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The Lanyard

The Lanyard

By Ben Hanten
A weekly podcast featuring interviews of people making interesting communities and companies. A lot of my big lightbulb moments have come at conferences where everyone is wearing The Lanyard around their neck. I want to bring that type of experience to you wherever you're listening.
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New brewery. New studio.
Last episode, I told you about my plans to buy a new building for the brewery. Well that has happened and we even have a podcast studio. Here's the details on what I've been up to and about the new space.
November 6, 2020
Where the heck have I been? Some exciting news.
It's been far too long! Here's what I've been working on and why I haven't been able to ship out a regular schedule of episodes. But I do think that will change for the better in the months ahead. To follow our progress on the new building, you can follow @bensbrewing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  🍻
September 8, 2020
Amy Daws - Romance, Business, and Tires.
Amy Daws is a full-time author in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We talk about how she runs her business and about how she found inspiration to write in a tire shop waiting room.
June 26, 2020
Billie Sutton
Billie Sutton was recently a gubernatorial candidate in South Dakota. He's currently working on the Billie Sutton Leadership Institute, some relief efforts around Burke, and on expanding his family. Here's my interview with him on May 28th, 2020.
May 29, 2020
Denise Blomberg - Shoes and Strength
Denise Blomberg returns to Yankton to sit down for an interview. We talk about her role with Samaritan's Feet and about the phone call no parent ever wants to receive. She's an amazing connector and advocate.
May 15, 2020
A special chat with Jane & Jill
I'm busy today with the children, so I thought I'd introduce you to them. Meet Jane & Jill Hanten.
March 24, 2020
Kory Anderson - Commitment to a Dream
From the time he was a young boy, Kory Anderson wanted to see the 150 Case tractor. That's a 14' tall tractor that weighs over 30 tons. The problem is, only nine were ever made and they weren't around anymore. No problem for Kory.... he just started to build a life where he could make his own. He eventually bought a foundry and after 10,000 + hours and a couple million dollars, he built the 150 Case and it operates. Super fun podcast episode.
March 16, 2020
Wes Eisenhauer - Skateboarding led to a life of creativity
Wes Eisenhauer is an amazing talent in music, photos, video, social media and so much more. He's surrounded himself with an amazing cast of supporters and accountability partners. It's a fascinating story and he's just getting started.
March 3, 2020
Dr. Marc Long, president of MMC (soon to be MMU)
Marc Long was in law enforcement and broadcasting before finding his way to academia. These days he is president of Mount Marty College, which will soon be Mount Marty University. During his five years at the Mount, it's been one big announcement after another. We learned how he helped take a private school that was kind of treading water to one that is fighting for growth. There's a new football team, a new field house, a new dorm, and a plan to grow enrollment by 50% or more. Dr. Long also had some great insights into leadership and culture.
February 17, 2020
Ben Brunick, the craftsman
Ben Brunick is my neighbor, a fellow podcaster, and an amazing craftsman. And I may be just a little jealous at all of his Instagram followers.
February 5, 2020
Season Two of The Lanyard!
Thanks for an incredible first season! Here's what's ahead on The Lanyard.
January 6, 2020
Marcus Mahlen, a Bearcat in the city.
Marcus Mahlen is from my hometown of Webster, SD (home of the Bearcats). These days he's working in commercial real estate in Sioux Falls and we talked about some of the trends and challenges facing Sioux Falls and the small towns of the Upper Midwest.
December 30, 2019
Lawrence Diggs, the Vinegar Man
Lawrence Diggs is a longtime friend. He challenges everyone to look at the world differently and I learned that at about the age of 15. It was a lot of fun to go into his background of Radio Caroline, life in a commune, vinegar in Japan, building a vinegar museum, and so much more. 
December 23, 2019
Josh Rieck, the luthier
Josh Rieck was going about his music performance degree - specializing in the double bass, when a professor told him he didn't think that was the best path for him. Still wanting to stay in music, Josh pivoted to becoming a luthier - someone who makes and repairs stringed instruments. 15 years later Josh has J. Rieck Lutherie and he has built a following and some beautiful instruments.
