DCTC Foundation Expands Board

Give to the Max Day

True Blue Gala and Give to the Max Day highlight Foundation calendar

Tharan Leopold, executive director of foundation and alumni of the Dakota County Technical College Foundation, is looking forward to 2013 as a banner year for scholarship fundraising. The DCTC Foundation functions as an avenue for gifts and grants that benefit the college and its academic programs—and, most importantly, the student community. By providing critical resources, including emergency grants for students, the Foundation upholds the DCTC mission, which is Education for Employment.

Faculty and staff at Dakota County Technical College believe in student scholarships. That belief is reflected in their generous support of the DCTC Foundation. Leopold reports that donation levels for DCTC staff and faculty reached a new high, with more than 67 percent giving money to support student scholarships, up from 62 percent last year. Ten DCTC employees took advantage of the new, named scholarship option by each donating $1,000 to the Foundation.

Scholarship in a Haystack | A DCTC Foundation Event“Faculty and staff at our college realize money is tight in today’s economy,” Leopold said. “They know students often have a tough time trying to make ends meet while attending school. Student debt is also something they worry about. The fact that a difficult economy affects everyone on our campus makes their generosity all the more remarkable.”

Leopold went on to say that the Foundation receives nearly $2,000 from staff and faculty each pay period for a total that will top $50,000 by the end of the fiscal year. He noted that faculty frequently donate to support scholarships for students in their own academic programs while staff give to fund general scholarships and emergency grants. As the percentage of campus-wide givers gets larger, the Foundation can make a stronger case when requesting donations and support from external sources. One hundred percent is not an unreachable goal in Leopold’s view.

“We have a vibrant, caring group of people working at DCTC,” he said. “They believe in our college mission, Education for Employment, and they have both the professionalism and compassion to make sure our students reach their personal, academic and career goals.”

Coming attractions

Coming up fast is the annual Give to the Max Day on Nov. 15, 2012. Students pursuing higher education face mounting financial challenges. During a typical year, the Dakota County Technical College Foundation provides financial support to more than 400 DCTC students, helping them pay for tuition, books, transportation and unanticipated expenses. In fact, more than $200,000 in scholarships and grants is awarded annually by the Foundation.

Your contributions—whether as a friend of the college, current student, parent, alumnus or alumna, or business or company—give students the chance to become self-sufficient by allowing them to further their education and start a career. Every gift makes a world of difference.  Every gift makes an impact. Visit the DCTC homepage on Nov. 15, 2012, to make a donation.

Fundraising events shine as a major function of the Foundation. Last April, the first annual True Blue Gala was held at Brackett’s Crossing Country Club in Lakeville, Minn. Featuring a silent auction and an awards ceremony for Alumni of the Year, the event was hugely successful, raising more than $42,000 in student scholarship funds. Next April, True Blue Gala returns with even more fun and festivities. Tickets for the April 2013 event will go on sale soon.

Scholarship in a Haystack, which began back in 2008, is an exciting scholarship event where students search for objects—golden horseshoes, medallions, action figures—in a huge mound of fresh straw. If a student is lucky or persistent enough to find an object, he or she can exchange it for a $500 scholarship to DCTC. Scholarship in a Haystack has been held on the DCTC Rosemount campus and also at Canterbury Park. Judd Greenagel, corporate partnership manager at Canterbury, has been working with the DCTC Foundation to make a DCTC night at the races a regular occurrence. Scholarship in a Haystack 2012 represented the third time Canterbury has hosted the free event.

Meet the Foundation Board

Greg Miller | Chair
President & CEO | Dakota Electric Association

A native of Rochester, Minn., Greg Miller graduated from Rochester John Marshall High School and went on to earn an Associate of Arts from Rochester Community and Technical College and bachelor’s degrees in business and computer science from Minnesota State University, Mankato. After working 11years for the Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative in Jordan, Minn., he accepted the position of executive vice president at the Dakota Electric Association in  Farmington, Minn. He was promoted to CEO in 2001. He joined the DCTC Foundation Board in 1998 and has served as chair for many years. “Faculty and staff at DCTC will only remember me as the bald ‘Full Deal or No Deal Guy’ or the very tall and very purple Willie Wonka,” Miller said. “Future board members beware.” Miller also serves on the Minnesota Zoo Foundation Board of Trustees and is a member of the Rotary Club of Apple Valley. He has been married since 1983 to his wife, DeLonne. The couple has two children, daughter Chanel, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota Duluth, and son Connor, a senior at Apple Valley High School.

