|James G. "Jim" Bell was born January 1, 1926 to Harry and Alta Bell in Pierce County, Nebraska. He attended rural schools and graduated from Pierce High School in 1942. With a two-year interruption in college education to serve in the US Navy, he was a 1948 graduate in Civil Engineering at the University of Nebraska. Following graduation, Bell married his long time sweetheart, Jean Chilquist. In 1954, they relocated to Rapid City, SD, with their three sons: Douglas, David, and Scott.
Jim’s broad based engineering project experience included irrigation, highways, streets, water and sewer systems, a Missouri River bridge, and private/public buildings. The Consulting Engineers Council of South Dakota and United States, as well as the Engineering Society of the Black Hills and South Dakota have recognized his efforts.
In 1968, Jim joined architect Gary Galyardt in forming Bell, Galyardt and Associates, Inc. The firm designed a number of notable projects consisting of buildings, streets and highways in Rapid City and across the state. After the devastating flood in Rapid City in 1972, Jim volunteered countless hours to help envision a better and improved Rapid City for the future. His involvement in the State Chamber led to the formation of the South Dakota Water Congress and a lifelong passion for developing quality water resources for all of South Dakota. Jim was later appointed by Governor William Janklow to the SD Board of Water and Natural Resources and served as its chairman for a number of years. In this position, Jim’s vision of what the future of South Dakota ought to be was most evident. He was able to straddle the East River/West River divide and focus on the needs and futures of all South Dakotans. Upon completion of the projects initiated during those years, nearly every South Dakotan was on some central water system. Concurrently, he served on the Rapid City Regional Airport Board and spearheaded the planning and design of the new airport terminal and related facilities.
Jim, with the support of Jean and his business associates, has freely donated his time and service to church, Kiwanis, Scouts, City of Rapid City, State of South Dakota and to city, state and national business groups, having received the Rapid City Chamber’s most prestigious ‘George Award’.
Following retirement, Jim Bell has continued to serve through accomplishment of major infrastructure improvements at Mt. Rushmore and is currently serving Rapid City in an advisory capacity on utility and airport master planning.
|Home Town (Pierce, NE)|