Avera St. Luke’s names new regional President & CEO

ABERDEEN, S.D. – Avera announces that Daniel Bjerknes has been named Regional President and CEO of Avera St. Luke’s Hospital.

As top executive in the Avera St. Luke’s region, he will be responsible to provide leadership, direction and administration across all aspects of care delivery at all facilities within the region, and will be a member of the Avera senior leadership team.

Bjerknes comes to Avera from Williston, N.D., where he was President of Catholic Health Initiatives St. Alexius Health-Williston. He has 15 years experience in health care leadership roles in behavioral health and critical access hospitals.

He’s led strategic, mission-focused functions in human resources, support services, clinic and hospital operations as well as growth in service lines. Before entering into health care administration he had a rich background as director of human resources and conflict management consultant.

“His wealth of experience plus his focus on mission and his affinity to the Avera values make him a great fit for this position, and he was selected from a group of excellent candidates,” said Bob Sutton, President and CEO of Avera.

He holds a master of arts in counseling from the University of North Dakota and bachelor of artsin psychology from Concordia College at Moorhead, Minn.

Bjerknes will begin his new role Aug. 15. He will take the helm of a $17 million construction project that begins later this summer to build a new behavioral health center, remodel the women’s center and remodel clinic space for orthopedics and related specialties. Avera St. Luke’s is a 5-Star facility as named by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and is a Top 100 Rural and Community Hospital. The region employs 1,325 with a medical/dental staff of around 90. “I look forward to continuing the healthy growth that’s already happening in Aberdeen,” he said.

Bjerknes, a native of Thief River Falls, Minn., has spent his entire life in the upper Midwest. Heholds a master of arts in counseling from the University of North Dakota and bachelor of arts inpsychology from Concordia College at Moorhead, Minn. He and his wife of 19 years, Sommer, have three sons, Reider, 16; Gustav, 14; and Odin, 10. Bjerknes has a passion for sports and the outdoors. A very involved dad, his sons’ activities become his activities whether that’s soccer or baseball. He and his wife like to be involved with volunteering and working with youth to have an impact in the lives of others and make the community a better place.

Avera St. Luke’s was the first hospital founded by the Presentation Sisters in 1901, and today the hospital and entire Avera system continue to be sponsored by the Benedictine and Presentation Sisters. “Being part of a faith-based health care system is very important to me. I value working for a mission-driven organization – perhaps now more than ever – where there’s a core belief system that’s foundational to why we do what we do,” Bjerknes said.