2013 South Dakota Sales and Marketing Executive of the Year™
Jeff was born in 1955 to Lester & Arlette Scherschligt and was raised in Sioux Falls along with his three siblings. After graduating from Lincoln High School, Jeff headed east to attend the College of Insurance in New York City. After four years of the big city and college life, Jeff returned to Sioux Falls to work in the family business, Howalt McDowell Insurance. He took over as president in 1985 and has served in the role ever since.
With Jeff as a leader, Howalt McDowell Insurance/Great Plains Brokerage has grown to employee 90+ employees and is a leader in the Property/Casualty and Employee Benefits Insurance market in the Midwest region. Jeff believes in the utmost personal service for all clients, beginning with a friendly voice answering the phone and extending to creating true, lasting partnerships with clients. Jeff and the Howalt McDowell staff works tirelessly to understand their clients and their business’ risk management needs so they can focus on the challenges they face and things they enjoy.
Jeff is knowledgeable in all lines of insurance and risk management. However, he has a special interest in Professional Liability, Medical Malpractice, and the enterprise risk management needs of large commercial businesses.
Jeff is an insurance man with a passion for development. In 2004, in search of a new home for Howalt McDowell, he stumbled upon the Zip Feed Mill site on east bank of the Big Sioux River in downtown Sioux Falls. Enamored by the challenge, he decided this is where his company would be located.
Deciding to tear down the Zip Feed Mill couldn’t be done quietly. Jeff was determined to make a splash and raise some money for a cause near and dear to his heart. Jeff’s youngest daughter, Sarah, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis early in 2004. This was a perfect time and a perfect cause to raise money and awareness. After selling thousands of tickets to be the one to “Blow Zip Up” and securing sponsorships, December 5th, 2005 arrived. On the day of the demolition, countdown began, the blast went off, but the old concrete and steel feed mill simply tilted and sunk into its basement. The laughing began and hasn’t actually stopped. But, despite the “Oops!”, the MS Society ended up raising more money and far more awareness than was ever thought possible. And eventually the Zip Feed Mill did come down with the help of a ball and chain.
Instead of hauling off all of the concrete, the Zip Feed Mill lives on and is the base for where Cherapa Place sits. This 144,000 square foot, LEED Gold, office complex with underground parking is designed with a two story base of local stone which appears to rise organically from the riverfront and a curved upper section oriented to maximize views of the river and Falls Park. Howalt+McDowell Insurance is one of four tenant-owners of Cherapa Place.
Jeff is very involved in the community, serving integral roles in organizations such as the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum and the South Dakota Parks & Wildlife Foundation. In his free-time, Jeff enjoys hunting, nature conservation, riding horses, development and spending time with his family, most importantly his two young granddaughters.