Entrepreneur-In-Residence Program

The Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program brings seasoned entrepreneurs to South Dakota Mines with a focus on new venture formation based on technology created through Mines' extraordinary research. These world class business executives and serial entrepreneurs mine our wealth of technologies for latent opportunities to create or expand business enterprises. Our Entrepreneurs are experienced at developing business plans, acquiring financing, scale-up manufacturing and seeking out appropriate management to begin operations. Working closely with the Office of Economic Development, EIRs meet regularly with faculty to evaluate startup opportunities and assist in driving innovation to the market.

Our EIR’s proven track record of success in business creation offers another path to successful commercialization of South Dakota Mines' innovative research. As evidence to the success of the program, Mines’ Start-ups have taken top placements at South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision Business Plan Competition seven times in the past ten years. Meet our entrepreneurs:

Craig Arnold

Specialties: Business Planning, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Executive Management, and Startups

Craig Arnold’s leadership experience spans more than 30 years, including technology start-ups, biotechnology and biofuels, as well as leadership positions in philanthropy, computer technology and aerospace industries. Prior to joining Nanopareil, Arnold was President & CEO of Permara, LLC, a South Dakota biotech start-up that commercialized a novel renewable antimicrobial technology. As CEO of Plymouth Energy, Arnold led the $100M debt/equity financing, construction, and production start-up of a Midwest based 50 million gallon a year (MGY) biofuels plant. Craig was a Director at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he was responsible for the Foundation’s access to a technology program that was expanded worldwide. Arnold held leadership roles at Northrop-Grumman and Rockwell International (Boeing) on the B2 Stealth Bomber and B1B Lancer aircraft programs respectively. Mr. Arnold holds a commercial pilot’s license and is a multi-engine and instrument instructor pilot.

Boucher-Mike EIR

Specialties: Early stage product development, Commercialization, Executive Management, Engineering, and Medical Development

Bill is the president of Betten Systems Solutions LLC, a product development realization consulting organization with an emphasis on early stage product development and commercialization. Bill utilizes his years of experience as an engineer, program manager, and executive in the medical industry to advance device product developments into the medical and life sciences industries. Bill most recently served as Director of Business Solutions for Devicix/Nortech Systems. Bill also served as Vice President of Business Solutions at Logic PD, medical technology Director at TechInsights, Vice President of engineering at Nonin Medical, and in a variety of technology and product development roles at various high-tech firms, including Honeywell and 3M. He has been directly involved in a variety of medical developments, including hearing aids, perfusion systems, PACS and medical imaging, networking/storage, telemedicine, vital signs monitoring systems, and mobile health. His design/manufacturing consulting experience extends from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. His non-medical product development experience includes semiconductors, aerospace/defense, and industrial applications, including connected devices as part of IoT. Bill is a member of the IEEE, Computer Society, and the American Telemedicine Association. He has served on medical Editorial Advisory boards as well as Advisory Boards for the Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium, for St. Thomas University, for South Dakota Mines where he is also an entrepreneur in residence, for Minnesota State University, for Medical Alley’s R&D Advisory Group, and is a noted author and lecturer. He has served in many roles in his home community, including city council, planning commission, and economic development authority. Bill received bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and physics from South Dakota Mines, and a master’s in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota as well as continuing executive education at Babson College.

Boucher-Mike EIR

Specialties: Software Development, Software Engineering, Distributed Systems, High Performance Computing, and Operating Systems

Mike Boucher has founded and successfully exited two technology companies. His first, Dakota Scientific Software, developed innovative algorithms in high-speed software that enabled supercomputers to run nuclear stockpile stewardship, car crashes, and aerodynamics simulations on machines with up to several thousand CPUs. He sold the company to Sun Microsystems, then stayed at Sun working on a variety of projects including an experimental machine with 256K processors and 4 petabytes of RAM. His second company, Dakota Legal Software, developed software to help for lawyers and legal professionals write their briefs and legal memoranda. He sold that last year. He is currently an Entrepreneur in Residence at South Dakota Mines at an entrepreneurial program for students and recent alumni called the Mines Venture Project.

