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Highmark Federal Credit Union

Get To Know Us

 This is intended to be a fun, light-hearted way to get to know a bit about who Highmark is made up of, and what makes us unique. We hope you enjoy. We will add a few employees each week, and updating on Fridays as new team members join.
Kelly Milliken, Branch Manager (Belle Fourche)
  • I have been married to my husband,  Jamie, for 6 years and  together for 16 years.
  • We have one son Connor age 21, daughter Chloe 18, and 2 dogs Kassi the Bichon frisé and Lola the pitbull.
  • We spend a lot of our time at the golf course.
  • I love to read, garden and bake!
Breanna Aars, Universal Teller (Gillette)
  • I've lived in Wyoming my whole life, attended school in Moorcroft, and then moved to Gillette after graduation.
  • Going camping and fishing is my favorite thing to do in the summer - along with going to visit my man’s family in South Dakota. In the winter I love movie nights and snowboarding
  • I recently purchased my first home with my boyfriend.
  • We have a one year old mini long hair dachshund and she loves to bark at anything and everything.
  • I absolutely love cooking and baking, and I'm always looking for new things to try.
  • I love to paint especially anything Disney ( which I'm obsessed with) but any type of painting makes me happy.
Carl Beatty, Systems Administrator (Rapid City)
  •  - Has been working IT for roughly 20 years
  •  -  Has an extensive bourbon collection
  •  -  Chicago Cubs fan
  •  -  Parent to a Frenchie named Cooper

Sophia Muir, Commercial Credit Analyst (Rapid City)

  • I am originally from Pennsylvania
  • I enjoy skiing even though it is only my second season
  • Zion is my favorite National Park – a goal of mine is to visit all 63 National Parks in the US
  • I am belay certified for Rock Climbing
  • I have 2 cats named Maverick (tuxedo) and Keanu Reeves (editorial note: I love that cat name!
Kelsey Opitz, Personal Financial Officer (Rapid City)

  • I love to laugh!
  • My family has a love for golfing and everything sports.
  • Cooking is my therapy; however, baking is not. 😝
  • I am terrified of snakes.
  • One of my favorite memories last summer was going paddle boarding in the middle of the night!
Sidni Hood, Personal Financial Associate (Rapid City)

My name is Sid! I was born in Belleville, Illinois and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota! My family consists of my wonderful husband, our son, and our zoo of a home! We have 3 dogs, 2 cats, a bearded dragon and a fish tank. In our downtime, my husband and I love to do DIY projects, from making furniture, dog kennels, shirts and tumblers, to small home décor items! If you think it, we can make it! We have run a small business out of our shop for almost 4 years and we have loved every second of it. When I’m not focused on our business, I enjoy spending time with my family, being outdoors, playing video games, and crafting! 

Alex Gogola, Universal Teller (Gillette)
I’ve lived in Gillette on and off since I was 12. I have a degree in Economics and Mathematics. I have a beagle named Theo and 2 lovely cats. I love reading books. My favorite food is cheese burgers.

Tigh Livermont, Consumer Loan Processor (Rapid City)
I was born and raised right here in South Dakota! I grew up on my family’s ranch in Wanblee, where we raise Black Angus cattle and American Quarter Horses.  I was fortunate to grow up with an extensive background in agriculture and the western lifestyle, which is a driving force in why I chose a career path in banking and (slowly) work towards being an ag loan officer. I graduated from Kadoka High School in 2016, received my A.S. in Ag Business and Sciences from Eastern Wyoming College, and I am currently pursuing my B.S. in Business Administration at Oglala Lakota College in Rapid City. One of my passions is rodeo—although I am normally a contestant in the arena, I was also the 2022 Miss Indian Rodeo queen! When I’m not at work, I like to indulge in my hobbies of hiking, lifting, gaming, drawing, roping, and rodeoing!

Kris Schmanski, HR Director (Rapid City)

Kris was born and raised on a ranch east of Rapid City that has been in her family for 4 generations.  Her great grandfather was the first pharmacist in RC and was located where Who’s Hobby House is now. Kris has been married for 31 years.  She has 4 (grown) kiddos, Andrew is a genetic counselor in Omaha, Kaz is our second son and is a software engineer in Minneapolis, and Jane is married and is an industrial engineer in Dallas. Her youngest, Sara, just graduated with her master’s in accounting and is sitting for the CPA exams.  She also has a 14 year old pup named Boomer who is half papillon and half American eskimo, as well as  3 grand pets!

