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Class notes

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KEY: AD-Associate Degree, BA-Bachelor of Arts, BArch-Bachelor of Architecture,  BS-Bachelor of Science, BUS-Bachelor of University Studies,  FS-Former Student,  March-Master of Architecture, 
-Master of Business Administration,  MEd-Master of Education,  MS-Master of Science, PhD-Doctor of Philosophy


Larry Ellingson, BS '69, pharmacy, received the American Diabetes Association's prestigious Wendell Mayes Jr. Medal for Lifetime Service. The honor, which recognizes outstanding lifetime achievement in the cause of diabetes, was presented at the organization's Community Volunteer Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tenn. Ellingson is a former association board chair, and served on numerous national and international task forces and committees. He lives in Fountain Hills, Ariz.

Al Gustin, BS '69, agricultural economics, was inducted into the North Dakota Agricultural Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the N.D. Winter Show in Valley City, N.D. He retired in 2012 after a 45-year career in farm broadcasting.


Gregg Halverson, BS '71, animal science, received the 2013 Potato Man for All Seasons Award. The Packer and The presented the honor in conjunction with the National Potato Council. He is president and CEO of Black Gold Farms, with headquarters in Grand Forks, N.D.

Karen-Renee Moore, BA '73, zoology, has been an online faculty member for Indiana Wesleyan University since 2001. She also pastors a local church and is an on-call chaplain at Maine Medical Center, Maine's only level-1 trauma center. She and her husband live in western Maine near Sebago Lake.

Danny R. Hoffmann, BS '74, animal science, was named the 2013 North Star Classic Livestock Honoree. A life-long farmer and livestock producer from Wheatland, N.D., he was honored for his commitment to the livestock industry in the state and for being a supporter of the North Star Classic since its beginning.

Diane (Schommer) Padden, AD '78, nursing, joined the American Association of Nurse Practitioners as vice president for research, education and professional practice. The group is the largest full-service national professional membership organization for nurse practitioners of all specialties. She previously was an associate professor of Health Sciences at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Md. She lives in Clarksville, Md.


Douglas D. Hanson, BS '80, architectural studies, is president of HansonLA. He recently was named architect for a planned 34-story apartment skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles, which will be twice as tall as most other buildings in the historic downtown area. Hanson and the project were featured in the Los Angeles Times business section on Feb. 27.

Scott M. Williamson, BUS '81, university studies, completed 30 years of service as a certified registered nurse anesthetist with the Kaiser Permanente medical group in Vallejo, Calif. He and his wife, Dai-Hsia, live in American Canyon, Calif.

Dan Noble, BArch '82, architecture, was named president, CEO and chair of HKS Inc., a Dallas-based architecture firm.

Timothy Backman, BS '84, agronomy, received the 2014 Premier Seedsman Award from the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association. He has served on the association board for six years and is a past president. He owns and operates Backman Seeds Inc., as well as farms in Herman, Minn.

Brian Goodroad, AD '84, nursing, completed his term as president of Minnesota Nurse Practitioners, a state nurse practitioner organization. He is an associate professor and director of graduate programs for the School of Nursing at Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minn. He also is a nurse practitioner at the HIV Clinic at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Tory Hart, BS '88, agricultural economics, was elected to Bank Forward's board of directors. He is the bank's senior vice president of lending and is market president at Bank Forward in Carrington, N.D.

Kevin Gyolai, BS '89, athletic training, BS '90, biological sciences, PhD '08, cellular and molecular biology, was named president of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, Minn. He previously was Inver Hills Community College dean of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He and his wife, Kristine, have four children and live in Eagan, Minn.


David Karels, BS '90, construction management, is president of G6 Construction Services, a new firm offering construction management, development, consulting and general contracting services in the Fargo area.

Jason Schmidt, BS '93, animal science, was elected regional vice president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association policy division, representing the organization's region 7. He represents beef producers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. He runs a fourth-generation commercial cow-calf operation near Medina, N.D.

Mark Jensen, BS '94, business administration and economics, MBA '95, business administration, was promoted to vice president/credit risk officer at Western State Bank of West Fargo.

Donna J. Bye, BLA '98, landscape architecture, received the Western Planning Association 2013 Western Planner of the Year award at the annual conference held in Lake Tahoe, Nev. The organization includes 13 states. She has been the planner for the city of Minot, N.D., since 2001.

Trisha (Mattern) Helgeson, MBA '98, business administration, joined Starion Financial as the marketing and communications manager at the bank's Mandan, N.D., location.

