeing deployment of over $330M in total NMTC allocations. Recognized for her commitment to the people of distressed rural LICs, she has utilized NMTC benefits for severely distressed communities, which is an extension of her personal life. Previous to entering the nonprofit world of economic development, she had nine years of all-encompassing experience as a small business owner in a rural community. Lin is an NDC certified Economic Development Finance Professional and holds certificates in Christian Ministry and Spiritual Direction along with a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership. Van Hofwegen came to Dakotas America through its parent CDFI, Dakota Resources, where she served as VP of Operations.
Jill Wadkins, Accounting & Compliance Coordinator
Jill joined Dakota Resources in 2019 and has over 25 years of accounting experience. Jill holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Huron University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Western Illinois University. Jill resides in Brandon, SD.
Dakota Resources Associates
Dick Werner, Credit Officer
Dick serves as Credit Officer for Dakota Resources. He has extensive experience in banking and a genuine enthusiasm for community development. Dick is a former board member of Dakota Resources and is co-owner of Schulte, TA, Inc., a power line construction company and has farming and other investment interests. He previously served as President of various locations for Wells Fargo Bank throughout South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana. Dick served as a State Representative in the South Dakota Legislature and as Beadle County Commissioner. He currently serves on the board of Herreid Area Housing Development, Inc. and was its founding President.
Jamie Horter works with rural communities and entrepreneurs at Dakota Resources. She is a rural advocate, artist, and community coach based out of Lyons, NE (pop. 850). Her work brings community members into discussions and actions around citizen-led community development. Jamie believes in empowerment and self-determination of small town communities to build the future they desire.