Our People


Mark Shlanta


Mark Shlanta has led SDN Communications to significant growth during rapidly changing times.

He joined the company in 1998 as network planning and operations director and was promoted to chief executive officer in 2000.

As CEO, he’s led efforts to expand SDN’s network across South Dakota and into neighboring states, and increased business and institutional access to broadband connectivity and related services. He also spearheaded the development of the company’s data center and colocation facility in northwestern Sioux Falls.

With people, businesses and government gaining increasingly more and easier access to broadband connectivity, he expects the telecommunications industry to keep changing at a rapid pace.

“Every day is a new ride,” he says. “We’ve gone through an evolution of technology. Now we’re seeing a huge uptick in bandwidth consumption through data and mobile applications.”

Prior to joining SDN, Shlanta worked for a decade in Missouri in various positions for Contel, GTE, Ameritech Cellular, and Consolidated Communications.

He grew up in Brookings and graduated from Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls. He earned degrees in mechanical engineering and engineering management from the University of Missouri - Rolla.

Shlanta stays busy away from work as the chairman of Forward Sioux Falls and the chairman of the Education Telecommunications Board for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He also has served as president of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. 

In addition, he volunteers for the Boy Scouts, Junior Achievement and Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

He and his wife, Peg, have four boys who range in age from 14 to 21.