Business Briefs for July 27

Kellen rejoins First Independent Bank

First Independent Bank announced that Gary Kellen has rejoined the bank as senior vice president specializing in Agriculture and Commercial Lending.

In welcoming Kellen, CEO Bruce Pogatchnik said “Gary started his banking career at FIB in 1985. Gary worked for First Independent (then Farmers State Bank) for 20 years rising to executive vice president. Gary has a wealth of banking experience, and we are happy to have him back to finish his career where it all began.”

Kellen will be working both remotely and out of the Russell office.

Allen joins TrueJourney

Jeff Allen has joined TrueJourney, an investment planning and management group in the Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network. Nelson holds the title of senior financial adviser and is based out of the company’s Marshall office.

With over 20 years of experience as a financial adviser, Allen brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role. He is committed to providing personalized financial advice and delivering outstanding customer service to his valued group of clients.

“In my new role at TrueJourney, it is my continued goal to go above and beyond in building meaningful relationships with my clients, empowering them, and ultimately helping them achieve their financial goals,” said Allen.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jeff to our team,” said John Bull, managing director of TrueJourney. “His passion for helping people achieve their financial goals and his exceptional level of dedication make him a valuable asset to our company. We look forward to the impact Allen can have on our clients and the growth of our company.”

Avera Health announces board appointments

Avera Health announces appointments to its board of directors for its new fiscal year which began July .

Luis Rojas, MD, remains board chair. His two-year term runs through June 30, 2024, and he has served on the board since 2018.

Rojas, of Sioux Falls, S.D., is clinical vice president of the Avera Oncology Service Line and is a gynecologic oncologist with Avera Medical Group. He served on the Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center Board of Trustees and is a graduate of the Avera Physician Academy. Rojas has been with Avera since 2007 and has helped bring leading-edge procedures including robotic surgery to Avera, as well as cancer research trials. Rojas holds a medical degree from Universidad Nacional Pedro Henrriquez Ureña, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and completed residency at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia and fellowship in gynecologic oncology at Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

“As a cancer specialist and surgeon, I’m able to impact the lives of patients individually, yet this leadership role on the Avera board is an opportunity to impact the lives of persons and communities on a greater scale. I am honored to serve, and I enjoy helping Avera continue its growth as we develop innovative ways to meet the challenges of today’s changing health care environment,” Rojas said.

Lori Essig has been named vice chair. Essig recently retired from her role of 18 years as vice president of Marketing and Communications of Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell. She has served on boards including the Mitchell Area Development Corporation and Chamber of Commerce, Avera Queen of Peace Hospital and Abbott House. She was appointed to the Avera board in 2019 and now makes her home in Sioux Falls.

The Avera Health Board welcomes new board member, Sr. Candyce Chrystal, of Yankton, S.D. Sr. Chrystal has taught for over 30 years at Mount Marty University in Yankton and previously taught at area elementary schools. A member of the Benedictine Sisters, she holds a bachelor’s degree in music and education from Mount Marty as well as master’s and doctorate degrees in educational psychology from Marquette University in Milwaukee.

“We thank Dr. Rojas for his continuing leadership as board chair and appreciate the perspective he brings as a physician. We also thank Lori Essig for the leadership and guidance she brings to the vice chair role,” said Bob Sutton, president and CEO of Avera Health. “We welcome Sr. Candyce Chrystal to our board, and thank outgoing board member, Sr. Penny Bingham. Avera truly benefits from experienced leaders such as these, and we appreciate their willingness to share their time and talents to benefit Avera staff, patients and their families.”


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