Prairie People: New hires and promotions for the week ending May 20, 2022

Individuals profiled this week include those ACLU of North Dakota, Alerus, Dakota Credit Union Association, Essentia Health, First International Bank & Trust, and SWCA Environmental Consultants.

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As they become available, Prairie Business highlights new hires, promotions and employee achievements from companies in the Dakotas and western Minnesota. This week's spotlight includes the following:

ACLU of North Dakota names advocacy manager

FARGO, N.D. • Cody Schuler has joined the ACLU of North Dakota as advocacy manager.

Cody Schuler
Cody Schuler
Image: Courtesy of ACLU of North Dakota

As advocacy manager, Schuler oversees the organization’s legislative, public education and advocacy efforts and is responsible for developing issue campaigns to advance civil liberties and civil rights in North Dakota.

Prior to joining the ACLU of North Dakota, Schuler served as executive director of the FM Coalition to End Homelessness, an advocacy, education, and collaboration nonprofit with a mission to prevent and end homelessness in the Fargo metro area.


Outside of the ACLU, Schuler is a commissioner for the Fargo Housing and Redevelopment Authority and serves on the boards of directors for the Fargo Downtown Neighborhood Association and The Human Family, a nonprofit with a mission to change communities through art, including the North Dakota Human Rights Art and Film Festivals and the Fargo-Moorhead LGBT Film Festival.

Schuler, who grew up in Bismarck, holds degrees from Dakota Wesleyan University and Duke University.

Alerus promotes member to senior VP, director of retirement and benefits 

FARGO, N.D. • Alerus has promoted Rob Woytassek to senior vice president and director of retirement and benefits.

Rob Woytassek
Rob Woytassek
Image: Courtesy of Alerus

In this role, he is responsible for the direction, development, and oversight of Alerus’ retirement and benefits plan products, ensuring the seamless delivery of products to clients. He is also responsible for leading product-focused team members in the retirement and benefits division and driving continued innovation across product areas while maintaining a high level of client service.

As a senior vice president, Woytassek joins Alerus’ senior management team and will play a key role in shaping the company’s strategic decisions and organizational management.

Woytassek joined Alerus in 2012 and has served in a variety of roles, including retirement account manager, retirement client service manager, and director of product management. He has nearly 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and has specialized in retirement services for his entire career.

He holds Retirement Plans Associate and Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Minnesota State University Moorhead and is a graduate of the Dale Carnegie training program.


Two inducted into Dakota Credit Union Association Hall of Fame 2022

BISMARCK, N.D. • Two credit union professionals were inducted into the Dakota Credit Union Association (DakCU) Hall of Fame during the elegant awards banquet that was held May 11 in Rapid City. The Hall of Fame honor is a lifetime achievement, and the most prestigious of all DakCU awards.

Darrel Dickhaut
DakCU President and CEO Jeff Olson, left, with award-winner Darrell Dickhaut.
Image: Courtesy of Dakota Credit Union Association

Darrell Dickhaut worked in the credit union industry for more than 25 years. Originally from Redfield, South Dakota, he was a military veteran who served at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, during the Vietnam War.

He became the manager of Turtle Creek FCU in 1991 and spent the next two years fixing the problems that had plagued the small financial institution, including crippling delinquency and a poor CAMELS rating. In 1997 he oversaw the construction of a new building on Main Street in Redfield, and another addition was completed in 2001. He also served on the SD Credit Union League Board of Directors for ten years; completed CUNA Management School in 1997; and was a top ten fundraiser for CULAC.

DakCU awards1
From left, Steve Schmitz , Dayne Headland, and DakCU President and CEO Jeff Olson.
Image: Courtesy of Dakota Credit Union Association

In 2012, Turtle Creek FCU merged into Dakotaland FCU with the support of board and staff. Dayne Headland began his credit union journey more than 52 years ago when he became a member of First Community Credit Union (FCCU). He was employed by the credit union from 1982 to 1991 as an Agriculture Loan Officer in Jamestown before leaving to pursue farming full-time. He then ran for the FCCU Board of Directors in 1992 and has served for the past 29 years. He plans to retire next year. Dayne is the longest standing board member at FCCU.

Family medicine physician joins Essentia Health

FARGO, N.D. • The Essentia Health-Fargo Family Clinic recently welcomed Dr. Teri Johnson, who will specialize in family medicine.

Teri Johnson
Teri Johnson
Image: Courtesy of Essentia Health

She said after many years of independent practice, she is excited to be a part of the Essentia Health care team.


Dr. Johnson received her medical degree from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine in Grand Forks and completed her residency at the University of North Dakota Family Practice Center in Bismarck.

First International Bank & Trust promotes member

WATFORD CITY, ND - First International Bank & Trust has promoted Brianna Hanson to commercial loan officer.

Brianna Hanson
Brianna Hanson
Image: Courtesy of First International Bank & Trust

Hanson joined FIBT as a personal banker in 2015 while attending Minot State University. She graduated in 2018 with a degree in finance and moved to Watford City, where she began working as a loan associate at the company’s Fox Hills location.

In 2020, Hanson transitioned into a Universal Banker position. Over the past seven years and as a result of her different positions, she has developed a strong knowledge of banking.

SWCA Environmental Consultants welcomes key staff members

SWCA Environmental Consultants, a nationwide firm helping clients navigate the environmental compliance process using scientific expertise and in-depth knowledge of the various industries it serves, recently welcomed two key staff to better serve clients across the country from the company’s offices in the upper Midwest.

Jolene Schleicher
Jolene Schleicher
Image: Courtesy of SWCA Environmental Consultants

Jolene Schleicher is the cultural resource team lead in SWCA’s Bismarck, North Dakota, office. She has more than 15 years of professional environmental consulting and cultural resources management experience in the northern plains and across the country. Her experience includes assistance with overall National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance, as well as compliance with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

She has served as a project manager, assistant project manager, and crew member for over 100 oil and gas, renewable energy, and land development projects in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Minnesota.

Lucy Harrington
Lucy Harrington
Image: Courtesy of SWCA Environmental Consultants

Lucy Harrington is a senior archaeologist with SWCA based in Minneapolis, with 12 years of archaeological experience in more than 15 states. She has supported development projects across several industries including oil and gas, wind and solar energy, and energy transmission as well as in support of federal and local government projects across the country.

She has experience supporting and representing the needs of tribal cultural specialists in protecting and respecting traditional cultural places during projects. In the upper Midwest, she has directed field work as a principal investigator of archaeology. She has also acted as a deputy project manager to support the smooth coordination of projects by the project manager.

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