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November 20, 2012

Fredel Thomas named executive director of Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship

MITCHELL — Dakota Wesleyan University welcomes Fredel Thomas to campus as the new executive director of the Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship.

Thomas will teach entrepreneurial leadership courses and serve as a resource for regional businesses in South Dakota. She is a Tripp native and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, with a minor in business administration. She obtained her Project Management Professional (PMP) Certificate in 2010.

Thomas was formerly the director of product management for CHR Solutions in Mitchell, where she oversaw product planning, marketing and P&L for CHR’s managed services. Her 12 years of experience include roles in sales, quality assurance, development and project management. In her tenure at CHR Solutions, she was a telecommunications industry speaker and thought leader at multiple conferences. 

She plans to take the skills, structure and experience she obtained in the field and apply them to the classroom.

“We want to encourage people to think outside of the box in all of their various disciplines, and in class we’ll discuss how to implement those thoughts,” she said. “We will work to make ideas realistic by learning how to communicate them effectively to gain a common vision among executives, operations, marketing, etc., and then evangelizing those ideas and plans. Having passion behind it all can truly drive and change things.”

Thomas was a project manager for multiple projects at CHR and said that project management skills will likely be incorporated into the entrepreneurial program.

“It is great to have an idea; now doing the work to turn that idea into reality is what I believe will help differentiate our students,” she said. “Time management and responsibility for your work are skills needed in the professional world and their lack can make people absolutely ineffective.”

She is excited to work with businesses, as well. Within her former job she had the ability to “create businesses within a business” while overseeing projects and products, a process she enjoys.

“I will be working closely with the business community to bring opportunities to the classroom and promote experiential education,” she said. “Helping businesses brainstorm, organize and connect is a passion of mine, and the idea of helping to then connect those resources with one another and also with students is a fascinating combination. What better way for students to understand what they are getting into than to read, listen and discuss what has actually worked and not worked for real business owners? DWU is unique because it has the Kelley Center on campus to help orchestrate that.”

Thomas has been married to her husband, Jason, a Kimball native, for seven years, and they have three children together, Jalen, 5, Verity, 3, and Truin, 1.


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Last updated: 11/20/12