The Bismarck State College National Alumni Association Board of Directors has chosen Lewis & Clark Development Group Executive Director Brent Ekstrom as its 2022 Alumnus of the Year.
The award is the college’s highest honor and is bestowed upon alumni who have made significant impacts in their chosen fields or through services to their community, our state, and country. Ekstrom is a 1989 BSC graduate.
In its announcement, the BSC National Alumni Association said Ekstrom is being honored for “living a life of service” through his role as LCD Group’s executive director by being “actively and directly involved in community and economic development that improves individuals’ quality of life and enhances local economies.”
Rita Nodland nominated Ekstrom for the honor. As the retired BSC alumni coordinator, Nodland says Ekstrom more than meets the criteria for award.
“Brent’s professional and personal accomplishments puts him in the league with BSC’s outstanding alumni,” says Nodland.
Ekstrom was a member of the BSC Alumni Board from 2001 through 2007. During this time, he served as the board’s chairperson, president, and vice president. In these roles, Ekstrom was involved in selecting past recipients for the award and admits he did not put himself in their company.
“During my time on the BSC Alumni Board, I participated in the review and selection of recipients for Alumnus of the Year. When I received the notice that I had been nominated I was extremely honored to even be thought of within that group of distinguished recipients. Then to receive the award is truly extraordinary,” said Ekstrom.
Growing LCD Group
Ekstrom has served as LCD Group executive director since 2014. During this time Ekstrom and the LCD Group team have helped to create and retain over 4,700 jobs and have developed or maintained 3,000 affordable single- and multi-family housing units throughout North Dakota. LCD Group has also provided assistance to more than 2,000 small business and housing projects across North Dakota, totaling in excess of $794 million. Ekstrom received the 2018 National NeighborWorks Association Emerging Leader Award in recognition of his work in expanding LCD Group’s statewide impact through establishing innovative partnerships and programs.
“I know I’m being honored in part for my professional work but I always make clear that I’m just the most conspicuous member of an outstanding team,” adds Ekstrom.
“The progress Lewis and Clark Development Group has made over the years has been a team effort. Our impact is possible because of our dedication, professionalism, and passion to help small businesses, provide affordable housing, help homebuyers, and strengthen our communities.”
Professionally, Ekstrom is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional and holds a professional certificate in Community Economic Development.
Ekstrom serves on a number of industry boards. In January 2021, he began a three-year term as North Dakota’s representative on the Affordable Housing Advisory Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Des Moines. FHLB Des Moines has assets of almost $130 billion and 1,296 member institutions that benefit from access to a variety of products and services designed to lower funding costs, mitigate risk, improve asset and liability management, and meet community credit needs.
Ekstrom also serves on the National NeighborWorks® Association Board of Directors, Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation New Markets Tax Credit Advisory Board, the North Dakota Association of Non-Profit Organizations (NDANO) where he is currently serving as treasurer, and the Native American Development Center Loan Committee where he is currently serving a chair.
In addition to his associate’s degree from BSC, Ekstrom also holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Minot State University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of North Dakota.
Involved in the Community and his Alma Mater
Outside the office, Ekstrom is actively engaged in volunteer service as a youth leader at Legacy United Methodist Church and as a Boy Scout leader. And, as Nodland points out, he continues to give back to his alma mater.
“During his time on the BSC Alumni Board, Brent was instrumental in creating our lifetime donor society and creating the Rising Star Award to recognize young up-and-coming alumni. He is always promoting BSC as an opportunity for students’ future careers,” says Nodland who also spoke to Brent’s personal qualities.
“I know Brent to be intelligent, kind, and very modest. Like everyone else who knows him, I also appreciate his great sense of humor. I am delighted BSC is giving him the recognition he deserves.”
Ekstrom will be Formally Honored on May 12
Ekstrom will be honored at the BSC Alumni & Athletic Hall of Fame Awards Dinner on Thursday, May 12 at 6:00 PM (CDT) in the BSC National Energy Center of Excellence, Bavendick Stateroom.
Friends, colleagues, family, BSC alumni and the public are welcome to attend. Ticket information is available at bismarckstate.edu/alumniawards or by calling the BSC National Alumni Association at 701-224-2486.
Attendance is free of charge. For planning purposes, tickets must be reserved by May 6, 2022.