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Home Address Initiative Opens New Doors

Blog, News & Events on December 29th. Comments Off on Home Address Initiative Opens New Doors

“My first Home Address meeting, I found myself sitting in a circle looking at a rock,” laughs Cathy Evans, Executive Director of the Lemmon Housing Authority.

“I was very intimidated and uncomfortable. I am a back row, last chair kind of person. So sitting in a circle talking to a group was hard. But, by the third meeting I was totally comfortable. Now I conduct all my own meetings in a circle!”

Cathy began her journey with Home Address in 2012, and while she admits to initial fears, she now realizes that being pushed out of her comfort zone was a path to her personal growth.

“Each time I met with the Home Address group, I found we all had an equal voice and no idea was a bad idea,” she says. “I met wonderful people from other communities that have the … Read More »


Entrepreneur or Small-business Owner?

News & Events on December 1st. Comments Off on Entrepreneur or Small-business Owner?

Entrepreneur or Small-business Owner: Which Fits You?

By Glenn Muske

Are you an entrepreneur or a small-business owner?

When one reads stories in the newspaper or journals, these two groups are not distinguished from each other typically. Neither the U.S. Small Business Administration nor the U.S. Census Bureau breaks them out separately. So does it make a difference?

Or should the writings about building the economy around entrepreneurs be the encouragement for us to be entrepreneurial if you want to succeed?

Based on what I have read, along with some exploratory research conducted by a colleague and me, the answer is “it depends.” It is based to some degree on how you define success.

In looking at our business owners in 1997, 2000 and 2007, entrepreneurs made more money. In part, that may have been a factor of having more employees. Yet … Read More »


We tried that before and it didn’t work!

Blog, News & Events on August 17th. Comments Off on We tried that before and it didn’t work!

When was the last time you heard someone say, “We tried that before and it didn’t work!”  In my early days as a local leader those words spoken by an experienced leader often stopped me in my tracks. Their words indicated to me that they had the experience of knowing what worked and what didn’t work in the community.  Sometimes I would ask, “Why?” and rarely get a strong explanation about the failure that occurred, which left me determined to learn more.

My confidence as a leader has grown over the years and I have gained much more experience. Now when someone says, “We tried that before and it didn’t work!” my response is…”and, what did you learn from that?”

Learning about failed attempts, missed opportunities, and community history requires honest and focused conversations with local leaders. I strongly believe that as … Read More »


RuralX Inspires Tripp Duo

Blog, News & Events on August 16th. Comments Off on RuralX Inspires Tripp Duo

#thinkbigandtakeaction  — Something big is happening in the small town of Tripp, South Dakota.

The ball started rolling when Bryan Bietz attended his first Tripp Area Community Foundation meeting.

“Bryan came home and told me he had been elected President, and we both kind of laughed because it had been his very first meeting. Neither of us had experience with community development, however, we both knew we wanted to do more for our community,” explains his wife, Shawn, a local veterinarian. “I started Googling rural development in South Dakota and Dakota Resources popped up, which led me to the RuralX event in Aberdeen. After exploring the website, reading reviews and watching the RuralX video, we knew we needed to go.”

Shortly after discovering RuralX online, Bryan received a free ticket from the South Dakota Community Foundation because of his … Read More »


New city ordinances in Wall are inspired by Home Address

Blog, News & Events on August 10th. Comments Off on New city ordinances in Wall are inspired by Home Address

Wall, South Dakota’s tagline is “Window to the Badlands.” Thanks to the efforts of a forward-thinking city council and a progressive economic development corporation, that window is opening to dozens of new opportunities for this tourism-based community.

One of those opportunities includes a strategic focus on housing development to help overcome Wall’s dire lack of available housing. To help generate new ideas and access more housing resources, the Wall Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) joined the Dakota Resources Home Address Plus learning network in 2016 to help connect with other rural communities and learn from their successes. The network offers online support for housing questions, monthly webinars, access to tools and resources and bi-annual Home Address Plus learning network gatherings.

“We were invited to try the network before we joined. The first gathering we attended was very inspiring. We could see the … Read More »


Faulkton – 2016 Innovative Site of the Year

Blog, News & Events on August 3rd. Comments Off on Faulkton – 2016 Innovative Site of the Year

Faulkton Believes In Possible

In 2010, the Faulkton area began rewriting its story with an “all-in” dedication to growth and a positive community atmosphere. The ambitious rural community has been adding exciting new chapters to their story ever since. Their latest ends with Faulkton being named the 2016 Dakota Rising Innovative Site of the Year, which was awarded for a long list of community accomplishments as well as innovative plans for the future.

“All of our growth and development started with Dakota Rising,” says Trevor Cramer, Economic Development Director for Faulkton. “We are far from done…in fact, we’re just getting started. Our latest venture is the collaboration between the Faulkton Business and Professionals Association and the Business/Entrepreneurship pillar of the Faulkton Area Economic Development Corporation (FAEDC)—which comes directly from Dakota Rising.”

That collaboration grew from a brainstorm session being led by Dakota Rising Community Coach … Read More »


What was Your Rural Xperience?

Blog, News & Events on July 27th. Comments Off on What was Your Rural Xperience?

Below are quotes captured from the participants of RuralX17:

“There is great power in our rural connections. I don’t take for granted the awesome resources available to rural communities in our state, but it takes some digging to know where to find them. That’s why an event like RuralX is so valuable. Just last night I needed help with a grant project and Beth Davis got out her phone, pushed a few buttons and this morning I got a call from someone willing to help me. That’s powerful. That is the beauty of a rural connection.” – Emily Firman Pieper, Flandreau Community Advocate

“We were doing research on rural development or rural resources on Google and we stumbled across RuralX17. There was so much good talk and so many great ideas! Now we are ready to go back home and turn the talk … Read More »


RuralX17 Encourages Rural Communities to Take Small Steps

Blog, News & Events on July 27th. Comments Off on RuralX17 Encourages Rural Communities to Take Small Steps

RuralX17, a rural economic and community development summit hosted by Dakota Resources and 34 sponsors, brought rural “movers and shakers” from across the Midwest together for two days of motivational learning, idea sharing and networking. The event was held July 18-19 at the Dakota Events Center in Aberdeen and included national and regional speakers, a block party dinner, OpenX break-out sessions and more. Vision sponsors of the event included The Bush Foundation, Horizon Health Care, Inc. and Touchstone Energy Cooperatives through the REED Fund.

RuralX stands for “Rural Experience” and was dedicated to helping connect rural change makers to valuable resources and like-minded people across the Midwest. The summit was inspired last year by Dakota Resources, a statewide organization dedicated to stimulating financial and human investment in communities that are invested themselves.

“We had a lot of people … Read More »


Dakotas America Board finds inspiration in the Black Hills

Blog, News & Events on July 27th. Comments Off on Dakotas America Board finds inspiration in the Black Hills

In the fall of 2016, a group representing Dakotas America gathered inside Rockyford School’s Cultural Heritage room to listen as teachers told stories of hope for the future of Pine Ridge.

“Principal Monica Whirlwind Horse and her staff took us on a wonderful tour of the school and then brought us together in their Cultural Heritage room, a large circular space filled with artifacts and cultural displays. She told us the meaning behind the buffalo hide in the center of the circle,” explains Lin Van Hofwegen, Managing Director of Dakotas America. “In the past, the buffalo provided everything they needed – food, shelter, warmth. Today, she told us, education is our buffalo.”

Learning more about the projects Dakotas America and its investor partners help finance through the New Markets Tax Credit program is important to the governing board and advisory board … Read More »


Partnering with USDA in $10 Million Re-lending program

Blog, News & Events on July 20th. Comments Off on Partnering with USDA in $10 Million Re-lending program

Ask Jay Headley what Dakota Resources’ biggest accomplishments were for 2016, and he will rattle off a list that includes providing capital to assist with rural building projects, new housing developments, land purchases, the opening of new businesses and collaborative partnerships.

However, one of his favorite highlights was finalized at the end of the year and involves a partnership between Dakota Resources and US Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA). USDA named Dakota Resources as a “re-lender” of $10 million in federal funds to help spur economic development opportunities and reduce rural poverty in South Dakota communities. The funds will be used to improve essential facilities in low income rural areas, such as health care facilities, child care centers, town halls, assisted living centers, transitional housing, street improvements and educational facilities.

“Dakota Resources is only one of a handful of Community Development Fund Institutions … Read More »


Lincoln and Minnehaha counties plan for the future

Blog, News & Events on July 13th. Comments Off on Lincoln and Minnehaha counties plan for the future

Sometimes, a move forward requires a step back.

That’s exactly what Nick Fosheim, Executive Director of the Lincoln and Minnehaha County Economic Development Associations, decided to do in 2016.

“We have been a regional economic development collaborative for about fifteen communities around Sioux Falls for twenty-five years,” says Nick. “Many things have changed since we started, and we decided it was time to take stock of where we’ve been and where we want to go. We wanted some clear perspective, and that’s what Dakota Resources helped provide.”

Nick knew about the value of Dakota Resources because of his previous employment with economic development in Webster and their involvement in Dakota Rising.

“I respected the process and their ability to engage a community,” he says. “We decided to partner with Dakota Resources through Empower! Dakota in an effort to build a strategic plan for Lincoln and Minnehaha counties.”

The Lincoln … Read More »


The OTA Film: Faulkton Premiere!

Blog, News & Events on July 6th. Comments Off on The OTA Film: Faulkton Premiere!

OTA is pleased to announce the official Small Town Premiere of “The Potluck Society: An OTA Journey,” which will be held at the Lyric Theater in Faulkton, SD, on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. The film will begin at 7:30 pm and is free to the public.

This film captures the spirit and stories of OTA, which celebrated and connected creatives and community builders throughout Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota from 2009-2016.

OTA began with the simple idea that the people of the region were worthy of celebrating. If we could bring them together, connect them and celebrate them by sharing their work with the world, extraordinary things could happen,” said OTA founder, Hugh Weber. “I believe that small towns, rich with stories, culture and creativity – are unique in their ability to create solutions and expand possibility … Read More »


Building on the Dakota Rising Experience

Blog, News & Events on July 6th. Comments Off on Building on the Dakota Rising Experience

With a passion for construction and a deep love of their rural roots, Jay Yohner and Brad Hahn teamed up in 2015 to launch a post-frame manufacturing business in their hometown of Martin, South Dakota. Jay and Brad had already been working together through Jay’s construction company, Yohner Construction, and the partnership was a natural progression for a couple of guys with a big idea.

“I actually left Martin and moved to Oregon to enroll in a structural engineering and architectural design program,” says Jay. “I moved back to Martin and started my own construction business. I hired Brad and we really clicked. We both love construction. We both have big dreams. And we both believe we can make those dreams happen right here.”

As business partners, Brad and Jay established Pioneer Buildings, Inc. with a vision for creating high quality, … Read More »


National Speakers Urge You to Bring your Crowd to RuralX17

Blog, News & Events on June 30th. Comments Off on National Speakers Urge You to Bring your Crowd to RuralX17

“There have been too many years of no love for rural America. You’ll find all kinds of love for rural at RuralX.”

These are the words of Deb Brown, a national advocate for rural communities. Brown is one of the keynote speakers at RuralX17, a two-day summit being held July 18-19 in Aberdeen, SD, designed to bring rural champions together from across the region to boost rural economic and community development. RuralX17 is organized by Dakota Resources, an organization dedicated to enriching communities and empowering people across rural South Dakota.

Last year was the inaugural RuralX Summit, with over 220 attendees and 57 sponsors. The success of the event immediately prompted organizers to begin planning for this year’s event, which brings back some favorite highlights while adding some fresh new twists.

“We had an overwhelmingly positive response to our first RuralX Summit,” explains … Read More »


First National Bank Invests $2 Million With Dakota Resources

Blog, News & Events on June 30th. Comments Off on First National Bank Invests $2 Million With Dakota Resources

First National Bank has provided a $2 million Equity-Equivalent Investment to the Dakota Resources Capital Investment Fund, announced Jeff Jones, Market President, First National Bank.

The $2 million investment, which includes the renewal of an existing $700,000 Equity-Equivalent Investment from the bank plus an additional $1.3 million, reflects First National Bank’s commitment to building strong local economies in the South Dakota rural market.

The investment will be used as loan funds to support businesses, affordable housing and other community development projects in the rural South Dakota counties of Yankton, Bon Homme, Beadle, Davison, Sanborn and Hanson through Dakota Resources Capital Investment Fund loans to development organizations serving those markets.

