Skip to main content

Business Implications of COVID-19 Conference Hero

The Beacom School of Business at the University of South Dakota is hosting a conference on the Business Implications of COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunities for South Dakota. The conference brings together prominent leaders to discuss the changes to their industry during the pandemic. Each presenter will highlight the challenges and provide an outlook for the future. The conference is intended for professionals in the state and the region looking to gain a better understanding of the changes to the South Dakota economy from COVID-19. Please join us on Oct. 14.

Date and Time

Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CST


Hilton Garden Inn Downtown201 E. 8th Street, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Face coverings are required for on-site attendees for the entire duration of the event. Social distancing protocols will be followed at the conference venue.


$49 to attend in person (face coverings required for the entire duration of the event)

Virtual participation available and free for students

On-site and virtual registration is closed.

Conference Speakers 

John Thune

Invited Keynote Speaker:
United States Senator John Thune

John Thune grew up in Murdo, South Dakota. His interest in politics was sparked at a young age after being introduced to South Dakota Rep. Jim Abdnor. The introduction was the start of a friendship that ignited Thune’s career in public service. 

Thune received his undergraduate degree at Biola University and his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of South Dakota. In 1984, he married Kimberley Weems, a native of Doland, South Dakota.

Thune’s attraction to public service took him to Washington, D.C., to work for then-U.S. Sen. Abdnor. He then served at the Small Business Administration under an appointment from President Ronald Reagan.

In 1989, Thune and his family returned to South Dakota, where he served as the executive director of the South Dakota Republican Party. In 1991, Gov. George S. Mickelson appointed him the state railroad director, a position he held until 1993, when he became executive director of the South Dakota Municipal League.

In 1996, Thune won his first term as South Dakota’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives and was reelected to a second term by the largest margin in South Dakota history. He returned to Washington in 2001 to serve his third term in the House. After a narrow loss in a U.S. Senate race in 2002, he won his current U.S. Senate seat in 2004. In 2010, Thune was elected to serve a second term in the U.S. Senate in a rare unopposed race, an in 2016, was elected to a third term.

For the 116th Congress, Thune serves on the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee; the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; and the Finance Committee. He is chair of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet and chair of the Finance Committee's Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight. He also serves as the Senate Republican Whip, and previously served as chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee from 2009–2011 and chair of the Senate Republican Conference from 2012-2018.

Thune and his wife, Kimberley, live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and they have two grown daughters and three grandchildren. In his free time, Thune enjoys pheasant hunting, running and spending time with his family.

Jack Hopkins

Banking and Finance Industry Speaker: 
Jack Hopkins, President and Chief Executive Officer, CorTrust Bank

Jack Hopkins is president and CEO of CorTrust Bank, N.A., a $1.35 billion South Dakota-based independent community bank. He is a 1980 graduate of Artesian High School in Artesian, South Dakota, and received his B.S. degree in accounting from the University of South Dakota in 1984.

Hopkins started his career with a community bank in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area as controller. In 1988, he started his career with CorTrust Bank as a loan officer and insurance agent. In February of 1993, he became the market president and started CorTrust Bank’s expansion into the Sioux Falls market. He was named president and CEO of CorTrust Bank in November 2004.

Hopkins’ current involvement includes being on the board of directors of the Independent Community Bankers of America, a member of ICBA’s Policy Development Committee and chair of the Housing Finance Committee. In addition, he has served as a director of ICBA Bancard, Inc., past chair of the ICBA Tax Committee and ICBA PAC committee and has served as a member of the ICBA Agricultural Committee, Lending Committee and Products and Services Committee. He is a past president of the Independent Community Bankers of South Dakota, was appointed to the first FDIC Community Bank Advisory Council and served as a member of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Community Bank advisory board and chaired the Mortgage Services Subcommittee.

Outside of banking, his civic activities have included being involved with the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, LifeScape, South Dakota Achieve, Forward Sioux Falls Executive Committee, Youth Enrichment Services and the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Committee; he is currently member of the Sioux Falls Catholic Schools Foundation executive committee.

