by Shawn Marie Brummer, Communications & Social Media Specialist
Chelsie Holtan grew up in the small town of Towner, North Dakota, located about 45 miles northeast of the city of Minot. The youngest of five children, her family owned a commercial cattle ranch that her parents, Richard and Donna Berndt, ran and successfully built a herd of more than 100 head. In addition, her parents own Towner Parts & Equipment, a farm implement and feed store. She attended school in the small town, where she was active in a variety of activities, including FFA, volleyball, band and choir, livestock judging, and rodeo. To earn extra money, she trained horses, and babysat for neighboring children.
After graduating with a class of about 20 students, she made her way to Dickinson State University where she graduated with an Associate in Science Degree in Agricultural Sales and Equine Management.
In 2012, she began working at a local bank as a loan assistant, and found that she loved the part of her job that involved working directly with customers and developing relationships with them. When she was approached by a recruiter in 2019 for a lending job at North Star Community Credit Union’s Rugby branch, she didn’t hesitate to seize the opportunity. She was very familiar with North Star; her first checking account and her first loan had been with the credit union.
Now, she is just approaching her two-year anniversary as a Junior Ag Lender at North Star CCU, and she is finding much success and personal fulfillment in her new career path. In her role, she is primarily responsible for creating ag and commercial loans.
When the pandemic hit, which put many small businesses, farms and ranches into crisis, her role was expanded to oversee all Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans in 2020 and 2021. She took the lead in receiving and processing all loan applications, which in 2020 amounted to more than $6 million and in 2021 exceeded $10 million.
In the credit union spirit of cooperation, she also assisted other credit unions in their PPP processing. In fact, it was Luke Bunke, Ag & Commercial Loan Officer at Dakota Plains Credit Union (Ellendale, ND) who nominated Chelsie for the Spotlight.
“Chelsie worked with us to be able to provide PPP loans to our members in both 2020 and 2021,” he said. “She helped to make the process as easy as possible so our credit union members could keep working and keep their businesses going. This meant a lot to many of them – and especially to the communities we serve. It was encouraging to see her positive attitude, even with the many changes that were constantly happening, and through a busy renewal season. Her expertise and promptness were crucial to our delivering a positive experience for our members and being able to provide for all their needs. Chelsie was the embodiment of the credit union spirit as she worked to help us help our communities, and on behalf of Dakota Plains CU, we thank you!” he concluded.
Now that the pandemic is winding down and people are slowly getting back to normal, she is busy helping farmers and ranchers navigate the current drought situation, trying to calm their worries, having those difficult conversations about how to get through if rain doesn’t come soon. It all involves those personal connections that she has formed.
It’s not surprising given her ranch background and her degree in equine management that Chelsie is an accomplished horsewoman; she has been barrel racing since the age of 10. She was the 2011 Dickinson Series Barrel Racing Champion, the 2011 Rockin’ Bakken Barrel Racing Champion, and the 2015 Bottineau Barrel Racing Champion. She currently has three horses: Jigs, Goose, and Spirit.
She is a member of many local clubs and organizations, including the Towner FFA Alumni, North Dakota Lamb & Wool Producers, the Rugby Hockey Association, and the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, just to name a few. She is also the current Vice Chair of the Central Chapter of Credit Unions.
She is a fitness and workout buff, and currently has a side business through Beach Body. She is an online coach for various fitness routines, helps match clients with proper workouts and nutrition, and helps to recruit others to promote the franchise.
In her personal life, Chelsie is a newlywed who just married Ryan Holtan on June 19th, 2021. (Yes, less than one week ago – so she’s just getting used to her new name!) She has two children: son, Rowdy, age 9; and daughter, Emma, age 3. Rounding out the family are three dogs: Newt, Stella, and Mags, as well as the three forementioned horses, and many cows and sheep.
When they aren’t running kids to hockey games, hockey camp, or other activities, Ryan and Chelsie help operate the family ranch along with her parents. She still enjoys spending time working and training her horses, and if you stop by the ranch, you are quite likely to find her outside, probably a little ranch dust on her jeans, and a big smile on her face.
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