“At First National Bank, we believe that a successful community is one that is home to local businesses of all sizes and types that produce a variety of goods and services. That’s why we … Read More »


RuralX helps to overcome rural’s challenge: The distances between us

Blog, News & Events on June 29th. Comments Off on RuralX helps to overcome rural’s challenge: The distances between us

By Heidi Marttila-Losure, Dakotafire Media

For those of us who choose to live on the Great Plains, the wide-open spaces are both our greatest opportunity and our greatest challenge.

The opportunity isn’t obvious to everyone—the ones who call our home “flyover country” aren’t seeing it—but many of us who live here can feel it when we take in a long view toward the horizon: There is possibility in that open space between ground and sky, and part of the meaning of our lives is imagining what that space could be and doing the work we are called to do to make those beautiful visions real.

And here is where RuralX shows its power. 

The first RuralX Summit brought together 222 participants from across South Dakota and beyond. Many of us who attended are pretty good at looking at open spaces and imagining beautiful … Read More »


RuralX17 Has People Coming Back For More

Blog, News & Events on June 22nd. Comments Off on RuralX17 Has People Coming Back For More

Margot Gillette attended the RuralX Summit last summer and couldn’t wait to go back. In fact, the Economic Development Director for Beadle and Spink Enterprise Community (BASEC) is on a mission to recruit more people to attend from her community, starting with the BASEC Board of Directors.

“Last year’s RuralX was a great experience. BASEC’s staff was able to attend several sessions that directly impact our work in our small communities. I was able to talk with small town developers from all over the state about their work as well as talk with individuals representing some of South Dakota’s larger industries – agriculture, banking and health care.  Based on last year’s experience I couldn’t wait to get signed up again,” she says.

Margot grew up in Redfield but moved away to attend college and law school. She practiced law in Colorado before moving … Read More »


RuralX is a success for rural South Dakota

Blog, News & Events on June 20th. Comments Off on RuralX is a success for rural South Dakota

The RuralX Summit, organized by Dakota Resources with the help of 57 generous sponsors, was a rural economic and community development summit held in July of 2016 to help rural innovators connect with new ideas, innovative people and forward-thinking collaborations. The two-day event was attended by 222 people who were motivated by:

National rural advocates and celebrated speakers

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Networking with key organizations, resources and rural leaders

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A farm-to-fork dinner celebration with entertainment

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Breakout sessions focused on rural agendas

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Inspirational success stories

The following rural successes were a direct result of the 2016 RuralX Summit and can be attributed to the hard-working, visionary people who came to us representing their communities, their organizations and their dreams.

Two high school boys from Miller, Dylan Fulton and Camden Breitling, attended the RuralX Summit with the help of a scholarship from Dakota Resources. The two boys, who are Youth Leaders … Read More »


2017-18 GRANTS IN PLACE RECIPIENTS ARE ANNOUNCED!

Blog, News & Events on June 8th. Comments Off on 2017-18 GRANTS IN PLACE RECIPIENTS ARE ANNOUNCED!

Rural South Dakota | JUNE 08, 2017 | The 2017-18 Grants in Place program is a national cooperative venture between the Rural Schools Collaborative, partner organizations and committed donors. This year’s 36 funded projects were selected from more than 125 applications and will serve as many as 46 communities in 12 states. View all national grantees.

More than twenty funders and individual donors came together to invest $137,000 in rural place-based education initiatives and projects in rural America. The groundbreaking work of the Community Foundation of the OzarksRural Schools Partnership certainly led the way, but other organizations and funders, like Dakota Resources, clearly recognize the importance of supporting community-based student learning that serves a public purpose.

South Dakota’s Growing Together Better funding was provided by Dakota Resources, Jim Beddow and Mike Knutson with matching support … Read More »


Registration is Open for RuralX17

Blog, News & Events on May 17th. Comments Off on Registration is Open for RuralX17

Get Your Tickets Early!

Registration is now open for RuralX17! Early bird pricing is available until June 23, so be sure to take advantage of the ticket savings and get it on your calendar now. RuralX17 will be held July 18-19, 2017 at the Dakota Events Center in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Our website is full of event information about this year’s dynamic speakers, the event schedule and our Better Block Party evening social.

What They Said…

Last year’s inaugural RuralX Summit brought people together from across the region to share innovative ideas, learn about rural resources and network like never before. Here are just a few of the great things they said about the event:


Troy McQuillen, Owner McQuillen Creative and former Dakota Rising Fellow, Aberdeen

As a former Dakota Rising Fellow, I am really interested in youth and … Read More »


Rural Communities Strengthened, Connected by Rural Finance Development

Blog, News & Events on May 17th. Comments Off on Rural Communities Strengthened, Connected by Rural Finance Development

In April, more than 20 rural economic development groups gathered in Harrisburg, South Dakota, for the “Upper Great Plains Rural Finance Gathering.” The members of this diverse group work to increase access to education, healthcare, jobs, and other key services in rural communities across the nation.  The group shared insights, success stories, and tackled many of the challenges facing rural community development. The hot topic? Protecting key federal community development programs most effective at supporting rural communities.

Congress finally passed an omnibus bill last week to fund the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2017. Now, Congress quickly turns to its work on 2018, which is presently underway. In addition, both President Trump and Congress are working to move along tax reform.

Community development organizations are watching these processes from the edges of their seats—and with good reason. The Administration’s … Read More »


DAKOTAS AMERICA HOSTED RURAL FINANCE GATHERING

Blog, News & Events on May 3rd. Comments Off on DAKOTAS AMERICA HOSTED RURAL FINANCE GATHERING

Federal community development funding, as measured as a share of GDP, has declined by 75 percent over the least 40 years. Federal policy has increasing relied on private-sector resources to fill the gap. Through the NMTC and CDFI programs, community development organizations are filling the yawning credit gap encountered in many communities, creating jobs improving housing and community facilities and creating economic opportunity. This is especially true in rural America where opportunity to access the capital necessary to build businesses and community services is limited.

On April 11, 2017, Dakotas America hosted the Upper Great Plains Rural Finance Gathering in Harrisburg, South Dakota. In all, there were over 30 attendees representing more than 20 economic development groups from across the region, as well as other areas around the country. The stated purpose of the gathering was for participants to learn from … Read More »


Get Ready to Dream

Blog, News & Events on April 19th. Comments Off on Get Ready to Dream

RuralX17 keynote speaker Jason Roberts

Jason Roberts wants you to build a better block in your rural community. And he’s just the guy to tell you how to do it.

As the co-founder of The Better Block Project, a neighborhood revitalization effort that won him the Champions of Change award from the White House in 2012, Jason’s ideas and visions for bringing life back into dying neighborhoods have become a national movement around the globe.

“It all started when some friends and I decided to build our dream neighborhood block in 24-hours using less than $1,000,” he explains. “Simply by adding things like a bike lane, string lights, flowers, outdoor tables, pop-up shops and incorporating local art and music, it became a place people wanted to be.”

From there, The Better Block initiative became an international movement and has been featured in the NY … Read More »


OpenX spurs a new event

Blog, News & Events on April 19th. Comments Off on OpenX spurs a new event

OpenX brings women to the table for an exciting new event in Aberdeen

What started as an OpenX topic at last summer’s RuralX Summit has evolved into the inaugural Northeast Women’s Business Conference next spring.

The idea to host the women’s conference was inspired by Helen Merriman, Director of SD Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SD CEO) at Black Hills State University.  Helen was attending RuralX as a way to connect with more resources and entrepreneurial thinkers across the state.

“As director of the only Women’s Business Center in South Dakota, I am always looking for new ways to connect with more people,” she explains. “I hosted an OpenX table conversation to see if there was any interest in holding a women’s business conference in northeast South Dakota, and the women at my table showed significant interest. We were able to identify nine women … Read More »


Dakota Rising Fellows Do It All

Blog, News & Events on April 13th. Comments Off on Dakota Rising Fellows Do It All

From bakers to builders, there are all kinds of entrepreneurs in this world. Our Dakota Rising Fellows are a diverse group, but they quickly bond over the shared passions and challenges of being rural business owners. No matter what business you bring to the table, you will be part of something truly special as a Dakota Rising Fellow — just check out the esteemed list of entrepreneurs you’ll be joining, if you apply.

FOOD AND DRINK

Burger Shack | Melanie Hoke, Faulkton

Cheryl’s Catering Service | Cheryl Schaefers, Polo

Crow Peak Brewing Company | Josh Fritz and Jeff Drumm, Spearfish

Hot Springs Vault | Cristin Stewart, Hot Springs

Lotus Up Espresso and Deli | Jamie Gilcrease-Heupel, Lead

The Cake Lady | Cheryl Swatek, Wagner

Vanilla Bean Bakery | Peg Austin, Spearfish

Wild Dutchman Products | Tobey Vander Laan, Mound City

FLORAL AND LANDSCAPING

Dakota Greens of Custer | Jeff Prior, Custer

Read More »


Dakota Rising Graduates Celebrate True Fellowship

Blog, News & Events on April 6th. Comments Off on Dakota Rising Graduates Celebrate True Fellowship

The most recent class of Dakota Rising Fellowship graduates were asked to reflect on their fellowship experience and to compare their original goals to their actual outcomes. Their hard work and commitment to the three-year program is evident in their answers, and their belief in the value of Dakota Rising makes us proud. We thank these amazing rural business owners for supporting one another and our mission of engaging, empowering and supporting entrepreneurs and local businesses.

MELANIE HOKE |BURGER SHACK, FAULKTON

DAKOTA RISING GOALS
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» Purchase a new heating and cooling system
» Enclose patio and pursue being open year-round
» Increase sales $30,000-$40,000 per year
» Learn to use P.O.S. software instead of hand writing everything
» Become a bigger and better resource for the community and school—hire more people, teenagers, etc.

AFTER DAKOTA RISING
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» Became a year-round business after the first year in … Read More »


Connect Your Community Like Never Before

Blog, News & Events on March 30th. Comments Off on Connect Your Community Like Never Before

Join one or more of the
Dakota Resources’ Learning Networks
and connect like never before.

You told us what you wanted: more connections, more flexibility, more partners and more opportunities to learn.

The good news?

That’s exactly what we want to give you.

Your interest and input is helping us connect more rural South Dakota communities to each other, to resources, and to us, with options to participate even on a small scale. While most of what we’re offering has always been available, we are doubling down on our learning networks and making them even better. Our learning networks are the foundation of our community interaction, and are now more accessible to communities not in a long-term partnership with Dakota Resources.

By joining one or more of our learning networks, your community can focus on one or more topics, such as housing … Read More »


Centerville is Not Dying. (Part 3 of 3)

Blog on March 27th. Comments Off on Centerville is Not Dying. (Part 3 of 3)

Part 3 of a 3 part look at the future of Centerville

Guest Author, Jared Hybertson, Centerville Economic Development Coordinator

Perception isn’t reality, but sometimes it’s the only thing that matters for a small town. How a town is viewed by not only its residents, but by outsiders and potential residents can truly make or break your community. A community that is perceived to be clean, and friendly, and busy, and growing, is a place that people are attracted to. But a community that is considered to be the opposite of that, well that is tough to overcome. The perception people have of a community can affect everything from where people decide to shop or visit, to where they ultimately decide to live or not live.

As I discussed in last week’s article there is no doubt Centerville currently faces some challenges. Lower … Read More »


A Light Burns Bright in the Black Hills

Blog, News & Events on March 23rd. Comments Off on A Light Burns Bright in the Black Hills

“We’re all just little lighthouses that need a chance to shine,” explains Jamie Gilcrease-Heupel, a 2016 Dakota Rising graduate and community volunteer in Lead-Deadwood.

Jamie doesn’t just shine. She radiates.

Prior to becoming a Dakota Rising Fellow, Jamie was leasing a small coffee shop space in Lead and was just coming into her own as a community volunteer. Now she’s on the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center board of directors, Lead Chamber of Commerce board, Lead Kiwanis board, Boys and Girls Club Resource Development Team and multiple local committees.

“Once I became involved with Dakota Rising, I really found my voice,” explains Jamie. “It was like someone lit a match. I realized that getting involved with my community was really important to me, and that I could make a difference.”

