Staff

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Lynne Keller Forbes, Executive Director

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Lynne Keller Forbes serves as Executive Director of Dakota BUSINESS Finance, the South Eastern Development Foundation, and the South Eastern Council of Governments (SECOG).  Lynne has served as Director of SECOG since 2001 and led the organization's efforts to create the South Eastern Development Foundation and Dakota BUSINESS Finance.

Lynne is a Certified Economic and Housing Development Professional through the National Development Council.  She has a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from St. Leo College, St. Leo, FL and a Juris Doctorate Law Degree from the University of South Dakota.

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Jessica Evans, Associate Director

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As Associate Director, Jessica is responsible for marketing, underwriting, and packaging loans for Dakota BUSINESS Finance and the South Eastern Development Foundation. Jessica's previous experience includes commercial lending with a national bank and economic development for a municipal government.

Jessica is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree from St. Cloud State University, a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics degree from the University of North Dakota and Master of Business Administration degree from the University of South Dakota.

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Barb Berg, Closing Officer

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As a Closing Officer, Barb is responsible for assisting with and closing business loans financed through Dakota BUSINESS Finance and the South Eastern Development Foundation.

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Mara Davidson, Loan Assistant

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As the Loan Assistant, Mara is responsible for the closing and servicing of the SEDF loan portfolio. 

Mara received her bachelor of business degree as well as her masters in business administration from the University of South Dakota. 

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Aspen Gillaspie, Credit Analyst

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Aspen received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Dakota and her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Sioux Falls. 

Aspen duties involve analyzing companies and presenting findings for SBA’s 504 loan program and the South Eastern Development Foundation’s regional revolving loan fund as well as ensure compliance with environmental and appraisal requirements are met for new loan requests.

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Jenna Lequire, Administrative Assistant

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Primarily responsible for the administrative support of the staff of SECOG, the SBA 504 loan program through Dakota BUSINESS Finance and the South Eastern Development Foundation’s regional revolving loan fund.

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Daniel Park, Loan Officer

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As a  Loan Officer, Dan is responsible for marketing, underwriting, and packaging loans for Dakota BUSINESS Finance and the South Eastern Development Foundation

Dan received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agri-Business from South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD.  Daniel has worked the last 30 years in a community bank and is a licensed insurance agent and real estate broker. Previous to holding this position Dan was the Servicing Analyst with SECOG for five years.

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Betty Gates, Paraprofessional Bookkeeper

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LaJena Gruis, Servicing Analyst

605-681-8178

As a Servicing Analyst, LaJena is responsible for working with SECOG staff, lenders, and business owners to service business loans financed through Dakota BUSINESS Finance and the South Eastern Development Foundation. She is also responsible for liquidation and post-debenture purchase workouts.

LaJena holds an Associates in Accounting from Southeastern Technical College. She has extensive experience with the SBA 504 loan program. LaJena started with SECOG in April 2021. 

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Trisha Viss, Senior Loan Officer

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As a Senior Loan Officer, Trisha is responsible for marketing, underwriting, and packaging loans for Dakota BUSINESS Finance and the South Eastern Development Foundation.

Trisha is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council. She earned a Bachelor degree in business administration with concentrations in finance and marketing from Northwestern College and Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Sioux Falls.