Our Team

Buffalo Close to a car

But that’s another story

Ask us what we love about Custer Resorts and you’ll get a number of different responses. Every day we are touched by the humble beauty of the park, the people we meet, and the stories they share with us. So, here are a few of our favorite memories to inspire you on your journey.

Josh SchmaltzJosh Schmaltz
President, US Hotel & Resort Management

Josh is a 2003 graduate from North Dakota State University, Fargo, where he earned a Bachelor's in Restaurant & Hotel Management with a minor in Business. He has been with Regency for nearly the entirety of his professional career, most recently as Regional Director, overseeing operations at Grand Lake Lodge Colorado; Al's Oasis; Arrowwood Resort at Cedar Shore; Ramkota Hotel, Casper, Wyoming; The Lodge at Deadwood; Best Western Ramkota Rapid City; and our very own Custer State Parks Resorts. 

Favorite Park Memory:
"My time spent as GM here in the Park. The team you see here is an upstanding group of dedicated professionals that I have had the pleasure of working side-by-side with for many years. It is my sincere hope that you, too, are able to make your memories at each of our heartwarmingly-unique Lodges during your stay. Dine at the Game Lodge and catch the herd bounding through. Kick your heels off and breathe in the fresh canyon air at our Chuckwagon Cookout. Experience Sylvan's unrivaled views, and let your kids delight in the sand between their toes at Legion. Welcome to my family's second home. May you get caught in many buffalo jams.” 

Favorite Thing on the Menu:
"Game Lodge Buffalo Tenderloin is tough to beat."

Ryan Flick Ryan Flick
Director of Operations

A Hill City native, Ryan is a 2000 graduate from Black Hills State University with a BS in Psychology. After meeting his beautiful wife, he spent 15 years operating campground resorts both in Florida and in the Black Hills before joining the Regency team as GM of the Best Western Ramkota, Rapid City. But two years within city limits was plenty; the buffalo soon called him out here to the Park, where he graciously welcomed back the fresh air and peaceful pines. 

Favorite Park Memory:
"My favorite part is making new ones each day out here. We are fortunate to be a part of such a partnership with SDGF&P where we can offer a tremendous product in a setting that rivals the National Parks. It's incredible.” 

Favorite Thing on the Menu:
"I always bring my wife and four girls out to our Easter and Mother's Day Brunches. The kids love running around on the Front Lawn and finishing the afternoon with a Buffalo Safari Tour."  

Gina KonechneGina Konechne
Director of Sales & Marketing

Gina obtained her Bachelor’s from the University of Sioux Falls in both English and Communication Studies. She fell into hospitality after moving on a whim to Austin, TX with her husband, where she was hired on as an Event Planner for one of Texas’s top-rated championship golf & spa resorts. Her five years there took her though Event Management, Member Relations and Group Sales; but South Dakota remained the only place she wanted to raise a family. She moved back at the turn of the century to join the Regency team in the Park and has been delighted by buffalo outside her window ever since.

Favorite Park Memory:
"I still get excited every time the herd comes through, but the mountain bluebirds in their simplicity have a special place in my heart. I had been told that they were the ‘bluest blue’ and it’s true. Each time I spot one brings a smile to my face in remembrance of so many great times here with my Park family.”

Favorite Thing on the Menu?
“The Game Lodge offers Wine Dinners each October. I love treating myself to them!"

Susie TimmSusie Timm
Reservations & Tour Group Manager

A familiar and friendly face to many of our returning guests, Susie has been with Custer State Park Resort for the majority of her professional career. She has management experience in nearly every department, from Housekeeping to Catering to Lodge Management. She was selected to direct the Reservations team since its inception and is a vital part of the Park’s everyday success. Call our Reservations line and you will likely speak with Susie!

Favorite Park Memory:
“I always enjoy meeting all of the new visitors that come to see us. It makes each day unique and exciting.”

Favorite Thing on the Menu?
"I enjoy a lighter fare, so I love how each Lodge offers unique salad options. A good salad is always hard to find!”

Chad EganTeresa Cortney
General Manager, Blue Bell Lodge

With over 20 years of hospitality experience, Teresa returns to the Park as a General Manager for the 2018 season. She first started with us at Legion Lake Lodge, where she quickly moved up to become the lodge Manager, and then took a few years off to spend time with her beautiful grandchildren. She is thrilled to be back home in CSP, and lives and breathes Blue Bell, customer service, and buffalo!

Favorite Park Memory:
"Living in the Park and waking up to this gorgeous place every day...peaceful mornings with coffee on the patio couldn't be better!"

Favorite Thing on the Menu?
"I start with a Buffalo Brisket Quesadilla, and order from our Cattle Drive Burger Menu that lets you mix-and-match your protein selection and your toppings. The Triple Mac 'n Cheese is tough to beat, too!"