Not only did Jamie build a beautiful new space for Lotus Up Espresso and … Read More »


Jenni Tucker

Dakota Rising, Fellows on March 22nd. Comments Off on Jenni Tucker

Help-U-Rent

Jenni is the owner of Help-U-Rent, a full-service property management company in Spearfish. From a young age, Jenni knew she would be an entrepreneur. That became a reality in 2014 with the opportunity to purchase the business. Along with her entrepreneurial spirit, starting at Help-U-Rent as an employee helped her to gain the knowledge of the industry and business she needed to step into the ownership role. Jenni has continued to grow the company and is always looking for more opportunities. Most recently, she started another company called Black Hills Blinds, specializing in custom window coverings. She also serves as a board member for the Spearfish Chamber of Commerce. Jenni has great pride in the Black Hills and the community of Spearfish, where she lives with her husband and daughter.


Centerville Is Not Dying. (Part 2 of 3)

Blog, News & Events on March 20th. Comments Off on Centerville Is Not Dying. (Part 2 of 3)

Part 2 of a 3 part look at the future of Centerville
Guest Author, Jared Hybertson, Centerville Economic Development Coordinator

In last week’s article, part 1 of this 3 part look at the future of Centerville, I shared with you a discussion I had with a teacher who had overheard some discouraging comments from a couple of his students revolving around the future of the school. In the article I stressed how important it is for us as a community to keep a positive outlook and stand united to overcome the challenges we currently face in our town. This time around I want to share another conversation I had recently revolving around the future of Centerville and its school district, and also how the culture that surrounds sports can relate to the overall success of a community.

Shortly after the New Year I was … Read More »


RuralX inspires a volunteer to be a maker of dreams!

Blog, News & Events on March 16th. Comments Off on RuralX inspires a volunteer to be a maker of dreams!

Author – Carey Grosdidier, freelance writer

Nichole Cross volunteered at RuralX last summer intending to learn a little more about hosting an open space and collecting actionable feedback from a community gathering.

She left with so much more.

“I met Joe Bartmann (VP of Innovation at Dakota Resources) when I attended an ‘Art of Hosting’ event in Sioux Falls that he put on in November of 2015, and I was intrigued by the methodologies taught,” she explains. “He invited me to be part of the team at RuralX. As an industrial designer, I feel gathering and analyzing feedback is an important skill to practice, so I came to RuralX ready to help Joe gather and distribute participant feedback so attendees could take what they learned back to their communities to analyze and act upon.”

Nichole explains that while she was volunteering at … Read More »


Centerville Is Not Dying. (Part 1 of 3)

Blog, News & Events on March 13th. Comments Off on Centerville Is Not Dying. (Part 1 of 3)

Part 1 of a 3 part look at the future of Centerville, South Dakota

Guest Author, Jared Hybertson, Centerville Economic Development Coordinator

Right before Christmas break this past school semester I was having a conversation with one of our fine teachers at Centerville Public School and he mentioned to me that he had overheard a conversation two middle school students were having about the school and community. “Centerville is dying, you know that right?” the one student said. “Yeah, pretty soon there won’t be enough kids for us to even have a school”, the other one replied. Of course this was a tough conversation for the teacher to stomach and so he jumped in and did his best to explain to the students that their comments were simply not true. The teacher’s attempt to correct the two student’s way of thinking on … Read More »


Bring your Crowd to RuralX17

Blog, News & Events on February 21st. Comments Off on Bring your Crowd to RuralX17

“There have been too many years of no love for rural America. We found all kinds of love for rural at RuralX.”

As a national advocate for rural communities, Deb Brown is not just a fan of RuralX—she’s a keynote speaker. She and Becky McCray are partners in their venture SaveYour.Town and both are coming back to RuralX to build on the success of last year’s presentation.

“We want to keep that momentum and positive action moving forward,” says Deb. “We love how RuralX brought people together. For a first event, last year was well organized and had so much variety. I especially loved the Open X format and how it put the emphasis on experts right in the room. I know this year will only be better, and we are so excited to be part of it!”

Their topic last year centered … Read More »


Wishing vs. Hoping

Blog on January 26th. Comments Off on Wishing vs. Hoping

Author, Paula Jensen, Dakota Resources

The 1964 classic song lyrics from Wishin & Hopin by Dusty Springfield say, “Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’, Plannin’ and dreamin’ each night of his charms, That won’t get you into his arms…”

So my curiousity asks, “Is there a distinction between wishing and hoping?”

Wishing is feeling or expressing a strong desire for something that is not easily attainable. It’s like wishing to win the lottery but you don’t buy a ticket.

Hoping is to look forward with desire and reasonable confidence that something can happen. You can hope that you win the lottery because you have purchased a ticket.

Dusty Springfield continues in her song lyrics, Wishin & Hopin, “…So if you’re thinkin’ how great true love is, All you gotta do is, Hold him and kiss him and squeeze him and love him, … Read More »


Building Something Better in Tripp County

Blog, News & Events on January 18th. Comments Off on Building Something Better in Tripp County

Story by Carey Grosdidier, Freelance Writer

When guest speaker Emily Pilloton came to RuralX last summer, she opened the gathering with stories of Studio H, an innovative program she launched in California that integrates design skills and building projects into high school classrooms. Emily closed her conversation by saying, “Everyone has it in them to start something—whether it’s a business, a Bible study or a book club. Just start something. The rewards are worth the risk.”

Karla Brozik, Executive Director of the Winner Area Chamber of Commerce and the South Central Development Corporation, took those words to heart. Inspired by Emily’s words and the work being done through Studio H, Karla wondered if something similar to Emily’s program was possible in Winner.

“Students in Winner don’t go to school on Fridays, so I thought a program similar to Studio H might give kids … Read More »


It doesn’t have to be a million-dollar moon shot.

Blog, News & Events on January 18th. Comments Off on It doesn’t have to be a million-dollar moon shot.

Guest Author, Becky McCray
SaveYour.Town

Now is the perfect time to Take Small Steps.

We’ve just passed the first of the year with all its resolutions and renewed commitments. It’s also been six months since the first RuralX Summit, and that makes it the perfect time to remember, review and renew some of the ideas you left with.

If you weren’t at RuralX last year, you can join in now, and get excited about the upcoming RuralX17 on July 18-19, 2017.

Now, let’s not make this overwhelming. Let’s stick with the key piece of advice that Deb Brown and I shared with you in our keynote: Take Small Steps. Keep thinking “small steps” while you decide what you want to act on in the next six months.

Here’s the plan to get you renewed and re-excited.

The first small step is to watch this … Read More »


Design:SD Kicks Off Downtown Yankton Project

News & Events on January 18th. Comments Off on Design:SD Kicks Off Downtown Yankton Project

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 10:23 pm
By Shauna Marlette, Yankton Press

“What do you celebrate about downtown Yankton?”

With that simple question, the design:SD Project Downtown Yankton began on Tuesday.

According to Joe Bartmann, the vice president of Programs for Dakota Resources and facilitator of Tuesday’s listening events, the project is focused on helping small rural towns like Yankton shape their future through design.

“Today is really where we press ‘go’ for this whole process,” he said. “These are really small group conversations where we are bringing together different groups of people who have some kind of affinity. We have had a group with human resource directors; we had a group of realtors this morning.”

Dakota Resources is a non-profit based in Renner that works with small communities that want to create a better future and make the place where they … Read More »


Dakota Resources Mentors Rural Rock Stars

Blog, News & Events on January 12th. Comments Off on Dakota Resources Mentors Rural Rock Stars

Kelsey Doom may be the only Economic Development Coordinator around with a zoology degree. But instead of pursuing a career as a veterinarian, she took a little side path that led to a full blown passion.

“I didn’t get into vet school right away, so I came home to Wagner for a few months to figure things out,” she said. “My plan was to apply to vet school again, but in the meantime, I took a job with an insurance company and volunteered with the local Home Address effort.  I started putting together a grant and helped bring in some local investors. I got a high off writing that first grant and just fell in love with this kind of work. It was pretty much game over for vet school.”

After her work with Home Address, Kelsey got a taste of Read More »


Support Gained Through The Capital Investment Fund Really Adds Up

Blog, News & Events on January 5th. Comments Off on Support Gained Through The Capital Investment Fund Really Adds Up

Sometimes, confidence is everything.

That was the case with Nate Welch, who claims the confidence he gained by working with Dakota Resources helped in his ability to problem solve and dream for the Vermillion community.

“We had a plan for a seventy lot housing development that wasn’t quite working out,” he admits. “I had some great professional and frank discussions with Dick and Jay, who had been a part of the project through Dakota Resource’s Capital Investment Fund. Thanks in part to their support and belief in us, the Vermillion Chamber and Development Company was able to take another look at the project from a different perspective. In the end, we were able to accelerate the project and come up with more forward-thinking solutions.”

That experience is just one reason Nate is grateful to have Dakota Resources on his side. While he appreciates … Read More »


Dakota Resources Receives $10 MM Loan as USDA Launches Re-lending Program

News & Events on December 22nd. Comments Off on Dakota Resources Receives $10 MM Loan as USDA Launches Re-lending Program

Renner, SD – U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Acting State Director Bruce Jones announced that Dakota Resources will receive a Community Facility Direct Re-lending Program loan in the amount of $10 million for relending in South Dakota rural communities.  USDA Rural Development Tim Potts was in Renner to recognize each of them on Jones’ behalf.

“The long standing partnership USDA has with Dakota Resources represents the immense value of the organization and the vital role they have in supporting our rural South Dakota communities,” said Jones.  “This funding will enable both organizations to bolster opportunity to our communities through relending, thereby supporting essential community facilities that South Dakotan’s rely on.”

As a re-lender, Dakota Resources will loan funds to applicants primarily for projects in or serving high poverty areas or persistent poverty counties eligible under the Community Facility Loan program.

Eligible … Read More »


Hot Springs Business Leader is Empowered!

Blog, News & Events on December 22nd. Comments Off on Hot Springs Business Leader is Empowered!

Becoming a Community Leader

They call him “The Instigator.”

It’s a title Brian Spitzer never imagined for himself, but after four years as a Resource Team member with Dakota Rising, he is proud to be a positive influence on his hometown of Hot Springs.

“I’ll admit I was skeptical at first,” he says. “It was hard to fathom how it would all work. As time went on it became apparent that Dakota Resources DOES work. It isn’t just a bunch of people talking, it is a bunch of people connecting and making things happen.”

Brian grew up in Hot Springs and has been the owner of Spitzer Construction for twenty-two years. As a local businessman, he figured “people knew me and that was good enough.” It wasn’t until he was invited to a Dakota Rising meeting in 2012 that he began to realize his … Read More »


Julie Fischbach

Dakota Rising, Fellows on December 20th. Comments Off on Julie Fischbach

Mainstream Boutique

As long as Julie can remember she had always wanted to open her own business, so in 2014 she decided to go down the entrepreneurial road and opened her first Mainstream Boutique in Aberdeen, SD. This boutique brought so much joy & contentment just within the first year, Julie decided to open a second location in Sioux Falls, SD in the new, Dawley Farm Village location.

With over 25 years of sales experience, Julie offers her customers excellent customer service, quality on-trend fashions, and at affordable pricing. Mainstream Boutique is a Multi-Generational Women’s Clothing & Accessory Boutique.

She earned her bachelor degree with an emphasis in business management at Northern State University. Julie, along with her husband, Greg, and twin daughters, Keeley and Ashley, live in Warner, SD near their family farm.


Carrie Kuhl

Dakota Rising, Fellows on December 19th. Comments Off on Carrie Kuhl

Hitch Studio

Carrie Kuhl is co-owner, designer, and retail curator at Hitch Studio in Brookings, SD. Hitch opened its doors in 2014 and specializes in website and graphic design services, wedding planning and invitations, and is a brick-and-mortar store which carries high-end stationery and gift items.

My focus at Hitch is taking care of small businesses who need website, branding, and graphic design services. I love having the opportunity to be a part of an entrepreneur’s journey while starting their business or helping an existing business with a brand update. Renee Halgerson, my business partne, manages the wedding planning and invitation portion of our business. It all lives under the roof of our brick and mortar store in downtown Brookings where we carry fun, unique brands like Kate Spade, Ban.do and Rifle Paper Company. At Hitch our overall goal is … Read More »


Hillarey Holland

Dakota Rising, Fellows on December 19th. Comments Off on Hillarey Holland

HH Design

Growing up in small town America, Hillarey always knew that “Home is where the Heart is.” After graduating from Northern State University with a BA in Advertising Design Hillarey recognized she would want to return home to support the small community of Britton, the same place that had facilitated her defining qualities she holds today. In return, giving back to the community has been something she felt was natural to do. Hillarey thusly became a member of the Britton Chamber of Commerce in 2015 and also volunteers her time with other organizations and events by helping other local, rural small businesses and community members like herself succeed.