EIR Jason Combs

Specialties: Department of Defense, National Security, Air Force Aviation, Cross-Functional Team Leadership, Problem Solving in Ambiguous Environments, Lean Launchpad, Human-Centered Design, Scrum Master

Jason Combs is the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) University Program Director at South Dakota Mines. Prior to his current position, he served as the NSIN Chief of Staff in the National Capital Region. Jason also has over 25 years of service in the Department of Defense, including time in uniform as well as time serving as a government civilian. His active duty time included operational assignments in the B-1 and staff assignments on both the Headquarters Air Force Staff and Joint Staff. Jason served his final two years on active duty as the Director of the VCJCS Joint Staff Innovation Group applying entrepreneurial problem solving approaches to National Security Problems. In this role, he led senior strategists, planners and analysts to develop novel warfighting concepts and capabilities for the vice chairman of the chiefs of staff. He provided military expertise to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff seminars, wargames, politico-military table-tops and workshops. Jason's awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, and the Aerial Achievement Medal. Jason holds a degree in biology from the United States Air Force Academy; a master of military arts and sciences degree; a master of airpower art and science degree; and is also a graduate of the Air Force Weapons School, Army Command and General Staff College, the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies and the Air Force National Defense Fellowship program. He holds the rating of command pilot and has more than 2,000 flight hours, with more than 400 combat hours. He has flown the B-1, T-37, T-38, AT-38 and F-16 aircraft. Jason enjoys exploring the outdoors with his wife and is passionate about problem solving, learning, teaching and cycling.

Russel Enns

Specialties: Healthcare Industry, Regulatory and Clinical Affairs, Quality Systems, Diagnostic Testing Development, and Leadership

Dr. Russell Enns retired as the Chief Regulatory Officer for Cepheid at the end of 2012. He oversaw global regulatory, clinical and government affairs, and quality systems for Cepheid since joining the company in 2003.

From 1995 to 2001, Dr. Enns was Vice President of Regulatory and Clinical Affairs, Quality Systems, and Medical Reimbursement at Vysis, Inc., a genomic disease management company that was acquired by Abbott Laboratories in 2001, and subsequently he became a Divisional Vice President at Abbott until mid-2003. Before joining Vysis, he was Vice President, Technical Affairs of MicroProbe Corporation, a biotechnology company, from 1992 to 1995, that was acquired by Becton Dickinson. He served positions as Director of Product Development, Clinical Programs and Technical Affairs at Gen-Probe, Inc., a biotechnology diagnostic company, from 1984 to 1992. From 1979 to 1984, Dr. Enns was the Director of Cell Biology Research at Alpha Therapeutics Corporation, and from 1975 to 1979 he was a Senior Biochemist at Monsanto Corporation.

He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Davis in 1976, and his BS in Biochemistry with Honors from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo in 1970. He was a National Foundation Lecturer for the American Society for Microbiology in 1988 and 1989. Dr. Enns was a charter member and past chair of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) Area Committee on Molecular Methods from 1992 through 2005, and he was a member of the CLSI Board of Directors from 2005 to 2011. From 2009 through 2012 he served on the Strategic Planning Committee for the Association of Molecular Pathologists. Additionally, Dr. Enns served on the MedSci Advisory Board of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation from 2011 through 2013. More recently, Dr. Enns served as a board substitute for the AdvaMedDx board from 2011 through 2014 lobbying for medical diagnostic regulatory changes in Washington, DC, and served as its representative to the World Health Organization on International Biological Standardization, including the 2014 Ebola virus crisis.

Dr. Enns has been a leading force in the implementation of molecular diagnostic tests and testing platforms for cancer, infectious diseases and medical genetics with the development and global commercialization of more than 40 such products during his career.

Kathryn Fitzgerald

Specialties: Marketing Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Management, and Market Research

Kathryn Fitzgerald, Ph.D. is Marketing Strategy and Customer Insight Consultant. She was formerly a full-time Professor of Marketing on the faculty for the M.B.A. programs at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Notre Dame. Kathryn joined a high-tech market research start-up affiliated with neuroscientists at UCLA, the place she earned her doctoral degree with a dissertation centered on the use of metaphor when communicating about complex and/or highly innovative new products. Kathryn also previously worked in a large management consulting firm in Chicago that specializes in expert litigation support. Kathryn grew up in Rapid City and recently returned after living for many years in Santa Monica, CA.

Doug Fluke

Specialties: Chemical and Service Industry

Doug is a 1982 Chemical Engineering graduate of South Dakota Mines and later an MBA graduate of the University of Houston. He spent 30 years in the Chemical business with Shell, Henkel and Ecolab where he worked all over the world. In 2012, Doug was COO of Chemlogics Group, which was sold to Solvay for 1.3 billion. He is currently the President and Owner of North Dakota Infrastructure LLC, which provides rental property in Bakken, ND.

For many years, Doug served on numerous boards as an advisor at Mines. Presently, Doug resides in Rapid City, SD.