December 16, 2019
Zach DeBoer, creating creative cities and streets
Zach DeBoer is an artist, teacher, community builder, and guerrilla urban planner. We had a great conversation about how design our streets, our flags, our murals and more.
December 9, 2019
Miles and Mike Krajewski, pursuing one big goal.
Miles Krajewski is a 14-year-old badminton phenom with his eyes set on the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. His father Mike is helping Miles pursue this goal and the two of them have been all over the world. Hear their story. You can follow Miles on Facebook at
December 2, 2019
Dennis Menke, how to make the customer feel better.
Dennis and Ann Menke sold Boston Shoes to Boots a couple years ago and I wanted to hear some of his philosophies on business and life. It's a good one.
November 25, 2019
Scott Kooistra, a legend in broadcasting and cribbage
Scott Kooistra conducts upwards of 1500 interviews a year, he does play-by-play, and he is a hall of fame cribbage player.
November 18, 2019
David Lias - Russian Spies in South Dakota
David Lias is the editor of the Vermillion Plain Talk. We spend some time talking about his background in journalism and the future of print media in the area. We also spend a lot of time talking about Maria Butina, the Russian agent that was recently deported. She spent quite a bit of time in South Dakota with Vermillion-native Paul Erickson.
November 11, 2019
Shannon Cole and Kelsey Collier-Wise
Shannon Cole and Kelsey Collier-Wise told me they want to start a podcast and that they wanted to sit-in on one of my interviews. Instead I thought I'd interview them to learn their stories and then we talked about podcast possibilities.
November 4, 2019
Ryan Martinez, all about coffee
Ryan Martinez is bringing the Siouxland Coffee Festival back and we hear about the growth of the industry and many of the entrepreneurial endeavor he's lead in Sioux City. 
October 28, 2019
And now for something different... An interview with me.
For episode #43 I thought I would upload the audio from Nick Schmeichel's interview with me for The Tale Feather Podcast.  Go subscribe to Nick's podcast on any podcast platform. It's easy to listen on PodBean at
October 21, 2019
Nate Welch, Vermillion
Nate Welch runs the Vermillion Area Chamber & Development Company, but his path to being a champion for Vermillion is really fun and interesting. He was on KSFY and KDLT, but you probably saw him at many sports games and you didn't even know it. That's because Nate is an accomplished mascot and we spent some time talking about that business before we dove into how towns like Vermillion are fighting for growth. 
October 14, 2019
Brennan Ewald and Mandi Gause, Boston Shoes to Boots
The Ewald family took over an iconic downtown business and they are currently quadrupling the size of the store. Brennan and Mandi run day-to-day and I wanted to hear why they choose to live in this small town, how they are making it better, and how they are growing their business. 
October 7, 2019
Brent Patterson, Drink Local Think Global
Brent Patterson was a college football player working his way toward a normal career path when something hit him. It was the idea that 2000 kids per day die because they don't have access to clean water. His campaign Drink Local Think Global is partnering with craft breweries all over (including mine) to help dig more wells and change the lives of some people who aren't able to hep themselves.
September 30, 2019
Jen Kolb, The Kitchen.
Jen Kolb is creating a new coworking space targeted at women with some amenities you typically don't see - like childcare within the space. It's a good conversation about the needs of women in the workforce.
September 23, 2019
Stacie Suedkamp, Fig Tales
Stacie Suedkamp has woven through many different jobs and they all lead her to a life in cookies. From starting a scooter gang in Minneapolis to taking over the coffee shop / pizza place / liquor store in a small town, she has lots of interesting lessons along the way. But her cookie business is thriving and they taste great, by the way.
September 16, 2019
Chad McKinney of the new Look's Beer Company.
Chad McKinney is a musician with Doktor Barkey, the Velcro Ultrasound, and other projects. He used to run the home brew supply shop at Taylor's Pantry. Right now he's building a brand new brewery called Look's Beer Company in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I had a chance to chat with him when he was in town to brew a collaboration brew with us at Ben's Brewing Co.
