Get to Know: Olaf Hanson
Everyone can do their part to improve Aberdeen, and Hanson does so by building strong community connections.

Get to Know: Olaf Hanson

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Photos by Troy McQuillen

Olaf Hanson moved from Fargo, North Dakota to Aberdeen back in 2014. “Coach Tom Dosch recruited me to NSU to play football, and after an official visit I knew this was the place I wanted to be,” Hanson said. “In August of 2014 I moved down for my first fall camp at Jerde Hall and never looked back.”

While attending NSU, he completed internships with the Aberdeen Development Corporation and Dacotah Bank, where continues to work as a Business banker. Hanson is a graduate of Leadership Aberdeen’s 2020 class. The class facilitated the Hub City Hound Contest, which was a photo contest and fundraiser for the Aberdeen Area Humane Society’s new building. They raised over $20,000 for the Humane Society. Hanson is also the President on the Board of Directors for the Aberdeen Downtown Association. //

Q: How does your work reflect your passion?

I love getting to work with our local small business owners and real estate developers. It’s fun getting to drive around Aberdeen and see projects that we helped finance, whether it be the construction of a new building, remodel of an existing one, or an entrepreneur making a start downtown or on 6th Ave. Dacotah Bank is also very active in our community, so as employees we enjoy the opportunity to connect with and support other local causes through volunteering on boards, donations, and staying connected to NSU and other staples of Aberdeen.

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Hanson is involved with the Aberdeen Downtown Association and attends many of their events.

Q: What is something that you love about the Aberdeen community?

The Aberdeen community is the perfect size. It has everything a person needs and is full of great people. When I first moved here from Fargo, the city obviously felt smaller than what I was used to, but the people of the community at NSU and in the business world took me in and were a big part of why we decided to stay after college.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

Anything outside. In the summer, I try to get out fishing a few times, spend some time at the lake with family, and usually get to go on a motorcycle trip out to the Black Hills. In the fall and winter, it’s pheasant hunting, deer hunting, or heading over to NSU for football and basketball games.

Q: Where is one of your favorite places to go in Aberdeen?

It’s always fun to take in a football game and tailgating at Dacotah Bank Stadium or basketball in Wach’s Arena in the winter. Outside of Wolves sports, my wife and I and our friends can be found downtown at an event on the Malchow Plaza, concerts, or at one of our great restaurants.’

Q: Why is community involvement important to you?

Part of what makes Aberdeen so great is the community involvement by our business men and women. Being a board member for the Aberdeen Downtown Association, a Chamber Diplomat, and a member of the NSU Wolves Club Committee have all been great opportunities for me to network with other professionals in Aberdeen and support the causes that we care about for continuing to make our community better.

Q: What is one word you would use to describe yourself?

One word I would use to describe myself is curious, because I enjoy learning about and seeing new business, people, and places!

Q: How did you decide to get involved in your line of work?

Being a Finance major at the NSU School of Business, I knew that I wanted to work with people and numbers in some capacity but I wasn’t sure of the exact route I wanted to go. Being a personal financial advisor, a lender, and a few other career routes were all options I considered. However, my first professional experience was as an intern for the Aberdeen Development Corporation. While I was there, one of their board members, Brad Moore, told me about an internship that Dacotah Bank was starting the following summer. I threw my name in the hat for the DacotahGrown internship program and have been fortunate enough to be here ever since!