Executive moves

New Leader at DB&T, HTLF

A new president and CEO will soon take the reins at a Dubuque bank, filling a role that will be vacated when the current president and CEO ascends to a leadership position with that bank’s holding company.

Tyson Leyendecker will replace Tut Fuller as Dubuque Bank & Trust’s president and CEO. At that time, Fuller will become regional president at Dubuque-based HTLF, the holding company for DB&T.

Fuller has served as president and CEO since 2017, presiding during a period in which DB&T made significant strides.

Since 2017, DB&T has increased profits by approximately 60%, grown deposits by about 50% and increased its market share in Dubuque by around 8%. Total assets now stand at about $1.9 billion.

As he prepares to take over as president and CEO, Leyendecker emphasized the importance of building upon the bank’s existing foundation in Dubuque and strengthening its presence in newer markets, namely Cedar Rapids and Des Moines.

“I want to maintain and respect what we have in Dubuque. That is very, very important to us,” he said. “But we also want to look at, ‘How do we continue to (establish) our foothold on the state of Iowa?’”

Leyendecker has more than 15 years of experience in the banking industry. Prior to coming to Dubuque, he worked at Wells Fargo in Phoenix, and served as a commercial banker at Arizona Bank & Trust and Citywide Banks, both of which are under the umbrella of HTLF.

Since arriving in Dubuque, he has served on the board of directors for the Dubuque Racing Association and the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as serving on the finance committee for Holy Family Schools. He believes these roles have helped him understand the community he will be serving in his new position.

“(Serving in volunteer roles) means giving back in a meaningful, impactful way,” he said. “It allows you to opine and give financial expertise when needed, and it also means we have a seat at the table with other like-minded individuals. It really rounds out our perspective on the community.”

In his new role, Fuller will oversee all banking operations at HTLF’s franchises in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas and Texas.

Fuller emphasized that he will continue to reside in Dubuque while carrying out his new role. He acknowledged that he’ll be assuming the new position at a time of noteworthy shifts in the way banking is conducted.

“The increase we see in mobile and online technology is going to continue, if not come faster,” he said. “I think what’s important is that the changes are coupled with a team-based approach. Banking is done best when a team of experts come together and problem solve and create value for a client.”

Grand Opera House hires Halder

The Grand Opera House in Dubuque has hired Nick Halder as its executive and artistic director.

Halder is the co-founder of Rising Star Theatre Company and most recently served as producing artistic director at Rising Star, and as theater director in residence at Clarke University.

Mescher to lead Hills & Dales

The Board of Directors of Hills & Dales announced that Jack Mescher stepped into the role of CEO upon the retirement of CEO Marilyn Althoff.

A press release states that Mescher has served as government relations and assistant director for Hills & Dales since March 2020.

“We are excited about Jack’s passion for the residents, clients and families supported by Hills & Dales and have every confidence in his ability to lead this next chapter of our organization,” said board President Brian Kane in the release.

Founded in 1973, Hills & Dales provides services to children and young adults with disabilities in eastern Iowa.

Althoff announced in November that she intended to retire after nearly 32 years with Hills & Dales, including serving as CEO since 2004.

Meanwhile, Mescher “has been involved with Hills & Dales in various ways over the past eight years, starting his career as a direct support professional and has also served as a legislative advocate and Hills & Dales board member,” the release states.

He and Althoff have been working together since February “to ensure a smooth transition,” the organization stated.

School district chooses director of equity

Dubuque Community School District officials have selected their next director of equity.

Dierre Littleton will start on Aug. 2. He will fill an opening created by the resignation of Taj Suleyman earlier this year.

Littleton comes to the district after serving as associate director for the office of diversity at University of Central Arkansas, according to a news release. He previously worked as a residence hall coordinator at the university and as a graduate assistant in the office of diversity and inclusion.

In his new role with the district, Littleton will be responsible for “organizing, coordinating, communicating and managing various facets of educational equity in the district to enhance student learning while collaborating with internal and external stakeholders to maximize the educational opportunities available to each student,” the release states.

Lincoln to direct MercyOne respiratory care

Diane Lincoln has accepted the position of director of respiratory care at MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center. Lincoln has served as the interim director since January, and previously served at the respiratory care coordinator. She has been with MercyOne’s respiratory care team since 1995.

First Community promotes 3

First Community State Bank of Galena and The Apple River State Bank announced the following:

Doug Laity has been promoted to vice president-mortgage lending; Zeke Winders has been promoted to vice president-lending; and Ben Wooden has been promoted to vice president-lending.

Jeff Millin has joined the bank as vice president and loan officer.

Aviles to retire from Q; successor named

Jesus Aviles, the longtime president and CEO of Q Casino and Hotel in Dubuque will step down by the end of the year.

Aviles stepped into his role at Q Casino — then known as Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino — at a time when its crosstown competitor, Diamond Jo Casino, was preparing to build a new facility, a development many thought could doom Q Casino. Under his leadership, Q Casino conducted major facility improvements, broke ranks with the greyhound industry, purchased the Hilton Garden Inn hotel and ramped up entertainment offerings.

“I have been in the industry 45 years,” Aviles said. “That is a long time, and I felt like the timing was right (to retire). … It has been a good run.”

The board of directors of the Dubuque Racing Association selected an experienced gaming executive to succeed him.

The board of the DRA, which serves as the nonprofit license holder for both Dubuque casinos, unanimously authorized an employment agreement with Alex Dixon, who emerged as the leading candidate after an exhaustive search.

Dixon, a Nevada native, will relocate to Dubuque in August and shift into Aviles’ role soon thereafter.

He is the west region president at PureStar, a commercial laundry company that counts multiple Las Vegas hospitality businesses among its clients. Dixon also has spent 11 years as a gaming executive, holding various leadership roles for MGM and Caesars Entertainment in markets across the U.S.

Leadership changes at Mobile Track Solutions

Mobile Track Solutions, of Elkader, Iowa, announced that Tony Mescher has been promoted to vice president.

Mescher will take over the duties of Justin Augustyn, who is transitioning to the role of president.