As they become available, Prairie Business highlights the region's new hires and promotions. This week's spotlight includes the following:

KLJ names CEO

BISMARCK, N.D. • The KLJ Solutions Holding Co., parent organization to KLJ Engineering LLC (KLJ), and its Board of Directors has announced Eric Michel, as the organization’s chief executive officer.

Eric Michel
Eric MichelImage: Courtesy of KLJ

Michel fills the gap left by previous CEO Barry Schuchard, who passed away in March of this year.

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“It’s really an exciting time at KLJ. Eric brings a combination of extensive industry experience and an enthusiasm for growth to this role,” said Dan Bayston, vice chair of the KLJ Solutions Holding Co. Board of Directors.

“With his leadership, we are looking forward to building upon the strong KLJ foundation and expanding the opportunity to positively impact people and communities across the United States through engineering infrastructure.”

Michel brings decades of construction, engineering, and leadership experience to the role. In joining the nearly 85-year-old company, he also brings enthusiasm for the firm and the industry, having previously spent time with the company as the Vice President of Energy and Natural Resources.

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering from North Dakota State University and is a registered Professional Engineer in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Wyoming. He is past President of the North Dakota Chapter of American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) and current member of the Minnesota Chapter of ACEC. Michel is a North Dakota State University Foundation Life Trustee. He will locate out of the company’s Saint Paul, Minn. office.

Paulsen welcomes digital media specialist

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. • Derek Harsch has worn a lot of hats throughout his life: Small business owner. Social media influencer. Rockstar. And now, he’s donning the cap of Paulsen’s newest digital media specialist.

Derek Paulsen
Derek PaulsenImage: Courtesy of Paulsen

In his first few weeks, Harsch is already putting his visionary nature to use. “I'm always looking forward. I’ve already begun thinking of ways we can be even more efficient.”

Harsch says he has been impressed by the teamwork he’s seen since coming aboard.

ISG welcomes hockey coach into firm

MANKATO, Minn. – ISG welcomes Darren Blue, from Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Men’s Hockey, as one of its newest employee-owners. Blue will be joining the firm as a Development Strategist with the Sports + Recreation business unit, bringing a variety of sports experience from high school, semi-professional, and collegiate levels.

His years both on the ice and at the bench as a coach, in multiple sports arenas, give the firm a look into the needs and desires of spectators, athletes, and staff alike.

With more than 30 years in hockey, Blue has experienced its perspectives from an athlete, coach, spectator, and administrator point of view. More recently, during his time in Division I men’s hockey, he found a desire to create a positive difference for each team through design.

Blue will support firm-wide growth initiatives by working with sports and recreation clients across the Midwest, specifically on the development of facilities that help teams flourish and grow.