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Dakotas America Advisory Board

The Dakotas America Advisory Board represents the interests of low-income communities served by Dakotas America. Its role is to provide input and feedback on the vision and mission of the CDE. In addition, our advisors ensure that the types of transactions undertaken create high community impact in low-income and distressed communities (LICs). The Advisory Board assists in identifying potential projects that can benefit from NMTC incentives, referring them to management for consideration.

    Adina Abramowitz
Adina Abramowitz is an independent organizational consultant with broad expertise in the field of community development finance. She is the principal of Consulting for Change, a consulting practice specializing in maximizing the impact, market responsiveness and efficiency of nonprofit organizations. Founded in 2006, Consulting for Change focuses on strategic and operational planning, market analysis and product development, organizational assessment, market analysis, risk assessment and portfolio management, lending process improvement, management consulting, executive coaching and organizational change in nonprofit organizations. In 2007, Abramowitz deepened her specific expertise in relation to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs ) by becoming a CARS™ (CDFI Assessment and Rating System) Rater. She is a graduate of Barnard College and currently serves as treasurer of Hazon, a national Jewish environmental organization. Adina’s clients include many CDFIs, Affordable Housing Developers, Think Tanks such as CFED, and Associations including OFN and Oweesta. 
    Suzanne Anarde
Suzanne Anarde is a community development professional with over 25 years of experience in rural revitalization work, including lending and grants, fund development, public policy, and program development and implementation. Since 2013, Suzanne has served as Vice President for Rural LISC, a national CDFI that operates in 44 states and over 2,000 counties.

 At Rural LISC, Suzanne directs a team of experienced professionals who provide a wide range of services that includes financial support, training, technical assistance, and information to help community developers address the challenges they face in their communities. This assistance comes in the form of loans and grants, national policy support, and technical and management assistance.

 Suzanne began her career as the founding Executive Director of Tri-County Housing & CDC in southeastern Colorado, serving Bent, Crowley and Otero counties, with a population of just over 30,000 and an area encompassing 1,400 square miles.  Tri-County started as a housing rehab agency and expanded programs to include Self Help housing, down payment and housing counseling assistance, infrastructure development, multi-family rehab management and development, disaster recovery, downtown renovations, community facility development, including assisted livings, theaters, and senior centers. 

    Lori Cowman
Lori Cowman has been employed by Planning & Development District III in Yankton, South Dakota for the past 17 years. Her main duties include serving as administrator for the Areawide Business Council, Inc., a regional revolving loan fund that serves 16 counties in southeast and south central South Dakota, including low income communities and populations of three Native American tribal entities. She also provides consultation services for the Small Business Development Center, helping with business startup, expansion and retention for diverse projects that include agriculture-related companies, industrial operations or educational institutions. Her responsibilities include administering a loan fund specifically for the Yankton Sioux Tribal members living in distressed communities. A graduate of the University of South Dakota with an accounting degree, Cowman has earned the designation of Economic Development Finance Professional from The National Development Council. She is also a graduate of the American Bankers Association National Consumer Credit School and was named Minority Small Business Champion of the Year in 2005 by the South Dakota Small Business Administration.
    Lori Finnesand
Lori Finnesand is the Chief Executive Officer of GROW South Dakota, previously known as the Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation (NESDEC). GROW South Dakota is a private nonprofit corporation established to provide services to low-income individuals and promote and foster economic development in distressed communities and underserved markets in South Dakota. She has been employed at GROW South Dakota for over 25 years, starting as fiscal officer.  In her current position, she oversees all aspects of the organization including the loan fund and financial accountability.  Ms. Finnesand and GROW SD were instrumental in the construction and renovation of two schools on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, one of the most distressed areas in the nation.  Not only do these schools increase educational resources for students, they also retain or create 356 jobs. Lori’s active involvement in the 22 counties she serves helps here guide DA’s selection of worthy projects. She is a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a double major in Business Administration and Business Education.
    Kernit Grimshaw
Kernit Grimshaw is the Senior Ag Industry Specialist of the Wells Fargo Bank in Mission, SD on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, a low income community with 80% unemployment in the second poorest county in the US. With a graduation rate of 30%, the LIC deals with violence, teenage pregnancy, suicide, alcohol and drug issues, stereotypes and racial issues. Born and raised on the Rosebud Reservation and a graduate of Todd County High School, Grimshaw has worked in banking there for 47 years. He has worked on many projects, including low income housing, economic development and youth activities. He has been active in the South Dakota Arts Council, the initial Northern Plains Tribal Arts Board and South Dakota Indian Business Alliance. Grimshaw has served the boards of Habitat for Humanity, Rosebud Economic Development, St. Francis Indian School Foundation, the Mission Chamber of Commerce, the Volunteer Fire Department and the Indian Land Capital Company.
    Edward Hall
Ed Hall has served as Tribal liaison for the Three Affiliated Tribes at the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, and is currently working to reduce poverty, enhance educational achievement and improve healthcare for the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Native American people on the reservation. Working with the MHA Nation Tomorrow initiative, Hall has enlisted the support of the Bush Foundation and the Northwest Area Foundation to take action on native issues and help revise tribal governance. He has been active in the planning, design and construction of projects such as the Four Bears Bridge across Lake Sakakawea near New Town, North Dakota and office complexes and other projects that are prioritized by the tribe. He coordinates cultural input of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes and has provided engineering assistance to the Fort Berthold Development Corporation, a tribally owned construction firm. Hall served on the board of Northwest Ventures, Inc. and the Wilson Health Care Collaborative board. Hall also had a distinguished career with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
    Tony Hill
Tony Hill is an active advisor to the Advantage Dental Community of Companies, a dental services organization that provides oral healthcare to over 300,000 Medicaid patients in Oregon. Advantage Dental positions dental clinics in low income communities to provide oral healthcare to individuals who are covered under the Oregon Health Plan, the state-run Medicaid program. The Advantage Dental administrative offices are in Redmond, OR, a low-income community, and the clinics are located in rural communities across Oregon, most of which are also low income communities. Hill is a graduate of the University of Oregon and has worked with Brenner & Company since 1982. During his tenure with Advantage Dental, he has served as de facto Chief Financial Officer and a member of the management team, working with 325 dentist-owners to bring enhanced dental services to an increasing number of patients in low income communities.
    Bonnie Malo
A graduate of North Dakota’s Mayville State College, Bonnie Malo has worked to make communities stronger by providing economic opportunities for communities and individuals in her home state for over 28 years. Currently, director of the Division of Community Services for the North Dakota Department of Commerce, Malo manages a staff of nine and a budget of $54 million. Her office provides the people of North Dakota with effective, efficient, and customer-oriented administration of federal and state programs for community development, energy efficiency and renewable energy, housing and self-sufficiency.

