Rick Weiland grew up believing in the American Dream – that a small town kid from South Dakota really could make a better life for himself. He is fighting to make sure that dream still exists.”
One of seven children, Rick is a fifth generation South Dakotan who was born and raised in Madison. His parents owned and operated a funeral chapel and ran the local ambulance service that served Madison and the surrounding communities. Rick attended Madison High School, where he met his wife of 32 years, Stacy Newcomb, and graduated from the University of South Dakota.
Rick started serving South Dakota while still in college. He worked on Tom Daschle’s first Congressional campaign in 1978 while still in college making a whopping 30 dollars a week. He learned the value of a strong grassroots campaign by watching Tom knock on 40,000 doors that year. He learned that South Dakotans expect to see candidates in person and the power of talking with voters one-on-one. That is a lesson he has taken to heart.
Rick worked for Tom Daschle until 1996 when he ran for Congress. He was the Democratic candidate for Congress but was unsuccessful in the general election. In 1997, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as the Region VIII Director for FEMA. The region includes South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.
As FEMA Regional Director he was responsible for all federal disaster response in Region VIII. Rick supervised the Federal recovery response to flooding in North Dakota and South Dakota; wild fires in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota; tornadoes in Spencer, SD as well as on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. During his tenure at FEMA he was called upon to provide support to local law enforcement during the Columbine tragedy. In addition to Federal disaster response, Rick led a “historic” conference for 28 tribal nations within Region VIII. At the conference, Rick and FEMA worked to establish more effective emergency management coordination and to improve services to underserved communities on tribal reservations. The conference established the Tribal Emergency Management Coordination Council.
In 2002 Rick took over as the State Director for the AARP. He fought for South Dakota seniors and for the protection of Social Security and Medicare. Rick was responsible for 85,000 members, developed and implemented numerous successful statewide campaigns to increase membership, participation, value to members, awareness and advocacy, including the establishment of a Senior Bill of Rights.
In 2003, Rick became the COO, and later the CEO, for the International Code Council (ICC), which is the nation’s leading advocate for uniform building codes and building safety. As CEO, Rick spearheaded efforts to create the nation’s first green construction code for commercial buildings and a standard for residential structures. This code was published in 2012 and has already been adopted in several states and communities. Rick traveled extensively to promote responsible and sustainable building codes and practices. In 2010 he traveled to Haiti, after the devastating earthquake, to work with government officials to help develop safer building codes. He was also invited by the Chinese government to speak to officials regarding the implementation of safer and more sustainable building codes.
In 2009, Rick and Stacy began operating a downtown Sioux Falls restaurant. It is a family venture, with all seven family members working in the business over the years. In 2011, they became partners in a second downtown Sioux Falls business. Rick currently lives in Sioux Falls with his wife Stacy. They have 5 children and welcomed their first grandchild last year.