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Academy of Achievement Aelred J Kurtenbach
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Dr. Aelred J. Kurtenbach


Founder and Chairman
Daktronics, Brookings, South Dakota, USA
Inducted 2006

Dr. Aelred J. Kurtenbach is cofounder of Daktronics, Inc. and currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Kurtenbach, a native of Dimock, South Dakota, has B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, all in electrical engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, the University of Nebraska and Purdue University, respectively. He also taught electrical engineering at South Dakota State University and Purdue University. While on the staff at SDSU, he cofounded Daktronics, Inc. in 1968. Daktronics designs, manufactures, markets and services large computer programmable displays, primarily scoreboards and large screen video systems, on a global basis. The company currently employs approximately 1,800 people including 500 college students who work part time.

Dr. Kurtenbach served on the Brookings School Board for twelve years and on the South Dakota Board of Regents from 1984-1986. He also served as Chairman of the South Dakota Manu facturers & Processors Association from 1984-1986 and as Director for the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves as Chairman of the Education Committee for the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Chairman of the South Dakota State Junior Achievement Program and as Chairman of the South Dakota EPSCoR Committee, a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Kurtenbach was twice named South Dakota’s Small Business man of the Year. He was honored in 1994 as the South Dakota Executive of the Year, and the South Dakotan of the Year by the University of South Dakota School of Business. He was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 1992. Additional awards are SD School of Mines & Technology Outstanding Alumni 2000; SDSU Non-Alumnus Distinguished Service Award in 1986; SDSU Distinguished Engineer Award in 1990; SDSU Family of the Year 2000; Purdue University Outstanding Electrical Engineer 2001; and the Region VIII District Director’s Choice Award from the US Small Business Administration in April 2004.

Over the years Dr. Kurtenbach and Daktronics have been recognized with numerous awards for entrepreneurism and quality. Dr. Kurtenbach was chosen as the Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000 for manufacturing in a national competition sponsored by Ernst & Young. Daktronics, Inc. was named the 1994 En tre pre neur ial Suc cess of the Year by the Small Business Administration for South Dakota and the Denver Region. Daktronics was also chosen the South Dakota Business of the Year in 2000, 1993, 1989 and 1987 by the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

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