Larry Severson | Vice Chair
In-House Counsel | Twin Cities Power Holdings

A graduate of Hamline University School of Law and Iowa State University, Larry Severson has a full resume of accomplishments. He is a current member of the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Dakota County Bar Association. He is president of the Apple Valley Economic Development Authority and chairperson of the Apple Valley Growth Development Partnership. He was named a Minnesota Super Lawyer from 2006–2011 and was one of Mpls.St. Paul Magazine’s Top 100 Lawyers. Severson served as a former president of the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce, Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Apple Valley. He was also a former trustee of Fairview Ridges Hospital. He has practiced corporate, commercial, banking and real estate law during his legal career. He served previously as an attorney with Severson, Sheldon, Dougherty & Molenda, P.A.


Al Eiden
Business Development Manager, Safety | CHS Inc.

Al Eiden has served in the U.S. workforce for nearly 60 years with more than 46 of those years at CHS Inc. A graduate of Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minn. Eiden earned a B.A. from the College of St. Thomas and served in the U.S. Army Reserve Corps Medical Unit. He has done pro bono project consulting for the River Heights Chamber of Commerce and Independent School District 199 among others. He has served on the River Heights Chamber Board since 1981 and was on the ISD 199 Board of Education from 1978–1984. Eiden has belonged to the Inver Grove Heights Parks and Recreation Commission since 1992, serving as chair since 2009. He has been a director on the DCTC Foundation Board since 1994, serving as chair for a number of years.

Bob Erickson
Senior Development Associate | Welsh Companies

Bob Erickson has been a member of the DCTC Foundation board of directors for more than six years. Erickson also serves as a board member for Citizens Bank Lakeville and the Lakeville Area Arts Center. Erickson has remained active within the Lakeville community and surrounding areas. In 2004, he retired as the city administrator for Lakeville, Minn., after 14 years of service. He was elected to the Lakeville Area Board of Education in 2009 and currently serves as treasurer. He holds positions as the board liaison for the Lakeville District Finance Advisory Council and is a member of the board of directors and legislative committee for the Association of Metropolitan School Districts. Bob Erickson earned an associate of arts degree in urban planning and attended the Senior Executive Institute at the University of Virginia. He resides in Lakeville with his wife of 39 years, Shelley, and enjoys spending time with his two children and three grandchildren.

Amy L. Diede, M.D.
Family Medicine | Apple Valley Medical Center

Amy Diede, M.D., practices family medicine at the Apple Valley Medical Center in Apple Valley, Minn. Diede earned a Bachelor of Science and her M.D. at the University of North Dakota. She did her residency at Methodist Hospital and the University of Minnesota. Her professional focus is on family medicine, women’s health, pediatrics and preventive health. She chose her field of medicine because she enjoys the rewards of taking care of an entire family. Diede belongs to the American Academy of Family Physicians, Twin Cities Medical Society, Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians and the Minnesota Medical Association. She is certified with the American Board of Family Medicine, Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support. She is actively involved with Crystal Lake Elementary Junior Great Books.

Norm Oberto
Owner and President | Imperial Plastics, Inc.

Norman Oberto purchased Imperial Plastics, a manufacturer of engineered plastic components, in Lakeville’s Airlake Industrial Park in January 1997. Since then, Imperial Plastics has tripled its workforce by expanding to five locations, four in Lakeville and one in West St. Paul. The company also has two offices in China operating under the name Integrated Products, Inc. A member of the Lakeville Area Chamber of Commerce, Oberto was recognized as the 2011 Lakeville Chamber Business Person of the Year. He grew up in Decatur, Ill., where he attended Millikin University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering.

Dale Olson
Vice President of Finance | Smead Manufacturing

A native of Hastings, Minn., Dale Olson graduated from the DCTC Accounting program in 1977 before earning his MBA at the University of Minnesota.  A certified public accountant, Olson soon advanced to the position of vice president of finance at Smead, a multi-million dollar manufacturer of quality office products. He is responsible for accounting and finance at Smead as well as planning related to insurance, retirement and acquisitions.

Clint Schult
Head of Distributor Development | Maximum Potential

With nearly 17 years of experience with Maximum Potential, Clint Schult has received the opportunity to excel in a wide range of roles. In his present position as head of distributor development, he works closely with current and potential distributors as well as with the company’s personal client base. Being an integral member of a successful family business has proved very rewarding. Schult attended the University of Minnesota Duluth, earning a B.A. in business communication. Time away from the office is spent with his wife, Tammy, and the couple’s two children, Weston and Violet. Schult also enjoys running, basketball and cycling.

Kerry Sutherland
General Manager | Life Time Fitness

Kerry Sutherland, a marketing major alumnus of the University of Northern Iowa, has held the position of general manager at the Life Time Fitness Crosstown location in Eden Prairie, Minn. since 1997. In 2010, he also took on the role of skills & development trainer and Crosstown program manager. Sutherland served as assistant head coach of boy’s basketball at Saint Bernard’s High School in St. Paul, Minn., from 2003 till 2009, helping take his team to three conference championships and three state tournaments.

