Kaufmann and Young
The South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SD CEO) at Black Hills State University announced the winners of the Women in Business awards during the “Celebrating Women in Business” luncheon held at the Spearfish Holiday Inn.

The statewide awards program was designed to highlight the impact of outstanding women entrepreneurs across the state. Winners for the four award categories were:  Kari Karst, owner and president of BX Civil & Construction, Inc., in Dell Rapids, for the Enterprising Business Woman award;  Janie Hett, owner of Peak Motion Physical Therapy in Spearfish, for the Enterprising Young Entrepreneur award; State Farm Insurance-Coreen Lerwick Agency in Spearfish, for the Enterprising Business Team award; Sheryl Eisenbraun, senior vice president, Pioneer Bank & Trust in Sturgis; and Jane Swenson, senior vice president, Reliabank Dakota in Watertown, who shared the award  for the Enterprising Friend of Small Business .

“What an honor it is to recognize these outstanding women who truly have made an incredible impact in the business world,” said Helen Merriman, director of the SD CEO. “South Dakota can be very proud of all of its women-owned businesses as we congratulate these winners whose actions exemplify the extraordinary effort, dedication and savvy business skills it requires to start, grow, and sustain successful businesses throughout South Dakota.”

The winner of the Enterprising Business Woman award was Kari Karst, owner and president of BX Civil & Construction, Inc., Dell Rapids.  This dynamic business woman has achieved substantial success in her business and community, and has demonstrated outstanding skill, commitment, and accomplishment while successfully navigating obstacles in addition to influencing, mentoring, and encouraging others.  Karst bought Buskerud Construction in 1992, which recently changed its name to BX Civil & Construction, Inc.  BX Civil & Construction, Inc., has worked on South Dakota Department of Transportation projects covering the entire state of South Dakota, along with Corps of Engineer projects, and numerous city and county projects. They are a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) contractor in Minnesota and South Dakota. Karst is actively involved in and works for the betterment of her industry. In 2004, she became the first female president of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) Highway Chapter in South Dakota. She has also served on the AGC of South Dakota Board, the National AGC and various committees in South Dakota. Karst is highly respected as a woman in business in a traditionally male dominated industry.  

The winner of the Enterprising Young Entrepreneur award was Janie Hett, owner of Peak Motion Physical Therapy in Spearfish. The winner of this award is an entrepreneur who has created a successful business by demonstrating outstanding skill and commitment,  has a minimum of three years in her current business; and is 35 years or younger.  Hett, a Buffalo native, attended undergraduate school in Wyoming and completed her Doctor of Physical Therapy in Portland, Ore. After working as a staff physical therapist in private business for a few years, she moved to Spearfish and opened her own practice three years ago.  In addition, she also opened a satellite clinic in Buffalo to serve her hometown community and the residents of northwestern South Dakota.  Hett travels to Buffalo twice a week to provide care to her patients. She recently purchased a building in Spearfish to accommodate her growing practice.

The winner of the Enterprising Business Team award was State Farm Insurance-Coreen Lerwick Agency in Spearfish. The team is being recognized for their significant contributions to this woman-owned business with a minimum of seven years in business and collectively has demonstrated outstanding skills and customer service. Lerwick has been in business for 28 years and currently has a staff of three employees: Liz Young, Denise Gienger and Nikkita Kaufmann.  Lerwick and her team are known for their community involvement and professionalism. The team at Coreen Lerwick State Farm Agency encourages women in business, has an entrepreneurial spirit and truly supports community efforts. Their community involvement includes:  members of  the SD CEO Women in Networking (WIN) and the American Business Women Association (ABWA); sponsors of Spearfish West Elementary events, the Little Miss Firecracker contest and the “Celebrate My Drive” program; and they also serve on the Nutrition Site/Meals-On-Wheels program, Black Hills Gold Swim Team boards, and the Spearfish Clothe-A-Kid program.

Two winners received the Enterprising Friend of Small Business award, Sheryl Eisenbraun, senior vice president, Pioneer Bank & Trust in Sturgis, and Jane Swenson, senior vice president, Reliabank Dakota in Watertown.  These individuals were recognized as advocates for the growth and development of small business and have demonstrated commitment and ongoing support to the success of women-owned businesses.

Eisenbraun is a champion for small business and dedicates her time to the success of those around her. As the first manager of the newest branch of Pioneer Bank & Trust, she created a team of banking professionals that have continuously raised the bar of customer service.  Eisenbraun encourages the growth of small businesses and many say they would not be here without her help and service. She also volunteers as the secretary/treasurer of the Sturgis Economic Development Corp.

Swenson, senior vice president of Reliabank Dakota, has spent over four decades serving customers in Watertown and surrounding communities. She began her career with Reliabank in 1997 as a Loan Officer. During this time, Swenson developed a large base of customers who appreciate her personal and professional service. She is involved with community organizations, including the Watertown Zoning Commission and North East SD Realtors Association. Swenson is a mentor to those starting out in business and strives to encourage their success.

To learn more about the SD CEO, visit www.BHSU.edu/SDCEO or call (605) 642-6435.

The SD CEO is partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The support given by the U.S. Small Business Administration through such funding does not constitute an expressed or implied endorsement of any of the components or participants’ opinions, products or services. SD CEO operates under Cooperative Agreement SBAHQ-11-W-0038. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.