September 9, 2019
Zeke Hanson, prolific creativity.
In a random year you could see Zeke Hanson co-produce a film festival, release a couple feature films, release dozens of short films, write comic books, film brain surgeries, head to Afghanistan or Nepal, co-publish a magazine, photographs bands, and a few other creative projects. He does this all from his home base of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
September 2, 2019
Kim Bartling, Plains Speaking
Kim Bartling grew up in South Dakota and has filled her life with interesting stories. These days she's helping other people tell their stories with Plains Speaking People. I was particularly moved by her conversations about Belize and a woman she met in New York City. 
August 26, 2019
Frank Marx - baseball, beer, and bleachers.
Frank Marx has spent a lifetime in the beer and baseball business. I came to know him first from his epic Opening Day baseball parties. He held 25 of those parties in his small white house on Phillips Avenue in Sioux Falls. The parties became so big that he decided to install permanent bleachers in his living room.
August 19, 2019
Jennifer White. An artist who says "I'm a lucky kid."
Jennifer White is the amazing artist who calls Post Pilgrim Gallery her home for creativity. We sat down over beers at the White Wall Sessions studio and talked about process, bucking expectations, selling your work, and so much more. Find more about Jennifer's work at Post Pilgrim on Facebook at
August 12, 2019
Chislic is a great nosh.
Andrea Baer and Josh Hofer join us on the podcast to talk about the South Dakota Chislic Festival. It was such a huge hit in year 1 that they couldn't keep up with the crowds. Year 2 went much better. But they are also running a new chislic restaurant and it's a great episode talking about chislic and living in the small town of Freeman, SD.
August 5, 2019
Celia Miner. What glass ceilings?
Celia Miner started off on the oboe. Then she became a teacher. After realizing people weren't taking her seriously on a board she was serving on, she decided to try law school in her late 30s. She became a game changer in many fields and she helped shape many communities.  I loved the anecdotes about her friend Tom Brokaw and I loved her tenacity. It's an inspiring episode. 
July 29, 2019
Rich Show, paving new roads with music.
Rich Show is one of the most prolific songwriters in South Dakota history. Bands like Violet, Flag with Hank, and No Direction were pioneering groups in Sioux Falls. We talked about the process of songwriting, about recording at Prince's Paisley Park, and about the struggles and triumphs. I loved this interview!
July 22, 2019
Phil Schreck, the meteorologist
Phil Schreck has been a meteorologist for 34 years. He thought Sioux Falls would be a short stopping off point in his career, but 30 years later he's still doing it there with no plans to move or retire. We talked about the changes in his field and the television industry in general. We talked about baseball, graduating high school in South Korea, and about trying to raid Cheap Trick's tour bus. Special thanks to all of our supporters at
July 15, 2019
Melissa Waldner - How to move to a small town
Melissa Waldner grew up in the Twin Cities. Yet she's happy as can be in Webster, South Dakota (my home town) which only has a population of 1857 people.  Listen to how she's built a life out of making Webster an important place on the map and how her family is farming differently.
July 8, 2019
Mary Beth Holzwarth, the advocate.
Mary Beth Holzwarth recently launched Globetrotter Coffee Co. in the small town of Gettysburg, SD. She roasts amazing beans and is shipping them all over. She is also a tireless leader and advocate for the prevention of child sexual abuse. That 10-year journey started when two of her own children came forward with their story.
July 1, 2019
Carla Jean Lauter, "The Beer Babe"
Carla Jean Lauter is a beer writer out of Portland, Maine. On or @beerbabe on Twitter she often writes about ways for beer to be more approachable by all populations. We talked about inclusivity, design, beer economics, and beer trends. It was a lot of fun.
