2017 South Dakota Sales and Marketing Executive of the Year™
Bernie DeWald, Chairman of the Board, McKinneyOlson Insurance
Bernie DeWald can be described in two words: Staying Power.
Over the years, Bernie has exemplified what it means to be a husband, father, businessman and community leader. Born on the family farm in Hutchinson County, South Dakota, Bernie graduated from Tripp High School in a class of twenty-five students. He joined the U.S. Army in December of 1956, spending six months in Fort Ord, CA, then eighteen months in the Panama Canal Zone, serving with the 517th Military Police Stockade as a company clerk. He was discharged in December, 1958, and went on to join the Tripp National Guard. Upon being injured in a military accident, he spent over a month in the VA Hospital in Sioux Falls, receiving a medical discharge from the National Guard. After working construction for a summer, Bernie enrolled in Nettleton College and after graduation took a position with McKinney & Allen Insurance, starting as a company underwriter on May 1, 1960. Bernie has an outstanding fifty-six year long career with what is now McKinney Olson Insurance, having worked his way from underwriter into sales, serving as president of McKinney Allen, Inc. from 1990 to 2004, and where he still serves today as Chairman of the Board of McKinney Olson. In any capacity, it’s always been Bernie’s passion to help others by being truthful, a good listener, and providing solutions that truly meet the needs of those he’s honored to work with, all traits that have highlighted his career success.
Bernie has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to the city of Sioux Falls by serving on a number of civic and non-profit organizations over the years. Having benefitted from his leadership are the Sioux Falls Jaycees, Sioux Empire United Way, Sioux Falls Junior Achievement, Girls Club, Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Rotary, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, St. Michaels’s Cemetery Council, Sioux Falls Independent Insurance Agents, Festival of Bands, the Lincoln High School Band Parent organization, and of course, SME Sioux Falls. Each public service commitment is punctuated by Bernie’s longevity; in many instances his involvement spans over five decades. Never one to just show up, Bernie has always been instrumental in bringing new ideas to each organization as well as a willingness to take on new challenges and leadership roles.
Bernie has been married to his wife Rose for 52 years, and they have two children, Wendy Jo and Jonathan, and three grandchildren.