Russell Olson selected as CEO of Heartland, will resign Senate seat
Heartland Consumers Power District has announced Russell Olson as the company's next general manager and CEO. Olson currently serves as Heartland's manager of community and economic development. He will officially begin his duties as general manager on Oct. 1.|
Olson is a graduate of the University of South Dakota, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in English and political science. He earned his master of arts degree in public administration.
After a short stint in the private sector, Olson worked for the South Eastern Council of Governments as a land use planner. He then worked for the South Dakota Governor's Office of Economic Development. Next, he served as executive director of the Lake Area Improvement Corporation, which serves as Madison's office of economic development.
Olson joined Heartland in 2005 with a vision of increasing new business opportunities in customer communities. He has played a key role in various economic development and customer service programs, including creation of the growth incentive program, economic development grants and the Heartland Economic development Loan Program, or HELP Fund.
Olson has also served in the South Dakota Legislature as representative, senator, and most recently Senate Majority Leader.
Olson is a native of Egan. He and his wife Jennie live outside Madison with their four children, Ben, Anna, Victoria and Gordon.
Olson succeeds Mike McDowell, who is retiring after serving as general manager for the past nine years.
Olson, a Republican, also announced plans to resign from his seat in the State Senate.
"Senator Olson will be very much missed," said Gov. Daugaard. "Russ has been a strong majority leader and a well-respected leader for South Dakota and his district. I congratulate him on his new position, and wish Russ and his family all the best."
Olson has served in the state Senate since 2009, after serving one term in the state House, and has been Senate Majority Leader since 2011. Olson represents District 8, which encompasses Lake, Miner, Moody and Sanborn counties.
The resignation is effective Sept. 30 and will create a vacancy that will be filled by gubernatorial appointment. The governor is asking the public to nominate candidates to fill the position.
Those wishing to offer nominations should contact Patrick Weber in the Office of the Governor at 605-773-5999. Nominations should include the candidate's name, current address, telephone number and relevant background information.
Daugaard expects to name an appointee prior to the 2014 legislative session.