Todd Gagne

Specialties: Off Shore Development, Enterprise Software, CRM, Startups, and SaaS

Todd is a well-rounded technology executive who has worked in many different-sized software organizations. He has worked in multiple startups and various roles at Concur, one of the world’s leading providers of integrated travel and expense management.

Todd held senior leadership roles during the high growth period of Concur as they grew from $10 million to $1 billion in revenue. In 2014 Concur was acquired by SAP, a German software company.

During his career, he has held executive positions in engineering, account management, sales, marketing and product management. His current role is managing a $100 million product line that provides analytics solutions to corporate clients, travel management companies, credit card vendors and government organizations. These solutions are leverage by over 30 million users in 100+ countries.

Martin Gerber Headshot

Specialties: Product and new technology development strategy and execution, Technology transfer, IP and product road mapping, and Global team and multi-site team establishment and optimization

Martin Gerber is a Medical Device industry senior R&D executive/advisor. He has extensive experience establishing and leading global innovation teams spanning a diversity of disciplines and medical devices. He is highly experienced at commercializing new therapies and technologies and is adept at optimizing development and execution of cross-functional business strategies necessary for commercial success. He has broad experience building and leading global multi-location teams and optimizing for effectiveness, efficiency, and speed to market. Martin is an expert in global multi-site R&D organizational strategy development and execution and has been responsible for establishing “greenfield” global R&D sites.

Martin specializes in product and new technology development strategy and execution, technology transfer, IP and product road mapping, global team and multi-site team establishment and optimization. His career includes 30+ years pioneering new therapies at Medtronic including the development of new technology for cardiac rhythm management, incontinence, migraine, deep brain stimulation, and renal replacement therapies. He has also worked at Ascensia Diabetes Care leading Global Innovation for blood glucose management products. Since 2021, he has been an independent consultant/advisor.

Martin has a BSEE from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and a MBA from the University of St. Thomas.

Darren Haar

Specialties: Business Turnarounds, Leadership, Product Development, Cross-functional Team Leadership, and Entrepreneurship

Darren is a visionary business leader with a proven track record of driving growth and managing change in a diverse set of business environments in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Able to quickly establish strategic direction, identify areas for growth, reduce cost, and develop a strong leadership team. Demonstrated success in restoring profitability to struggling businesses and pushing new growth in existing businesses. Global experience with acquisitions, integrations, and joint ventures. Respected for ability to engage and motivate people at all levels of the organization.

Most recently he was the Global Business Director Microcircuit Materials for DuPont.


Specialties: Cross-Functional Leadership, Executive Consulting, Team Building, Product Development, Supply Chain Design, Manufacturing and Operations Management, Lean Six-Sigma, Organizational Turn Around, and Program Management

Jamie currently has over 29 years of Executive Management, Engineering and Manufacturing experience in the high-tech electronics industry. He founded and is currently CEO of Darceo Inc. Professional Technical Services company located in Rapid City. He also holds the Founder and President position within Resultant, a Technology Accelerator and Equity Holding company based in Rapid City. Here he also holds the temporary position of COO for SMRTGrid, an IoT Solutions company Located in Baltic, SD. Before running his own companies, he held a position as the West River Manufacturing Extension Partnership consultant for the governor’s office doing strategic plans, operations training, and business consulting for west river manufacturing companies. The knowledge and experience to perform at this level came from two decades of operations management experience in contract electronics design and manufacturing services businesses. As Vice President of Engineering for Onyx EMS in early 2008, he helped recover and triple the company in three years leading to a strategic sale of the business. Previous to this he was the staff engineering manager for a Tier one EMS facility in Rapid City under Sanmina-SCI. Jamie has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering degree from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. His career began as a radar and satellite systems technician in the US Air Force partnering with General Dynamics and IBM on new Air Force systems.

He is dedicated to growing Rapid City’s technical community. With positions on advisory boards for SDSM&T, economic development boards, consulting positions in several Rapid City technical startups, and volunteering with many technical leaders, strategic growth for technical companies is a passion.

John Heinrich

Specialties: Product Development, Management, Diagnostic Imaging, and Scientific Instrumentation

John P. Heinrich, Ph.D. has been involved in the development and management of a wide range of diagnostic imaging, therapeutic, medical diagnostic and scientific instrument companies for more than 30 years. He played a key role in the development of mobile MRI systems in the early 1980s and served as VP of MRI Products at Technicare Corporation.

