UPTIME University, Events: 2018 SD Tech Showcase

South Dakota Technology Showcase

SDN Communications sponsored the annual South Dakota Technology Showcase.

This year, attendees heard from some of the state's top innovators and about some cool STEM projects happening in the state right now.

Learn from their latest technology successes and take away lessons learned to apply to and transform your growing business.

September 25, 2018
7:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn Sioux Falls Downtown

Watch The Presentations


Cheryl Riley  |  AT&T

Cheryl Riley has been with AT&T for 13 years and is the President of AT&T External Affairs for the Northern Plains States: South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, and Nebraska. Riley is a Wyoming native and graduated from the University of Wyoming with a master’s degree in political science. She lives in Cheyenne with her husband, Craig, and sons Jack and Nick.

Paul Ten Haken  |  Sioux Falls Mayor

Paul Ten HakenPaul Ten Haken is Worthington, Minnesota, native. After graduating from Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, Paul and his wife, Jill, moved to Sioux Falls to launch their careers and start a family. They have three young children. He's held various marketing and executive roles in Sioux Falls and earned his MBA from the University of Sioux Falls. Ten Haken founded the marketing technology agency Click Rain in 2008, where he served as CEO until 2017. He also co-founded the Dispatch Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which creates international service trip opportunities and philanthropic outlets for business leaders.


Rich Naser  |  USD Discovery Center

Rich NaserRich Naser Jr. serves as president of the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship and the USD Discovery District in his role directing the Forward Sioux Falls entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives. They focus on developing the human capital, early-stage funding and research infrastructure necessary to support high-growth businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators.

Naser’s career in economic development spans more than 20 years. He began with the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce in 1994. He has since continued to work as a passionate advocate for the city, the state of South Dakota and entrepreneurs.


Dr. Dan Engebretson  |  Tailored Medical Devices

Tailored Medical Devices is a startup working on a novel drug-coated balloon for vascular disease treatment. Tailored Medical Devices is located in the USD GEAR Center in Sioux Falls.

Dr. Ron Utecht  |  Alumend

Alumend has developed two patented technologies, a Light-Activated Naphthalimide and a Chitosan-based Bioadhesive, and is focused on tissue repair and drug delivery. Alumend has licensed its technology for the treatment of Peripheral Artery Disease for which it is currently conducting a Phase I Clinical Trial. Alumend is located in the USD GEAR Center and will expand into a new facility in the USD Discovery District.

Dr. Eddie Sullivan  |  SAB Biotherapeutics

SAB Biotherapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company developing and delivering therapeutics for the treatment of diseases from Ebola to cancer, and diabetes to influenza. SAB has multiple products in pre-clinical and clinical trials. The company is located at Sanford Research and plans to move its research and commercialization activities to the USD Discovery District.

Edward Parkinson  |  FirstNet

Ed Parkinson As the FirstNet Director of Government Affairs, Edward Parkinson is responsible for intergovernmental relations with local, state and federal organizations.

Previously, Parkinson served for five years as a Professional Staff Member for the House Committee on Homeland Security. Parkinson’s primary responsibility was in the field of first responder telecommunications. He also worked on issues including border security, emergency preparedness and cybersecurity as well as investigations into waste, fraud and abuse of government resources. 

Parkinson earned a B.A. and an honors postgraduate degree in international affairs from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2012 he completed a master's degree in liberal studies from Georgetown University with a focus on international affairs.

Nate Nearman  |  Daktronics

Nate Nearman, Daktronics

Nate Nearman is an engineering manager at Daktronics in its Design & Development division. He began his career at Daktronics in 1997 while attending South Dakota State University earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Upon graduation in 1999 Nearman joined Daktronics full time, working on custom contracts where he was able to gain many experiences from early sales and proposal phases through design to manufacturing and into installation and commissioning.

As his career at Daktronics progressed, Nearman focused more on developing core components used in many of Daktronics’ end products. He has experience leading, scoping and executing multiple core component platforms at Daktronics as well as studying and implementing Lean Product Development tools and processes.

Today, Nearman continues to focus on tools, processes and strategies that improve Daktronics’ overall development velocity, helping the company maintain a leadership position in all markets that it serves. 

Jaret Heise, Ph.D.  |  Sanford Underground Research Lab

Jaret Heise Jaret Heise is the Science Director at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, South Dakota. He joined the project in September 2008. Heise graduated with a Ph.D. in particle astrophysics from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, in May 2002 and has been engaged in underground science for 20 years and counting.

He participated in the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) experiment at an underground laboratory in Canada. It used 1000 metric tons of heavy water and roughly 10,000 light sensors to resolve the Solar Neutrino Problem first posed by Ray Davis based on results from the Homestake Chlorine Experiment. 

Along with his SNO collaborators, Heise shared in the 2016 Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics. The SNO experiment also garnered a share of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics. Heise went on to hold a postdoctoral position at Los Alamos National Laboratory followed by a leadership role as the SNO Detector Manager based in Sudbury. After the decommissioning of the SNO experiment starting in late 2006, Heise was involved in the SNO+ project, the successor experiment to SNO that will study low-energy solar neutrinos as well as neutrinoless double-beta decay.

Heise is thrilled to be involved with world-leading experiments at SURF that seek to answer some of the most fundamental questions of our time, including understanding the synthesis of atomic elements within stars, probing the nature of dark matter and continuing to understand the mysterious neutrino. 

Mark Shlanta  |  SDN Communications

Mark ShlantaMark Shlanta has led SDN Communications as the chief executive officer for 17 years, a period of significant growth for the Sioux Falls-based company owned by the independent telephone companies of South Dakota.

Shlanta led efforts to expand SDN’s network across eight states, making it a leader in broadband and cybersecurity services. He also spearheaded the development of SDN’s data center and colocation facility northwest of Sioux Falls.

The South Dakota native earned degrees in mechanical engineering and engineering management from the University of Missouri - Rolla.

Jodi Schwan  |  Align Content Studio

Jodi Schwan is the founder of Align Content Studio, which provides content marketing strategy, production and distribution to clients in a wide range of industries. She also develops and oversees Align's original content brands including www.SiouxFalls.Business and provides business news and analysis to KSFY-TV and KELO-AM. Jodi is a former editor, broadcaster and columnist who also served as chief of staff for the city of Sioux Falls from 2006 until 2010. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University and is a native of Cleveland, Ohio.

Evan Culbertson  |  AT&T

Evan Culbertson Evan Culbertson is a product manager at AT&T on its IoT team focused on smart cities and drones. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University, Culbertson began his career in investment banking and earned his MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. He later joined DIRECTV where he held various roles in finance and on the content team. When AT&T acquired DIRECTV, Culbertson transitioned into his current role in IoT.