Hillarey took on many different roles through college, ultimately blazing a path for her to be successful in graphic design and molding her into the young, successful professional she is now. In 2014 … Read More »


Curt Lout

Dakota Rising, Fellows on December 19th. Comments Off on Curt Lout

Mammoth Handcrafted Signs

Curt Lout is owner of Mammoth Handcrafted Signs, a full-service sign and awning shop located in Hot Springs, South Dakota. A former United States Marine, Curt has a unique background of fabrication and creative skills, including an extensive background in Visual Communications, a degree earned from the Art Institute of Colorado in 1998 and progressing with advanced fabrication education in the world of custom car and motorcycle industry from The Hot Rod Institute in 2009. Curt is also an internationally recognized freelance photographer. Currently, he is a member of both the Chambers of Commerce in Hot Springs and Custer. Additionally, he serves as a Board Member for the Southern Hills Economic Development Corporation. Furthermore, he is actively involved in the local Rotary Club serving as director of Climb Hot Springs, an annual outdoor stair climbing event. Curt … Read More »


Rachel Woods

Dakota Rising, Fellows on December 19th. Comments Off on Rachel Woods

Apparel WorX

Rachel was born and raised in Wagner, SD, and attended South Dakota State University where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. After graduating, she and her husband, David, moved to Reno, NV where she practiced as a Registered Nurse for 4 years. After having their first child, they decided to move back to their hometown of Wagner, and Rachel took a job at the local hospital as an RN.

After their second child was born, she and her husband decided that a nurse’s schedule wasn’t right for their family. Looking for a way to become her own boss, she decided to start a part-time embroidery business out of her basement, which quickly became more than just a part-time job. She reorganized her small business, changed the name to Apparel WorX, and bought a commercial building on Main … Read More »


Jay Yohner

Dakota Rising, Fellows on December 19th. Comments Off on Jay Yohner

Pioneer Buildings Inc.

Jay Yohner grew up in Martin, SD; a small rural community with a diverse population of about 1,100 residents. Growing up on a small farm taught him many useful life skills and the value of hard work. He decided to pursue a career in building trades after a year of traditional college at BHSU in Spearfish, SD.  Jay moved to Portland Oregon in 2002 and entered into a structural engineering and architectural design program.

In 2004 Jay married Janell, his high school sweetheart and shortly after in 2005 moved back to his hometown of Martin and started his own business Yohner, Inc. Jay began the third generation of serving the area following his father and grandfather in residential and commercial building services. With a vision to bring industry and manufacturing into the area, Jay saw great potential … Read More »


Renee Halgerson

Dakota Rising, Fellows on December 19th. Comments Off on Renee Halgerson

Hitch Studio

Renee Halgerson is co-owner, designer, and event stylist at Hitch Studio. Opened in February 2014, Hitch Studio specializes in graphic design + website design, wedding invitations + wedding styling, and is a brick-and-mortar paperie + gift shop in Brookings, South Dakota.

Since there are three divisions of Hitch Studio, Renee focuses on the wedding division— designing invitations and decorating weddings. Her business partner, Carrie Kuhl, is the graphic design and website design specialist, and together, they run the retail store full of fun stationery and gifts. Carrie and Renee have deep roots in Brookings. They both graduated from SDSU, both taught at SDSU, and have hired several student employees from SDSU. It was important to them to also serve a market that needed services like theirs.

Renee is a strong believer in giving back to her community. She is … Read More »


Bradley Hahn

Dakota Rising, Fellows on December 19th. Comments Off on Bradley Hahn

Pioneer Buildings Inc.

Bradley Hahn grew up in Martin, a small town in the middle of the southern part of South Dakota. Brad enjoyed his hometown rural setting and instead of leaving it for better opportunities, he decided to create his own. When Brad was young he helped his father with odd construction jobs. At the time, his dad was in charge of maintenance/remodel of a few apartment buildings. Brad learned that he loved to build and started his first construction job at the age of sixteen for Yohner, Inc. Brad’s boss would turn out to be his future business partner four years later. In 2015, Brad and Jay Yohner founded Pioneer Buildings, Inc. which is a 50/50 post frame construction business. The business’s main goal is to increase efficiency during the construction stage. This means decreasing the time … Read More »


Ruth Bouza

Dakota Rising, Fellows on December 19th. Comments Off on Ruth Bouza

Custom Touch and Limo
Dakota Rising Southern Charles Mix County

Ruth was born and raised in St. Georgen, Switzerland and lived there until she was 18 years old.

In 1985 Ruth saw an advertisement in her hometown newspaper about an American family looking for a Swiss nanny. She got the job and was on an airplane a month later. Coming to the United States was her dream since childhood!

After spending 23 years in Miller, SD working in the transportation industry, Ruth and her son moved to Wagner, SD where she spent several years as the Transportation Coordinator for the Marty Indian School.

In 2013 Ruth had the opportunity to purchase a 34-foot stretch H2 Limousine. She opened up Custom Touch and Limo, offering multiple services including detailing services, a graphics shop and custom signs as well as automotive, commercial and residential … Read More »


RuralX Continues to Connect the Dots

Blog, News & Events on December 15th. Comments Off on RuralX Continues to Connect the Dots

Story by Carey Grosdidier, Freelance Writer

Maybe it was the timing. Maybe it was the event. Maybe it was a little bit of both.

At RuralX, we’d like to think the connection made between Angela Tewalt of Sioux Falls and Barry Zephier of Flandreau was by design.  One of the main objectives of RuralX is to bring rural “thinkers and doers” together in powerful ways. While the two had met before, Angela and Barry were given the opportunity to have a deeper conversation at RuralX during an Open X forum hosted by Vince Two Eagles.

“I didn’t expect to find so many opportunities to talk about native and non-native relations at RuralX,” said Angela. “I was sensitive to the topic because of my recent work as a freelance writer, so I joined a group discussion of about 15-20 people. We had an amazing … Read More »


Dakotas America Invests In The Health of Rural Communities

Blog, News & Events on December 8th. Comments Off on Dakotas America Invests In The Health of Rural Communities

The need to recruit and retain rural practitioners is a huge part of solving our rural healthcare provider shortage.

Dakotas America is working to be a part of that solution.

Thanks in part to the help of Dakotas America, pre-medical students from rural North and South Dakota have another avenue for a high-quality education. The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM), with its three campuses, is one of the most innovative medical colleges in the country, with cutting-edge technology, facilities, and experienced faculty.

Dakotas America attracted private investment through the federal New Markets Tax Credit program to help fund the construction of the newest 16 acre VCOM branch campus located in Auburn, Alabama, which opened for its inaugural class in July 2015. Students accepted into the program are asked to maintain VCOM’s mission of becoming community focused, globally minded osteopathic physicians … Read More »


Bush Foundation Awards $6.5 million in Ecosystem Grants

Blog, News & Events on December 6th. Comments Off on Bush Foundation Awards $6.5 million in Ecosystem Grants

The Bush Foundation awarded more than $6.5 million in ecosystem grants to 39 organizations that help create an environment for its programs and initiatives to be successful.

Ecosystem grants provide as much as $200,000 in general operating support over two years for organizations that:

Provide critical data and analysis
Spread great ideas and build capacity
Advance public awareness and policy
Build and support leadership networks

These organizations are valued by people working to solve problems in new and creative ways, says Bush Foundation President Jen Ford Reedy.

“We invest in a lot of people and organizations working to tackle a wide range of tough, complicated issues. Our hope is that providing support to the organizations they rely on to be successful will help create an environment for big things to happen in our region,” Reedy says.

The Foundation awarded ecosystem grants through an open application process. Proposals were … Read More »


There’s No Place Like Home

Blog, News & Events on November 17th. Comments Off on There’s No Place Like Home

There’s No Place Like Home for Kimball’s Economic Development Director

By: Carey Grosdidier

Walk into Anita Holan’s Economic Development office in Kimball and you’ll find it decorated with items from the Wizard of Oz.
No, she’s not a die-hard Oz fan. She was simply inspired to make a difference in Kimball after hearing John Beranek, a Community Coach at Dakota Resources, give a Wizard of Oz analogy at the RuralX Summit last summer.

 
“He came out and talked about having the courage, the heart and the brains to make a difference in a rural community,” remembers Anita, who serves as Kimball’s Economic Development Director. “It really hit me. Before I came to RuralX, I wished we had an Economic Development Board to help me make decisions. I went home and pushed for it. I used the Wizard of Oz analogy and told the City … Read More »


‘Southern Hills on the Rise’ applicant accepted into Dakota Rising Fellowship

Blog, News & Events on November 14th. Comments Off on ‘Southern Hills on the Rise’ applicant accepted into Dakota Rising Fellowship

Source: http://rapidcityjournal.com/

On Saturday evening, Oct. 8, eight new Fellows were announced at the Dakota Rising Gala, held in Spearfish. Curt Lout, owner and proprietor of Mammoth Signs and Awnings in Hot Springs, was among the candidates chosen for the fellowship.

 
The Dakota Rising Fellowship Program is a personal and professional program for accelerated business growth. The statewide program focuses on second stage entrepreneurs who have been in business at least one year, have worked through the survival stage of business ownership, are growth-oriented, and able to sustain one or more employees.

 
What is an entrepreneur? An entrepreneur is someone who exercises initiative by organizing a venture to take benefit of an opportunity and, as the decision maker, decides what, how, and how much goods or services will be produced. As a rule, entrepreneurs greatly value self-reliance, strive for excellence, are highly … Read More »


What’s possible?

Blog, News & Events on November 10th. Comments Off on What’s possible?

What’s possible: Quarterly gatherings help economic developers help one another

Guest Blogger: Anna Jauhola, Dakotafire Freelance Writer
Read more at http://dakotafire.net
Illustration: Jason Uphoff

Economic development in the Dakotas often extends beyond the boundaries of a single community, either for financial or geographical reasons, but sometimes even those groups benefit from further collaboration.

Approximately 15 years ago, a group of economic development leaders came together for the first meeting of the Northeast Regional Developers group. They have met quarterly ever since, to share ideas and best practices.

“A portion of the meeting is a regional round table,” said Lori Finnesand, CEO of GROW South Dakota and organizer of the group. “It’s a time to share what their community may need or want and ask for ideas on the project or where to get money” for local projects.

Finnesand said many communities … Read More »


Program Boosts Towns

Blog, News & Events on November 3rd. Comments Off on Program Boosts Towns

Published by Marshall County Journal

Britton native Hillarey Holland is hoping to take her business to the next level, and she wants to help inspire others to do the same thing.

Holland, a 2010 Britton-Hecla graduate, was one of 10 new rural entrepreneurs from around the state to receive a Dakota Rising Fellowship earlier this month. She started HH Designs, a graphic design business, in Britton two years ago.

A Dakota Rising Fellow is a person who has taken a startup business to a viable, profit-earning stage and is poised for the next level of growth. After successfully completing the application process, and being chosen, Fellows are connected to a community of statewide resources, mentors and financial experts.

Personal and business growth strategies are developed while working in a small group where Fellows help one another, despite vastly different industries and experiences. After one … Read More »


Lotus Up Espresso & Deli is ‘great addition’

Blog on November 1st. Comments Off on Lotus Up Espresso & Deli is ‘great addition’

Lotus Up Espresso & Deli is ‘great addition’ to the business community in historic town

Guest Blogger: Dona Leavens, Small Business Development Center Regional Director

Jamie Gilcrease-Heupel admits that she’s a dreamer. She also wants to be an inspiration for Lead, a former mining town of about 3,000 residents.

Judging by the growing business at her relocated and expanded coffee shop and restaurant, she’s succeeding.

In late June, Gilcrease-Heupel opened Lotus Up Espresso & Deli across the street from the former Homestake Open Cut Mine, one of the most famous landmarks in the Black Hills. Gold is no longer dug out of the old surface mine. Nor is gold mined any more in a nearby underground mine that closed in 2002. The underground mine has been converted into the Sanford Underground Research Facility, a prospective treasure for the town. 

“I … Read More »


Changing Main Street Requires Change in Thinking

Blog on October 20th. Comments Off on Changing Main Street Requires Change in Thinking

By Jamie Horter, an artist, designer, and storyteller

Check out Jamie’s blog at http://jamiehorter.xyz/2016/10/05/changing-main-street-requires-change-in-thinking/.

I once heard someone say that in order to understand what the driving force behind a place is, look to the skyline. The tallest and most prominent buildings signify two things: what’s important and who’s in power.

