Better Know Your Leaders: Klayton OItmanns
Name: Klayton Oltmanns
Hometown: I grew up in a small town in Wyoming called Medicine Bow. There were 10 students in my graduating class. The town was made famous by the author Owen Wister and his book, “The Virginian.”
Some may also remember the western series “The Virginian” on television starring James Drury. Although the town is really nothing like the book or the TV show, it was a great place to grow up.
I am the youngest of five boys and my mother worked as a police dispatcher and my father operated heavy equipment in a uranium mine.
Position with the city: City Commissioner
How long have you been with the city? I was elected to office in June of 2010 and my term expires next year.
When did you move to Dickinson? I moved to Dickinson in 1991 to complete my education at Dickinson State University.
I can remember that a one-bedroom apartment was $100 a month, a two-bedroom apartment was $200 a month, etc. North Dakota, like Wyoming, had experienced yet another boom and bust cycle. While rent was cheap, jobs were difficult to find.
My wife, Melanie, and I had attended a year at Black Hills State University. It was the year that gambling was legalized in Deadwood and we dealt blackjack at a casino on Main Street.
When we transferred to DSU, we both dealt blackjack for Women’s Alliance, where the proceeds were used to fund the Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center. Women’s Alliance had gaming sites in the Queen City Club, The Rock, The Red Coach Inn, Champs and The Rendezvous Lounge in Belfield.
What special attributes do you bring to the City Commission? I have a background in finance through my career at Edward Jones as a financial advisor. This has been an asset with all of the growth and numerous budget and fiscal issues that the commission faces at every meeting. More so, I have a son that is a senior and a daughter that is a freshman in high school as well as my mother who is retired and living on a fixed income in Dickinson. I want a community where my children and my mother can have a great quality of life. They are at the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as their needs and I try to make decisions that will positively impact everyone.
What is your favorite part about being on the commission? Least? It is an exciting time to be on the city commission. Dickinson is the third-fastest growing town in America and there are a lot of decisions to make that affect everyone.
My favorite part is when there is an issue that people are passionate about and they rally support and fill the seats in the commission chamber. It’s democracy in action and it puts real faces on the decisions that are being made by the commission.
I also enjoy the fact that I work with a very proactive City Commission and a very dedicated city staff. Our Roadmap to the Future has been a key factor in making sound decisions and having this proactive vision for the future of our community. The city of Dickinson truly has some remarkable staff working in front of and behind the scenes.
My least favorite part is the challenge to make decisions that are right and fair for the greatest number of people and the greater good of the community, it means that there is always someone that was impacted.
Your biography says your degree is in education, but you now work in finance. How did you make that transition? Melanie and I each have our degree in secondary education from DSU. Melanie was accepted and graduated from the School of Optometry at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. While she attended Pacific, I worked as an admissions consultant and was promoted to Dean of Admissions for a private college in Portland, Ore. I had wanted to be a stock broker since my junior year in high school. When Melanie graduated, we moved back to Dickinson to start her practice and a friend helped me realize my career goal by recommending Edward Jones. Dickinson has been very good to my family.
You’re involved in Arts on the Prairie and Kiwanis. What advice would you give to people who are considering joining a service organization? A friend told me to think about what I was passionate about and then join an organization that fosters that belief. It has worked for my career and it works when considering joining a service organization. You get the greatest satisfaction from surrounding yourself with like-minded people and working towards a common goal.
What is your favorite meal? My favorite meal of the year is Thanksgiving dinner. It’s all about family, friends, great food and being thankful for life’s blessings. My favorite food, however, is sushi. Thankfully, Dickinson has grown and I have a great sushi restaurant five blocks from my home! Something I would have never dreamed of for our community.