His responsibilities over the past 25 years include President and COO of Technomed International USA Inc., a leading developer and marketer of therapeutic technology, President and COO of Summit World Trade, a diversified group of health care and technology companies, President and CEO of Otsuka Electronics USA Inc., a developer and marketer of medical and scientific equipment, and President and COO of Meretek Diagnostics Inc., a developer and marketer of medical diagnostics. Dr. Heinrich was responsible for the sales of Otsuka's medical (MRI) and scientific equipment businesses to Elscint Ltd. and Varian Instruments respectively and for the acquisition of Cambridge Isotope Laboratories and Meretek Diagnostics. Over the past ten years he has cofounded a number of companies including Revolution NMR LLC, Acuitas Medical Ltd., Kansas Analytical Services LLC, and PhoenixNMR LLC.

Mr. Heinrich is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with BS, MS and PhD degrees in metallurgical engineering. Prior to his career in business, Mr. Heinrich served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force.

Jeane Hull

Specialties: Mining Operations, Mining Technology, Coal, Lumber, Civil Engineering, and Leadership

Jeane Hull is a retired executive with extensive operations and technical experience in the mining sectors including coal. Prior to her retirement in 2015, Ms. Hull served as the Chief Technical Officer for Peabody Energy. During her tenure at Peabody she also had operational responsibilities for their PRB and Southwestern coal mines. Prior to Peabody she was the COO for Rio Tinto at the Kennecott Utah Copper Mine. She is a member of the Boards of Interior, a Canadian lumber company and Cloud Peak Energy, a U.S. coal mining company. She recently joined the board of Epiroc a mining and civil engineering equipment manufacturer and services provider. Ms. Hull has a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from South Dakota Mines and MBA from Nova Southeastern University.

H. Dan James

Specialties: Leadership, Sales Process, Sales Management, Management, and Strategy Training

For the last 6 years Dan James has lead Jamesolutions, Inc. a company focused on Sales Excellence; in the past year, he joined the Black Hills Regional Angel Fund. Immediately prior to this, Dan concluded his 43-year career with the DuPont Company (E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company Inc.) where he acted as Chief Sales Officer for the $30+ Billion Corporation. While in this newly created role, Dan led a global team that delivered innovative compensation, sales management, recognition; negotiation and basic professional selling skills programs that enabled substantially improved Sales and Earnings results.

Prior to this role, he was Global Sales Director for DuPont Chemical Solutions (DCSE), a multibillion-dollar producer of Specialty and Industrial chemicals. He held positions in the United States as Market and Business Director for the Clean and Disinfect portfolio of businesses; and he was the Six Sigma Champion for DCSE. Dan lived in Hong Kong and was Managing Director of DuPont Specialty Chemicals/Asia Pacific from 1993-1999. From 1991 to 1993, he served as Group Managing Director for all of DuPont’s businesses in the ASEAN region. While residing in Singapore, Dan served as a Director on the Singapore Economic Development Board.

Brett Karjalainen

Specialties: Product Management, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Cloud Computing, Strategy, and Product Launch

Brett is a high-tech industry product management and innovation leader with more than 20 years' experience in enterprise software, storage, and cloud technologies. As Managing Director of Hyperscale Ventures, Brett works with private equity sources to invest in high potential start-up and scale-up opportunities in the information technology industry. Prior to Hyperscale Ventures, Brett was a Strategic Marketing Director in Seagate Technology's New Business Incubator where he was a founding member of the team that created an innovation engine that delivered over $500M in profitable revenue in software, security, and storage solutions. Before Seagate, he served as Director of New Business Development at Imation, a spin-off of 3M, where he executed the strategy to transform the company into a trusted storage expert by launching new businesses in storage consulting, product services, and cloud-based data protection and recovery services. Prior to Imation, Brett held engineering and product management positions at IBM where he led the first cloud-based deployment of an enterprise retail industry application for the SMB market.

Brett has an M.S. in Management of Technology from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. in Engineering from The University of Iowa. He is an avid life-long learner completing multiple executive education programs in general management, entrepreneurship and venture capital..

Kean, Abe

Specialties: Patents, Trademarks, Strategic Thinking, Persuasive Communication, Negotiation

Abe is one of the original owners of an intellectual property law firm that grew from a small start-up to a nationally-recognized boutique. Abe established and grew the team’s presence in the Rocky Mountain region, and served as the managing partner of the Denver office. Along the way, Abe and the firm have represented many of the largest technology companies in the world in high stakes patent disputes throughout the United States. This work includes jury trials in Federal District Courts, appellate advocacy in Federal Appellate Courts and the US Supreme Court, and agency advocacy with the US Patent Office and the International Trade Commission. Additionally, Abe and the firm have counseled numerous smaller and start-up companies on intellectual property strategy. Abe has a passion for small business and the outdoors, and recently moved with his family back to the Black Hills to pursue interests in both areas.

