Weather Forecast



PRAIRIE PEOPLE: For the week of May 27

SD Mines professor emeritus named geologist of the year

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Arden Davis, professor emeritus of geology and geological engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City, has been named the 2016 J.P. Gries Geologist of the Year. He was selected for his contributions to the geology and groundwater hydrology of the state of South Dakota.

After receiving his master’s and doctoral degrees from SD Mines, Davis taught for more than 30 years at the university, impacting the graduate students who completed degrees under his advisement, as well as thousands of students who benefitted from his courses.

As a groundwater hydrologist and geological engineering consultant, Davis has undertaken numerous projects involving groundwater contamination, aquifer evaluation, low-level radioactive waste site evaluation, spring-flow measurements and mine site development throughout his career. He has worked with the cities of Rapid City, Hill City and Custer in characterizing and quantifying aquifer vulnerability in these developing areas, as well as ultimately designing a unique approach for quantifying aquifer vulnerability in areas such as the Black Hills uplift.

Davis also served as an expert witness regarding the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in South Dakota and assisted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources as a member of a technical advisory team concerning the Gilt Edge Superfund Site. He has shared his expertise relating to groundwater contamination and remediation at various locations throughout the state of South Dakota, including the Williams Pipeline/Hayward School site in Sioux Falls.

The 2016 J. Paul Gries Geologist of the Year award honors the memory of Paul Gries, a renowned geologist who made great strides in understanding the geology of South Dakota.

Wells Fargo names market president for eastern North Dakota

FARGO, N.D. – Jay Lies has been named Business Banking manager and market president for Wells Fargo in Fargo-Moorhead and Grand Forks. In his new role, Lies leads the Business Banking team and works with business customers to help meet their deposit, cash management and credit needs.

Lies began his Wells Fargo career in 2003 as a credit manager for Wells Fargo Financial in Jamestown and was promoted to branch manager in 2004. In 2006, he became a Wells Fargo store manager in Wahpeton. He joined the Business Banking team in 2008, working in Bismarck and Fargo, most recently as principal business relationship manager.

A Wahpeton native, Lies has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Jamestown. He volunteers for Knights of Columbus and the University of Jamestown Booster Board. He also coaches Fargo Little League and West Fargo flag football.

Lies is based at Wells Fargo’s 406 Main Ave. store in Fargo.

Summit Brewing names chief sales officer

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Summit Brewing Company has named Mike Bamonti its new chief sales officer. As a member of Summit's executive team, Bamonti will be responsible for developing strategic sales plans that promote sales growth, territory strength, customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and overall market share.

A 30-year industry veteran, Bamonti has worked at the distributor level in the Chicago, St. Louis and Twin Cities markets. He's spent the past 12 years leading J.J. Taylor Minnesota distributing company as president and general manager. Previously, Bamonti worked for seven years as J.J. Taylor's vice president of sales.

He has been a board member and officer for both the Minnesota Beer Wholesalers Association and the National Beer Wholesalers Association. Bamonti also serves on the board for Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway's Lead the Way Foundation.

Houston Engineering hires two

FARGO, N.D. - Houston Engineering Inc. (HEI) has hired Brock Keller and Aaron Young.

Keller joins HEI's Minot, N.D., office as a civil technician. He is a Minot native and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. His responsibilities will include construction observation for various projects, including the Minot Downtown Infrastructure Improvements and the Hazard Mitigation project at the water treatment plant. Keller interned for HEI last summer and also previously worked for Ackerman-Estvold.

Young joins HEI's Fargo office as a civil engineer. He is a Stanton, N.D., native and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from North Dakota State University in Fargo. Young will be assisting the water resources group in hydraulic modeling and analysis. Young previously worked for BNI Coal, the North Dakota State Historical Society and the City of Fargo.

Houston Engineering employees earn Professional Engineering registrations

FARGO, N.D. - Steve Strack and Jun "Jay" Yang recently earned their professional engineer (PE) registrations for North Dakota after successfully completing the eight-hour Principles and Practices of Engineering exam. Strack and Yang both work out of HEI's Fargo office. 

Strack has been with HEI since 2011 and works in the transportation group. He is a design and field engineer for various transportation projects, such as the NDDOT highway reconstruction and rehabilitation projects and several subdivisions in the Fargo-Moorhead area. He also assists in project concept reports. Strack earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from North Dakota State University in Fargo. 

Yang has been with HEI since 2013 and works in the water resources group. He has been conducting complex H&H modeling for the proposed Fargo-Moorhead Diversion project and has also been involved in hydrology development for various web application projects. Yang earned his doctorate in civil engineering from NDSU and has had several articles published in scientific journals.