Introducing 2019's 31 under 31!



Kourtney Feature 1March 1 

Kourtney Erickson

Communications Director at Sacred Heart Monastery | Bartender at Ben's Brewing Co.


“I grew up in Yankton but branched out to another state for college. Whenever I came home, I was reminded of what a great community Yankton has. When deciding where I wanted to be after graduating, Yankton came to mind right away. With Yankton's many recreational activities, the small-town atmosphere, and a great community of people, I'm glad I came back to be a part of greater Yankton.”

Jordan Feature 2March 2

Jordan Houdek

Learning Technology Support Specialist at Mount Marty College


“After starting my life in Yankton at Mount Marty College as a student I could tell that the Yankton area was a very welcoming community with a lot of opportunities to offer, which is why I chose to begin my adult life here as well. Everyone here made me feel welcome and it felt as though I belonged here. Not only is the community supportive but there is a lot to do with the river and trails close by.”

Kourtney Feature 1March 3 

Kaiti Ladwig

English/Language Arts Teacher at Yankton High School

“The greater Yankton area was completely unexpected. I initially thought Yankton would bridge me to my next life opportunity, but it inevitably became the place I call home. I was immediately welcomed by the Yankton School District, and I slowly became more and more attached to several organizations, several community members, and several YSD employees. Yankton makes me feel welcomed; Yankton makes me proud. There are so many opportunities in the striking, city-like community. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Arielle & Brandon Feature 4March 4

Arielle & Brandon Kneifl

Enrollment Counselor at Mount Marty College | Welder at Kolberg-Pioneer

We recently moved back to the area for greater career opportunities for both of us. We love the community’s passion for family fun events. Our family loves the outdoors, camping, boating, hunting, and just being outside. We spend most of our summers camping and are excited to be in an area where we can do all the things our family enjoys the most. The greater Yankton Area is a beautiful community to be a part of and we are excited by the opportunities for our family.” 

Brittany feature 5March 5 

Brittany Wagner

Youth and Families Therapist at Lewis & Clark Behavioral Health Services


“Growing up in Yankton, I believed that my future was determined by how far away I could venture. The further I journeyed, the more I missed my hometown and all it has to offer. Yankton's progressive growth and desire to encompass diversity, while still allowing for a sense of community contentedness allows for that small-town charm makes for the perfect combination for any individual to put down roots. And now that we have children of our own, we cannot wait to explore all that Yankton has to offer and make this our best adventure yet.”

HannahZ Feature 6March 6

Hannah Zimmerman

Second Grade Teacher at Stewart Elementary School

“What I love most about Yankton is that we have a community that is supportive of education. As a teacher, I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend graduate school right here in Yankton. I received my Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Mount Marty College. Mount Marty and our local school districts developed a collaboration that allowed us to directly implement new practices right into our classrooms while working on our graduate degrees. Our community sees the importance of education and wants the best for Yankton’s students. Because of this, different individuals have created a scholarship to allow local teachers to further their education through Mount Marty’s program; to feel that support, as a teacher, is overwhelming.”

Nealy Feature 7March 7

Nealy Pesicka

Certified Mental Health Aide at HSC | Co-owner of DIGS | Nursing student at USD

“I choose to live in the greater Yankton area because it is such a strong-bonded community. The values and family ties that run deep in this community are unmatched. There is no other place I would rather build my family than in Yankton. No matter what changes come about in this town it will always feel like home.

Robert Feature 8March 8

Robert Walsh

Owner/Operator of Walsh Construction


Yankton has given me the opportunity to pursue and follow my dreams as a young business owner. Young entrepreneurs, like myself, receive an abundant amount of support. Our city is on the rise and its potential is endless. I am excited to be a part of its future!”

Hannah Feature 9March 9

Hannah Nooney

Co-owner of DIGS | Stay-at-home-mom | Bartender at Ben's Brewing Co.


“Why I choose to live in the Greater Yankton area is very simple. There is something about Yankton that I have never felt anywhere else. You can call it a bond or a connection, but it’s instilled in the community. And it’s something I want my children to be a part of and grow up in. It’s home.

Robert Feature 8March 10

Carl & Ashlee Toben

Owners/Operators of Toben Tree Service


“Living in Carl's hometown of Yankton has allowed us to build and grow our business over that last 8 years. Because of our relationships with local retailers as well as our amazing return customers we have been able to build a locally owned-and-operated successful business. Family is extremely important to us and that’s what brought Carl back here after living in the Black Hills. Carl's parents farm by State Lake (Utica), we spend a lot of time helping on the family farm. Agriculture is such a big and important part of the greater Yankton area. We love the farm and the values around the farming community. We are excited to raise our family and continue to grow our business here in the Yankton area.”


