Watertown & Aberdeen Ladies named to Spirit of Dakota Selection Commission

HURON, S.D.(Press Release)- Carol Johnson of Watertown and Julie M. Johnson of Aberdeen have accepted positions on the Spirit of Dakota Selection Commission. The announcement was made by the Spirit of Dakota Award Society of Huron.
These ladies join a statewide commission representing a diverse spectrum of business, civic and professional backgrounds. The commission includes Tona Rozum, Mitchell, Chair; Julie Garreau, Eagle Butte; Jean Hunhoff, Yankton; Suzette Kirby, Sioux Falls; Marsha Sumpter, Kadoka; Ginger Thomson, Brookings; and Bev Wright, Turton.
The public is invited to attend the 35th annual recognition event at the Huron Event Center on Saturday, Oct. 2. A social begins at 5:30 p.m. with the awards banquet following at 6:30 p.m. An art show will be held from 4-7 p.m. in conjunction with the event. For ticket information, contact the Huron Chamber and Visitors Bureau at 352-0000.
Carol Johnson moved to Watertown in 1993 with her husband Brad. Together they raised two daughters and became part of many different communities. Her community outreach has meant serving on several boards including Friends of South Dakota Public Broadcasting, S.D. Lung Association, Operation Black Hills Cabin and chair a fundraising event for the Prairie Lakes Healthcare Foundation. She is a member of Rotary and P.E.O. When she decided to retire from corporate life in 2015, she transitioned to a fundraising role with Friends of SDPB and currently spends her time connecting with donors across South Dakota. She is a native of Dearborn Heights, Michigan.
Julie M. Johnson is a lawyer from Aberdeen. After attending the University of South Dakota, where she earned her B.A., an M.A., and J.D. in Law, she returned to her hometown to practice in a firm. Her career changed when Governor Bill Janklow called, and she joined his Cabinet as Secretary of Labor for several years and stayed with Governor George Mickelson for a time. She then became President of what is now known as the Industry and Commerce Association of South Dakota. She was the CEO and Chief Spokesperson/Lobbyist for the South Dakota business community. In 1995, Governor Janklow called again and asked her to come back as his Secretary of Revenue. Later she ran the South Dakota Rural Development Council, a giant collaboration, and later served as an Administrative Law Judge for the state.
She returned to Aberdeen to run a growth initiative known as “Absolutely Aberdeen” and Prairie Vision, its regional development arm. She has taught college courses for USD, NSU, SDSU, Capital University Center, and a few other institutions of higher education.
Throughout her career, she has been deeply involved with the S.D. Legislature and served as a registered lobbyist for almost her entire career. She is probably the longest-standing woman lobbyist in the hallways of the State Capitol. Issues in which she has been involved include the state’s economic development efforts, workforce, housing, nonprofits, and all forms of development. She continues to be quite involved with several key nonprofit organizations on these topics, including helping to originate the S.D. Nonprofit Network recently. She also serves as the state’s SCORE District Director.
She and her husband Bryan Hisel live at Mina Lake, just west of Aberdeen.