Bryan Bjerke Retires from Paulsen

December 14, 2017

South Dakota media and marketing industry veteran Bryan Bjerke retired from Paulsen September 30, 2017.

“We are fortunate we had the opportunity to work with Bryan for 17 years,” says Paulsen President Sara Steever. “His experience, skill and professionalism made a powerful and positive impact on clients and staff alike.”

Bryan grew up on a farm near Volga, South Dakota. “As much as I loved the farm, I didn’t really want to be a farmer,” he says.

“I liked television and radio. I was always drawn to news,” he says. “Walter Cronkite was a big idol of mine.”

A Career in Communication

Bryan attended Augustana College, earning a B.A. in speech and drama. During college, he helped start KAUR, a student-run, campus radio station, now owned by Minnesota Public Radio.

After college he joined KELO-TV, where he went from running the audio board to reporting, anchoring, producing and eventually becoming news director. Bryan was at KELO for six years.

After his work in news, Bryan became press secretary for Tom Daschle in the 1982 election, when the state lost a congressional seat due to a lower population reported in the 1980 census. “Tom had held the first district seat and Clint Roberts the second,” he says. “They were vying for the single seat, so it was a big race.”

Following Daschle’s victory, Bryan helped with the Congressman’s statewide field office. A year later he was recruited to the communications department at his alma mater, Augustana College.

“But I still had the itch for news,” he says. When an opportunity opened up at KSFY-TV, he joined the station as assignment editor and later became the news director. Eventually, Bryan left KSFY to operate his own communications company. One of his primary clients was Paulsen. And when he was invited to join the staff in 2000, he agreed.

17 Years at Paulsen

Bryan has worked on a tremendous range of projects during his 17 years at Paulsen. He praises Paulsen as “not only a really interesting place and a very creative place to work, but also a very human place to work.”

“The people here are just tremendous up and down the line,” he says. “They’re interesting, funny, talented people. And they all care about you and about one another.”

“The building’s nice, but what’s inside it is what really makes it special,” Bryan adds.

Over the years, Bryan has adhered to a simple yet profound guideline. “I had the chance to meet Don Hewitt, who started 60 Minutes. His motto was, ‘Tell me a story.’ So I’ve always lived by that. Whether it’s a 15-second ad or a 15-minute news piece, if it’s a good story, people will listen and pay attention. You have to make it relevant to them,” he says.

Bryan will continue working with Paulsen as a freelancer, as well as with other organizations and clients.

“We will miss Bryan very much.” Steever says. “He is loved by everyone who worked with him. Paulsen is honored that he shared his talents with us and with our clients.”

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