Carlos Feature 9March 11

Carlos Saenz

Head Coach of Men's Soccer at Mount Marty College


Since I was a student at Mount Marty College, I have always admired how nice and welcoming the people are here in Yankton. I am originally from Lima, Peru, and I had the opportunity to be in different cities in the US. When I came to Yankton, I started feeling like I was at home. My goal is to start a free soccer clinic for the kids in the community to give back to Yankton and share my love for the sport.”

Elly Feature 12March 12

Elly Daisy

Insurance Officer with Farm Credit Services of America


What I love most about Greater Yankton is the hard-working, morally-driven attitude that is instilled in the people that give our town a welcoming rural feel. The community hosts an abundance of volunteer opportunities, exceptional education for our daughter, and many organizations that allow us to be a part of making Yankton great. On top of all of that, we get to enjoy the beauty of wide-open fields, camping ‘in our backyard’ at the lake, and enjoying walks across the Meridian Bridge.” 

Wagners Feature 13March 13

Madisen & Alex Wagner

Float Nurse at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital | Agri-Business Credit Analyst at First Dakota National Bank



Yankton is home to us, it is where we both grew up and where we want to raise our children. Alex grew up on his family farm and I grew up out by the lake. We had very different childhoods, but both loved being raised here. In returning to Yankton, both of us have found fulfilling careers and have created a life together. Yankton is a well-rounded community bursting with opportunity, while also having a small-town feel. We are proud to call Yankton our home!” 

March 14Nikki Feature 14

Nikki Pravecek

Real Estate Agent with Vision Real Estate Services


“I originally moved back to Yankton to be near my family. I choose to stay because there are genuinely GOOD people here, people who want to see others succeed and do well. I feel a great sense of support! I love seeing how far Yankton has come. It’s great to see so many people dedicated to the growth and prosperity of the place I call ‘home’. New things happen every day! I think the Food for Thought group is an incredibly special group of people and they exude compassion for those that they help. I look forward spending time with them each month! And Lewis & Clark Lake just can’t be beat - to be on a boat on the water makes for the perfect day! 

Holly Feature 14March 15

Holly Anderson

Marketing Communications Specialist at Kolberg-Pioneer



I chose to live in the Yankton area because of its unique, community-centered atmosphere. The city is energized with progress and actively working toward improvement. I am excited to see what the future holds for the area.

March 16Logan Feature 16

Logan Wagner

Head Men's & Women's Golf Coach/Women's Assistant Basketball Coach at Mount Marty College

I chose to come back to Yankton so quickly after graduating from MMC because it allowed me to pursue a job I love, in a community I love. The people in Yankton are second to none. Yankton’s greatest asset is the people. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by the people that I am in this community.”

Brooke Feature 17March 17

Brooke Thury

General Manager at Ben's Brewing Co.


“I choose to live in Yankton because it offered a little bit of everything I was looking for when it came to my future career and raising my family. Yankton has given me an amazing career that allows flexibility and lets my creativity shine. It has provided me with a safe community to raise my daughter in, a great school district for her to grow in, and ample amounts of recreational activities for her to participate in. The Yankton community is surrounded with love and resources that a lot of other communities lack.

March 18Maddox Feature 18

Nakita & Adam Maddox

Yankton Program Coordinator at Cornerstones Career Learning Center | Lieutenant at Mike Durfee State Prison


It was very important for my husband and I to be close to family.  Growing up, my family drove to Yankton almost every weekend during the summer, so I have lots of good memories of this area.”

Dani Feature 19March 19

Dani Ahlgrim

Lead Universal Banker at First Dakota National Bank


I love Yankton, because Yankton is beautiful! The Arts hold a special place in my heart, and I’m filled with joy when I walk through our downtown area. We have so many opportunities to experience art in our community, from Yankton Area Arts to Riverboat Days, and everywhere in between. I am lucky to live in a city where I can soak up the natural beauty that surrounds me, while enjoying a variety of sculptures and murals. <3”

March 20Betsy Feature 20

Betsy Thomas

Resource Development & Administrative Coordinator at United Way & Volunteer Services of Greater Yankton

The Greater Yankton community has been so good to me and I love all the volunteer opportunities to has to offer. I became involved in Big Friend Little Friend shortly after moving to Yankton a year ago. I had a great experience being a Mentor during college and wanted to make a difference in my new community. Volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded people who care about the same things I do. I feel very lucky to call Yankton my home.

Jacksons Feature 21March 21

Amanda & Bryant Jackson

Buyer at Manitou Groups | Police Sergeant at USD


“We love the hiking and camping areas in the greater Yankton area. There are so many opportunities to explore different areas with our kids and dogs. We look forward to having so many more adventures here!”

March 22Ethan Feature 22

Ethan Powell

Project Manager for Larry's Heating & Cooling, LLC.

