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PRAIRIE PEOPLE: Week ending April 26

Engineer, CAD technician join KLJ

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Engineering firm KLJ has hired Emily Fisher as an engineer in the comapny’s Rapid City, S.D., office, and Rick Stiles as a CAD technician in the Billings, Mont., office.

Fisher earned a master’s degree in civil engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City. She has 15 years of experience and is a registered professional engineer in South Dakota.

Stiles brings nearly three decades of drafting experience to the company, KLJ reported. He earned his associate’s degree in surveying and drafting from Flathead Valley Community College and has a nuclear gauge hazardous material training certificate.


Thorson named N.D.’s health information technology director

BISMARCK, N.D. – Shila Thorson, a registered nurse and doctoral-degree student, has been named the new health information technology director for North Dakota.

Thorson will be responsible for overseeing the Health Information Network, the state’s health information exchange. The system enables sharing of health information by connecting electronic health record systems, with the goal of helping doctors and patients make more informed health care decisions.

Thorson earned a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Mary and is pursuing a Ph.D. with a focus on health systems from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. She led the North Dakota Stroke Systems of Care, a public-private partnership that resulted in a Critical Access Hospital state designation and $3.4 million Helmsley Charitable Trust grant, a press release from the state of North Dakota reported.

She also led the development of the North Dakota Cardiac System of Care and statewide Cardiac Ready Communities program.

Thorson, who is currently the hospital preparedness director at the North Dakota Department of Health, replaces Sheldon Wolf, who is retiring in April and who has been in the position since 2009.


Payroll Professionals announces new co-owner and CFO

FARGO, N.D. – Brett Longtin has bought out Payroll Professionals’ retiring co-founder Brenda Kowalski, the company announced.

Longtin will serve as chief financial officer and joins founder and CEO, Dan Thompson, in co-owning Payroll Professionals.

Longtin received his undergraduate degree in accounting and finance at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He earned an MBA in health care management from the University of St. Thomas.  

His experience includes serving as a controller at ByteSpeed in Moorhead, as CFO at Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls, Minn., and as an interim health care CFO for Robert Half in Minneapolis.

Payroll Professionals provides services to small and large businesses both locally and nationally.


Williams named SDSU chief diversity officer

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Kas Williams, interim director for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Access, has been named the chief diversity officer at South Dakota State University. Williams’ announcement comes following a national search. She will officially begin her new role May 21.

Williams has served in her interim role for nearly a year. She came to SDSU in 2014 as the African-American programming and retention adviser for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, a position she continued to fill in addition to her interim role.

Earlier in her career, Williams was in residence life for six years at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. She also served at Southeastern Louisiana University, where she was the coordinator for the student government association for two years and assistant director for judicial affairs from 2003-07.

Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Southeastern Louisiana University and will receive a master’s degree in administration of student affairs from South Dakota State on May 4.