In rural places, main streets dominate the skyline. Buildings there tell a visual tale of commerce and entrepreneurship, with towering parapet walls, decorative cornices, and large storefront windows. Main streets were the economic spaces and opportunities to stock up on needed tools, equipment, textiles. They were locations to meet and negotiate with other businessmen. Whether services or products, a town’s main street was the historical location of commerce.

These were also places of social interaction, where farm families might see each other once a month during a weekend square … Read More »


The art of the network effect

News & Events on October 18th. Comments Off on The art of the network effect

By Heidi Marttila-Losure
Dakotafire Media

What does a network of rural change-makers look like?

Hugh Weber of OTA helped to answer that with a visualization of the network of RuralX participants—a map that, by the end of the event, Weber described as a “pretty good start” to understanding where the connections between these rural change-makers are strong, and where they need to be improved.

The computer-created visualization started with a circle filled with evenly spaced dots—the default after the list of RuralX participants was uploaded. Each of the participants was asked before the event to list three people who influence their work in rural communities; not everyone responded, but when the answers from those who did were added to the visualization, the picture changed. Some dots connected to just the others they named; some had been named by many others, and so they formed … Read More »

Top 10 Community Economic Development Actions for South Dakota Rural Communities

Blog, News & Events on October 13th. Comments Off on Top 10 Community Economic Development Actions for South Dakota Rural Communities

By Paula Jensen, VP of Advancement Dakota Resources

Below is a list of action items that communities should add to their ‘to-do’ lists in order to lead you toward community sustainability, community involvement, and community growth:

Promote your community every chance you get by updating your web page and social media channels with local news, highlights, causes, calls-to-action, history, events, and successes. In today’s web-based society, every community should be online and have up-to-date information. In many cases this is an easy and free process. Click here.
Recognize the importance of the local library and identify it as a “third space | a social environment separate from home and the workplace”. The local library should be an information sharing facility that can help existing small businesses, entrepreneurs, and youth. If you library needs support or funding check out the SD … Read More »


Annual Event Honors Rural Business & Community

News & Events on October 10th. Comments Off on Annual Event Honors Rural Business & Community

Dakota Rising Honors Rural Entrepreneurs and Rural Communities at Annual Event

Small business is a big deal in South Dakota. To celebrate this fact, Dakota Resources engaged rural entrepreneurs and communities in learning and sharing the common vision of leadership, community growth, and business expansion during the annual Dakota Rising Empower! Conference at the Spearfish Holiday Inn Convention Center, which was held October 6-8.
This year’s conference welcomed ten new rural entrepreneurs into the Dakota Rising Fellowship, which is a three-year initiative designed to help them accelerate the growth of their businesses. This group of exceptional second-stage entrepreneurs includes: Ruth Bouza, Custom Touch & Limo, LLC, Wagner; Brad Hahn and Jay Yohner, Pioneer Building, Martin; Jenni Tucker, Help-U-Rent, Spearfish; Curt Lout, Mammoth Handcrafted Signs, Hot Springs; Rachael Woods, Apparel WorX, Wagner; Hillary Holland, HH Designs, Britton; Carrie Kuhl and Renee Halgerson, Hitch … Read More »


Create the Community You Want to Live In

Blog, News & Events on October 6th. Comments Off on Create the Community You Want to Live In

By Paula Jensen, VP of Advancement Dakota Resources

Successful community collaboration is the process of achieving a sustainable economy through the shared values and expectations of its residents while generating benefits for its people, businesses, and visitors. The following steps can offer you a guide to help begin building the community you want to live in!

STEP 1: Form Core Leadership Groups

To successfully do any kind of community collaboration, a core leadership group representing the major assets of the community should be formed to lead the community transformation and economic development effort. The leadership group should be a diverse group, including employers, economic and workforce development professionals, city/county officials, healthcare, educational entities, small business, and others identified as leaders in the community. In addition to this core leadership group, other local residents can serve on established initiative groups to accomplish specific tasks … Read More »


Dakota Resources Receives $1.5 Million

News & Events on October 5th. Comments Off on Dakota Resources Receives $1.5 Million

CDFI Fund Awards $1.5 Million to Dakota Resources for Community and Economic Development

Renner SD – Dakota Resources, a statewide nonprofit, Community Development Financial Institution Intermediary, has been awarded $1.5 million in capital to build the financial capacity of South Dakota’s Economic Development Corporations and Revolving Loan Funds who finance local housing, community, and economic development projects. This award was one of 196 awards made nationally by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) totaling $185.7 million in grants and loans.

The Dakota Resources Capital Investment Fund serves a mission of promoting community development by providing loan products and development services designed to stimulate financial and human investments in rural communities of South Dakota. ”It is critical to provide products and services that offer the greatest return on investment for our rural communities,” says Beth Davis, … Read More »

GATHERING THE DOERS

Blog, News & Events on September 29th. Comments Off on GATHERING THE DOERS

By Paula Jensen, VP of Advancement | Dakota Resources

The first vision board presented by the design:SD team to the community of Webster, South Dakota, stated the following phrase in bold lettering: GATHERING THE DOERS. There were approximately 50 people in the room that day and surprisingly none of them got up and ran out in fear upon seeing the design:SD team’s first request to the community! Usually when someone asks for volunteers the room goes quiet, everyone looks at the floor, people go to the back of the room for more coffee, and the seconds tick by on the clock. But this group of Webster residents did something unusual. They listened, they participated, they were engaged, and they felt empowered to become invested in a process that was created for them to improve their hometown.

I have been empowered by the … Read More »


Co-opetition

Blog, News & Events on September 22nd. Comments Off on Co-opetition

By Jason Uphoff, Arlington Economic Development Director

What is Co-opetition?

“CO-OPETITION is a new way of thinking about business. Some people see business entirely as competition. They think doing business is waging war and assume they can’t win unless somebody else loses. But business is both co-operation and competition. It’s CO-OPETITION, a word coined by Ray Noorda, founder of the networking software company Novell: ‘You have to compete and cooperate at the same time.’” – Adam Brandenburger and Barry Nalebuff

Game Theory

Co-opetition is based upon the mathematics concept of Game Theory. It was pioneered in the Fifties as a way to calculate global economic trends and Soviet strategy in thermonuclear war. The widespread adaptability of Game Theory was quickly built upon and now-a-days you can see elements of Game Theory in law practice, computer science, evolutionary biology, consumer marketing, military strategy and especially … Read More »


The power of young voices

Blog, News & Events on September 19th. Comments Off on The power of young voices

By Wendy Royston
Dakotafire Media

Dylan Fulton and Camden Breitling, students at Miller High School, came to RuralX on scholarship through Dakota Resources.

Fulton, who said he hopes to one day return to Miller after being educated elsewhere, enjoyed the Empower roundtable, where the students told a group of adult change-makers how the program is impacting their community of Miller.

He noted that he was welcomed to share his opinion without feeling rushed.
“It kind of makes you feel … like you matter,” Fulton said.

Through the Empower program and other initiatives back home in Miller, Fulton and Breightling both are becoming more active in their community—something they said has value to teens.

“It kind of makes me feel like I’m actually part of the decision-making process—like my opinion counts,” Breightling said, adding that it’s become evident that the community wants “us involved more and more. That’s … Read More »


LEADERSHIP: Six ways to address ‘We don’t know how’

Blog, News & Events on September 14th. Comments Off on LEADERSHIP: Six ways to address ‘We don’t know how’

By Paula Jensen

Some of us in rural communities feel as if we are missing the secret ingredient to leadership development: We don’t know how to create leaders who are committed long-term. People rise up when there is an immediate need, but then they go away until the next crisis or cause arises.

If there is key ingredient to creating strong community leaders, it’s self-awareness. Becoming truly self-aware means that people understand their own strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, attitudes, opinions and motivation. Our communities can support that path to self-awareness and leadership development by creating a local culture that is open to change, reflective of where we came from, considerate of tradition, and eager to engage all residents from young to old so they can flourish as leaders in the many areas of community life.

The following six strategies can help begin the process … Read More »


My Summer at Webster Area Development Corporation

Blog, News & Events on August 31st. Comments Off on My Summer at Webster Area Development Corporation

Guest Blog By Shala Larson

“What’re you doing this summer?” someone asks. I’m 21, a college senior; last year I was in Washington, D.C. and have been to South Africa and Peru. I say I’m going to work on development in my hometown. They respond, “Wait, what?”

Yes, the adventurer who swore she’d never spend another summer at home landed herself back in the land of number 22 license plates, fishing tournaments and more cows than people. Why? Because sometimes you need to better understand where you come from before you can start your future.

Over the past three months I’ve gained know­ledge as Day County’s interim development coordinator, learning things like how to write meeting minutes, manage an office, plan events, market on a budget, how to make a budget, coordinate volunteers, pinpoint areas of improvement and take initiative to tackle projects. … Read More »


Let the kids have a seat at the big table!

Blog, News & Events on August 24th. Comments Off on Let the kids have a seat at the big table!

Reasons to have teenagers on board

Author – Katy Kassian, Creator, Designer, Owner at Buffalo Gals Mercantile in Reagan, North Dakota

There are a multitude of reasons WHY a community should have teenagers participating on the boards and councils.

1) According to a University of Nebraska national survey of rural youths, 50% (that’s right folks! FIFTY PERCENT) WANT to return to their communities in the future. That’s a fabulous number! Now what are YOU going to do with that information?  What is your community to have to offer these returning ‘youngsters’ down the road? Jobs? Things to do? Places to hang out? WI-FI hot spots? Entertainment for new families? Buildings to start businesses in?
I would bet if you asked these youngsters what they would want to have, you would be surprised by their answers. If you let them, they will help … Read More »


When “Economic Developers” Clash With “Economic Development”

Blog, News & Events on August 19th. Comments Off on When “Economic Developers” Clash With “Economic Development”

Dakota Resources, “Your Town”, And The Tremors Of Indifference

Take a moment to think about your family. If you had to try, what is the economic value of your family in relation to your community? While we think of the quantifiable — money spent, money earned — what about the social value of their presence and involvement? How do we quantify cohesion in communities, the mere act of wanting to be there – of choosing to participate, live, and invest in a sense of “place”?

This week I had the good fortune to participate in two catalytic events in the formation and ongoing crafting of South Dakota economic and community development. The first, a 2-day event titled “RuralX” in Aberdeen – led by Dakota Resources, a rural community development agency working in South Dakota. The second, a court date at one of … Read More »


Does your community have an “affordable housing” problem?

Blog on August 10th. Comments Off on Does your community have an “affordable housing” problem?

By Mike Knutson, President at MAK(e) Strategies and Dakota Resources Community Coach

I sat down at a coffee shop the other day and overheard two retired guys complaining about housing in Watertown, where I live. In general, their comments fell into two themes; First, nobody can afford a decent house, and second there are too many affordable (i.e. – subsidized) housing options for people.

Although there may be elements of truth to both statements, it was frustrating to hear them share so much misinformation. It reminded me that maybe community leaders could use a little refresher on some terminology.

What does “affordable housing” mean? As a general rule, housing is considered affordable when a family spends no more than 30% of its income on all of their housing costs, including taxes, utilities, etc…. This means that a family earning $30,000 … Read More »


Jensen joins Dakota Resources staff

Blog on January 13th. Comments Off on Jensen joins Dakota Resources staff

Paula Jensen, an experienced grant researcher and writer, funds developer, and community coach, joins Dakota Resources as the Resource and Community Development Director. Dakota Resources is a champion for rural communities and a catalyst for economic development throughout rural South Dakota. Their four core initiatives focus specifically on capital development, leadership development, entrepreneur development and housing development.

According to Dakota Resources President Beth Davis, Jensen’s role with the organization will be resource development, community coaching and implementation of Dakota Resources programs that identify the unlimited potential waiting to be cultivated in rural communities.
“Paula will fortify our coaching team and help communities identify real solutions and wisely invest resources that result in sustainable community development,” Davis said. “She will also strengthen our organization’s ability to garner resources and strengthen partnerships, greatly enhancing our ability to serve rural South Dakota.”

Prior to joining Dakota … Read More »


Monte Amende

Alumni, Graduating Fellows on October 30th. Comments Off on Monte Amende

TDG Communications
Dakota Rising Lawrence County

Born and raised in the Northern Black Hills, Monte Amende received a degree in mass communications from the University of South Dakota in 1993. He has been designing and administering web sites since the mid 1990’s. In 2002, Monte joined TDG as Creative Director. He is responsible for much of the agency’s success in the digital arena, and oversees and directs the agency’s growing team of creatives.