Tony Werner
Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer | Comcast

As the CTO of one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, Tony Werner is responsible for developing and guiding Comcast’s technology strategy and product development. His duties include managing network architecture, next-generation consumer premise technologies, infrastructure and technical standards. Werner previously served as senior vice president and CTO for Liberty Global, Inc., in Englewood, Colo. He received the NCTA Vanguard Award for Science and Technology in 2000 and was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 2010. A graduate of Dakota County Technical College, Werner resides in Philadelphia, Pa., with his wife, Laurel, and their two German shepherds, Tazer and Xana. You can learn more about Tony Werner by reading the Real Magazine article, “In the Pursuit of Knowledge.”

Tim Wise
Vice President of Product Support | Ziegler, Inc.

Timothy Wise graduated from Lake Superior State University with a B.S. in accounting in 1984 and was employed in the airline industry from 1984–2001. In December 2001, Wise joined Ziegler as the controller of the company’s Engine Division and has held several positions in Ziegler’s administration until he was promoted to vice president of product support in 2010. Tim Wise is married with two sons and one daughter and resides in Eagan, Minn.

Ann Byre
Allina Health Pharmacy Director | Allina Health

A resident of Dakota County, Ann Byre joined the board with a strong desire to help students prepare for the future. Byre has extensive pharmacy operations experience, including expertise regarding health-system based pharmacies, large-chain retail pharmacies and health system strategies. As the director for Allina Health Pharmacy, she oversees retail/outpatient pharmacy locations at Allina Health hospital and clinic locations across the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area. She earned her PharmD and Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences at South Dakota State University. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, ages four and one. Her interests include traveling, reading, volunteering, scrapbooking and visiting the family cabin. She looks forward to helping grow the Pharmacy Tech program at DCTC based on recent Minnesota Board of Pharmacy changes in training requirements.


Ex Officio

Ronald E. Thomas, Ph.D.
DCTC President

Born in West Frankfort, Ill., Ron Thomas graduated from Roxana High School in nearby Roxana before earning his Bachelor of Science in social science and physical education at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. He went on to earn a Master of Science in guidance from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and later his Ph.D. in education from SIU Carbondale. At Rochester Community and Technical College, in Rochester, Minn., Thomas first worked as a dean and then interim president. From there, he served as president of Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan., before becoming president of Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minn., a position he has held since 1999. Thomas resides with his wife, Ann, in Lakeville, Minn. The couple’s daughter, Taylor, 21, is a junior at Northwestern University, majoring in journalism and economics.

Tharan Leopold
DCTC Executive Director of Foundation & Alumni

Before starting at Dakota County Technical College in a newly created position in the fall of 2011, Tharan Leopold served as the assistant director of advancement at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minn. Prior to Shattuck’s, Leopold spent more than a decade as an account executive for KEYC-TV and KAAL, where he managed a $500,000+ account list, increasing the list by 6 percent or more in revenue each year for a decade. He also mentored new staff and grew new client lists. Leopold has a bachelor’s degree from Southwest Minnesota State University and a master’s degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato. He resides in Faribault, Minn., with his wife and three boys.

Todd Jagerson | Board Staff Representative
DCTC Chief Information Officer

Todd Jagerson was named the DCTC 2012 Alumni of the Year. After a 15-year career in business and marketing, Jagerson decided it was time for something new. At age 35, he returned to college to pursue a degree in information technology. Todd studied Computer Networking at DCTC, graduating in 2000. His work ethic and leadership skills did not go unnoticed. The college offered Jagerson a student worker position in the IT department. Within three years, he was managing the entire operation. As chief information officer for the college, Jagerson serves all technology-related needs for students, faculty and staff, which includes roughly 1,500 computers on three campus locations. Through strategic investment in infrastructure, he has efficiently managed to save the college thousands of dollars while providing the best technology and services available. Jagerson completed a Master of Arts in Management at Saint Mary’s University. He is also a microcomputer maintenance instructor at the college.

Sara Woodward | Board Faculty Representative
DCTC Exercise & Sport Science Instructor

Sara Woodward is an exercise and sport science instructor. She began teaching at DCTC when her program first started in 2002. Woodward has a master’s degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise physiology from the University of Minnesota. She is currently working on her doctorate in kinesiology with an emphasis in sport psychology. She holds CSCS and NSCA-CPT certifications through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She is also a certified Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant through the American Council on Exercise. Regarding her teaching philosophy, Woodward believes that it is a teacher’s role to facilitate the learning and success of our students. She supports and encourages students to reach their full potential. Her interests include resistance training and martial arts.

About the DCTC Foundation

Established in 1983 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the DCTC Foundation is governed by a board of directors with up to 18 members. Since its inception, the Foundation has generated more than $3.2 million in financial assistance for students while building a general endowment fund and establishing private endowment funds.

For more information about the DCTC Foundation, please contact:
  • Tharan Leopold
    Executive Director of Foundation and Alumni
  • Barbara Seleski
    Admin Assist to Director Institutional Advancement