The Leadership Our State Needs Right Now
I am originally from Minnesota and have lived in Sioux Falls most recently for the last 7 years (not including 10 years once before that.)
After graduating in Minnesota, I attended South Dakota State University for two years as a Biology Major on the Pre-Medicine track. My first year there I took an EMT class and became instantly hooked. Immediately that summer, I took the EMT-Intermediate class, gaining even more experience in Emergency Medicine. During my second year at SDSU, because of the next level EMT Training, I was hired to help teach the EMT-Basic class on Campus. My areas of specialty were Airway management and Pediatric emergencies.
After starting down this path, I left SDSU after my second year to become a Paramedic at what was then Avera School of Emergency Medical Services. I worked as a paramedic for a while in Mitchell. I moved back to Sioux Falls to take a job at what was then Alpha Plasma Center where I was a Team Lead.
During that time, I also started working “on-call” with other organizations – The South Dakota Lions Eye Bank and American Red Cross Tissue Services. For both of these organizations, I worked as a Surgical Tissue Recovery Tech, surgically removing bone and connective tissue for human transplant.
The next adventure took me to Minnesota again, working for the American Red Cross Blood Services. I would travel all over Southern Minnesota to work at community blood drives. While doing this, I started working in my off-hours as a Paramedical Examiner, performing insurance exams in people’s homes, also all over Southern Minnesota.
Some of these companies had other divisions which included doing basically the same things for clinical trials. Sometimes specialized training was required, and I always seemed to be the adventurous one that was picked for those special projects. One of those led to working full-time with a medical study at the Minneapolis VA – the first year as an independent contractor, and then being hired directly by the VA to do 1-year follow-ups on the patients in that study. It was during this study that I moved back to Sioux Falls.
After all that, I was looking forward to having regular hours and a local job with no travel. I ended up working in the Lab Department at the Avera McKennan campus doing outpatient blood draws, as well as receiving and processing samples in the lab. Shortly after starting there, I was recruited to become one of the Team Leads for the Lab Department.
After leaving Avera, I had a contract for a clinical trial that started almost immediately, and decided to take some time to find my ‘calling’ rather than just another job. It was about that time I started driving for lyft. I did this for 2 reasons – 1) It would allow me to meet people and have many conversations and opportunities to learn something every day, and 2) I would be out in the community, keeping my eyes open for opportunities that called out to me. A strange thing happened during that, and lyft became a profitable and enjoyable hobby.
It was during this time that running for office really started to look like a realistic possibility. And here we are!