Governing Board of Directors
Our Governing Board of Directors is made up of representatives from various businesses, customer base, and communities served by Prairie Hills Transit. Board members meet once a month.
Kirk Easton, President representing the Spearfish community, grew up in the Black Hills. He spent most of his childhood in Edgemont but graduated from Custer High School. He received his undergraduate degree from Black Hills State University, his graduate degree from Washburn University in Topeka, KS, and his specialist degree from the University of Sioux Falls. He currently serves as the Superintendent of Schools for the Spearfish School District. He is married to Jacky and has two children, Tennison and Kenni.
Mark Carstensen, Vice-President is the Mayor of the City of Sturgis.
Renae Schaeffer, Secretary/Treasurer is currently employed at Pioneer Trust & Estate Services in the Spearfish branch. Prior to joining Pioneer Bank & Trust in May 2018, Renae spent 28 years in public accounting, including as an auditor of non-profit organizations. Community service is very important to Renae and she has been involved in many local organizations. Renae and her husband Steve live in Belle Fourche. They have 2 children and 2 grandchildren. She and Steve enjoy spending time with family, camping, and hiking in their free time.
John Senden was born and raised in Marshall, MN, and grew up on a farm. He attended Southwest State University and obtained a degree in Business Administration in 1980. John started working at a local bank in Marshall in 1976 for what he thought was a “good “ college part-time job. That part-time job turned into a 44-year career with Norwest/ Wells Fargo banks. In 1996, John transferred to Spearfish SD from Marshall for a promotion. John and his wife Linda have been married for 39 years and have four children. Three of their children are now married, and they have 5 grandchildren. John retired from banking in 2021 and was elected Mayor of Spearfish in April 2022. John and Linda are glad to call Spearfish home and want to continue supporting the community that has been so good to their family.
Richard A. Pluimer was born and raised in Belle Fourche, South Dakota. After attending college in Oregon, Dick returned to the Black Hills, graduating from Black Hills State University. Dick went on to Law School and graduated from Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, in 1979. Dick served as a member of the Butte County Board of County Commissioners before relocating his practice to Spearfish with Tom Brady in 2001. Dick has also served on non-profit organization Boards of Directors, including Spearfish Canyon Owners Association, and regularly advises non-profit Boards as part of his practice. Dick and his wife, Gloria, have a blended family of four boys. Gloria is the Director of Educational Programs for the Black Hills Special Services Cooperative. Their family is far-reaching, with sons residing in Seattle, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Spearfish.
Julie Hill has been an H&R Block franchise owner in Hot Springs and Custer and a tax professional for 35 years. She has served on the board of Hot Springs Transit for 15 years and was on the board of Southern Hills Transit prior to joining Prairie Hills Transit. “With such a large segment of older citizens in our community as well as veterans, low income and special needs individuals, I believe the services we provide are essential.”
Dr. Michelle Powers is the CEO of Northern Hills Training Center in Spearfish. A graduate of the University of South Dakota, she has a long history of advocacy and work in the field of serving individuals with disabilities, having served as the state director of special education for the state of South Dakota, as well as a local director of special services for the Brookings School District. Additionally, she served as an assistant professor of special education at Augustana University from 2017-2023. Together with her husband, Pat, they have 7 children. She and her husband enjoy traveling together and are excited at the prospect of being empty nesters sometime in the near future.
Joe Hauge is the Executive Director of Black Hills Special Services. He has degrees from South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota. Joe has lived in Rapid City for the past 30 years. His wife Shirley is a speech/language pathologist. They have two children, Michael and Kennedy. Joe has volunteered as the treasurer of his church for the past 11 years. As a PHT board member, Dr. Hauge states; “Transportation is vital for living a full life that includes work and recreation.”
Lisa Pawlowski, (Sissenstein) represents the City of Edgemont. She has lived in the Black Hills for over 43 years, moving to Edgemont from Rapid City in March 2020. Retired as a marketing executive, she has been a successful sales professional with over 24 years of experience using Radio and Digital. She has sat on numerous Community cabinets and boards throughout Rapid City, Custer, Hill City, Hot Springs, and Edgemont. This has allowed her to work with local community leaders, non-profits, Healthcare officials & local government. Staying abreast of the ever-changing needs of residents in the BH area. Lisa and her husband Wes live in the City of Edgemont. This Country boy and City girl have between them four sons, one daughter, and five grandsons who range in age from 2 to 23. Traveling Nebraska and Colorado states every chance they can.
Angie Alexander represents the City of Newell. She was born and raised in Gettysburg, SD. She attended college at BHSU and has lived in the Black Hills area for 32 years. Angie is married to Darren Alexander, and they live on their family ranch outside Newell. They have three grown children: Taylor, Dylan, and Austin. Angie started working at Butte Electric in 2007. She enjoys getting to work with the community and surrounding towns. She enjoys getting involved in projects that benefit our rural area and help our communities and individuals thrive.
Charlotte Kvale represents the City of Lemmon. She believes in the importance of public transportation in our communities. She presently serves as a lay pastor at Richland Lutheran Church and Bucyrus Lutheran Church. She is also secretary/treasurer of TK Diesel Inc. and audits tax returns for a local attorney. She is married to Tim Kvale; they have three sons and seven grandchildren. Charlotte strongly believes in the importance of working together for the betterment of our friends and neighbors.
Dennis Schumacher represents the City of Lead. He was born and raised in Lead and graduated from Lead High School in 1975. My wife was also born and raised in Lead, and we have been married for 45 years. In January 1976 he started working for Homestake Mining and was a highball drifter on the 8000-foot level for 1 year, he worked with his dad and drifted for 10 years together. He finished out his career as an Engineer tech at the Open Cut with 27 years with the company. He then was employed with Lawrence County for 5 years as an appraiser. He has been with the City of Lead for 18 years with many hats, including but not limited to Building Inspector, Zoning Coordinator, Historic Preservation, and Fire Department Captain. He is also an Emergency Medical Responder. He said, "I’m pleased to represent the City of Lead as a Board Member and hopefully able to contribute to the cause."
Dale Householder represents the City of Hill City.
Justin Lux represents the City of Deadwood. He was born and raised in the Lead/Deadwood area, graduating from the Lead-Deadwood School District. Justin graduated with a B.A. from the University of South Dakota, majoring in Criminal Justice. Upon graduation, he began working for the City of Deadwood Police Department, where he worked for 11 years as a patrol officer, detective, and patrol Sergeant. In December 2022, he was hired as the Parking & Transportation Director. It was a new department for the city that oversees all parking operations and staff, which includes the Community Service Officers who address most ordinance complaints within the City. The department also includes the trolley department and three enterprise funds. Only a small portion of the trolley enterprise fund is supplemented, and that is with impact funds from Historic Preservation. He currently resides in Deadwood with his wife, Lexi, and sons, Peyton and Owen. Justin and his wife are involved in several non-profit organizations and enjoy many of the Northern Hills's outdoor activities.