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PRAIRIE PEOPLE: Week ending Dec. 7

BCBSND’s CEO Huckle to retire; Conrad named as executive VP and CEO-elect

FARGO, N.D. – After nearly 33 years of service, Tim Huckle announced his plans to retire in January 2020 as president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

In light of Huckle’s upcoming retirement, BCBSND’s board went through a review process to select Huckle’s successor, BCBSND reported. The board determined that a selection would be made within an internal candidate pool, and as a result, Chief Legal Officer Dan Conrad has been named executive vice president and CEO-elect effective Jan. 1.

Conrad will formally step into the CEO role in January 2020.

Conrad is a native North Dakotan who brings more than 20 years of experience to his new role. He joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota in July 2013 after spending time as in-house counsel at two large public companies.

He also served in the public sector, having started his career as a trial attorney with the U.S. Justice Department.

Conrad earned his bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead and his law degree from the University of North Dakota. He serves on the board of Make-A-Wish North Dakota and the BCBSND Caring Foundation, and lives in Fargo with his wife and their daughter.


Nurse practitioner joins Essentia Health in West Fargo

FARGO, N.D. – Nurse Practitioner Molly McManus has joined the Family Medicine Department at the Essentia Health-West Fargo Clinic in West Fargo, N.D.

McManus earned a master’s degree in nursing from South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D. She is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners as a family nurse practitioner.


Absolute Marketing Group hires Birrenkott as strategist

FARGO, N.D. – Absolute Marketing Group recently hired Katie Birrenkott as digital media strategist.

In her new role, Birrenkott will use her experience in digital marketing and public relations to identify target markets, research media options and recommend where clients should allocate their budget while creating advertising plans.

Katie earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oregon. Originally from West Fargo, N.D., she previously has worked as social media manager at In-House Advertising and digital marketing specialist at Arvig Media.


KLJ hires Lee

FARGO, N.D. -- Engineering firm KLJ has hired Ryan Lee in the company’s Fargo office.

Lee will provide technical services as an enterprise infrastructure supervisor. His background includes IT solution design and implementation, network configuration, security consulting and training, network design and setup, and system migration management, KLJ reports. He also holds multiple IT certifications.

Lee earned his bachelor’s degree in management information systems, with a minor in computer science, from North Dakota State University in Fargo.


Sanford’s Alberto named chair of national program

FARGO, N.D. – Dr. Neville Alberto, a Sanford hospitalist, has accepted a five-year term in the leadership of the Council of Transitional Year Program Directors.

This includes two years as chair-elect, two years as chair and one year as the immediate past chair.

In medical training, Transitional Year programs are year-long internships for medical school graduates. In some cases, the programs let residents sample different specialties to help them decide which specialty to complete training in.

In others, they let residents qualify for those specialties (such as anesthesiology, dermatology and radiology) that require a transitional year.

At Sanford, Alberto specializes in internal medicine and palliative care. He also serves as program director of the University of North Dakota Transitional Year Residency Program, associate program director for the UND Internal Medicine Residency Program and governor for the American College of Physicians North Dakota Chapter.