She has worked in the ND Department of Commerce since 1989, first with the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, then as manager of North Dakota’s CDBG and HOME programs, with an annual federal allocation of $6.7 million per year. Her work with the CDBG program funded public facilities, housing rehabilitation, and economic development projects in eligible communities, while the HOME program provided affordable housing activities throughout the state. Both programs illustrated Malo’s dedication to and experience in assisting low-income individuals and families. In September 2014, Bonnie was named Director of the Division of Community Services. The division administers several federal programs that consist of the Community Services Block Grant, CDBG, HOME, Emergency Solution Grants Program, Weatherization, Low Income Heating Assistance Program, State Energy Program, and Renaissance Zone Program. Malo is a member of the Council of State Community Development Agencies and Economic Development of North Dakota, Malo has completed the National Development Council Economic Development finance and business credit analysis training programs and the Minnesota Bankers Association commercial lending school.

    John Mengenhausen
Following a tour with an army airborne company, John Mengenhausen completed an accounting degree and returned to his hometown of Howard, South Dakota to open a small accounting and tax preparation firm. In 1983, Mengenhausen assumed the role of CEO of a small community health center, Miner-Hamlin Health Care Project, which included clinics in Howard and Bryant with a total staff of 14 and a $700,000 annual budget. Through a number of mergers and expansions over the course of three decades, Mengenhausen grew the organization into what is today Horizon Health Care, Inc., the largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in South Dakota with 23 medical clinics and 6 dental clinics covering approximately 28,000 square miles of service area. Mengenhausen is respected at the state, regional and national levels for his expertise in the field of community health center leadership, having served as board chair for state and regional associations which include both Dakotas, Colorado, Utah, Montana and Wyoming. He also served as the board chair for the National Association of Community Health Centers representing all 1,200 U.S. community health centers. Mengenhausen is currently vice board chair for Community Health Advocates, Inc. a for-profit corporation formed to promote the accessibility of adequate health care to individuals residing in medically underserved U.S. communities. He is also vice board chair for Community Health Ventures, a for-profit corporation, providing group purchasing opportunities for FQHCs. In his hometown, he is vice president of the local economic development organization, Howard Industries, and is retired as chief of the Howard Volunteer Fire department after 32 years as a fireman.
    Les Mehlhaff
Les Mehlhaff began his career as an educator before going to work for Senator Jim Abdnor. Following Abdnor’s Senate term, Mehlhaff relocated to Washington, DC as chief of staff during Abdnor’s tenure as head of the Small Business Administration. After a decade in politics and a stint as state president of the South Dakota Jaycees, Mehlhaff and his family returned to the farm his grandfather homesteaded in a low-income community near Tripp, South Dakota. From his home base in Tripp, Mehlhaff has been a leader in the energy cooperative sector and in rural economic development throughout the Dakotas for several years.
    Dan Noteboom
Dan Noteboom, owner of Noteboom Implement, LLC, has been a highly respected community leader within a rural low income community for decades. He has served in leadership roles within organizations such as the South Dakota Value-Added Producers organization, which developed new types of agribusiness opportunities for regional farmers. Noteboom has served as a member of the nonprofit Corsica Development Corporation board and its agriculture sub-committee, working in community development for almost 30 years. As a member of the Northern Great Plains Board, he participated in a Federal study of the Northern Great Plains, examining the viability of low income communities in the areas of health care, housing and economic growth. He has played a leadership role in many public initiatives in the greater Corsica area as well as the Chamberlain and Lower Brule Reservation areas. Mr. Noteboom currently represents the agricultural industry on the South Dakota Council of Economic Advisors where he serves as an advisor to the Governor.
    Kenton Onstad
Kenton Onstad is the former Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party(NPL) Minority Leader in the North Dakota House of Representatives, from 2000-2016 representing the 4th District, which includes three LIC census tracts. Onstad has been alderman for Parshall City Council and an officer for Banner Township. Employed by Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative, provider of energy services to the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, Onstad facilitates business development for the cooperative and works with right-of-way issues. Former director for Mountrail County Job Authority, Onstad's professional experience includes the presidency of Parshall 2000 Incorporated, which owns affordable apartments; teaching in the Parshall School District from 1975-1983; being an owner/manager in farming since 1983, and working with Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative since 1998. He earned a mathematics degree from Dickinson State University in 1975.
