Governor Kristi Noem has appointed Brian Sandvig and Joy Nelson to the South Dakota Board of Technical Education. Sandvig will replace the late Bob Faehn and will serve the remainder of Faehn’s term. Nelson will replace Ed Mallett effective November 1, 2021.
“South Dakota’s technical colleges are among the very best in America thanks to the board of technical education’s important work,” said Governor Noem. “I am confident that Brian and Joy will continue that legacy. Both have a long history of excellent work and service to our state, and I am thrilled they’ve accepted the call to serve South Dakota students.”
Sandvig said he is honored to have been tapped for this position by Governor Noem, and he believes his experience is uniquely applicable. “I’ve recruited Lake Area Tech graduates and students for internships and full-time positions for Valley Queen for the last 10 years. I also served on the Lake Area Tech Strategic Advisory Council for five years, and served as its chairman for two years. I’ve also seen firsthand the valuable real world education that our tech schools provide. I believe they will play an important role in South Dakota’s future success.”
Sandvig currently works as the CFO at Valley Queen Cheese Factory in Milbank. He joined Valley Queen in 2007 after 10 years as a banker to dairies, farmers, and agribusinesses throughout South Dakota and neighboring states. He serves on the South Dakota State Historical Society, South Dakota Junior Achievement, the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Grant County Economic Development Corporation, and the City of Milbank Parks and Recreation Board. He teaches Sunday school at Living Word Lutheran Church and is an assistant coach on the Milbank High School football team.
Sandvig is a graduate of Aberdeen Central High School and the University of North Dakota. Brian and his wife, Janel, live in Milbank. They have three children — Jacob, Jack, and Ella.
Joy Nelson is a lifelong resident of South Dakota. She began her career at Farmers and Merchants Bank in Watertown in the real estate and student loan lending departments. She entered the real estate business in 1982 and is the broker-owner of Haugan Nelson Realty, Inc., in Watertown. She has been engaged in residential, commercial, and agricultural real estate for the last 38 years. Nelson is the founder and benefactor of Joy Ranch, a non-profit facility outside of Watertown. Joy Ranch’s mission is to serve people with disabilities and medical issues and veterans through equine therapy.
She was awarded the National ALDE Award in 2013 for philanthropy, the National Association of Realtors Good Neighbor Award in 2018, and was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame and the Watertown Hall of Fame. She currently serves on the Sanford Medical Center Board of Directors, the Lake Area Technical Institute Strategic Advisory Council as its president, the Village Harmony Hill Board of Directors, the GLC Foundation Board of Directors, and is the past president of both the Prairie Lakes Hospital Foundation and the Lake Area Technical Institute Foundation. Nelson currently resides at the Joy Ranch, where she enjoys spending time helping with the equine programs.