Throughout his nine years working for Mitchell's biggest tourist attraction, Jeff Hanson has always gone above and beyond his job duties.
From fixing plumbing issues to setting up sound systems, Hanson's reliability as a handyman propelled him to become the Corn Palace Maintenance Supervisor.
"Having a lot of experience made me much more comfortable in taking on this role, and I'm proud to keep working with our great staff," Hanson said. "I've done a little bit of everything here, so I hope to continue building more knowledge."
Before the 33-year-old began working at the Corn Palace, he was busy tending to his family's farm in Gregory, where he learned a multitude of skills. Hanson said his farming experience has helped prepare him for his new role.
"Life on the farm really helped me learn new things, and I'm happy to bring that to the Corn Palace," Hanson said.
Corn Palace Director Scott Schmidt said Hanson's skills and team-oriented mindset set him apart from the other applicants.
"He knows the ins and outs of this place," Schmidt said. "Jeff's (Hanson) rapport with his co-workers here at the Corn Palace is top-notch... He treats everybody with respect. Even if we need him to work in the concession stand, he will do it."
While he was serving as a maintenance technician for the past seven years, Schmidt said a wage assessment was conducted on the Corn Palace in 2016, and the results found Hanson was filling a multitude of voids that weren't in his job description. Because of the excess work Hanson was taking on, a new role was created for Hanson, which led to his most recent role as the media and maintenance technician.
"We found that there was a need for tech knowledge, such as wiring, setting up bands, mixing boards and playing videos on our center scoreboard," Schmidt said. "The person who was filling that need was Jeff (Hanson), and it wasn't in his job description."
With the rapid evolution of technology, Schmidt said the Corn Palace has kept up with the times thanks to Hanson.
Whether it's setting up mixing boards or playing videos on the center scoreboard during sporting events, Schmidt said Hanson's tech knowledge is a major attribute for the Corn Palace.
"Having a leader that has a well-rounded knowledge of anything and everything that can go on at the Corn Palace is going to significantly help our staff," Schmidt said of Hanson. "Our entire staff at the Corn Palace is amazing, and everyone has a vital role in making this place go."
In his new role, Hanson will also oversee the entire maintenance staff at the James Valley Community Center, Mitchell Public Library and the Department of Public Safety.
He will also serve as the lead decorator and supervisor of the outdoor murals at the Corn Palace. Like many of the day-to-day operations at Michell's main tourist attraction, decorating the Corn Palace isn't new for Hanson.
"I worked under the former lead decorator Dan McCloud for the past four years, so that really helps with easing any nerves," Hanson said. "It will be a new experience overseeing the decorating side, but hopefully it goes well."
Hanson plans to improve the Corn Palace decorating operations by implementing tie table and corn picking supervisors. Both positions will be part-time, with the tie table supervisor in charge of tying the sour dock and the corn picking supervisor overseeing the crews in the fields picking the corn and sour dock.
"I'm excited to try some new strategies this year and get the ball rolling," Hanson said of the decorating operations. "All of our staff has a lot of pride in the Corn Palace, and we will keep doing our best to keep this place moving forward."