Kip Larson

Specialties: Manufacturing, Product Development, Electronics, Engineering, and R&D

Kip is an experienced engineer, business person and entrepreneur. Kip graduated from South Dakota Mines with a BS in Electrical engineering. He spent 6 years working in the materials research group of Martin Marietta before accepting an engineering position with SymCom Inc. During his 20 years at SymCom, Kip held various positions in the company including R&D Manager, Chief Technology Officer, Executive V.P., and President. During his time at SymCom he served on their Board of Directors and was involved in acquisitions of competitors as well as the ultimate acquisition of SymCom by Littelfuse in 2014.

Kip has been an annual participant and host to South Dakota Mines “Engineers make Great Entrepreneurs” program since its inception, and served on the local economic development board as well as numerous local charities. .

Kip Larson

Specialties: Growth Strategies, Corporate Governance, Team Building, Funding Alternatives and Commercialization of Technologies

Eric is a serial entrepreneur living in Calgary, Alberta Canada. For over 26 years Eric, as the principal of Merchant Equities Capital Corp, has provided management consulting and venture capital advisory services to early stage public and private companies. Eric is a co-founder and the Managing Director of TRION Energy Solutions Corp., an advanced battery technology company, that is commercializing, at the School's CAPE lab, a proprietary anode material that is engineered to improve lithium ion battery performance by over 30%. In 1977, Eric received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Western University in London, Ontario Canada.

Eric Martz

Specialties: Business Management, Real Estate, Entrepreneurship, Investment, Software Industry, Financial Management, and Commercial Pilot

Eric is co-founder of BroodStack, ControlQore and the owner of Royal Elk Real Estate. He has spent the last 20 years in entrepreneurial and investment endeavors with several successful exits in the real estate and software industries. The largest of which was the development, construction, and operation of three assisted living facilities. This resulted in the care and management of 129 residents and 105 staff. He was also part of the investment/advisor team behind AdvisorPeak, a fintech software company that was acquired in 2021 by Addepar Inc. Prior to this, Eric managed several businesses in the hospitality and service-related industries. Eric has a B.B.A. Financial Management degree from the University of North Dakota. He also has a commercial pilots license with multi-engine and instrument ratings. As an entrepreneur-in-residence at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology he thoroughly enjoys mentoring budding entrepreneurs to compete in the South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision Business Plan Competition.

Neil Munro

Specialties: Business Strategy, Strategic Planning, Business Development, Petroleum, and Business Planning

Neil Munro has more than 25 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry, including international business development, contract negotiations and international project management. Neil is the Management Consultant of Wavefront Technology Solutions Inc., a company that specialize in designing leading-edge solutions for oil well stimulation, secondary oil recovery and environmental groundwater remediation. Previously, Neil was the CEO of Seven Energy (Canada) Inc. a company that was formed as the E&P arm of Weatherford International. Seven Energy concluded a management buyout of Weatherford in October 2007 and is currently a private international operating company. Prior to Seven Energy, Neil was a Business Unit Manager for Weatherford, in Canada. Neil has also been a Founder of a private E&P company, involved in projects in the United States and Latin America. In addition to his position with Weatherford, Neil was Vice President and General Manager of Northland Energy Services; whom pioneered the utilization of Under-Balanced Drilling in Canada, Argentina, Venezuela and Europe. Neil also coordinated the establishment of the first independent UBD Engineering Company in Canada and directed the establishment of Northlands international business units in Europe and Latin America. Mr. Munro holds a Post-Graduate degree in Mathematics from The University of Calgary.

Luke Nehring

Specialties: Cross-Functional Leadership, Vision Building, Team Building, Operations Management, Performance Optimization, Organizational Development and Program Management

Luke is an experienced and passionate business leader. Luke graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in History. He spent five years as a Financial Planner, Real Estate Agent and Loan Officer during which time, he completed a Master’s in Business Administration at the University of Phoenix. Immediately upon graduation, Luke joined L3 Technologies as a Senior Accountant and over the next 10 years held several positions across many functions to include, Director of Financial Operations, International Trade Compliance Manager, Empowered Official, Program Manager, Site Manager, Director of Operations and Ethics Officer. Luke currently works as a Business Consultant for Dakota Regional Periodontics and is the CEO of Rapid Foundation Repair. He is also actively involved with Live Like Lilli, which is a local non-profit organization that is working to help kids of all ages reduce the time they spend on social media and increase the time they spend serving others.