“The reason I chose to move back to the Greater Yankton Area was simple.  There is nowhere else on this planet where you can find that perfect amalgamation of the small-town optimist mixed with the big city dreamer.  Working in HVAC as I do, I am blessed with the opportunity to get out and meet all sorts of different people in the Yankton and surrounding areas.  From talking to these different folks, I can say there is tangible static charge amongst most everyone.  Whether it’s in agreeance or a counterpoint, people are paying attention, voicing their opinion, and not just staying silent.  I choose to stay in Yankton, because I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Tay Feature 23March 23

Tay Janis

Barista at Abe's Coffee House | Bartender at Ben's Brewing Co. | employee at L.Lenae Designs & Floral


I choose to live in the Greater Yankton area because they say home is where the heart is, and my heart is definitely in Yankton!  My Restore family, my amazing family members, and my closest friends are all here. I love this beautiful area and I really appreciate the hard working and good-hearted people I serve and interact with daily. I believe this is a great growing community and I'm thankful to be a part of it!

March 24Sara Feature 24

Sara VanderTuig

Clerk at Yankton County Treasurer's Office


“Yankton is where both my husband and I grew up and it is a great community to raise our family. We love spending time outdoors and all the great recreational activities Yankton has to offer. I enjoy helping/volunteering with my children’s activities. We also enjoy spending time on the water.”

Jessica Feature 25March 25

Jessica Nelson

Owner and Photographer at JD Photography


“Yankton was an amazing place to start my career as a photographer. Coming back home as a new business owner was a bit intimidating but the Yankton community made it possible to grow and do exactly what I love to do. I have received nothing but support and opportunity here in Yankton and I plan to stay and grow as the city of Yankton grows. As a plus, Yankton has some pretty stellar locations to photograph!

March 26Jeff Feature 26

Jeff Mueller

Church Planting Pastor of Restore Church - Yankton 

“I am blessed with a ministry career that has sent me across the country and around the world. Yet, out of all the places I've been, I can honestly say Yankton is my favorite place in the world. Yankton is a beautiful town, with friendly people, and no shortage of things to do, and the community is working hard to make this city an amazing place for generations to come. Even when I find myself traveling to the most paradisiac places, after a few days I long to return to Yankton. My wife and I chose to live here because God has clearly called us to do whatever we can to contribute to this amazing community.”

Paige Feature 27March 27

Paige Gednalske

Owner and Nail Technician at Polished Nail Salon

I chose to live in the greater Yankton area because my husband and I grew up here and couldn’t imagine raising our kids anywhere else. The Yankton community has great schools, activities, and wonderful support for small businesses. I am super thankful for the love and support I’ve received from the community, friends, and family while starting my small business.”

March 28Cameron Feature 28

Cameron Van Beek

LPN with Avera Education & Staffing Solutions

“My wife, Ashley, and I, not originally being from the Yankton area, decided to make it our home and to raise our family here for multiple reasons one being the great Lewis and Clark recreational area, where we love camping and enjoying our summers by the lake! Secondly, we like the size of Yankton and all it has to offer! I also volunteer for Yankton County Search and Rescue which gives me the opportunity to help others in the great Yankton community!

Samantha Feature 29March 29

Samantha Hofer

Corporate & Retail Sales at Hanson Briggs Specialty Advertising

“Yankton has been good to us, this is the place that helped my family business thrive into what it is today along with being the place I met and married my high school sweetheart. Our family loves to stay active and outdoors, so the greater Yankton area has always been a great place to keep us busy with camping, biking, hiking and many others. We look forward to raising our family in our hometown and being part of the community as new parents.”

March 30Emily Feature 30

Emily Vitek

Pharmacist at Hy-Vee (Yankton)


I choose to live in Yankton because it is a great community to raise my children in. Yankton has amazing schools, awesome parks, and a great sense of community.”

Buchers Feature 31March 31

Erin & Bert Bucher

Chiropractic Assistant at First Chiropractic Center | Associate Attorney at Blackburn & Stevens Prof. LLC


"We chose to live in Yankton because we like the direction the city is headed. It makes Yankton a great place to raise our future family. We are excited and proud to be part of this great community."  


Karissa Feature 32

Karissa Heine

Radiologic Technologist & Mammographer at the Yankton Medical Clinic

“With both of us growing up in Yankton, my husband and I knew it was the perfect place to raise our children. There is such a wide variety of opportunities to enroll in and promising education options. Greater Yankton is a growing community with a small-town feel. With the kindness of people mixed with the comfort and familiarity, along with the wide array of recreational activity Yankton provides, it made our lifetime decision effortless. We are dedicated to providing an exceptional upbringing to our children in this extraordinary community we call home.” 

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email