Zikmund for Senate
Like many South Dakotans, I grew up in a farming community and worked at a variety of jobs in the field, raising livestock, and fixing farm equipment. In high school I played football, basketball, baseball and participated in track. Throughout these years, my parents taught me the importance of good character and hard work.
After high school graduation I spent a year working in the construction industry with heavy equipment, before entering college. While working toward an Associate of Arts degree and playing on my college basketball team, I continued to work at a variety of jobs to pay my tuition.
My family has a history of military service which gave me the desire to serve, as well. I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, served for four years, and achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant. During my service time I taught heavy equipment maintenance. My military experience, as well as family members before me, have ingrained in me a strong support for our active military and veterans. Following my military service, I continued work on my degree in Educational Administration at the University of Illinois.
My career has been devoted to vocational technical education, assuring that our young people have the skills to be prepared for good paying jobs now and in the future. As State Director of Adult Vocational and Technical Education I worked to build South Dakota's secondary and post-secondary systems to provide the best educational opportunities for our students.
In addition to working on statewide workforce development issues in technical education, I also served as President and CEO of the South Dakota Associated General Contractors Building Chapter. In this role, I built relationships with contractors and business leaders across the state, developing a collaborative style that I have carried into my legislative service. An AGC project of which I am very proud is Operation Opening Doors created to remodel or construct homes for our returning disabled veterans. This program has been replicated nationally and provided adaptive homes for many deserving veterans.