Chris KellerChris Keller
General Manager, State Game Lodge
Executive Chef, CSPR

Originally from Long Island, NY, Chef Keller is, surprisingly, right at home here in the Black Hills. Chef graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1990 before moving to Colorado and has held executive positions at some of the most notable restaurants in both Colorado and Florida in his time. He most recently was the Executive Chef for Grand Lake Lodge before being recruited here to Custer State Park as Executive Chef. Chris was then promoted to GM of the State Game Lodge in 2021, as well as keeping his role as Executive Chef for the Park.

Favorite Park Memory:
"I would have to say the Buffalo Roundup & Arts Festival. The heart and soul of the Park can be felt watching the sunrise with 20,000 people on the morning of the event as we all await the herd's arrival...I look forward to it every year."

Favorite Thing on the Menu?
"My favorite item is always the newest. I would say right now, the southwest quinoa salad is one of my current favorites. It's niche, light and unique."

Jason KrulishJason Krulish
General Manager, Legion Lake Lodge

Jason started in Custer State Park back in 1992, as a young high school grad, in housekeeping at Legion Lake Resort and worked his way up the ladder. He took a few years off and persuaded a couple degrees at SDSU, moved to Minnesota, and then returned to State Game lodge in 2015; and Legion again for 2021.

Favorite Park Memory:
"While hiking through a field on the wild life loop after dusk, I stirred up the grass and had hundreds of lightning bugs glowing all around me."

Favorite Thing on the Menu?
"Eating Buffalo Ravioli and sipping on a limoncello on the front Porch of the Game Lodge. It is the Bomb!"

 

Nick ReinkeNick Reinke
Director of Human Resources

Born in Ortonville, MN, Nick moved to Fargo to attend NDSU and ended up there for 25 years. His career with the company began in 2009 with Accounting/Front Office Management with The Lodge at Deadwood. In 2016, he was hired as the Assistant Manager of the Ramkota Hotel in Pierre before he transfered here to head up our seasonal hiring program.  

Favorite Park Memory:
“I love the Black Hills! All of my favorite memories involve being somewhere in the Hills and the Park with my kids and grandchildren."

Favorite Thing on the Menu?
"Legion's new Dockside Grill menu has some lighter fare options that are perfect! Great for an appetizer, or for a mid-day snack during an afternoon hiking around the lake with the grandkids."

Kyle EwingKyle Ewing
Sales & Catering Manager

With over 15 years in the hospitality industry, Kyle truly has a passion for red carpet service for all guests. A Rapid City native, Kyle started his career in country clubs, moved to private catering, and joined Custer State Park Resort in 2017. 

Favorite Park Memory:
“Each time I bring my kids out to the Park and they get to have fun at Daddy's work."

Favorite Thing on the Menu?
"Sylvan Lake Lodge has some amazing coconut curry fried shrimp another favorite of mine is the chicken cavatappi."

Mike Madsen
General Manager, Sylvan Lake Lodge 

Originally from Sioux Falls, Mike has over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry. A move to the Hills in 2012 for a summer position as a front desk clerk brought him to CSPR back in 2012. Mike was quickly promoted to Front Desk Manager and then AGM; before taking over as the GM of Legion Lake Lodge in 2015. He was with us through the rebuild and grand opening of the new Legion Lake Lodge before being promoted in 2018 to manage another property for the company outside of the CSPR portfolio. The 2020 season brough Mike back home to the Park.  In his spare time, along with his wife and son, he enjoys traveling all over the world and has traveled all of Europe and Most of Asia. He enjoys rock climbing and mountaineering having climbed some of the highest mountains on Earth.

Favorite Park Memory:
“Getting off work my first summer and exploring every day and the park sunsets. I'm still finding well kept secrets among the hills to this day!"

Favorite Thing on the Menu?
"Sylvan Lake Lodge has some amazing coconut curry fried shrimp another favorite of mine is the chicken cavatappi."

Carly Jinks
Sales & Catering Manager

With over 10 years in the hospitality industry, Carly moved to South Dakota in 2019 from Napa, California. Her career on the West coast was with Meritage Resort & Spa, where Cary started as an intern and was promoted internally numerous times before taking over as the Director of Events in 2018. She and her husband and two young sons moved to Custer in 2019 and she quickly found her home among the buffalo with Custer State Park Resort. In her spare time, Carly enjoys spending time with her family, camping and hunting.

Favorite Park Memory:
“Driving through the park every day and seeing the wildlife. I also love seeing the trees after a new snow."

Favorite Thing on the Menu?
"So hard to chose; but the Cranberry Spinach Salad is delightful."