June 24, 2019
Nick Schmeichel, the guy with the jumbotrons
Nick Schmeichel grew up on a farm in Salem, SD and found his way to Brookings for college. As a student he interned at Daktronics which led to a job and eventually a business. Today Sideline Productions helps produce major events, festivals, and concerts, across the country, but Nick has chosen to base his company and life in Brookings.  We talk about his journey in business, but also what makes a town interesting. We both have a shared interest in running businesses and raising young children. Nick also runs a podcast called The Tale Feather.
June 17, 2019
Mike Hilson, the musician.
Mike Hilson has been playing at my bar for years and years. Usually it's with the duo Mike & Jay, but occasionally it's been with the Austin Buescher Band, or a solo show. We talk about how he makes his way through the gig economy. It's a fun conversation with a music performance in the middle. Thanks to The White Wall Sessions for becoming a new sponsor!
June 10, 2019
People always ask me....
So when you produce a podcast, you get two frequently asked questions.... #1, can you help me produce my podcast? And #2, what podcasts do you listen to. On today's bonus episode, I thought we'd address #2. I listen to podcasts from about 6am - 3pm and 9pm - 11pm every day! Here are some of my favorites. Mentioned are: The Lanyard Three Ravens Serial S-Town Homecoming Dr. Death The Shrink Next Door Armchair Expert Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend The Daily Lovett or Leave It Revisionist History Malcom Gladwell Opening Arguments Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People Heavyweight Reply All The Joe Rogan Experience The Session Fresh Air Freakonomics The Watch You Made It Weird Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin The Tale Feather Pluckin’ String with Ted and Alice Miller Armchair Football White Wall Sessions Radio Girl in space The Potluck Society The Heath Bar The 605 Show 
June 6, 2019
Nathan Johnson, the mayor.
Nathan Johnson grew up on a dairy farm in Crofton, Nebraska. He wanted to be in political science. His "master's degree" in it didn't come from a formal program (he tried that), but rather through years of observing as a journalist and then running for city commission. He is now serving his second term as mayor of Yankton.  We spent a lot of time talking about how to make rural America's towns great and what it takes to attract and keep young people. Check us out on Patreon for show exclusives.
June 3, 2019
Deadwood the Movie! We talk to the venue hosting the party.
On this special episode I talked with George Milos who books the entertainment at the Deadwood Mountain Grand, the site of the HBO premiere party for Deadwood the movie. George was also leading the Deadwood Convention and Visitor Bureau when the show debuted in 2004! It's a fun conversation on the show and its impact on the small town of Deadwood, South Dakota. Special thanks to our new sponsor The White Wall Sessions!
May 30, 2019
Carla White. How dealing with a struggle turned into an iPhone app.
Carla White grew up on the farm near Salem, SD. Somehow she found herself working with the Pentagon, Microsoft, NASA, and more. But when things weren't going well for her, she started a new daily habit. That habit became an iPhone app at a time when very few people knew how to make an app. It changed her personal life and her career.
May 27, 2019
John T. Meyer, the entrepreneur / community builder
John Meyer and I go back a long way. As you'll hear in this interview, we first met via Twitter probably in 2009. There weren't many of us using Twitter at that time, especially in South Dakota. Over the years I've watched John create great businesses and a ton of "side hustles." He has always been a source of inspiration for me; I love anyone trying to create community and business -- I really love it when they are doing it at or near the place they grew up in. In this interview we talk about the many businesses / projects John worked on, about getting better every day, and about how to hire and keep talent.
May 20, 2019
Larry Ness, the chairman and CEO
Larry Ness was working at a bank in Mitchell, South Dakota when he saw a print ad looking for a president of a struggling bank in Yankton. He put his name in the hat and the rest is history, as they say. But that struggling bank (the oldest in Dakota Territory) had one location and $40 million in assets; today that bank has 19 locations and $1.7 billion in assets. A lot of that can be traced to the actions of Larry. We talk about how he did it and how to build successful communities. Larry is, no doubt, one of my business idols and I was really excited to sit down and chat with him.
May 13, 2019
The Lanyard Live! Interview and performance with Matt Fockler at 1 Million Cups.
