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Highmark Federal Credit Union

Announcements and News

News Release Feb. 26, 2024

Highmark’s CEO Carlson Announces Retirement

Highmark Credit Union’s CEO/President, John Carlson, has announced plans to retire June 30, 2024, after 32 years of service.

Carlson started his career as president/CEO at the credit union June 29,1992, having moved to Rapid City from Minnesota, where he had been the President/CEO of the First American Bank of Watertown, Minnesota  and had previously worked in ag lending.

“When Carlson was hired to lead, the then, Rapid City Federal Credit Union, it was a $12 million asset institution.  Under his forward thinking and steady guidance Highmark is now a credit union with over $245 million in assets and an outstanding community reputation.  He led us through so much more than a name change.  There is no way we can thank John Carlson enough for what he has done for Highmark Credit Union”, stated Dana West, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Highmark.  

Membership  grew exponentially during his tenure; Highmark now serves over 13,500 members in the region. With a penchant for social gatherings and business development, Carlson enjoyed working closely with the Rapid City chamber, as well as with other regional economic entities. He was a graduate of the 1993 LRC program, served as Chairman of the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, chaired the boards of the Black Hills Workshop Foundation and the Western Dakota Tech Foundation, and served as President of the Rushmore Rotary.  Lynn Greff, Board Member when Carlson was hired, noted, “We appreciate John for his tremendous community involvement,  honesty, fairness, forward thinking and for being a true believer in the Credit Union philosophy of “People Helping People”.

There will be an Open House/Meet & Greet for John Carlson and the incoming President, Mindy Howard, Friday, May 10th from 3-6 pm at the Hive, Main Street Square, Rapid City.


Cornerstone Resources Successfully Places New Highmark Credit Union CEO  

Mindy Howard to replace outgoing CEO John Carlson

PLANO, TEXAS, Feb. 20, 2024 - Cornerstone Resources’ executive search and professional recruiting division is pleased to announce the successful completion of the CEO search for Highmark Federal Credit Union (Highmark). After an extensive and thorough evaluation process, the board has selected Mindy Howard, the current chief operating officer, as the new president/CEO of the $250 million credit union.

Highmark, based in Rapid City, South Dakota, is undergoing a leadership transition as CEO John Carlson will retire on June 30 after 32 years of service. Prior to Howard’s role as COO – where she has been responsible for strategic planning and oversight of the compliance and audit departments – she served in leadership roles at Highmark including VP of operations and assistant vice president of compliance.

Carlson said, “I am delighted with the Board’s decision to select Mindy Howard as the next president/CEO of Highmark. She has held several positions within Highmark over the last 20+ years and is well qualified to be Highmark’s next president. I have enjoyed my 32 years as president/CEO of Highmark, and I couldn’t be happier knowing Mindy will be leading Highmark to new successes well into the future.”

Dana West, chairman of the Board, said, “We started this process by looking across the country for the perfect fit for our credit union. We were absolutely pleased to find that in Melinda Howard. Her heart and passion are with Highmark, and we couldn’t be happier that she accepted the challenge.”

Cornerstone Resources conducted the CEO search, partnering with the Highmark board to evaluate an extensive list of both internal and external candidates. Marcus Cotton, executive search vice president at Cornerstone Resources, said, “Cornerstone Resources partnered with the board to evaluate an extensive list of both internal and external candidates. We are excited for Mindy Howard, not only for what she can do for Highmark moving forward, but also because she truly earned this position by standing out in a long list of applicants.”

Howard said that she looks forward to taking the helm.

“I look forward to having the opportunity to help lead this great credit union that has been such a significant part of my life for the last 25 years and a significant part of the Black Hills community for the last 84 years. I’ve grown up with Highmark, and I’m excited for our next steps together.”

About Cornerstone Resources

Cornerstone Resources is a service corporation that provides industry-leading solutions and expertise to credit unions across the country. Cornerstone Resources is a part of the Cornerstone League, a regional trade association representing the interests of credit unions in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. For more information, please visit


Upcoming Events & Sponsorships

  • February 27 - Box Elder Chamber Mixer
  • March 2 - BH Works Putt n Pub
  • March 31 - Easter
  • May 10-11 - Highmark Sponsors Women Build 2024 (Habitat for Humanity)  
  • May 10 - Open House for Retiring CEO John Carlson/Incoming CEO Mindy Howard


Congrats Amanda Millard and Hannah Taylor!

Employee of the Month Winners

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