Alumni Committee Members
The Alumni Committee will foster a spirit of loyalty and to promote the general welfare of WDT. The Alumni Committee encourages alumni to stay connected, promote WDT, and participates in WDT Foundation Campaigns and Events. The Alumni Committee exists to support the goals and to strengthen the ties between alumni, the community, and Western Dakota Technical College.
- Update your information with the Foundation office
- Show your Western Dakota Tech Alumni Pride with WDT gear
- Provide an internship for a Western Dakota Tech student.
- Share your experience at Western Dakota Tech with others who are looking to further their education.
Distinguished Alumni Recipients
2020 - Weston and Tenise Chapman
Weston Chapman Automotive Technician AAS Degree 2004
Tenise Chapman Business Management & Marketing AAS Degree 2005
What good is living the life you have been given when all you do is stand in one place?
This is a motto Weston and Tenise Chapman live by and this motto has been the inspiration in their new adventure. Starting Black Hills Tire in 2018 was a dream the Chapman’s had been seeking for half their lives. Their goal is for their business to become the number one recommended tire and
automotive service facility in the Black Hills area - one car, one customer, one opportunity at a time. This dream was instilled in Weston and Tenise many years ago.
Tenise’s grandparents owned and operated a service station in North Dakota for 40+ years. She has fond memories of playing cards with her Grandpa Vern between customers, as well as riding in the bulk truck delivering fuel to local ranchers.
Weston’s parents have owned their own business for 30+ years. If you are from Western North or South Dakota and needed satellite TV, you have most likely met Blane and Doreen Chapman. From an early age, Weston could be found helping in their store or on the road with his dad installing and delivering TVs and satellite dishes. Growing up in this environment created his sense of how important customer service and honesty is.
As you can see, the Chapman’s dream began many years ago. They aim for Black Hills Tire to be the premier tire and automotive repair store in the Black Hills area. The Chapmans look forward to their business becoming an asset to their community and a place of employee pride. Weston and Tenise are great examples of what people can do with a technical education, shared commitment, vision, and hard work. Together they have established a very successful business, where they provide the highest standard of customer care and service in a community they take pride in and give back to.
2019 - Shawn Gab
Shawn Gab graduated from Western Dakota Tech in 1997 with a degree in Computer-Aided Drafting: Architectural. He was recruited by the Boeing aircraft company and became a Design Engineer at their Wichita, Kan., campus. In 2001, he returned to his hometown of Rapid City, S.D., and began designing and manufacturing electrical devise. He is the owner of Tri-Tech Manufacturing, Inc., and is once again producing products for aerospace customers.
As an engaged citizen of Rapid City, Shawn enjoys giving back to his community and has served on numerous organizational boards. He is currently Chair of the Western Dakota Tech Foundation and is on the Western Dakota Tech Industrial Advisory Board. Shawn also serves on the Rapid City Regional Airport Board and the Youth and Family Services Board, is a member of Pennington County Search & Rescue, and is a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight Central.
2018 - Dan Cahoy
Dan Cahoy graduated from Western Dakota in 2010 with an associate’s degree in Business Management and marketing. After graduation, he worked as a marketing director for a real estate firm in Rapid City. In 2011, Dan moved back to his hometown, Bonesteel, South Dakota, to reopen the family-owned grocery store. In 2012, he received an opportunity to work at First Fidelity Bank as Branch Manager. In 2017, he resigned from the back to pursue his passion for the grocery business and purchased a second grocery store in Lake Andes, South Dakota. In 2018, the opportunity to purchase another grocery store in Tyndall, South Dakota, came up. Both Lake Andes and Tyndall’s only grocery stores had closed prior to Dan purchasing them and he felt there was a need for a grocery store in those communities; as a grocery store is key to keeping small communities alive. He currently employs 29 employees in these communities.
Dan and his wife, Trisha, have two beautiful girls, Brielle (4) and Bridget (2). His family plays a major role in the family business. His father and mother-in-law also work as managers at his stores. Dan is involved in many groups and organizations in the community, some of which include: Bonesteel Commercial Club President, Bonesteel Area Community Development Board Member, Parish Council, Member, and Make-A-Wish Granter.
2017 - John Phelps
John Phelps, from Rapid City, S.D., graduated from Western Dakota Tech in 2012 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Management and Marketing. In pursuit of his career goals, John started college at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minn., in July 2014 and graduation in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation & Sports Management – having never missed a class. Upon graduation, John joined the Peoria Chiefs Front Office Staff in January 2017, in Peoria, Illinois, where he is currently employed as an Inside Sales Representative. (The Chiefs are the Class A Affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team.) Before joining the Chiefs organization, John was a Game Day Operations Intern with the Sioux Falls Canaries Baseball Club, in Sioux Falls, S.D., and worked in the St. Cloud State University Athletic Department as a Marketing and Promotions Assistant. Additionally, John has served as a Media Relations Volunteer for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff, in Minneapolis, Minn.
