2012 South Dakota Sales and Marketing Executive of the Year™
Dana Dykhouse: Banking on South Dakota
Born on February 16, 1957, Dana Dykhouse grew up just down the road from the South Dakota border in Rock Rapids, Iowa. His mother and father, Evelyn and Emerson, raised their son to enjoy life and to live each day to its fullest.
His early years were spent doing what young boys did back then – exploring life and creating adventure for himself in this small farming community. At an early age he loved horses and dreamt of being a cowboy. He also showed that he was a hard worker and quite the entrepreneur. On those beautiful spring days Dana could be found going door to door offering his extermination services to catch the mice in peoples’ houses for a per mouse price. A businessman was born.
Dana’s exploration on his journey to success continued throughout his high school years. He won various Future Farmer of America Awards, played the drums in band and tried his hand in a variety of sports, including track and field, wrestling and football.
Among all the sports, he enjoyed and excelled at football the most. In 1975 he accepted a football scholarship to play at South Dakota State University (SDSU). He went on to letter three times as a Jackrabbit and earned honorable mention as an all conference defensive tackle.
He met LaDawn Stenson from Mitchell, SD while they were both students at SDSU. They wed in 1980, and after graduation he began his financial career with Farm Credit Services working in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1984 he accepted a position at Western Bank in Sioux Falls and began to establish deep roots in South Dakota. He quickly impressed the management team and was promoted to several leadership positions throughout his tenure at Western Bank.
In 1995 Dana Dykhouse was approached by T. Denny Sanford, owner of South Dakota based First PREMIER Bank to take the reigns of the organization as President and Chief Executive Officer. Dana brought with him an unconventional leadership style and a firm belief that individuals who, enjoy their job, feel valued and have a passion to serve others can do extraordinary things together. Establishing an internal Training Academy, employee scholarships, unexpected staff events and celebrating successes led to a PREMIER organization. Under Dana’s leadership, First PREMIER Bank’s total assets have grown from $220 million to more than $1.5 billion. Together with its sister organization, PREMIER Bankcard, the organization has grown from 175 employees to employ thousands across South Dakota.
The American Bankers Association’s ABA Banking Journal has ranked First PREMIER Bank as one of the top 10 performing financial institutions of its size in the nation since 1997. In 2001, 2002 and 2003 the organization was ranked number one. First PREMIER Bank’s Holding Company was ranked number one in 2006.
Community involvement has been one of the core values of First PREMIER Bank that Dana has championed. Creating an environment that encourages PREMIER associates each year to serve others has been vital to the organization’s success. Whether it is building shelter for a family in need or mentoring young people, the organization puts a high value on helping others.
Leading by example, Dana Dykhouse has invested his time and energy into making the State of South Dakota a better place to live and conduct business. Working to attract new business, increase job growth and enhance the overall quality of life, Dana has served as Chairman of the Sioux Falls Development Corporation and Co-Chair of Forward Sioux Falls.
His passion for inspiring and mentoring youth led him to his involvement as past Chairman of Junior Achievement of South Dakota. In addition, he served as the Chairman for the SDSU Foundation Board of Directors and currently Co-Chairs the SDSU “It Starts at State” campaign. This campaign is the largest fundraising drive in state history to support the strategic vision and goals of higher education, with a goal of raising more than $200 million dollars.
Since sports helped him establish a foundation of training hard, persistence and teamwork; Dana has stayed close to the South Dakota sports world by serving on the Board of the Sioux Falls Sports Authority. He was also instrumental in bringing Division I athletics to South Dakota as Chairman of the SDSU Athletic Champions Council and Division I transition group.
His contribution to other organizations statewide can be seen in his various appointments including: President of the South Dakota Bankers Association, Chairman Sioux Empire Fair Association, Chairman of Sioux Empire United Way Campaign, Board Member DUESEL/SDSTA – Sanford Lab and Children’s Care Hospital Foundation among others.
He has also felt a commitment to give back to the community on a monetary level. His donations have helped build the $6 million Dykhouse Student-Athlete Center at SDSU, establish the Dykhouse Family $1 million scholarship endowment at BHSU. The Dykhouse’s also contributed $1 million to the endowment fund at Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls.
While Chairman of the SDSU Foundation, Dana played a leadership role in establishing the Jackrabbit Guarantee Scholarship Program at SDSU. The Dykhouses remain active in many other community and church based philanthropic efforts.
From his early days on the farm to South Dakota business leader he has not forgotten to enjoy life and to live each day to its fullest. Putting people first and having unshakable integrity are bedrocks to community banking. Ask Dana if “Banking on South Dakota” has been a wise investment and you are likely to see a big smile from this transplanted Iowa boy as he discusses all that the state has to offer and the people that make it great.
Dana and his wife LaDawn are the proud parents of Dan, a 2006 graduate of SDSU and Alana, a 2011 graduate of BHSU. Dan and his wife Kristina have one son Bennett, born January 11, 2011.