    Cheri Rath
Cheri Rath, Executive Director of the SD Value Added Agriculture Development Center, manages the nonprofit entity and delivers technical assistance to create and expand agribusinesses throughout South Dakota. Customized assistance specifically addresses distinct needs of rural, low income/distressed communities and underserved populations to improve their economic conditions. Rath cohesively integrates professional business services and diverse local, state, regional and national programs with projects to build successful rural enterprise opportunities. Her agriculture knowledge stems from her family’s grain farm and agricultural equipment business where she remains active; and a career path that includes the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Governor’s Office of Economic Development. She received a degree in agriculture from South Dakota State University, is a Certified National Development Council Economic Development Finance Professional and alumnus of South Dakota Agricultural & Rural Leadership and Leadership South Dakota. Rath sits on a variety of state, regional and national agricultural and economic development boards including Agriculture Technology Center for Rural Enterprise, Common Enterprise Development Corporation, CooperationWorks!, Great Plains International Trade Association and SD District Export Council. 
    Gerald Sherman
Gerald Sherman, an Oglala Lakota, grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. A former banker with a national reputation for leadership within Indian Country, Sherman is the founding board chairman and first executive director of the Lakota Fund, a community development loan fund on the Pine Ridge Reservation and one of the first micro-enterprise loan funds in the US. He continued his contribution to Indian economic and business development as Program Officer for Four Times Foundation, an organization providing equity financing for Indian entrepreneurs. A graduate of Oglala Lakota College, he is certified by the NDC as an Economic Development Finance Professional and maintains his national involvement in Indian Country as a member of the International Advisory Council of the Native Nations Institute (NNI) of the Udall Center at the University of Arizona, Tucson. NNI is affiliated with the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, and does research and provides services to Indian Nations with a focus on nation building. A board member of Indian Dispute Resolution Services of Sacramento, California and former board member of American Indian Business Leaders in Missoula, Sherman has served as board chairman of the Montana Micro Business Development Agency and was chairman of the Montana Bankers Assn Fair Lending Committee. He has received SBA’s Minority Small Business Development Advocate of the Year award for South Dakota and Montana, and twice for SBA’s Region 8. Sherman's banking career included positions with Norwest Bank, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and First Interstate BancSystem of Montana. Mr. Sherman was the founding President of Indian Land Capital Company (ILCC), a national CDFI that makes loans to Tribes to purchase lands. He served as President of ILCC for seven years. He now resides in Bearcreek, Montana with his wife Jael Kampfe, and together they provide consulting services to nonprofit organizations and businesses.

Loren White, Jr.
Loren White, Jr. 
is a citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes/Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation. Loren currently serves on the Leadership Team of Fort Berthold Legacy Vision, and advocacy group for the people of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. He has 15 years of business and community development experience working directly with Tribes and Native Peoples. Loren served as the Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Manger for Native American Development Corporation (NADC), a regional non-profit serving over 20 Tribal Nations and Native Americans located in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota & South Dakota. Prior to joining NADC, Loren worked as a Chief Financial Officer for a Wholly-Owned Tribal Enterprise doing government contracting both locally and nationally. He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Finance and Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. He has received CDFI professional development through the CDFI Fund’s capacity building initiatives: The Leadership Journey 2 and Building Native CDFIs’ Sustainability and Impact. He has also received continuing education in New Markets Tax Credits, Strategic Business Planning and Trust Accounting.