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Kristi Noem was elected in November 2018 as the 33rd Governor of South Dakota. Kristi is a wife, a mother, and a lifelong rancher, farmer and small business owner, who will bring her experiences to Pierre to improve education and workforce training, take on the drug crisis, improve mental health, and increase transparency – all without raising taxes or making government too big.
Kristi continues to live on the farm and ranch with her husband, Bryon, and three children: Kassidy, Kennedy, and Booker.
Steve Westra joined the GOED team as Commissioner in January 2019. Steve is responsible for the overall direction and management of the GOED. He is active with business development and legislation. In addition to serving as Commissioner, Steve is also on Governor Noem’s Excecutive Team and Legislative Task Force.
Prior to joining the GOED, he served as the Chief Operating Officer of Hegg Companies.
He has spearheaded various public/private partnerships and has extensive experience in working with both in-state and out-of-state private equity and debt providers for the purpose of creating jobs in South Dakota. He served in the State House of Representatives from 2013-2016 and also served on the State Tourism Advisory Board.
Westra and his wife, Julie, have three children.
Chris Schilken is the deputy commissioner and the director of business development in the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Chris’ dual role assists Commissioner Steve Westra in the overall direction and management of the GOED as well as overseeing the business development representatives across the state.
Prior to joining the GOED, Chris served three years as the executive director of Watertown Development Company and more than four years as a credit union loan manager in Minot, N.D. Chris, who holds a degree in business management from Minot State University, has a passion for economic development and is excited to help the GOED team promote the state and help recruit and retain businesses in South Dakota. Chris and his wife Erika live in Watertown and are busy helping to raise their family.
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