Stephen O'Rourke

Specialties: Energy Industry, Petroleum, Mineral Exploration, Oil & Gas Industry, and Geology

Stephen O'Rourke is a senior energy executive currently serving as the Managing Director of Heat Mining LLC, a start-up geothermal company based in Rapid City, SD. HMC is focused on commercialization of a patented CO2 based power generation technology through participation in a joint venture with Minneapolis based TerraCOH Inc. In addition to managing Heat Mining, he represents the company’s interests in the joint venture activities and serves on the TerraCOH Board of Directors. Additionally, for the past 5 years Mr. O’Rourke has also been actively engaged as a Consultant to the Energy Sector with emphasis on upstream oil and gas, mining and geothermal related projects.

Prior to June 2011, Mr. O'Rourke was President, Global Petroleum Exploration at BHP Billiton, the world’s largest natural resource company and a major global oil and gas operator. In this role, he was a member of the Group’s Senior Leadership Team and the Petroleum Executive Team responsible for management of the entire Petroleum customer segment group (CSG). Areas of technical responsibility comprised new acreage capture, negotiations and land administration, exploration prospect maturation and drilling, geophysical operations, geosciences technology, and development & production geosciences. Mr. O'Rourke's executive responsibilities included P&L accountability for a $1 billion exploration budget, collective management of Petroleum's portfolio and investment decisions, M&A activity, and general management of BHPB's Petroleum business.

Prior roles at BHP Billiton included VP of Development Planning and VP of Global Appraisal and Petroleum Engineering.

Mr. O'Rourke was employed by Shell from 1983 to 2000 with many assignments of increasing responsibilities. Key roles included Exploration Manager in the Gulf of Mexico, Geologic Operations Manager in Brunei, and Senior Staff Geologist/Team Lead in Shell Offshore, particularly deep-water.

Mr. O'Rourke holds a BSc degree in Geological Engineering from South Dakota Mines and is a graduate of the Wharton Advanced Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to his Managing Director and consulting roles, Mr. O’Rourke is actively engaged in supporting higher education. He is a member of the executive committee of the South Dakota Mines Foundation Board of Trustees and a member of both the Industry Advisory Board for the Mines Department of Geology/Geological Engineering and the Advisory Board for the Department of Geology/Environmental Science at Wheaton College.

Barry Owens

Specialties: Manufacturing, Sales Management, Marketing, and Process Improvement

Barry is a multi-faceted executive having worked for DuPont for over 40 years. Early in his career, he worked in various manufacturing and engineering assignments supporting the Atomic Energy Division and the Freon® Division. In 1983, Barry became a Plant Superintendent at the Goibal Plant in Barra Mansa, Brazil. Following this assignment, he worked in a number of sales and marketing assignments for six different DuPont businesses. In the mid-nineties, he was transferred to Geneva, Switzerland as the Regional Director of Europe leading several businesses to record sales and profits. In 2001, he was assigned to the newly formed position of Corporate Top Line Growth Champion to lead the worldwide deployment of Six Sigma into all of the company's Sales and Marketing roles. Before retiring, his last assignment was as the Global Director of Marketing and Sales for the $3 billion Electronics Department in which he was primarily responsible for building world-class marketing and sales capabilities in Asia.

Barry is a Georgia Tech graduate majoring in Chemical Engineering. He is currently on the Board of Directors of two start-up companies and provides marketing consultation to a third. He is an active member of the Black Hills Regional Angel Fund. He resides in Chapel Hill, NC with his wife, Debbie.

Mat Peabody

Specialties: Strategy Development/Implementation, Shareholder Value Maximization, Leadership and Team Development, Geographic and Market Expansion, JV's Acquisitions/Divestitures, Technology Commercialization

Mat is global senior executive with very strong entrepreneurial and management skills. He has led organizations ranging in size from start-up to $billions. His background includes Ch. E./MBA degrees, leadership roles with Perrigo, Chemie Linz and others with strong team-building, executive and operations skills which includes very strong technology and team building orientation.

Mat has lived and worked in Europe, Mexico, Asia and US. Fluent in six languages.

Austin Peterson

Specialties: Software and Product Development, Sales Process, Business Strategy, 3D-Printing Manufacturing, Patent Process

Austin Peterson is currently the Vice President for a startup 3D metal printing and design company that specializes in custom dental and orthodontic parts. Throughout the last 13 years Austin has been involved with multiple startups from beginning stages to late stage and has played an active role with multiple mergers and acquisitions. Austin has a desire and passion for business, and it is apparent with the level of businesses and startups that he has been a part of. Additionally, Austin is a managing partner of a real estate and development company that has offices in Fargo and Detroit Lakes, MN. Austin is married with 2 children. On most weekends you can find him doing outdoor activities with his family and responding to work emails when his wife isn't looking.

