New CAC Members for the MPO

January 7, 2015

The Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) is beginning 2015 with five new members. During the Fall of 2014, the CAC’s membership subcommittee was tasked with the difficult assignment of narrowing down several qualified applicants to five recommendations. At the November meeting of the MPO’s governing body, the Urbanized Development Commission (UDC), commission members approved the appointment of Kim Cerwick, Thomas Murphy, Jr., Chris Parsley, Koni Sims, and Jenneil Watkins to the CAC. In addition, Robert Bohm, Catherine Dekkenga, and Allen Svennes were appointed to serve second three-year terms.

Kim Cerwick will serve on the CAC representing Business. She has been the President and CEO of the Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce for almost seven years. Although her primary representation would be of the Brandon business community, she also serves on community service boards including the Brandon Community Foundation, Brandon Development Foundation, and Brandon Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary. 

Thomas Murphy, Jr. will serve on the CAC representing Private Transportation. He is the Business Operations Manager for Parker Transfer and Storage. Prior to that, he was a truck driver for a Less-Than-Truckload business in Sioux Falls. Overall, he has spent about 14 years behind the wheel, recording well over a million miles. 

Chris Parsley will serve on the CAC representing Community Service Boards. He is the Service Manager at Spoke-N-Sport and the President of The Falls Area Bicyclists organization. Chris is also certified by the League of American Bicyclists as an instructor and is an active member of the Sioux Falls Bicycle Committee.

Koni Sims will serve on the CAC representing Community Service Boards. She is a business owner, a board member of the South Dakota Association of the Blind, and is the Vice President of the Siouxland Association of the Blind. Koni also recently served on the Sioux Falls City Council’s Transit Task Force and on the MPO’s selection committee for the FTA 5310 grant program. 

Jenneil Watkins will serve on the CAC representing Persons with Disabilities.  She is Co-Owner and Partner of Leading Edge Solutions of South Dakota and is the Vice-President (formerly President) of the Board of Directors for the South Dakota Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities.  Jenneil has also volunteered for several organizations including Lutheran Social Services, Sanford Hospice, and the Sioux Falls Disability Awareness Council.  She also has personal experience with being a person with disabilities. 

Serving their second three year terms on the CAC, Robert Bohm, Executive Director of DakotAbilities, will continue representing Persons with Disabilities; Catherine Dekkenga, Architectural Intern for Architecture, Inc., will continue representing Environment; and Allen Svennes, Administrator for Trail Ridge Retirement Community, will continue representing Retirement Community. 

At the November meeting, the CAC expressed its gratitude to the retiring committee members for their years of service to the MPO planning process. Michael Christensen represented Community Service Boards, Kate Heligas represented Private Transportation, Glen Klemme represented Persons with Disabilities, and Dean Nielsen represented Business. Each of these individuals were committed to the planning process and brought unique perspectives and passion for citizen involvement to the CAC. 

The CAC is an important component of transportation planning for the MPO which directs and oversees all transportation planning and programming activities within the official metropolitan planning area, including the Cities of Brandon, Crooks, Harrisburg, Hartford, Sioux Falls, and Tea, as well as portions of Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties. The CAC is the committee established to solicit public participation into the local transportation planning process with membership comprised of interested citizens representing various segments of the population within the planning area. Working with the MPO’s Technical Advisory Committee and the Urbanized Development Commission, members of the CAC serve as liaisons between the general public and the formal transportation planning process. To learn more, or become involved with the MPO planning process, please visit the MPO’s website at