Our Board


Steven Dahlmeier serves as the chair of Friends of the Big Sioux River. Dahlmeier grew up on a farm in Moody County and graduated from Dakota State University. He is currently the event manager for Downtown Sioux Falls Inc.


Mary Ellen Connelly serves as secretary for Friends of the Big Sioux River. She graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in microbiology. Connelly is a lifelong South Dakota resident and an avid gardener. In 2001, she published a reference book titled How Our Garden Grows.


Michelle Hentschel is the treasurer for Friends of the Big Sioux River. Michelle received her accounting degree from USD, then went on to earn an MBA from Gonzaga University. She currently is a CPA, serving as the Chief Financial Officer at EmBe and riding her bicycle into downtown Sioux Falls from Brandon most days. Michelle’s love of the environment was fostered by her father, who taught her to fish and take care of the water at a very early age.


Ted Thoms serves at development coordinator for Friends of the Big Sioux River. Thoms is a graduate of USD with a Masters in Political Science. He has served on U.S. Congressman Frank Denholm's staff and has been active in politics. His professional career was involved in real estate where Ted served as President of the Sioux Empire Realtors Association. As a lifelong resident of Sioux Falls, Ted has served his community as an active member of numerous boards and organizations. 


Dana Loseke is a member-at-large for Friends of the Big Sioux River and a board member of East Dakota Water Development District. A graduate of the University of Nebraska Omaha, he is a retired general manager from Dean Foods and has lived in Sioux Falls for 26 years. 


Scott Lockwood serves as a member at large for Friends of the Big Sioux River. He is a long term South Dakota resident originally from Vermillion. He attended the University of South Dakota where he received an undergraduate degree in health services administration followed by a medical degree. He then completed residency at the Mayo Clinic in anesthesiology and pain management. Dr. Lockwood has practiced medicine in Sioux Falls for 27 years.


Peter Carrels is an award-winning environmental activist, educator and author. He has successfully petitioned the federal government to designate the pallid sturgeon as an endangered species, won a George Polk Award for Environmental Reporting as part of a team representing the publication High Country News, and produced a national river education project for the river conservation group American Rivers. After a lifetime of environmental advocacy, Carrels now directs communications for the University of South Dakota’s Division of Health Affairs.


Ryan Donovan serves as a member at large for Friends of the Big Sioux River. As an outdoorsman and lifelong resident of South Dakota, Ryan  has a passion for the community and our precious natural resources.  He attended the University of South Dakota, has an Associate’s degree from Southeast Technical Institute, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Sioux Falls.  Ryan is currently the Director of Avera PACE.  He also serves on the following community boards; The Banquet, Museum of Visual Materials, United Way Community Impact Team, and the Big Sioux Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.


Reece Almond serves as a member at large for Friends of the Big Sioux River. He is a litigation attorney at Davenport Evans with a practice consisting primarily of commercial and complex litigation, land-use litigation, and insurance-defense litigation. Originally from Huron, South Dakota, Reece received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Dakota in mathematics and political science and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School. Outside of work, Reece enjoys being outdoors and often kayaks, hikes, and bikes in and around the Big Sioux.


Rebecca Christman grew up on a farm in central South Dakota. She received a bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University and a master’s degree from Purdue University. She is currently working as an account coordinator and social media specialist at Insight Marketing Design. While her job keeps her immersed in the online world during the day, in her free time Rebecca can usually be found out in the real world with her husband, Shad, taking advantage of countless outdoor activities.


Mike Scott serves as member-at-large for Friends of the Big Sioux River. Scott is the founder and owner of Neighborhood Dental Clinics, which has locations in eastern South Dakota and Nebraska. Mike joined FBSR to bring his concerns regarding impaired water throughout eastern South Dakota. He hopes to expand and instill his feelings of a need to change in water management to more communities in South Dakota.


A special thanks to Directors Emeritus Paul Connelly and Joe Kirby and our advisors Jay Gilbertson, Dr. Craig Spencer, and Eric Cleveringa.