Dan Quinn

Specialties: Material Handling, Supply Chain Markets, Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance, and International Business

Daniel is an experienced executive with extensive operational knowledge with businesses in the material handling and supply chain markets. He has run organizations that he had direct line responsibility for all sales, marketing, operational and financial activities, with extensive International experience in Europe, South America and Australia. Daniel has an MBA in business management from the University of Southern Maine and a B.S. in business economics from Merrimack College.

Jim Quinn

Specialties: Business Strategy, Change Management, Coal, Contract Management, and Contract Negotiation

Jim has 35+ years of international project experience with the Army Corp of Engineers and ExxonMobil. Over his career he has lived in and managed projects and operations in Germany, Colombia, Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, and the US. This has given him a broad range of direct management opportunities and unique work experiences that can be directly applied to Management Consulting, Turnarounds, and business Sales, Mergers, or Acquisitions. Jim has a degree in Civil Engineering from South Dakota Mines and has completed post graduate work towards an MBA at the University of Wyoming, University of Houston, and Rutgers.

Fanar Sefa

Specialties: Business Planning, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Advocacy, Energy Feedstocks, Biomimicry, Sustainability and Startups

In 2018 Fanar celebrated over a decade dealing with assets and resources in various geographies, functions, and industry sectors. Fanar grew up in a family of engineers and business entrepreneurs. Very early on in his adulthood he handled challenging assignments within the family's distribution business of chicken-eggs, and later at family's engineering and construction firm. During this time Fanar learned the meaning and significance of having contented employees, building business relationships, ensuring client satisfaction, and most importantly how individual commitment played into the success and longevity of an enterprise. Fanar is currently Olin's North America commercial leader for Hydrocarbons, Energy and Brine, and is directly responsible for more than $100MM of sales and $1.2B of spend, which is 60% of global spend for feedstocks (Olin has an annual revenue of ~$6B). Fanar is also founder and CEO of iLight LLC, where he uses biomimicry which is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by mimicking nature's time-tested patterns and strategies.

Alan Smoot

Specialties: Startups, Business Strategy, Strategic Planning, Team Building, and New Business Development

Alan has a broad range of business experience, which gives him a unique perspective and appreciation of the diverse needs of a business. Alan holds an MBA and a Juris Doctorate. He has worked as a Manager in Network Administration and Network Maintenance with Southwestern Bell Telephone in Houston and Oklahoma City. He has owned or founded several businesses and is founder and former CEO of a company that now has an international presence in fuels additives.

Alan Smoot

Specialties: Business Strategy, Strategic Planning, Logistics, Sales, Team Building, and New Business Development

Tom Stengrim is the founder and lead business strategist at Lazios. He works with startup companies in developing a plan to get their idea from the back of a napkin to the market place. Additionally, he works with existing companies that want to grow to that next level, require an evolving strategy, and preparing them to acquire that next stage of capital investment. His start as an entrepreneur came at the age of 7, when he launched a refurbished golf ball stand on a local golf course. Realizing that his customers were also thirsty, he added lemonade and mom’s fresh chocolate chip cookies to the product mix. Tom has had a passion for America, the free-market economy and the opportunity for entrepreneurs to control their own destiny, ever since. Tom moved to South Dakota in 1999 and founded Stengrim Insurance, Inc. He grew the company into one of the country’s top AFLAC operations during which time he consistently exceeded sales goals and trained over 100 agents in a multi-state region. In addition to building his own successful business, Tom led the rebranding and remodel of the business incubator Zeal – Center for Entrepreneurship. He has been in many volunteer and public service roles. Having traveled the world during his 30+ years of military service, Tom also brings a global perspective on economic opportunity and a strong advocacy for entrepreneurship to emerging businesses. With this broad and diverse experience, Tom brings a passionate, collaborative and operational approach to Lazios and its clients along with an extensive network of contacts. A native of Stephen, MN, Tom joined the military in 1986 and was commissioned as a Naval Officer in 2008. He currently holds the rank of Lt Commander and serves as a Logistics Officer).

Ron Van Horssen

Specialties: Strategic Planning, Healthcare Management, Healthcare Information Technology, Healthcare Industry, and Hospitals

Ron has served as an advisor or board member to a variety of technology and service firms, public and private. He is a charter member of the Entrepreneurship Advisory Council for the Donald T. Jones Center for entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University. Van Horssen received an M.S. in Industrial Administration (MBA) from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.S. (honors) in chemical engineering from South Dakota Mines. He has been named an Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. Magazine and Arthur Young (predecessor of Ernst & Young).


