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NDUS Home  |  State Board of Higher Education  |  SBHE Members


SBHE Members



Don Morton
Chair


Don Morton
Don Morton was reappointed to the State Board of Higher Education for a second four-year term starting July 1, 2016.

Don Morton retired in late 2016 from Microsoft, where he had served as a senior director and a part of Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS), a group that develops the Microsoft Dynamics Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solutions.

Don had three major areas of responsibility: (1) Leading the global Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance team. (2) Leading a team responsible for the Executive Briefing Center (EBC) on the Microsoft campus in Fargo, ND, and working closely with the Microsoft sales teams with a focus on the Dynamics ERP and Dynamics CRM. (3)Site leader for the Microsoft campus in Fargo which has more than 1,700 employees.Prior to joining Microsoft, Don was the assistant to the president and director of university relations at North Dakota State University. He has a coaching background, serving as the head football coach at the University of Wisconsin, at the University of Tulsa and at North Dakota State University where he won four conference championships and one national championship. He also was named national coach of the year in 1983.

Don is a native of Flint, Michigan. He earned a B.A. in Psychology at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill. and a master's in education from Western Illinois University.

don.morton@ndus.edu

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Greg Stemen
Vice Chair

Greg Stemen
Greg Stemen began his term of service with the State Board of Higher Education July 1, 2015.

Stemen currently serves as the Southeast Region Vice President and branch manager of First Community Credit Union in Oakes. Prior to that position he served as the president and branch manager of the First State Bank of North Dakota in LaMoure, N.D.

Stemen also serves as the Vice Chair of the North Dakota Veteran's Home Board, previously served as a lending officer at Great Plains National Bank and as a physician recruiter at MedCenter One. Before that, he was the winningest coach in the history of the Southwest Minnesota State University's men's basketball program. Stemen also does color analysis for college basketball games on Midco Sports Network.

A resident of Oakes, N.D., Stemen holds a Bachelor of Science in mathematics education from Valley City State University and a Master's of Education in educational leadership from Southwest Minnesota State University. Currently, Stemen serves on the board of the North Dakota State Veteran's Home. He has held membership on the North Dakota Bankers Association Ag-Lending Committee, the Dakota School of Banking Advisory Board, and served as a board member for LaMoure Community Development and for St. Rose Care Center in LaMoure. He has also been president of the Fort Ransom Community Club, president of Litchville-Marion Dollars for Scholars, treasurer for Grace United Methodist Church, and was also a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches NCAA II Congress.

greg.stemen@ndus.edu

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Nick Hacker

Nick Hacker
Nicholas P. Hacker began his term of service with the State Board of Higher Education July 1, 2015.

Hacker has served as the president of the North Dakota Guaranty and Title Company in Bismarck, N.D., for three years. There he leads the state's largest title insurance and real estate closing company with 100 employees across 10 locations.

Prior to his current role Hacker worked as the state government affairs manager for the American Land Title Association and the business development manager for Marcil Group, Inc. In 2004 he made history by being the youngest person elected to a state senate where he served North Dakota's District 42 for four years.

A native of Bismarck, N.D., Hacker holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in managerial finance from the University of North Dakota. He holds a certificate in legislative leadership from Bowhay Institute. He has held membership in the Rotary Club of Williston (past secretary), American Land Title Association, N.D. Land Trust Association, Greater N.D. Chamber of Commerce, N.D. Association of Builders, N.D. Association of Realtors, N.D. Bankers Association, and Independent Community Banks of North Dakota.

nicholas.hacker@ndus.edu

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Kathleen Neset


Kathleen Neset
Kathleen Neset is President of Neset Consulting Service, Inc., which provides well site geologic/geosteering services to the oil industry since 1980. She received a B.A. in Geology from Brown University and then went to work as a seismologist in Michigan. Neset worked for Core Laboratories in Texas and Wyoming. In 1979 she moved to North Dakota pursuing work as an independent petroleum geologist. She is owner of Neset Farms and formerly worked as a Tioga High School science teacher, a Tioga school board member and a substitute business manager at Tioga High School. Currently she manages wellsite geology and mudlogging crews throughout the Bakken and Northern Rockies Region.

Kathleen is a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologist, Williston API, Dickinson API, North Dakota Petroleum Council Board of Directors, Bush Foundation, BSC Petroleum Technology Advisory Committee, UND Petroleum Engineering Advisory Committee, Tioga Golf & Country Club board, and St. Thomas Parish Council Secretary.

Kathy was first appointed to the board June 20, 2012 filling a vacancy and confirmed by the State Senate. She was reappointed for a second four-year term starting July 1, 2017.