Hopkins and his wife, Gina, have three children and are also owners of an insurance agency.

Sheila Anderson

Manufacturing Industry Speaker: 
Sheila Anderson, Chief Financial Officer, Daktronics

Sheila M. Anderson serves as Daktronics, Inc.’s (NASDAC:DAKT) chief financial officer (CFO) and treasurer. Daktronics, headquartered in Brookings, South Dakota, has been reinventing displays since 1968 and is the world's industry leader in designing and manufacturing electronic scoreboards, programmable display systems and large screen video displays.

Anderson joined Daktronics in 2002 as a project accountant. In 2006, she became the corporate controller for Daktronics, assuming responsibility for the company’s internal and external financial reporting, as well as supervision of the company’s accounting functions. She was named CFO and treasurer in September 2012. Her accounting experience prior to joining Daktronics includes accounting and auditing function responsibilities for DM&E Railroad and two Minneapolis-based public accounting firms.
Anderson graduated magna cum laude from Southwest Minnesota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting in 1995, became a certified public accountant in 1996 and earned a Master of Business Administration degree in 2014 from the University of South Dakota.

Anderson resides in Brookings with her husband, Steve, and has two grown daughters. She serves on the Brookings Health System Board of Trustees, the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry board, the SMSU Alumni Association board and serves as YDisciple leader at St. Thomas Moore.

Her hobbies include reading, fishing, hiking, biking and camping.

Julie Lautt

Healthcare Industry Speaker: 
Julie Lautt, Chief Financial Officer, Avera

Julie Lautt is chief financial officer for Avera Health, an integrated health system comprised of more than 300 locations across the Upper Midwest. She was named to that post in 2020, having previously served as vice president of operational finance. 

From 1999 to 2017, Lautt was controller of managed hospitals, vice president and corporate controller, and later, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center.

Lautt received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree with majors in accounting and mathematics from the University of South Dakota. She graduated with highest honors and was named the 1993 USD School of Business Outstanding Senior. In 2013 she was recognized as a USD Beacom School of Business Distinguished Alumnus, and in 2018, received the Beacom School of Business Accounting and Finance Division Award. In 2009, Lautt was recognized by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of 12 “Up and Comers” in health care management, and in 2015 she received the EmBe Tribute to Women Sylvia Henkin Mentoring Award.

Prior to joining Avera, Lautt served in several positions including audit manager at Coopers & Lybrand and PricewaterhouseCoopers. She is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in Arizona and South Dakota. She is also a Chartered Global Management Accountant and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Committed to community involvement, Lautt has served the Bishop O’Gorman Catholic Schools Board of Trustees, Sioux Empire United Way Board of Directors, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Sioux Falls Area CASA. She has served as board member and officer for the South Dakota Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and is a current member of the Principles and Practices Board for National HFMA. She also serves as a board member for the USD Foundation Finance Committee.

Doug Breven

Agriculture and Biofuels Industry Speaker: 
Doug Berven, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, POET 

Doug Berven joined POET in March 2003 and has served the organization in several roles since then. In his current role as vice president of corporate affairs, Berven promotes the corporate objectives of POET, the importance of agriculture and the benefits of biofuels domestically and internationally.

Berven currently sits on BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section Governing Board, South Dakota Agriculture Foundation Board, the U.S. Grains Council Ethanol Advisory Team and the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Board. He is an emeritus board member of the American Council on Renewable Energy, the executive director of the South Dakota Ethanol Producer’s Association and serves on several other industry associated work groups, committees and associations. He has also served on several of POET’s plant boards of directors. Berven also manages strategic corporate relations for POET, promotes state, national and international policy objectives for the industry and is a recognized authority on biofuels, renewable energy and agriculture.

Prior to joining POET, Berven held various roles in banking, real estate development and medical consulting. Berven received his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he currently resides with his wife and two children.