Over those two decades, this Cherokee native touched everything from customer service to collections, finance to IT. She handled training as well as quality and processs engineering and honed her administrative and people skills.
While at Citibank, Ruppert also met and worked for Tom Huegel. When Huegel left Citibank and later became President and CEO of Design Tanks of Sioux Falls, he began looking for a General Manager who could eventually step into his shoes.
In 2006, he turned to Ruppert. After all, the management skills she'd been building could be just as effective in a company that manufactured tanks as they were in the credit card business.
"I had been dealing with a very intangible product at Citibank," says Ruppert. "We focused on exceptional customer service, but were were dealing with a product we couldn't see, feel, or touch." She dicovered something very different on her first tour of the Design Tanks manufacturing facility. "I was amazed to see how the tanks were built, the enormity and efficiency of the production process," she recalls.
"Being in a business with a durable good gives me great satisfaction. There's nothing like sitting in my office, looking out the window and seeing one of our tanks loaded on a truck, ready to head down the road."
She is also proud, she says, to be with a company where management cares for and respects employees, and where the employees care about the product they build for their customers.
"That's one of the great things about this company," she says. "When you care about the people who work for you, they in turn care about the product they put out the door. It shows in the quality of the tanks that we build."
Stepping into the President and COO role at Design Tanks is something Ruppert kenw would come, but that fact doesn't diminish the challenges that arise in running any company.
"I knew I would be faced with new challenges every day," she says. "But frankly, those challenges give me the desire and initiative to continue on. I'm a person who is motivated by solving challenging situations." Ruppert is also determined to keep Design Tank true to its reputation as a company that treats its employees well, builds a high-quality fiberglass tank, and provides its customers with excellent service. That will not change.
Ruppert is married to former Cherokean Marty Ruppert, both graduates of Cherokee Washington High School.