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The Odin Award: Dennis Walsh Receives Top Employee Honor

Each year, First International Bank & Trust honors one employee with the Odin Award – named for our founder, Odin Stenehjem. It’s the bank’s highest employee recognition, reserved for someone who exemplifies our vision, mission, and values on a daily basis.

Our latest recipient is Chief Credit Officer Dennis Walsh.

Dennis said that receiving the award is “extremely humbling, because there are many people that are, in my opinion, more deserving than I am.”

FIBT President Peter Stenehjem said Dennis is a worthy recipient because of how successful he is in juggling projects.

“Dennis operates a full farm and ranch operation as well [as his role as Chief Credit Officer],” Peter said. “So in one moment, Dennis could be pulling a calf during calving season. Twenty minutes later, he might be on a credit committee. Then he’ll close out his day by going back to managing the herd, feeding cattle, and responding to some emails about a loan that needs to happen in Arizona.”

Senior Executive Vice President and Vice Chairman Blaine DesLauriers highlighted Dennis’s commitment to his community – and his wealth of knowledge in the world of agriculture. “If there’s anyone that we want to answer a question and talk about the state of agriculture, it’s him,” Blaine said.

The Odin Award includes a $5,000 donation to a cause of the recipient’s choice: the North Dakota FFA Foundation. Dennis also chose to donate $5,000 of his own money, which was matched by the Stenehjem family for a grand total of $15,000 for the organization.

The funds will create a scholarship for one North Dakota FFA member to attend the FFA’s Washington Leadership Conference each year – and Dennis says his children and grandchildren have pledged to continue to contribute to the fund once the initial $15,000 is exhausted.

“I’ve seen what the FFA has done for young people,” Dennis said, “and how it has developed their leadership skills to be active leaders in our communities.”

“We would not be able to do the things that we do for our FFA members and stakeholders without First International Bank & Trust or donors like Dennis Walsh,” said Beth Allen, Executive Director of the North Dakota FFA Foundation.