John’s parents, Doug and Terri Phelps, will be accepting the award on John’s behalf.
2016 - Jennifer Bunge
Jennifer stands at the forefront of the fastest, much sought after medical careers. She has spend the past five years as a cardiovascular surgical technologist at Rapid City Regional Hospital, one of the highest-rated performing hospitals in the nation.
Throughout her five-year tenure with Rapid City Regional, Jennifer has built a reputation for handling surgical procedures with efficiency and accuracy and under sterile conditions. Her ability to work long hours and handle pressure situations with sound judgement has made Jennifer a good team member among the cardiovascular surgeons.
Jennifer is a 2011 graduate of Western Dakota Tech’s Surgical Technology program and gained her clinical experience at the Billings Montana Clinic.
Jennifer plans to fast track her medical career by attending Meridian Medical School to obtain her First Assistant degree this summer.
Jennifer is a lifelong resident of Rapid City and is married with one substitute child, her dog Maisy. Jennifer enjoys travel and all outdoor activities.
2015 - Julie Jones-Whitcher
Julie Jones-Whitcher holds an A.A.S. in Business Management and Marketing from Western Dakota Tech and a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing from National American University. She has been employed at the Rapid City Convention an Visitors Bureau since September 2002 and currently holds the position of Director of Tourism. Here, she is charged with marketing and promoting Rapid City s a leisure destination to visitors, travel professionals, and members of the media all over the world.
Julie is a continuing recipient of the South Dakota Governor’s “Great Service Award” for delivery Outstanding Hospitality and Customer Service and a graduate of Leadership Rapid City (Class of 2009). She is also selected as the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce 2008 Young Professional of the Year and named to the top 40 Under 40 by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives in 2010 and Prairie Business Magazine in 2015.
Demonstrating her leadership and love for her community, Julie currently serves on the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts Dakota Horizons, the Business Management & Marketing Advisory Board for Western Dakota Tech, and the Marketing Committee for Day of Excellence, Inc. Past service includes Rapid City Young Professionals Group Board of Directors and Civic Awareness Committee, Day of Excellence Board of Directors, and Rapid City Area Hospitality Association Board of Directors. Whitcher has also volunteered for various organizations throughout Rapid City including Junior Achievement and United Way.
Julie resides in Rapid City and spends weekends with her husband, Jeremiah, and son, Walt, on the family ranch located on the Cheyenne River, 50 miles southeast of Rapid City. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, running, and traveling.
Alumni Feature- Jeremy Anderson, Class of 1998
Electronic Technology & Industrial Electronics
Jeremy Anderson is a Technology Advisor with Marco Technologies. In his role, he helps organizations navigate the complex world of Information Technology to determine the right technology solutions with a focus on IT security that contributes to their success.
Jeremy grew up in Rapid City South Dakota and has always had an interest in anything technology. He received two degrees from Western Dakota Tech, one in Electronic Technology and the other in Industrial Electronics. Jeremy had a great start with technology from an early age focusing on computer programming when he was in middle school and was “self- taught” in basic computer programming on a Commodore 64.
Anything electronics – Jeremy’s love for technology and electronics grew as he would disassemble, repair and re-assemble any electronic devices that he could get his hands on. In his teen years, he began configuring and installing car audio systems for himself and his friends. This naturally progressed into moving to higher education in the electronics arena.
Western Dakota Tech was a natural transition for Jeremy from High School to higher learning. “The atmosphere at WDT is one that facilitates a great learning experience. The instructors have a sincere interest in student success, have a strong drive in sharing their knowledge to help create a gainful and effective learning environment. Throughout my journey with WDT, I was always met with encouragement and had the feeling that I had complete support the whole way through.”
“I would say my experience can be summed up in the following sentence: Tell me and I may forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand... a true understanding is what I gained from Western Dakota Tech.”
Paying it Forward
Jeremy believes that it is important to “pay it forward” and has been giving back to our community in a variety of different ways. He has been a mentor for the Rapid Acceleration High School robotics team for 3 years, is a Leadership Rapid City Class of 2019 graduate, serves on the Alumni Committee for the WDT Foundation, participates in various events such as food drives and other volunteer opportunities when needed.
“I believe, the foundation for future prosperity is built on the bedrock of good jobs and great schools... building a strong foundation one job at a time and one educated South Dakotan at a time.”
“Pursue your passion and you will never work a day in your life!”