Chamber Welcomes New Board members

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South Dakota Chamber Welcomes New Board Members

Enjoys Milbank Hospitality

Pierre, SD – The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry welcomed four new board members at the quarterly Board of Directors meeting in Milbank that included a number of activities hosted by Board Chair Brian Sandvig, CFO, Valley Queen Cheese Factory.

The Board of Directors operates under the leadership of the current Board Chair Brian Sandvig. David Owen serves as President and chief lobbyist of the organization. 

The following are the newest members of the board.

  • Sarah J. Mann, Plant Manager, BAE Systems, Aberdeen
In her position with BAE, Ms. Mann oversees the production of missile launch canisters for the United States Navy. BAE Systems is an international defense, security and aerospace company, with a facility in the Aberdeen community since 1985. Sarah graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, Wis., with a manufacturing engineering degree
  • Mari Ossenfort, Vice President and General Manager, KELOLAND Media Group, Sioux Falls
Ms. Ossenfort brings more than 25 years of local broadcast management, sales, and marketing experience to her roll with KELOLAND Media Group.  During her tenure with KELOLAND, Mari consistently grew revenue and profitability by identifying and cultivating new streams of revenue, sponsorship opportunities, and maintaining customer relationships to achieve unparalleled marketing results. Under her leadership, KELOLAND secured the rights to broadcast several football games of the South Dakota State “Jackrabbits” and the University of South Dakota University “Coyotes” on its digital subchannels. Mari was also instrumental in creating important community relationship programs, including “Buy Local,” designed to educate and encourage area residents to support local businesses, and “KELOLAND on the Go,” a daily news digest and weather update available on the KELOLAND mobile app.         

Mari has been deeply involved in the Sioux Falls community during her tenure at KELOLAND. She serves as a board member of Kids’ Chance of South Dakota and volunteers with Junior Achievement and The Banquet-Sioux Falls. Mari is a graduate of the University of South Dakota.
  • Linda Lea Viken, Viken Law Firm, Rapid City 
Ms. Viken has practiced law for more than 41 years. Her practice encompassed the wide range of family law matters and for a period of time included private sector labor law. She now is doing family law mediation.
Prior to law school, Linda Lea taught in junior and senior high schools in South Dakota for eight years, then served in the South Dakota Legislature for eight years (four years from Minnehaha County and four years from Pennington County). She has also served as a Magistrate Judge, a member of the South Dakota Constitutional Revision Commission, South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women, South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners, and the Initiative and Referendum Task Force established by the Legislature.
Currently she serves on the State Board of Elections and the State Historical Society Foundation. She is a member of Elevate, where she serves on the Public Policy Committee. Linda Lea is active in numerous civic organizations, having served as the President of the Pennington County Bar Association, American Association of University Women, and Zonta, and is on the Advisory Board for Starting Strong. Linda Lea is a graduate of the University of South Dakota both undergraduate and Law School.
  • David L. Chicoine, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus Economics, President Emeritus, South Dakota State University
David L. Chicoine retired from South Dakota State University in May 2017 after 9.5 years as the 19th president of South Dakota State University (SDSU). He was the third alumnus to serve as president, South Dakota’s Morrill Act land-grant university and the SD’s largest comprehensive teaching and research university.  He served as Interim Dean, College of Business, University of Wyoming, Laramie, 2017-2018.
David serves on the Board of Managers of South Dakota Innovation Partners, LLC. and on the Board of ENTERPRISE 605, INC which provide seed capital and business development services to launch research-derived new technology-based start-up projects and early-stage equity capital to growth-stage SD companies, respectively. He is an outside director on the Board of First Bank and Trust, Brookings and is a member of SD Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors. 
David graduated from South Dakota State, the University of Delaware, Western Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with B.S., M.S., M.A. and PhD degrees, respectively.

South Dakota Chamber board members are responsible for establishing the organization’s legislative policy, establishing membership programs and aiding in the development of the membership base. 

The Board of Directors for the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry has a goal of being geographically representative of the state and the diverse types of business that comprise the membership. Board members are eligible to serve two three-year terms. Some may remain on the board longer in the position of one-year at-large members when elected to leadership positions.

State Chamber President David Owen stated, “The Chamber’s mission is to address issues that impact business in South Dakota by striving to implement policies that strengthen the state as a place that is investment-worthy and that has strong quality of life for business owners and the people they employ. The Board of Directors is a group of leaders from a wide variety of communities throughout South Dakota, bringing representation from diverse industries. They know what is happening in their business and in their cities; they keep the Chamber focused and make it a highly effective organization. The new members of the Board continue this strong tradition.”

While in Milbank, members of the board golfed at Whetstone Creek Golf Course, were given guided tours of the Valley Queen Cheese Factory and the Big Stone Power Plant, received updates on the POET ethanol plant and dined at Shady Beach. The meeting’s lunch was catered by Backdoor BBQ.

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