Andrew John Bjur, BArch '99, architecture, was among first list of "5 Under 40"published in the West Central Tribune. The inaugural group was recognized for their leadership, professional contributions and community involvement in the Willmar, Minn., area.

Rena Stenseth, BS '99, business administration, joined Choice Financial in Fargo as director of human resources.


Christopher Hanson, BArch '01, architecture, completed his Architecture Registration Exam in December. He is a licensed architect at Vanman Architects and Builders as a senior project architect. He lives in Golden Valley, Minn.

Justin Lattimore, BS '03, accounting, was appointed chief financial officer at Iron County Hospital in Pilot Knob, Mo. He specializes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement methods and specializes in rural health care models. He lives in Pilot Knob, Mo.

Scott Alvin Nordhougen,BS '04, business administration, was promoted to insurance operations manager for the Student Insurance Division of Wells Fargo Insurance.He is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations, which includes loss reporting, accounting, eligibility, waiver audit and Customer Care Team for clients around the nation. He lives in Sacramento, Calif.

Justin Flack, BS '06, construction engineering, was named Richland County engineer in Wahpeton, N.D. He previously worked in Fargo for a concrete and aggregate producer.

Elizabeth Pearce, MS '07, psychology, was named program coordinator and supervisor for comprehensive assessment services and trainee supervisor at the Portia Bell Hume Behavioral Health and Training Center in Fremont, Calif.

Tristan Pollock

NDSU grad Tristan Pollack (left) co-founded with Erik Eliason.

Innovator and entrepreneur

Tristan Pollock is a co-founder of, a website that links artisans, fashion designers and other businesses with available store space for short-term rental. The new company is gaining wide attention, including a recent feature in the Wall Street Journal.

Pollock, who graduated from NDSU in 2008 with a degree in business administration, was working in an e-commerce job when he teamed up with business partner Erik Eliason to start a website for social entrepreneurs and journalists. evolved from that earlier collaboration.

"We saw big box stores and malls struggling. E-commerce companies were coming offline - they basically built their brand online and became very successful, but they were starting physical stores for short periods of time. We wanted to create something that would allow anyone to do that,"Pollock said.

The company launched its services in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. "Anyone who has unique products to sell can use Storefront to rent a store for a day, week or month. We see everything from one day to six months,"Pollock said. "We've set up thousands of stores now and the site has been live for just over a year. We're really excited about that."

Pollock says his collegiate experience prepared him for the workplace. "I take great pride in going to NDSU. I met some really great people, I had amazing professors who really encouraged me and I did a lot of internships in Fargo that gave me hands-on experience that helped guide me in my career,"he said.

The goal is to build into an international marketplace for temporary rental needs. "Whether it's Fargo, New York or Paris, we want to make it quick and simple for entrepreneurs to have important face-to-face conversations with customers,"said Pollock, who grew up in the Twin Cities area, and now lives in San Francisco.


Shawn Crowley, MArch '10, architecture, received the 2013 Early Career Architect Award from the North Dakota chapter of American Institute of Architects. Crowley is an architect with EAPC Architects.

Herman R. Durazno, MS '11, construction management, was promoted to project manager for the Laurin Group. He previously was a construction project coordinator. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

David Leedahl, PharmD '11, pharmacy, completed two years of pharmacy residency at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. His research project, titled "Predictors of mortality among bacteremic patients with septic shock receiving appropriate antimicrobial therapy,"was accepted for publication in the biomedical journal BMC Anesthesiology. He is the pharmacy clinical manager at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo.

Erin Markestad, BS '11, public relations, was appointed international marketing specialist in the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. She plans and coordinates international trade marketing events with international, federal, state and local agencies; provides market development assistance to North Dakota companies; and conducts market research and coordinates development of markets for agriculture products.

John H. "Jack"Hoeven, BS '12, geology, joined Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services Inc., known as AE2S, in the firm's Bismarck, N.D., office. He is a construction services technician in the Rural Water Group.

Jake Joraanstad, BS '12, computer engineering, was named to Prairie Business Magazine's "40 Under 40"list, which honors outstanding business professionals in the region. He was recognized in the "Rising to the Top"story in the December issue of the publication. He is the CEO of Myriad Devices of Fargo. He began his career while he was an NDSU student and has since grown his mobile technology company to nearly 25 employees in three years. At 24, he is the youngest person on the list.

William F. Lyons Jr., MS '13, transportation and urban systems, was promoted to colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. He also assumed command of the 2500th Military Intelligence Group in Jacksonville, Fla. He is a 24-year veteran and has deployed to Kuwait, Bosnia and Iraq.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.