In the CEO Spotlight: Meet Ryan Goehner
by Shawn Marie Brummer
Communications & Media Specialist

Ryan Goehner was born and raised in the city of Huron, South Dakota. His financial education started at a very young age, thanks to the encouragement of his father, Wes Goehner. First, his dad opened a savings account for him at Dakotaland Federal Credit Union. By the age of five, his dad started giving him a small allowance – with certain stipulations. His dad held on to the cash, and if Ryan wanted to spend his money, he would then have to write a “pretend check” to purchase anything – from candy, to games and toys. In addition, Ryan had to keep a “check register” with a running balance, so he was always aware of how much money he had spent, and how much he had remaining.

“Dad always let me spend it on whatever I wanted, but it definitely taught me the value of money, the benefits of saving, and encouraged me to think through my purchases at a young age,” he recalled. Beyond teaching Ryan about financial responsibility, his father always encouraged him to work hard and do his best, whether it was in sports, school, or work.  

Just before starting seventh grade, Ryan met the love of his life, Heather Sieler, when her family moved from Yankton to Huron. At the time, Ryan says all he was interested in was sports – and it just happened that Heather was a natural athlete, which caught his interest. Two years later, their relationship took a romantic turn, and the two started dating, which continued through their college years. Ryan attended the University of South Dakota (USD) in Vermillion, earning his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, while Heather attended South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, where she was a basketball standout.

After receiving their undergraduate degrees, the couple married, and both continued their educations at USD. Ryan earned his Master of Professional Accountancy, while Heather received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. After graduating, they settled in Yankton, South Dakota, where Ryan was employed as a Senior Accountant at Williams & Company PC, a public accounting firm. Once their first son was born, they began discussing the idea of moving back to their hometown of Huron.

Heather was able to secure a job as a physical therapist immediately, so now it was up to Ryan to find a job. He started calling on businesses around town about possible accounting positions, but he wasn’t having much luck – until a family friend suggested that he should make a call to Dakotaland Federal Credit Union. He was familiar with Dakotaland because that was where he had an account growing up, but he had never considered them as an employment possibility.

After speaking with Debbie Lehmen, Dakotaland’s Chief Human Resource Officer, he learned the credit union was seeking to hire a Chief Financial Officer. An interview was set up for June 3, 2011, and by July 15 they had sold their house in Yankton and were moving back to Huron. That same year, Ryan became a Certified Public Accountant.

On July 1, 2020, Ryan assumed the CEO position at Dakotaland FCU following the retirement of longtime CEO Dan Cumbee, whom Ryan considers a major influence and a fine mentor. “He was a supervisor that always had an open-door policy, and I certainly took advantage of that,” Ryan says. “Being new to the credit union industry, I constantly asked Dan questions, brought up ideas, and looked for guidance. Not once did he ever seem bothered by me asking questions or seem like he did not have time, even though he was very busy. I greatly appreciated Dan’s willingness to always be available to toss around an idea and to share his knowledge and insights,” he added.

Today, Ryan oversees 160 Employees, and says he truly enjoys working with all of them every day, knowing that they are making a tremendous impact in their members’ lives. “We are helping them buy their first house, first car, or open their first checking account, as well as helping them through many other stages of their lives. Things are always changing, from technology to regulations, to dealing with a pandemic – but it is very encouraging when everyone at Dakotaland is working together for the end goal of serving our members,” he concludes.

In his personal life, Ryan and Heather have two sons: Lincoln (9) and Logan (7) and a goldendoodle named Goldie. Ryan volunteers to promote financial literacy by teaching Junior Achievement at the local school, and he also serves as treasurer on both the Huron Regional Medical Center Foundation Board and the Greater Huron Development Corporation Board. When he is not working, Ryan enjoys playing in the back yard with the boys or watching their favorite teams – especially the Kansas City Chiefs.

Finally, the Goehners continue their love affair with sports. In fact, this past year, Heather was inducted into the 2020 South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame. However, Ryan has his own claim to fame. So far, he has bowled three perfect 300 games! At his young age, certainly more perfect scores are on the horizon.





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