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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, June 3, 2011
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, deputy executive director, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327 

CenturyLink chooses PUC'S Kolbeck to lead state operations

 PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Chairman Steve Kolbeck has been selected as CenturyLink's new South Dakota operations manager effective June 20, 2011. Kolbeck's last day at the commission will be June 17. 

Kolbeck was elected to the commission in 2006 and appointed by then-Gov. Mike Rounds to fill a vacancy with the commission until his term began in January 2007. He was appointed through the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners to the Federal Communications Commission's Interstate Telecommunications Relay Services Fund Advisory Council and the Federal-State Joint Board on Jurisdictional Separations where he served as the state chairman. He served as co-vice chair of NARUC's Committee on Telecommunications. Kolbeck was also elected president of the Mid-America Regulatory Conference and the Regional Oversight Committee.  

"I am grateful for the experience of being a public utilities commissioner and I leave this post with mixed emotions," Kolbeck said. "I am proud of the accomplishments made during my time at the PUC and am sad to say goodbye to my fellow commissioners and the excellent staff here. I am excited about this opportunity. My family and I are ready for this new challenge, and I am looking forward to serving the people of South Dakota in a different capacity," he stated.

Throughout Kolbeck's career he has been heavily involved in the telecommunications industry, including positions with Northern Telecom, AT&T, SDN Communications and Alliance Communications. 

"We are delighted Steve has chosen CenturyLink to reinvigorate his telecom career. His leadership, knowledge of the state and operational background make him a great fit with CenturyLink's local model for success as he leads our network organization, ensuring further expansion of our service and commitment to our communities," said CenturyLink Vice President/GM Danny Pate. 

Prior to joining the commission, Kolbeck served as a city councilman in Brandon, S.D. He is a native of Salem, S.D. and has a bachelor's of science degree from South Dakota State University and an associate of applied science degree in telecommunications from Mitchell Technical Institute. Kolbeck and his wife, Stacy, have four children.

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Contact the PUC at to request a high-resolution photograph of Chairman Kolbeck