Dustin Floyd

Alumni, Graduating Fellows on October 29th. Comments Off on Dustin Floyd

TDG Communications
Dakota Rising Lawrence County

He penned travel books for some of the nation’s biggest publishers by his 25th birthday. He helped launch an online multiplayer video game. And then there’s that whole Oxford University-educated thing. But being part of the first generation to start kindergarten with computers (starting somewhere in ancient antiquity with the Apple IIe), Dustin has unique insight into the way online trends are shaping the buying habits and attitudes of today’s consumers. As TDG Communications’ Benevolent Overlord, that kind of experience comes in handy as he advises clients marketing to a new generation of consumers. In between blogging and social networking, he’s addicted to episodes of Futurama – and, in a true testament to his geekiness, he understands most of the jokes.


Jamie Gilcrease-Heupel

Alumni, Graduating Fellows on October 28th. Comments Off on Jamie Gilcrease-Heupel

Lotus Up Espresso
Dakota Rising Lawrence County

Jamie was born and raised in Washington state. After overcoming childhood downfalls she was adopted at age 10. A natural born leader, Jamie moved her family to Lead to follow her dream of owning her own coffee shop.  Jamie began Lotus Up Espresso and Deli in 2010. Under her leadership, the coffee house has experience 200% increase in gross income, lowered the cost of goods by 3% and now employs between 4 and 7 people. Since purchasing the coffee shop, she has added a drive thru, banquet room and large outside deck. Her next large leap of faith will be moving the coffee shop to a new location, which she will not only be a business owner, but also the building owner.


SD ranks #1 for business climate in US

Blog, News & Events on October 23rd. Comments Off on SD ranks #1 for business climate in US

According to “”Enterprising States: States Innovate,” a report published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, South Dakota ranks #1 in the United States for business climate and #4 for talent pipeline. The study analyzed the 50 states through six lenses: economic performance, transportation and trade, innovation and entrepreneurship, business climate, talent pipeline and high-tech performance.

The Foundation attributed South Dakota’s high rankings to the innovative programs South Dakota boasts, which included Dakota Rising, a program of Dakota Resources:

Dakota Rising is a South Dakota–based rural entrepreneurship support program operating in communities throughout the state. Created by Dakota Resources, an economic and community development agency backed by private and public investment, Dakota Rising offers fellowships to promising rural entrepreneurs, with a three-year program of support and mentorship tailored to help them move their new, profitable business to the “next level of growth.

In addition to Dakota … Read More »


Joe Bartmann Guest on South Dakota Focus

Blog on October 16th. Comments Off on Joe Bartmann Guest on South Dakota Focus

Joe Bartmann, Vice President of Program Development at Dakota Resources, welcomed the opportunity to be a guest on South Dakota Focus, a program of South Dakota Public Broadcasting. Bartmann, along with Lori Finnesand of Grow South Dakota; Cecily Engelhart and Star Mean of Thunder Valley; and Jeff Eckhoff of the Small Business Development Center, provided insight and expertise on “Growing Small Town South Dakota.” The episode aired Thursday, October 15th on South Dakota Public Broadcasting and is now available online at: “Growing Small Town South Dakota


Dakota Rising Honors Rural Entrepreneurs & Communities

Blog, News & Events on October 6th. Comments Off on Dakota Rising Honors Rural Entrepreneurs & Communities

This year’s Dakota Rising Entrepreneur Conference celebrated eight new entrepreneurs entering the Dakota Rising program, eight successful business owners from the 2012 class of Dakota Rising Fellows who were graduated from the program, a new inductee into the Dakota Rising Hall of Fame and a Community Site that was recognized for its ongoing innovation. Dakota Rising was launched in 2008 by Dakota Resources and has since mentored over 50 rural entrepreneurs who have accelerated their business growth and have taken advantage of the insight, ideas and experience of other Fellows and seasoned business owners from across the region.

The 2015 Dakota Rising Conference was held October 1st – 3rd at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The Dakota Rising Community and its guests welcomed this year’s newly-selected Entrepreneur Fellows: Barb Pechous, Taboma Publishing, and Cheryl Swatek, The Cake Lady, both from Southern … Read More »


Local officials want to hear your opinions

Blog on September 22nd. Comments Off on Local officials want to hear your opinions

Your vote in city and county elections is the most personal and fundamental expression of our democracy. For one thing, the issues in our local elections are usually closer to our daily lives and dearer to our hearts than the decisions made in Washington, D.C. And the people running for local offices are our neighbors, our colleagues and our friends. Once those people get elected, however, they sometimes end up isolated from the conversational loop.

Sometimes local elected officials become “them” instead of “us.” Or maybe it’s more fun to talk about local government than to have a dialog with elected officials that can help shape decisions and make effective changes. Whatever the reason, we often spend more time talking over local issues with friends at the coffee shop than we do with our city and county officials. Besides inviting the … Read More »


Nothing stands still – change is the constant

Blog on September 22nd. Comments Off on Nothing stands still – change is the constant

All of us want to live in a growing community with all the amenities—and most of us believe we do. But when we think that everything is great the way it is, we sometimes try to keep our community unchanged. While that’s easy to understand, trying to keep things as they are can inadvertently lead to the loss of the very things we are trying to preserve.

Preventing change is an impossible dream—like wishing your grass would stop growing so you can go fishing instead of mowing your lawn. If the grass is not growing, it’s dying, turning yellow and ruining the looks of your yard. In some ways, a community like ours is equally organic. If the community is not growing, it may be slowly dying. And just as with our grass, if we are not doing the necessary nurturing … Read More »


Dakotas America receives 65 million New Markets Tax Credit award

Blog on September 22nd. Comments Off on Dakotas America receives 65 million New Markets Tax Credit award

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund announced that Dakotas America, LLC has been awarded a $65 million New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation to revitalize low-income and distressed communities nationwide. The award to Dakotas America was part of $3.5 billion in NMTC allocations, with Treasury providing 76 organizations with tax credit allocation authority. The Dakotas America award was one of the largest in this round and the only allocation in South Dakota.

The NMTC program attracts private-sector capital investment in low-income areas to help stimulate economic growth and create jobs. Dakotas America has already placed $190 million in NMTC allocations throughout the United States, from large agri-business developments that serve communities in both Dakotas, to greatly expanded access to dental and health care in Oregon, Michigan and Alabama, to new elementary schools on the Pine Ridge Indian … Read More »


Will the great pumpkin visit our patch?

Blog on September 22nd. Comments Off on Will the great pumpkin visit our patch?

Lots of us remember the classic cartoon character Linus, from the Peanuts television specials, sitting patiently in his pumpkin patch on Halloween waiting for the arrival of the Great Pumpkin. Instead of going through the traditional Halloween routine of dressing up and trudging door to door to trick or treat, Linus believed that the Great Pumpkin would rise up out of a worthy pumpkin patch and distribute candy to those good boys and girls waiting for him.

While Linus was very sincere, the Great Pumpkin never did appear, and Linus never got in on the sweet rewards of Halloween. Too often, community economic development can look like Linus in the pumpkin patch—patiently waiting for something BIG to happen. The Great Pumpkin might be an out-of-town Big Deal or an exciting New Marketing Strategy or even the latest thing in Community Research … Read More »


Melanie Hoke

Alumni, Graduating Fellows on June 27th. Comments Off on Melanie Hoke

The Burger Shack
Faulkton Area Economic Development Initiative

Melanie was born and raised in Bend, Oregon.  After high school she attended Central Oregon Community College and then Western Oregon State University majoring in Early Childhood Education.  Discovering she had a passion for business, she went into partnership and ran her first restaurant in Oregon for ten years.  She then decided to move to Faulkton in 2010 to be closer to her family and take over her parent’s business.  The Burger Shack was established in 2003 by her parents, then they decided to retire and sell the business to Melanie.

Melanie has been in the food and beverage industry for twenty years, owning a restaurant in Oregon and general Managing a restaurant and Lodge in Kula, Hawaii.  After a lease option on the Burger Shack for … Read More »


Lisa Mueller

Alumni, Graduating Fellows on June 26th. Comments Off on Lisa Mueller

Mueller Therapeutic Massage
Faulkton Area Economic Development Initiative

After graduating from Faulkton High School in 2000, Lisa Mueller attended Concordia College, Moorhead, MN where she earned her BA in Exercise Science.  With her passion in the health and wellness field, she knew that she wanted to pursue a career in massage therapy, therefore continued her education at Northwestern Health Sciences University, Bloomington, MN, while also employed as a personal trainer.  Lisa had always had the dream and lifelong goal of being a successful entrepreneur.

After her marriage to husband Kyle, they moved to Algona, IA where she opened her own massage business, Mueller Therapeutic Massage in 2005.  The background and expertise that Lisa brought to her business of overall wellness and fitness made her business an immediate success.  With the opportunity to move to South … Read More »


Cheryl Schaefers

Alumni, Graduating Fellows on June 25th. Comments Off on Cheryl Schaefers

Cheryl’s Catering
Faulkton Area Economic Development Initiative

I have always loved to cook. Before my Mom corralled me to start helping her in the house, I spent the summers making mud pies with my sisters. We even set up our store and sold them to our brothers!

My husband Fred and I got married in the drought year of 1976, and began our dairy business just weeks later. We were blessed with seven wonderful children in fourteen years. We worked together as a family in our dairy and farm until the barn burned to the ground in 1992. I began working at the Legion Café in Orient in 1993, and that was where my catering career began to blossom. Once again, we were working together as a family, as we prepared and fed up to 900 people … Read More »


Ron Waldner

Alumni, Graduating Fellows on June 21st. Comments Off on Ron Waldner

Snowflake Metalworks
Dakota Rising Lawrence County

Ron’s childhood was spent on the rural prairies near Carpenter, South Dakota.  He attended school in Willow Lake while his passion for design grew.  Farm and shop class experiences with welding and fabrication provided creative outlets and problem-solving opportunities.  After graduating high school in 1987 and a brief stint in a packing plant, he enrolled at Lake Area Votech in Watertown, SD in June of 1988.  He received a degree in Advanced Building Trades, which gave him tools to take on design and construction problems.

He next moved to DeSmet, SD where he went to work for Gordon Holland Construction.  This was a position that brought valuable experience which enhanced his education in this trade.

In the spring of 1991 he started a small manufacturing business in his garage; Yankee Manufacturing.  Through Yankee, he produced a small group … Read More »


Les Bellet

Dakota Rising, Fellows on June 10th. Comments Off on Les Bellet

Twin City Hardware
Dakota Rising Lawrence County

Les grew up on the family farm near Spring Brook, ND. His education included an Associate of Art degree at the University of North Dakota at Williston followed by a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Minot State University in North Dakota.

Les and his wife, Cindy, bought their first hardware store in Watford City, ND from his father-in-law in March 1988. Les was very involved in his community by being a member of the volunteer Fire Department, EMT, and Chamber President. He sold the hardware store in June 2003 and moved to Deadwood, SD to begin purchase his current store, Twin-City Hardware, Lumber & Rental.

Les enjoys golfing in his spare time. He and his wife have 2 daughters, 1 son, … Read More »


Chad Gollnick

Dakota Rising, Fellows on June 10th. Comments Off on Chad Gollnick

Iron Outfitter

From early childhood, Chad was convinced that being an entrepreneur was going to be the best path to independence and creation–his two favorite things. He spent ten years in the corporate world acting as a major player on several multi-billion dollar projects, all while dreaming of starting his own business.

In 2010, Chad began his entrepreneurial journey with Iron Outfitter, a metal fabrication business, and since then started Dakota Cable Solutions Inc., a consulting/engineering firm, and Colorado Excavating, a construction company. Chad has an unwavering love for business and watching his young employees develop their skills. He constantly dreams of creating more opportunity and developing new products– and is taking the necessary steps to move in that direction.


David Malsam

Dakota Rising, Fellows on June 10th. Comments Off on David Malsam

CompQuest Technology
Dakota Rising Aberdeen

David earned his Associates of Applied Science with an emphasis in Computer Information Systems in 2000 at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, SD. David moved to Sioux Falls to work for Gateway Computers, until family ties moved him home to Aberdeen. David pursued his technology career with PC Lan Computer Center in Aberdeen until 2011.