1 Million Cups is a weekly meeting for where entrepreneurs tell their stories and talk about the businesses they are building. So when I was asked to present about The Lanyard podcast, I thought it would be more fun to just broadcast a live show to the audience. I brought in my friend Matt Fockler, an amazing singer songwriter from Montrose, South Dakota. Matt graced us with performances of four of his original songs: - Do You Dream - Lakota Sioux - Write A Song? - Love Ain't Easy Recorded at Discovery Church in Yankton.
May 1, 2019
Sarah Rhea Werner, the podcaster
I was so excited to sit down and talk with Sarah Werner. She has the Write Now podcast and the audio drama Girl in Space. She's definitely one of the early pioneers of podcasting and probably the most successful podcaster in the area. You may have read her articles on Forbes. You may know her from technology conferences. It was a fun conversation about writing, reading, and podcasting.
April 29, 2019
Will Bushee on hacking life
Will Bushee is a lot of things. He's a tech guy who has worked in data mining, he's helped startups, and he's held countless coding camps for kids. He's working to bring coding to girls and minorities. He's a hacker who has rewired Alexa to say some interesting things. He gets more done than most and we talked about the education, mentorship, and decisions that have made it all possible. It's a fun discussion with a lot of business lessons.
April 22, 2019
Jon Morgan, the day trader
Jon Morgan has fans around the world, yet he kind of blends in here in Yankton, South Dakota. I wanted to talk to him to learn about how day trading works, and to unlock some of the mysteries of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. It ended up being eye-opening to me, and I thought I knew a lot about this stuff. We also talked about ransomware, working at the Human Services Center, and a little bit about Game of Thrones. -- Subscribe to our YouTube channel at
April 15, 2019
Carolyn Becker, the believer in radio
From an early age, Carolyn Becker loved the radio. In high school she decided she was going to own a radio station. Then she started taking steps to make her goal a reality. Her college classes and the jobs she took were deliberately chosen to get her to that goal. She bought her first stations in her early thirties. She now owns 18. There are some great business lessons here. -- Please subscribe to our YouTube channel at
April 8, 2019
Mike Henriksen, the broadcaster
You may know Mike Henriksen from his radio shows - SportsMax and Calling All Sports. Or you may know him from calling high school championship games in football and basketball. He just returned from a little vacation to Phoenix after calling the 2019 South Dakota High School AA tournament. We talked for a bit about the controversial ending to the semi-final game between the Yankton Bucks and Sioux Falls O'Gorman Knights. Mike knew he wanted to be on radio from the time he was a very young man. We talk about how that desire, his golden voice, and a few mentors along the way helped decide his future in broadcasting. While Henriksen does call several games, he's at his best when he's interviewing people. This was a fun conversation. If you haven't done so yet, please subscribe to the podcast! Also we've been pushing out a lot of content on YouTube - you can check it out at
April 1, 2019
Interviews with the hosts of two of our new podcasts
The Lanyard has been cooking! We have a growing listenership and we're having fun interviewing people making interesting communities and companies. On today's show we're going to introduce you to the hosts of two new podcasts that we're helping launch. - Part 1 is an interview with Ted and Alice Miller, my friends who are musicians in the area. They just launched Pluckin Strings With Ted and Alice Miller a podcast where they interview singers and songwriters. I'm helping produce that show and I think you'll really dig it. - Part 2 is an interview with my cohosts from the new Three Ravens podcast, which is a show all about the final season of Game of Thrones. Brooke Lancaster and Josh Kramer are my cohosts and we are counting down the final days of the world's greatest TV show. - You can subscribe to both below on Apple at:
March 25, 2019
Brienne Maner, the believer in downtown
Brienne Maner is a vice president with Downtown Sioux Falls. She has been to my town on several occasions to share tips and tricks on how to revitalize downtowns in rural America. The downtown area in Sioux Falls was fine when I lived there in 2000, but 19 years later it's something really special and 2500 more people live downtown. We breakdown the steps that made that possible. Besides talking about downtowns, we also talk marketing, crime podcasts, and a feminine product drive that Brienne helped organize.
