Lorraine “Lori” Renner
After more than a decade of steering Dakota to a respected technical and IT business solutions provider, our founder, CEO and President Lorraine “Lori” Renner, passed away on May 18, 2016.
Shepherding Dakota Consulting to become a multi-million dollar enterprise, Lori’s business legacy is a primer on entrepreneurial successful practices. At the core of Dakota’s success was the culture Lori created—one of honesty, integrity and flexibility—with a view toward always providing customers with “what they need, and more than they expect.”
Lori climbed the managerial ladder in the Federal government at a quick pace. Starting her technical career as an on-site contractor for the Small Business Administration (SBA), Lori transitioned into the Federal Government as a technical team leader and quickly assumed more challenging management responsibilities. She was promoted to the position of Branch Manager with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Her Federal career culminated with her service as Director of the Telecommunications and Networking office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
In 2004, she began her entrepreneurial career. With a strong financial foundation, Lori began to build and grow Dakota in a strategic and deliberate fashion. Growing things was part of her DNA: a studied gardener, she learned an appreciation for nurturing life and putting things in order while growing up on her family’s farm in North Dakota.
Developing strong solutions for government challenges, Lori attracted a team that helped to win one Federal government contract after another. Along the way, she built a company that thrived based on a strong commitment to quality derived from unwavering management systems, standards and guidelines. Dakota combines in-depth technical and scientific expertise with a thorough understanding of government processes to deliver high-quality, creative, and cost-effective software development, cybersecurity, technical support, and IT and management services.
The genesis for Dakota was realizing the ability to get results in the government, combined with technical know-how and a people-focused approach. Dakota’s growth is a testament to fulfilling Lori’s motto: “At Dakota, we believe that our clients are our best advertising and our employees are our greatest resource.”
Lori was a strong advocate for giving back to the community and the employees who she regarded as family. The Dakota culture demonstrated the value Lori placed on every employee by celebrating employees’ birthdays with their favorite cake and a gift card. The Dakota culture Lori fostered also recognized the role of business as a community contributor. Lori led her company employees in undertaking volunteer projects, such as home rehabilitation as part of Rebuilding Together in Denver, site of the Western office, and in clothing and food drives for A Wider Circle, a charity dedicated to eradicating poverty, in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The values and foundation she set for Dakota helped the firm grow significantly over the course of more than a decade and inspires the company to continue her legacy.