Specialties: SBIR/STTR; Government Contracting; Grant Writing; Organizational Leadership; Department of Defense; Lean Launch Pad; Lean Six Sigma; Community Engagement; Small Business and Marketing

Lorie is the Deputy Commander for the Mission Support Group at Ellsworth Air Force Base. She is a career civil servant with over 30 years of federal service. Lorie has held positions all over the globe at the facility, installation, and regional level, overseeing a wide array of support functions including child and youth services, marketing, human resources, leisure and hospitality, recreation, business operations, education, organizational analysis, and financial management. In her current role, she oversees 1,500+ personnel in six squadrons providing civil engineer support, communications, security, logistics, acquisition, and force support for all of Ellsworth AFB. She also serves as the Community Partnership liaison and Innovation lead for Ellsworth. Lorie also started a small Computer and Graphics Design business during her time in Hawaii. She holds a degree in Psychology from Cornell and a Masters in Business Administration from Trinity College. She is a graduate of Air Command and Staff College, Leadership Rapid City, and Leadership Institute of Virginia Peninsula. Lorie is trained in Continuous Process Improvement with over 200 hours in facilitation and Lean Six Sigma training to include serving on a Baldrige Performance Excellence evaluation team. She is a current DoD SBIR/STTR evaluator, designated as within the top 10% of all Air Force evaluators and is a participant in the inaugural AFWERX Sherpa program to assist entrepreneurs with the SBIR process. Lorie has been recognized at the installation, major command and Air Force level for leadership in her various roles and has earned three Air Force Civilian Meritorious Service and one Exemplary Civilian Service Medal. She is very active in the community, serving as the Board President for United Way of the Black Hills, Board member for Destination Rapid City, Big Brother-Big Sisters, and the Box Elder Chamber of Commerce. She is involved in the Military Affairs Coalition and various efforts with Elevate Rapid City.

Rich Wells Headshot

Specialties: Leadership; Crisis Management; Issue Management; Decision Making; Political/Government Affairs; Chemical Manufacturing; Corporate Governance; Energy/Climate Change;

Rich Wells graduated with highest honors from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and was named an outstanding recent graduate of his alma mater in 1992. In 2014, he was honored as a Distinguished Alumni from SDSM&T. He currently serves as a member of the school’s Academic Advisory Board and Center for Alumni Relations and Advancement Board. Wells has also completed an executive leadership program at Babson University and the H.H. Dow Academy.

After graduation from SD Mines, Wells joined the Dow Chemical Company. Over the course of his 40-year career with Dow, Wells held leadership roles in a wide range of areas, including Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, Business Leadership, Energy and Climate Change, and Government Affairs and Public Policy. His final role was Vice President of U.S. Gulf Coast Operations and Site Director of Texas Operations. He was responsible for 10 advanced manufacturing sites, the Texas Innovation Center (a state-of-the-art R&D campus) and the Houston Dow Center (a strategic engineering and business hub). As the Site Director for Dow Texas Operations, he led one of the largest integrated petrochemical manufacturing sites in the world. The site employed more than 8,000 people, producing products that are used in industrial and consumer applications including food packaging, health care, automobiles, construction, and electronics. He was also Chairman, President and CEO of Union Carbide Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow. Wells retired from Dow in August 2021.

A native of Minnesota, Wells resides in Rapid City, SD with his wife Trudy (Chem Eng ’84). They have two sons, Zachery, a Captain in the U.S. Army, and Andrew, a mechanical engineer in Wisconsin. Wells is an avid runner having completed multiple marathons, and enjoys hiking, bicycling, skiing, reading, and keeping abreast of current political events

Todd Williams

Specialties: Digital strategy development and associated business model innovation and commercialization

Todd brings over 30 years of C-Suite executive-level management, operations, leadership and strategic experience in the professional services industry, with start-up, privately-held and publicly-traded companies. He maintains extensive business, strategy, engineering and environmental consulting experience leading enterprise-wide business improvement initiatives, as well as developing value-added, client-service solutions for commercial, industrial, infrastructure, legal and financial clients across the US and internationally. He has had success at developing innovative, organic growth-based strategies that incorporate exploring intellectual property commercialization and technology enabled service offerings, as well as identifying and closing strategic acquisitions to accelerate growth. His current business services focus relates to : •Strategy development and deployment of transformational technology-enabled solution offerings for professional service firms •M&A advisory including pre-close due diligence and strategy assessment through post-close innovation and growth acceleration •Intellectual property and technology asset creation for strategic partners •Advisory on and development of streamed data, analytics, telematics and other engineering and science-based applications.

Office of Economic Development

(605) 394-5168