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HMGT Career Fair Keynote Panel Speakers

Michele Brich

Michele Brich is a South Dakota native and graduate of Black Hills State University with degree in Business Administration.  She was the investment operations manager for a trust fund for 5 years and the comptroller for a publicly traded oil company in Denver before getting into association management. She was the executive director of the Homebuilders Association of the Tri-Cities, Washington for 11 years before returning to South Dakota in 2005. Since then she has been a partner in Diamond B Communications LLC, a communications and management company.  Among her clients is the South Dakota Hotel & Lodging Association, for which she manages the organizations day-to-day activities and also lobbies on their behalf. Ms. Brich and her husband love the outdoors and have been avid windsurfers since 1981, telemark skiers, mountain and road bicyclists and over the past several years have taken up kiteboarding. 

Bill Folkerts

Bill Folkerts is owner of a real estate development, investment and management company handling commercial land development and hotels. Mr. Folkerts split his early college years between working in Algeria and Washington, D.C. He received a bachelor’s in mechanized agriculture in 1969 and a master’s in economics in 1971. While finishing his degrees, he served as Assistant Foreign Student Advisor and Assistant Placement Director. In 1971, Mr. Folkerts was instrumental in forming South Dakota’s first Development District. He served as director before entering private business in the early 1990s. He is currently an officer and director on corporate boards that deal with hotel ownership and development. Mr. Folkerts was chair of Region 13’s International Operators Council and was secretary and treasurer of the International Operators Council of Choice Hotels International. He serves on the South Dakota Hotel and Lodging Board of Directors. Mr. Folkerts also serves on several American Hotel & Lodging Association committees. Mr. Folkerts and his wife, Kay, live in Watertown.

Randy Grismer

Randy Grismer is currently the Director of Construction Management for Regency Hotel Management based in Sioux Falls. Mr. Grismer is also the General Manager for the Best Western Ramkota Hotel Aberdeen. He began his hospitality career by working at the Ramkota Hotel in Aberdeen as a cook and banquet server while attending NSU where he majored in Business management and minored in finance and accounting. Over his 20+ years in the industry he has worked for multiple franchise and both full and limited service properties. He has served as Catering Director, Restaurant manager, Food and Beverage Director, Assistant GM and GM. He has also served on numerous travel and tourism boards, branded hotel boards and committees and on many local and community boards including the Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Association and Business Improvement District and Chairs the Event Center Task Force for Aberdeen.