With over 10 years’ experience in the IT industry, serving his loyal clientele as a business owner was the obvious professional leap, which led David to opening CompQuest Technology. As a knowledgeable and motivated person, David had earned the personal and professional respect of many locals and businessmen in and around the Aberdeen community by providing them with the best technology service and sales in the industry. CompQuest Technology personally engages with customers to deliver … Read More »


Dr. Bob McIntosh

Dakota Rising, Fellows on June 10th. Comments Off on Dr. Bob McIntosh

HealthSource
Dakota Rising Lawrence County

Dr. Robert (Bob) L. McIntosh is Board Certified with the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners in Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, and Rehabilitation. He is a Native of NE Wyoming, and now lives in Spearfish with his wife, Jenny, and their two daughters.

He attended BHSU in Spearfish for his undergraduate degree in Biology, prior to that he completed Diesel School to become a mechanic. After his bachelor’s degree, he attended Western States Chiropractic College (now University of Western States) in NE Portland, OR. During his time in school Dr. McIntosh was appointed as the occupational safety program developer where he implemented back safety programs within many Portland businesses like Pepsi, UPS, Miller Paint Company, and Waxie Bathroom Supply. He also is registered with OSHA to become a … Read More »


Barb Pechous

Dakota Rising, Fellows on June 10th. Comments Off on Barb Pechous

Taboma Publishing
Southern Charles Mix County Dakota Rising

Barbra Pechous was raised in the southeast corner of South Dakota in the small town of Springfield. Enjoying the small town feel, she and her husband Scott, now reside in Avon, SD. She is the editor/publisher and general manager of the Wagner Post, Lake Andes Wave and Announcer, a weekly newspaper firm located in Wagner, South Dakota. The newspaper provides coverage for the towns of Wagner, Lake Andes, Marty, Ravinia, Pickstown, Dante and for the Yankton Sioux Tribe. The Wagner Post and Lake Andes Wave include weekly columns from Roger Wiltz sharing his hunting and fishing stories, to Vince Two Eagles sharing tribal stories and issues.

Barb began her career in the newspaper business in 1995 as a typesetter and quickly advanced to editor, but she always dreamed of having her … Read More »


Cheryl Swatek

Dakota Rising, Fellows on June 10th. Comments Off on Cheryl Swatek

The Cake Lady
Southern Charles Mix County Dakota Rising

As a child, growing up on a farm twelve miles south of Dante, South Dakota, Cheryl Swatek learned many of her cooking and baking skills from her mother and grandmother. Some of her fondest memories growing up were being in the kitchen with her grandmother making homemade kolaches, which are now a staple at her bakery. In 1995 she decided to try her hand at cake decorating. Over the next twenty years, Swatek would become a self-taught cake artist who worked her way through the restaurant and cake industry at many levels.

Since opening her commercial storefront in 2014, in Wagner, South Dakota, she recalls upon her favorite memories with her grandmother to provide the community with homemade, never frozen, treats that are reminiscent … Read More »


Are YOU too busy to volunteer?

Blog on April 24th. Comments Off on Are YOU too busy to volunteer?

Many of us who attended high school in smaller communities grew up with a strange phenomenon surrounding extra-curricular activities. It seemed that the students who were the most active were involved in everything. Athletes were musicians, student council members took the lead roles in school plays and just about everyone was on the yearbook staff, worked hard during homecoming week and still found time to go to choir practice. If you went to a smaller school, as so many South Dakotans did, you saw it: people who get involved, get involved in everything.

Things haven’t really changed much in communities today. Quite often, the people who volunteer to serve on the economic development committees are people with very full plates. They have families, jobs, hobbies, church meetings, jump at the chance to help out at the local school, make sure their … Read More »


Keep it Local for Maximum Success

Blog on February 26th. Comments Off on Keep it Local for Maximum Success

The Governors Office of Economic Development, regional planning districts and statewide organizations like Dakota Resources are all working for the cause of economic development. Why, then, do we need local committees? Shouldn’t economic development be left in the hands of professionals?

The fact is that when community development succeeds in a community like ours, it is usually because of the work of a local economic development group. And while professional economic development officials on the state and county level are helpful in connecting programs with people, without the local component our community will simply not have the spark it needs to grow.

So, given the vital importance of a local development organization, what makes these groups successful, and what do they do to keep things moving in a positive, prosperous direction?

Local groups understand their communities. The members of the organization represent … Read More »


Joel Price Receives ViTality Award

Blog on February 11th. Comments Off on Joel Price Receives ViTality Award

Aberdeen’s Best Honored at Community Champions Awards

Several community awards were handed out Tuesday, Feb. 10 at the Community Champions Awards Luncheon at the Best Western Ramkota in Aberdeen.

More than 200 people attended the event, which was hosted by the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors and sponsored with the Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The ViTality award, sponsored by the Chamber, is presented to the individual who is the ‘keeper’ of the regional vision, or the person who lives in the regional growth and ‘ViTality’ spirit every day. The ViTality awarded annually to recognize individuals in a 17-county area of northeastern South Dakota who display enthusiasm for regional development. The namesake, ViTality, is in memory of Aberdonian, Vi Stoia. Stoia was often called a ‘regional thinker’, and felt that new businesses in Redfield or community work in Leola was a … Read More »


SD Business Leaders Join Dakota Resources Board

Blog, News & Events on December 30th. Comments Off on SD Business Leaders Join Dakota Resources Board

Representatives of the banking and manufacturing industries have been added to the 2015 Dakota Resources Board of Directors. The new Directors each bring to the organization a wealth of experience and dedication to rural economic development. Joining the board in January 1st are:

Kory Anderson, President of Anderson Industries, based in Aberdeen. Anderson is a native of Andover, SD where he began his first manufacturing company. He is now the owner of 3 manufacturing companies with 6 locations across North Dakota and South Dakota. Anderson was in the first Dakota Rising Fellowship class of 2009 and is now an active Alum of the program.

Justin Gray, Business Banking Manager for Wells Fargo Bank. Justin is responsible for Ag and Business Banking for Wells Fargo’s Business and Ag Banking operations in Watertown, Brookings, Huron, Madison, Milbank, Dell Rapids, and Marshall, MN. With more … Read More »


The Power in Possible – Faulkton, SD

Blog on December 5th. Comments Off on The Power in Possible – Faulkton, SD

We believe in Possible.  Years ago, we did not believe in possible.  We groomed our sons and daughters to leave. We literally told our young, “We have no place for you.”  Our community had no dreams for a future..

Over time, the efforts of the Faulkton area gave birth to a new hope. We bravely said, “If we build, they will come”.  And so we constructed this community center, then a new hospital, then a Retail Center. And they did come – families began returning to the Faulkton area.

In 2010, Faulk County initiated the Dakota Rising program; Dr. Joel Price was the first Site Coordinator,  Through this program, economic development has accelerated. In September, the Dakota Rising baton was passed to Sharon Tanner, who now serves as the Site Coordinator for the Faulkton Area.

Economically, 2014 has been an healthy year for … Read More »


Let’s Look at New Strategies for Community Success

Blog on November 5th. Comments Off on Let’s Look at New Strategies for Community Success

As the holidays approach, it’s a great time to look back at 2014 and assess our progress in building a stronger economy. It’s an even better time to plan ahead and think about strategies for the coming year that provide us with practical ways to revitalize our community. We can build on all the things we’re doing now and introduce some new ideas that will complement the development of our community’s assets.

First, let’s make sure we are bringing new voices into the community development process. We need people of all ages, in all walks of life to represent the many different groups in our community. And, by recruiting new volunteers to participate in local activities, we can prevent fatigue and burnout from too few trying to do too much.

While we need to tap into the enthusiasm and good ideas of … Read More »


Southern Charles Mix County

Dakota Rising, Sites on October 6th. Comments Off on Southern Charles Mix County

Service Area
Southern Charles Mix County

Site Coordinator
Kelsey Doom
(605) 481-2493
kdoom@juffer.com

Fellows:
Barbra Pechous of Taboma Publishing
Cheryl Swatek of The Cake Lady


Mark Bower

Dakota Rising, Fellows on September 19th. Comments Off on Mark Bower

Aberdeen Parts Store
Dakota Rising Aberdeen

Mark was born and raised on a ranch south of Pierre. He received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business at Dakota State University and his life goal was to own his own business. Mark’s first job after college was in a retail management training program for Woolworth. The training was priceless but the advancements were tough so he left in pursuit of his dream to own a business. After other business ventures, Mark started a mobile home repair company. He also wrote a book on mobile home repair and built a website to promote it and later added mobile home parts sales. Increased website sales meant needing more space. After renting a couple of locations, he bought a 4,500 square foot building including a … Read More »


Cristin Stewart

Dakota Rising, Fellows on September 15th. Comments Off on Cristin Stewart

The Hot Springs Vault
Southern Hills On The Rise

Cristin grew up in Bailey, Colorado where she spent her childhood. After graduation she moved to Fort Collins, Colorado to attend college. While attending college, Cristin worked at DEA Construction Company where she was promoted to office manager. Since moving back to South Dakota, she has spent the last 11 years enjoying marriage, raising kids and working. Cristin worked in the medical field for the first part of those years; first as a receptionist in a doctor’s office and then from home as a medical transcriptionist for a national company. She also owned her own business as a medical transcription subcontractor. Four years ago, Cristin and her husband, Shane, bought an old rundown building that had been an old bar for over … Read More »


Change is in the Air

Blog, News & Events on September 15th. Comments Off on Change is in the Air

The yellowing of leaves sends the first signal. Then an almost frosty morning rolls around and you notice suddenly that the sun is taking its time getting up these days. There are fewer robins and you start hearing geese moving south, joined by the other birds of summer, and you know. The season has changed. One day, you’re looking at summer and the next, autumn has arrived.

Of course the change of season, like every other change we face in life, doesn’t really happen overnight. Major shifts of light and temperature and nature herself are going on, working in the background, following a steady course toward a new beginning. And change in community development happens exactly the same way.

It starts with an awareness that it is time for a change, that we can make things better for our economy, our neighborhoods … Read More »


Dakota Resources Receives Grant From SD Community Foundation

Blog on August 6th. Comments Off on Dakota Resources Receives Grant From SD Community Foundation

Dakota Resources is honored to be a recipient of a $10,000 grant from the South Dakota Community Foundation.  Thank you to the Argus Leader and South Dakota Community Foundation for the recognition.  See the full story here: http://argusne.ws/1qttdi7


Don’t Forget to Pack the Positive Attitude

Blog on July 29th. Comments Off on Don’t Forget to Pack the Positive Attitude

If yours is like a lot of families, now is the time you’re enjoying your summer vacation. Whether it’s a trip to Grandpa and Grandma’s, a splashy visit to that perfect lake resort or camping in the mountains, you’ve figured out in advance what you need to take along and made a checklist so that nothing important is left behind—or remembered when you’re a hundred miles away from home.

Along with the jackets, swimsuits and fishing rods, let’s remember to pack our positive attitudes about the place we call home. It’s not always easy to remember that each and every one of us is an ambassador for our hometown, no matter where we go. People rely on us to inform them about our part of the world, and our most casual comment can color their perceptions about our community, county and … Read More »


2014 Dakota Rising Entrepreneur Fellows Chosen

Blog, News & Events on July 2nd. Comments Off on 2014 Dakota Rising Entrepreneur Fellows Chosen

 
Four Dakota Rising Sites will each have a new Entrepreneur Fellow this year, following the June 27 selection of a new Dakota Rising Cohort. Dakota Resources Dakota Rising cultivates rural entrepreneurs dedicated to growing themselves, their businesses and the greater community, providing a vital spark to strengthen South Dakota’s economic base.

Cristin Stewart, the Hot Springs Vault, is the Entrepreneur Fellow from Southern Hills On The Rise, serving Fall River and Custer Counties.  Lawrence County’s Dakota Rising Fellow for 2014 is Sarina Jensen, Black Hills Equestrian Center. Jordan Breeding, JB’s Country Store, LLC, is this year’s Fellow from Faulkton Area Economic Development Initiative, serving Faulk County. Mark Bower, Aberdeen Parts Store, LLC, is the newest Entrepreneur Fellow from Aberdeen Dakota Rising, covering all of Brown County.

Each Dakota Rising Fellow becomes a member of an interactive Fellowship community of rural South Dakota entrepreneurs … Read More »


Cindy Turner Awarded 2014 Volunteer of the Year

Blog, News & Events on June 17th. Comments Off on Cindy Turner Awarded 2014 Volunteer of the Year

A grandiose round of applause to Cindy Turner, Dakota Rising Community Site Coordinator of Southern Hills on the Rise, on being awarded the 2014 Volunteer of the Year at the BHCED Annual Meeting and Banquet!

