Board TitleVice Chairperson
FromDeadwood, South Dakota
Appointed byGov. Dennis Daugaard
Gov. Dennis Daugaard appointed Ron Wheeler of Deadwood, S.D., to the Board of Directors of the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority in July 2013. Wheeler previously had served as executive director of the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA), a position he had held since July 2008. During his five-year tenure, Wheeler directed the re-opening of the former Homestake gold mine as the Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab), including rehabilitations of the Ross and Yates shafts and the construction and outfitting of the Davis Campus on the 4,850-foot level of the Sanford Lab.
In June 2013, Wheeler stepped down as executive director, and the following month, Gov. Daugaard appointed him to the SDSTA Board. "Ron Wheeler has been crucial to the success of the underground lab over the past five years," Daugaard said. "He is uniquely qualified to help guide this important project, and I thank him for his continued service. "SDSTA Board Chairman Casey Peterson noted that Wheeler had played a key role in the establishment of the Sanford Lab, and Wheeler will continue to advise the SDSTA Board on external and governmental affairs. Ron has taken us from the survival mode to the viability mode," Peterson said. "His skills negotiating with various stakeholders will continue to serve us well." Wheeler's appointment to the board filled the vacancy caused last fall by the death of President Robert Wharton of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
Wheeler previously served as secretary of the South Dakota Department of Transportation and as state commissioner of economic development. He also has 28 years' experience running businesses and corporations. As president and chief executive officer of Simon Telelect in Watertown, Wheeler grew that manufacturing company from $60 million to $110 million in annual sales. He then served as president of the Access Division of Simon Engineering Plc. in London, England. Simon Engineering had annual sales of $750 million and 3,500 employees in the U.K., Europe and Australia.
Wheeler was president and CEO of BHL Capital Corp. in Rapid City, S.D., before he joined the SDSTA.