Hannah Taylor, Data Analyst (Rapid City)

Meet Hannah! She recently started as Highmark's first Data Analyst.

Hannah was born and raised in Rapid City but lived in the south for a few years before moving back home.  She has an accounting background and is in her last year of schooling for Accounting & Finance degree.  Hannah and her significant other, Jordan, have two dogs; both are long haired German Shepherds’ named Gunner and Walter.


Sonni Jimenez, Universal Teller (Rapid City)
Sonni grew up in Scottsbluff, NE, where she also met her husband. They have been together for 13 years! She has two beautiful boys aged 12 and 7. She enjoys reading, watching movies, and watching her boys play sports. Mainly, she enjoys spending time with her family. So glad to have you on our team, Sonni!

Bethany Case, Universal Teller (Rapid City)

I’m from Nebraska! I came to South Dakota for college at Black Hills State University. My major is Tourism Hospitality and Management, and I already have my Associates in Business. I have one younger brother, who is way taller than me. I have a cat named Nacho, a hamster named Taco and another cat that lives with my parents in Nebraska named Gato! I love to go hiking whenever it’s nice out, I’m a huge nerd for video games and movies!


Nick Schwan, Internal Auditor (Rapid City)
Nick enjoys hunting, hiking, and beer. His dog's name is Morgan. He says he is a pretty good cook (editor note: he is a fantastic cook and his BBQ is out of this world good!). He claims he is constantly remodeling his house which he normally enjoys (except for most recently). He also especially enjoys teasing and startling his work colleagues, in-office pranks, and specifically those focused on his friend, Aaron, Highmark's Controller. 

Pam Lang, Commercial Loan Officer (Rapid City)

Pam joined our Commercial Lending Team this past Summer. When asked to provide a bio or a bit about here, she offered these tidbits. Meet Pam - she has a great sense of humor.

  • Do you collect anything? Dust
  • Most unusual pet: Dash – we both have bed head and attitudes upon waking
  • First job I wanted as a kid: journalist
  • Favorite meal: anything someone else has prepared
Dawn Pilster, PFA (Belle Fourche)

Dawn was raised in Billings, MT but moved to SE Montana where she met and married her husband 15 years ago.  They have 2 kids together - Laci -14 and John -9, and Dawn has an older daughter named Emily (26) and a

3 year old grandson.  They also have 2 furry Corgi boys named Duncan and Darby.  In her spare time she loves going on bike rides and hiking and exploring in the beautiful Black Hills.  She and her husband purchased a house in Belle Fourche last year and they have been enjoying making it their home. Congratulations to Dawn on her recent promotion to PFA!

Raysha Newell, Belle Fourche (Universal Teller)

Raysha Newell was raised in Sundance, WY, where she currently lives with her boyfriend and their 10 year old son, Justin. They added a corgi, "Huckleberry", to their family a little over a year ago.  Raysha enjoys camping, fishing, and lake days as a family. She has always loved living in the Black Hills and her favorite time of year is the rally. She enjoys attending concerts at the rally. Her favorite past time is anything with her family and she enjoys getting everyone together and cooking enough food to feed an army. Per Raysha, "you definitely won’t go home hungry after hanging out at my house."

Sascha Schulze, Belle Fourche (Universal Teller)

Sascha Schulze is our newest teller in Belle Fourche. She is married, and has two daughters and two grandchildren, as well as two pets. She has a German Wirehair dog named Timber and a cate named Binx. Sascha enjoy the outdoors and likes to hunt, fish, hike and bike. One of her favorite sayings is “Into the woods I go to lose my mind and find my soul!”

Nancy Cavallero, Universal Teller (Spearfish)
  • All-time favorite meal: My mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce with penne pasta and homemade meatballs!
  • The trip you most want to take, but haven’t yet: My fiancée and I want to go to Italy and Sweden to visit our relatives!
  • Highlight of this past Spring/Summer: This past May my fiancée proposed to me! After about a month of deciding when the wedding should be we finally decided on September 24, 2022!

Amanda Millard, Teller (Rapid City)
  • Your most prized collection:  I like collecting fridge magnets from the places I've traveled to. And I like taking pictures because I enjoy the memories. 
  • The first job you wanted when you were a little kid:  I wanted to be a Killer Whale Trainer at Sea World
  • What your last meal on Earth would be: My last meal on Earth would be a Roasted Potato Pizza, Coconut Shrimp with Wasabi Sauce, a Salad with Ginger Dressing and Tiramisu for dessert.
  • The trip you most want to take, but haven’t yet: I want to go to Egypt.