March 18, 2019
Jeff Zueger and Mike Yaeger, producers of The White Wall Sessions
The White Wall Sessions is an amazing television show featuring musicians and their original songs. The show has a big following on TV, but they have also spread the brand to over 500,000 YouTube views and they have a big following on all social media. We talk about how this experiment turned into a business and how they manage the huge following. Jeff Zueger is the executive producer and Mike Yaeger is the associate producer of The White Wall Sessions.
March 11, 2019
Brodie Mueller, the brewer
Brodie Mueller wanted to be a social worker and make a difference in people's lives. Somehow he found himself in Aberdeen, South Dakota brewing beer and building out a beautiful event space. I wanted to know what he's building and how those steps connect.  Brodie helped create the 1 Million Cups chapter in Aberdeen, he's taught sex education in the schools, he had dreams of being a broadcaster... It's  fun conversation about possibility and patience.
March 4, 2019
Jolene Loetscher, the Doogooder
This was a really fun episode. Jolene Loetscher is a former TV broadcaster, she's a Coca Cola Scholar, an entrepreneur, an advocate for victims of sexual assault, a Presidential Leadership Scholar, a former candidate for office and so much more. We talked about entrepreneurship, leadership, and the struggles and triumphs.
February 25, 2019
Ted Heeren, the flower man.
Ted Heeren is one of my heroes in South Dakota. He's made it cool to love the little rural places we are all from and he's made the world a whole lot more creative with his marketing firm, with his art gallery, but most notably for me with his radio show The Rock Garden Tour.  It's an episode chock full of nuggets about loving the place we live.
February 18, 2019
Alana Snyder, 605 Magazine
We get to interview Alana Snyder who started 605 Magazine at the age of 23. They just celebrated their 10-year-anniversary and they do a great job celebrating living in South Dakota. 
February 11, 2019
Tony Maibaum, the producer
If you've seen the Ben's Brewing Co. videos or the new Open Mic video series The Copper Room has put out then you have seen Tony's great work. He's a photographer, a videographer, a technologist, a city commissioner, a budding real estate mogul, and so much more.  Tony donates a bunch of time mentoring entrepreneurs and helping various local causes. He definitely makes the area more interesting. A fun surprise was how he almost made it on the show Big Brother.
February 4, 2019
Matt Michels, former lieutenant governor of South Dakota
Matt Michels grew up in Vermillion, South Dakota and eventually went on to serve eight years as lieutenant governor in South Dakota. We talk about his early struggles at home and his roundabout way to becoming a lawyer and eventually a politician.  The first half of the interview really helped me understand how he became the man he is. The second half of the interview focuses on the opportunities for rural America and some things we may want to double down on. I was surprised how many times Matt talked about the role mentors played in his life - something we all should be leveraging more, too. Topics include angel capital, recruiting out-of-state businesses vs. growing existing businesses, how to get young people to move back home, how to get earned media, and more. There is also a round of mustache trivia, where Matt had to guess the famous mustache...
January 28, 2019
Sister Maribeth Wentzlaff, the Prioress
How does an ordinary kid from Miller, South Dakota grow up and decide to become a nun? This is interview is with Sister Maribeth Wentzlaff, who is currently the prioress of the Yankton Benedictines. I was particularly interested in how she and her order are shaping education and healthcare in the region and how the Benedictines are reaching out to the public in 2019. How and why are they using social media? S. Maribeth has taken away a lot of the mystery of what it's like to be a nun. Sidenote: if she could be a professional fisherman, she would be.
January 21, 2019
The Lanyard - Trailer
I love people building businesses and people making their towns and cities more interesting. When I think of some of my breakthroughs on these topics, I think of being at conferences. When your'e at a conference.... you get The Lanyard to wear around your neck. I want to bring that experience of world class speakers from a conference right to you wherever you are, without the cost of travel or time away from home.  Get to know host Ben Hanten and producer Tony Maibaum.
January 8, 2019