K.Neset@ndus.edu

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Casey Ryan

Casey Ryan
Dr. Casey Ryan began his term of service with the State Board of Higher Education July 1, 2017.

Ryan practices endocrinology and internal medicine at Altru Health System in Grand Forks. He was president of Altru Health System from its inception in 1997 through 2014.

Ryan graduated from Grand Forks Central High School, then attended Colorado College where he played varsity hockey. After graduating from the University of Colorado Medical School he spent three years as an internal medicine resident at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. After finishing at Mayo he spent nine months as an endocrinology registrar at the University of Otago Medical School in Dunedin, New Zealand.

He and his wife, Bev, have lived in Grand Forks since 1979.

casey.ryan.2@ndus.edu

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Dan Traynor

Dan Traynor
Daniel Mack Traynor began his term of service with the State Board of Higher Education July 1, 2018.

Traynor is a shareholder in Traynor Law Firm. He is engaged in an active general litigation practice, with particular interest in insurance defense, personal injury, business litigation, election law and Indian law.

Dan represents the North Dakota Bar Association in the ABA House of Delegates. He is former Chair of the Disciplinary Board of the North Dakota Supreme Court. Dan also served on the Board of the National Conference of Lawyer Disciplinary Boards. He is past-Chair of the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation and the North Dakota Republican Party. Dan is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

He is licensed to practice in the state and federal courts in North Dakota and Minnesota, in addition to a number of tribal courts in the area. He has achieved the highest rating (AV) from Martindale-Hubbell and has been consistently recognized as a Great Plains Super Lawyer.

Dan graduated with distinction from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1997. During law school he served as an extern for United States District Judge Patrick A. Conmy. After graduating from law school, Dan worked as a law clerk for Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle of the North Dakota Supreme Court.

Dan is married to Patricia Traynor. They have three children and live in Devils Lake, North Dakota

d.traynor@ndus.edu

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Jill Louters

Jill Louters
Jill Louters began her term of service with the State Board of Higher Education July 1, 2018.

Louters has served as the superintendent for the New Rockford-Sheyenne School District for seven years. Her district received the Governor's System Innovation Award in 2018 and is engaged in a $3.2 million dollar building renovation.

A native of southern Minnesota, Louters worked as a social studies teacher, coach and principal prior to assuming a position on the faculty of Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minn.

Ms. Louters completed her undergraduate degree at Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., and her masters degree in education administration at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In 2017 she was the first North Dakota superintendent to complete her National Superintendent Certificate through the American Association of School Administrators and is currently completing her doctoral dissertation through St. Mary's University, Minneapolis.

jill.louters@ndus.edu

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Ashley Zarling
Student Member

Ashley Zarling
Ashley Zarling is a student from Williston State College. She is pursuing two associate degrees currently with hopes of one day continuing her education for a degree in law.

While Ashley has lived in Williston for most of her life, her family is native to southern Idaho.

Ashley currently works at MedScan Lab Inc. where she has served many roles since March 2016. Currently she works as a medical billing clerk auditing new automated systems while the company is rapidly growing.

In her time at Williston State College, Ashley served as president of the student senate as well as head delegate representing Williston at North Dakota Student Association.

ashley.thornton@ndus.edu

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Andy Wakeford
Staff Adviser


Andy Wakeford
Andy Wakeford, Devils Lake, N.D., is the Online Coordinator and Advisor for Lake Region State College. He is immediate past president of LRSC's Staff Senate and has been employed at LRSC since 2002.

Wakeford received an Associate in Arts Degree from UND-Lake Region in 1996 and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of North Dakota in 1999.

He was re-elected by the State Staff Senate to serve a second term beginning July 1, 2017. He serves as the Staff Advisor to the State Board of Higher Education.




Andrew.Wakeford@ndus.edu

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Birgit Pruess
Faculty Adviser

Birgit Pruess
Birgit Pruess is the faculty adviser to the State Board of Higher Education. She is a native of Germany who came to the US with a Ph.D. in Biology in 1992. She has been a Microbiologist at NDSU since 2004, teaching Bacterial Physiology to undergraduate and graduate students.

Her research interest is in bacterial biofilm, in particular their prevention. Biofilm are communities of bacteria that form on surfaces and cause many problems in clinical and food processing settings. Dr. Pruess integrates students in her research at all educational levels. She has been Faculty Senate President at NDSU during the 2014/2015 academic year, President of the North Dakota Academy of Sciences in 2009, President of the North Central Branch of the American Society for Microbiology in 2012, and is currently serving as President for the NDSU Chapter of the Agricultural Honor Society Gamma Sigma Delta.

birgit.pruess@ndus.edu

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