Jordan Taylor, IT Help Desk Associate (Rapid City)
  • What your last meal on Earth would be. Steak/Velveeta Shells and Cheese
  • The trip you most want to take, but haven’t yet. Florida fishing
  • Your most unusual pet. I used to have an iguana. Current pet photo here. Meet Gunner.
Laurna Boland, Universal Teller (Spearfish)
Most prized collection:  I do collect clowns. I have a lot of Emmitt Kelly’s.  They just make me happy.  I also have a collection of stuff my son made when he was little.  The one I am most attached to is a Christmas gift he made. It is a Christmas bell with the paper rings to count down to Christmas. He made it when he was 4 years old. He is now 37.
The first job I wanted when I was a little kid was to be a 3rd grade teacher.
My last meal on earth would be anything Mexican and a blizzard from Dairy queen.
Celebrity crush is Trace Adkins and Blake Shelton
A trip I would most want to take would be to Italy or Greece.

Tiffany Phelps, Operations Specialist (Rapid City)
  • Your most prized collection: Thousands of books
  • The first job you wanted when you were a little kid: Dancer
  • A superstition you have.  I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have to put on my left sock/shoe first…
  • Your biggest fear or phobia: Snakes
  • Your most unusual pet.  3 crazy dogs
  • A contest you have won.  Multiple spelling contests.
Note: I can vouch for this. She is our in-house editor!
Mark Posthumus, Special Projects
  • Your proudest atypical accomplishment:  Designed and supervised building of the Rapid City branch and the Custer Branch.
  • The first job you wanted when you were a little kid: To fly airplanes.
  • The trip you most want to take, but haven’t yet: Panama Canal.
  • Your favorite go-to quarantine adult beverage: Wyoming Whiskey (as seen on the Walt Longmire series on FX)
  • A contest you have won: When I married my bride 44 years ago. 
Tony Pannone, Chief Information Officer
  • Your proudest atypical accomplishment. My Cooking skills
  • The first job you wanted when you were a little kid: A Hockey Player
  • The trip you most want to take, but haven’t yet: Italy
  • Your biggest fear or phobia: Glitter
  • A contest you have won: Name that song played backwards on a radio station when I was 13.

Mindy Howard, VP Operations
What you didn't know about her: Handbell ringer for over 30 years
Collections: Angels (I collect figures, clocks, paintings, Christmas tree decorations whatever with angels on them)
What did she want to be when she grew up: Singer – I wanted to be a famous singer – not enough talent and huge stage fright issues changed that for me.
Best meal: Old fashioned canned meat and noodles, with cream peas and new potatoes.  My grandma used to make that meal and it will always be one of my favorites. 
Where will she travel when the craziness is over: Australia and New Zealand - hoping to go either there or Italy in the next 3 years. 
Vonnie Wackel, Market Manager, Rapid City
Proud Accomplishment: Took the Magnum PI Extreme Helicopter Ride in Oahu Hawaii, no doors and flying all sorts of directions.
First Job I wanted as a kid: Journalist or Fake News Correspondent
Trip I want to take: Scotland and Ireland
Superstition I have: Walking under ladders
Phobia: Fear of Frogs or toads

Aaron Prochazka, Senior Accountant 
The first job you wanted when you were a little kid. – As a kid I always knew I would be a Pilot, until about 3rd grade when I realized I was blind as a bat, and who would want a blind person flying their airplane?!  Probably no one, so I became an accountant!  
What your last meal on Earth would be – Being from the Midwest, I love steak, burgers & all types of BBQ.  But then I visited my wife’s family in Rhode Island for the first time 5 years ago they introduced to this thing called a Baked Stuffed Lobster, and it is amazing to say the least!  Maybe throw in an appetizer of Clam Cakes or stuffies too…
 The trip you most want to take, but haven’t yet – I have always wanted to travel to Europe but haven’t made it that far yet, specifically I would like to go to Czechia, Germany, Poland, Italy, Ireland, France and Spain. 
Your biggest fear or phobia) – My biggest fear is Mice!  My family always called me a big elephant scared of a mouse.
Your favorite go-to quarantine adult beverage - My Go–to quarantine adult beverage is a nice cold Busch Latte, or If it is a Friday evening I will go for a nice whiskey on the rocks like Pendleton.

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