Aside from her participation with Dakota Rising, Cindy Turner is also a Consultant for the Southern Hills Economic Development Corporation.  Southern Hills Economic Development Corporation (SHEDCO) was formed in 2012 to promote economic interest, development, and improvement of the quality of life in the county of Fall River, South Dakota.

SHEDCO actively pursues economic development by assisting existing, new and expanding business and industry within Fall River County as well as working closely with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and other area organizations that hold common interests. SHEDCO is governed by a nine member board of directors which represents the cities of Hot Springs, Edgemont and … Read More »


Dakota Rising Fellow, Ron Waldner, Named 2014 Manufacturer of the Year

Blog, News & Events on June 12th. Comments Off on Dakota Rising Fellow, Ron Waldner, Named 2014 Manufacturer of the Year

Congratulations to Dakota Rising Fellow, Ron Waldner of Snowflake Metalworks, on being awarded the 2014 Manufacturer of the Year at the Black Hills Community Economic Development Annual Meeting and Banquet on June 6, 2014 in Rapid City, SD.

See Ron’s award video here:  http://bit.ly/UxxPdB


What We’ve Got Really is the Very Best

Blog on June 3rd. Comments Off on What We’ve Got Really is the Very Best

Mention the phrase “economic development” on Main Street in most communities and people may assume you’re talking about relocating a technology company from a metropolitan suburb to a shiny new spec building. But there’s a more vital aspect of economic development, one that is always the best source of new jobs and community growth. It’s the growth and expansion of companies already existing in our community.

Retaining and assisting businesses already here may not seem as exciting as bringing in new names, but it really is good economic development policy. And here are some reasons why:

It’s cheaper. No doubt about it—helping an existing business to expand is generally less expensive than bringing in new companies. Fewer incentives are needed for the business already here, and that company’s growth will still provide new jobs, new wages circulating through the local economy and … Read More »


Getting the Right People on the Bus

Blog, From the President, News & Events on May 30th. Comments Off on Getting the Right People on the Bus

“Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” Jim Collins’ quote from Good to Great is now famous, and powerful in its simplicity and logic. Yet it is not easy to accomplish.

Dakota Resources (formerly South Dakota Rural Enterprise) operated out of my home office for many years with contract administrative support and a contracted credit officer. We started out with the Capital Investment Fund as our only product. We were purely a financial institution making capital available to development organizations in South Dakota. We have become so much more by being responsive to the needs of our market and being willing to take calculated risks to meet those needs. None of it would have been possible without the caliber of the members of our board of directors … Read More »


Assessing the Future for Dakota Resources

Blog, From the Chair, News & Events on May 30th. Comments Off on Assessing the Future for Dakota Resources

Our annual report is not just a time to reflect and review the year just past, but also to look ahead, to envision our future. At the recent Board of Directors retreat, we did just that—and the vision we foresee is both bold and achievable.

Dakota Resources is a strong organization perfectly positioned for growth. All of the pieces are in place to move the organization to a new place of leadership, and Dakota Resources has the potential to become a regional or national leader in rural economic and community development.

Among the strengths of our organization moving forward is an exceptionally strong, highly functioning and engaged Board of Directors. We are led by a well-respected, seasoned and remarkable President who balances big vision with attention to detail.

Dakota Resources is well staffed and functions as a team with strong individual talent, facilitating … Read More »


Dakota Rising Alumni Named 2014 ChamberChoice Entrepreneur of the Year!

Blog, News & Events on May 30th. Comments Off on Dakota Rising Alumni Named 2014 ChamberChoice Entrepreneur of the Year!

Congratulations to Dakota Rising Alumni, Kory Anderson, owner of Anderson Industries LLC, on being awarded the 2014 ChamberChoice Entrepreneur of the Year!

2014 ChamberChoice award winners announced

May 21st, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce has announced its 2014 ChamberChoice Award Winners.

Small Business of the Year: Spectrum Aeromed

Business of the Year: Integreon Managed Solutions

Small Not-for-Profit of the Year: United Way of Cass-Clay

Not-for-Profit of the Year: CCRI Inc.

Entrepreneur of the Year: Kory Anderson, Anderson Industries

Young Professionals Best Place to Work: Marco

People’s Choice Award: Rape and Abuse Crisis Center

Finalists for the awards include:

Small Business of the Year: Absolute Marketing Group and Office Sign Company

Business of the Year: Discovery Benefits, Inc., and Park Co. Realtors

Small Not-for-Profit of the Year: TNT Kid’s Fitness & Gymnastics and … Read More »


Spring Success with the Three P’s

Blog on May 7th. Comments Off on Spring Success with the Three P’s

As we finally move from winter into construction season, things can heat up fast in local economic development. Growing companies start looking around, seeking a perfect location for their expanding business. Local businesses check out the market, take a look at community growth and start to think about doing a little growing of their own. And it’s about this time of year that local residents, community development organizations and city governments ask themselves, “What should we be doing to make our development efforts even more successful?”  The answer to that question is the three “P’s” of community development.

1.  Participation. Nothing is more important than being involved, being aware and being willing to pitch in to make things happen in our community. It may be as simple as keeping up to date with business news. Our local development group is often … Read More »


Are YOU too Busy to Volunteer?

Blog on April 9th. Comments Off on Are YOU too Busy to Volunteer?

Many of us who attended high school in smaller communities grew up with a strange phenomenon surrounding extra-curricular activities. It seemed that the students who were the most active were involved in everything. Athletes were musicians, student council members took the lead roles in school plays and just about everyone was on the yearbook staff, worked hard during homecoming week and still found time to go to choir practice. If you went to a smaller school, as so many South Dakotans did, you saw it:  people who get involved, get involved in everything.

Things haven’t really changed much in communities today. Quite often, the people who volunteer to serve on the economic development committees are people with very full plates. They have families, jobs, hobbies, church meetings, jump at the chance to help out at the local school, make sure their … Read More »


Dakota Rising in Prairie Business Magazine!

Blog, News & Events on February 28th. Comments Off on Dakota Rising in Prairie Business Magazine!

Check out the wonderful article Prairie Business Magazine featured about Dakota Rising at: http://bit.ly/1gHpYyC.


Channel Your Spring Fever—and Plan

Blog on February 14th. Comments Off on Channel Your Spring Fever—and Plan

By this time of year, we’re all looking forward to the change of seasons—or at least the end of winter. For many of us, spring fever is an annual affliction, with a restlessness and desire to get outdoors and DO something. Far too often, there really is nothing to do out there, with spring still hovering on the horizon. Maybe this year, we could channel that restless spring fever energy into our community.

Early spring is a great time to take a critical look around our neighborhood and our community with an objective eye. When the warmer weather really arrives, we could organize a clean-up drive that does more than remove the accumulated winter litter. Are there homes and buildings that need the help of a crew of volunteers? Now is the time to get those volunteers on board, or start … Read More »


Faulkton: A Model of Community Possibility

Blog, News & Events on January 14th. Comments Off on Faulkton: A Model of Community Possibility


At a recent community meeting to inform and celebrate Faulkton’s development successes, leaders speak to how Dakota Resources has assisted in expanding community engagement and supporting development initiatives.

Faulkton is a Dakota Rising Site, a Home Address Site and has been engaged in the Regional Systems Engagement pilot.  Community Coaches and technical assistance providers have been working with five initiative teams: housing, economic development, leadership, quality of life and philanthropy.  The goal of the work has been not just to get projects done, but to practice a more effective way of addressing community issues and ceasing opportunities.

Watch the video here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYV-MtX8_q0&list=TLiuBcq8DlskjJTQtKRiTVSmXiYLVSnBGH


GROW South Dakota makes housing a development priority

Blog, News & Events on January 13th. Comments Off on GROW South Dakota makes housing a development priority

From its roots as the Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation, established in 1978 to serve just ten counties, GROW South Dakota has evolved to bring community development success to the entire state.

In 2012 the decision was made to unite three initiatives:  housing, community and economic development under the GROW South Dakota name. The organization strives to improve the quality of life in South Dakota communities—and housing programs are a key element in the GROW strategy.

“Most people know us for economic development,” said Lori Finnesand CEO of GROW South Dakota, “but we’ve seen a need for housing in every community we serve. Really, housing and economic development go hand in hand.”

Among the programs GROW features are loan products available for veterans and other low to moderate income South Dakota residents to assist with home purchase and home improvement financing. The veterans … Read More »


What are we learning by coaching communities in Home Address?

Blog, News & Events on January 13th. Comments Off on What are we learning by coaching communities in Home Address?

By Joe Bartmann and Mike Knutson, with Dr. Jim Beddow
Photo credits to Dakotafire

We’ve enjoyed the honor of coaching four community teams participating in the Home Address program over the last year. Together as a network of eight local teams, a dozen resource providers and our team of coaches, we’re learning great lessons for rural communities who want to take action in a strategic, lasting way. Here are just three of the many lessons that are emerging: 

Improving the condition of existing properties and neighborhoods is a high-leverage opportunity. Maybe the biggest tactical “ah-ha!” through this pilot has been the realization that the highest leverage point—the spot that can create the biggest impact with the smallest effort—for every Home Address community is understanding the natural flow of housing property conditions. If you have ever owned a home, … Read More »


Resolving to Keep Our Community Growing

Blog on January 9th. Comments Off on Resolving to Keep Our Community Growing

With the coming of the New Year many of us make some personal resolutions, like trimming the waistline and spending more time with family. This is also a great time to resolve to make our community even better.  Our challenge is to make economic development work in our community, and once we realize that a successful future for all is the goal, we can concentrate on some simple strategies for prosperity.

1.         Make the most of what we’ve got. Maximize our advantages, such as vacant buildings, good highway access, existing industry, excellent educational facilities, local craftspeople and retired military professionals. Let’s take the time to analyze our strengths and promote them.

2.         Focus on what we do best. Value-added agriculture is still a solid bet in ag-oriented communities. This is a great example of building on an existing industry. We can encourage … Read More »


Making a List and Checking it Twice

Blog, News & Events on December 31st. Comments Off on Making a List and Checking it Twice

The houses are decorated, the air is chilly and the kids are vibrating with excitement throughout our community by now. The holidays are here, with their full-speed ahead pace and a background of familiar music. As we look for the perfect gifts for friends and relatives, it’s also time to make a shopping list for this place where we all live. Here are a few things you can do this year:

1.         Sing the praises of our town to everyone who will listen. Many of us will be talking to folks who live in other places. Tell them the reasons you live here, and let them know about the great lifestyle we enjoy.

2.         Light your house, your neighborhood and the entire town—not just with electricity but with enthusiasm for making our community a better place to live. Let your kids see … Read More »


Coalition Puts Spotlight on Home Ownership in Tribal Communities

Blog, News & Events on December 17th. Comments Off on Coalition Puts Spotlight on Home Ownership in Tribal Communities

The challenges faced by Native communities in providing and maintaining an adequate housing inventory and preparing families for home ownership will be addressed by a new South Dakota statewide coalition. Six of the state’s nine Indian reservations, including six representatives of housing authorities, gathered in July of 2013 to discuss housing issues and needs. In addition to USDA Rural Development, federal stakeholders included the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and Indian Health Service. About 50 people gathered for a daylong working session to provide critical input on the goals and priorities of a proposed coalition.

“This meeting was a historic first step toward collectively working toward increased home ownership opportunities in Indian country,” said Elsie Meeks, USDA Rural Development State Director. “A coalition could support the partners on the ground; housing authorities; state, federal and tribal … Read More »


Keep It Local For Maximum Success

Blog on December 3rd. Comments Off on Keep It Local For Maximum Success

The Governors Office of Economic Development, regional planning districts and statewide organizations like Dakota Resources are all working for the cause of economic development. Why, then, do we need local committees? Shouldn’t economic development be left in the hands of professionals?

The fact is that when community development succeeds in a community like ours, it is usually because of the work of a local economic development group. And while professional economic development officials on the state and county level are helpful in connecting programs with people, without the local component our community will simply not have the spark it needs to grow.

So, given the vital importance of a local development organization, what makes these groups successful, and what do they do to keep things moving in a positive, prosperous direction?

1.         Local groups understand their communities. The members of the organization represent … Read More »


Change is in the Air

Blog on December 3rd. Comments Off on Change is in the Air

The yellowing of leaves sends the first signal. Then an almost frosty morning rolls around and you notice suddenly that the sun is taking its time getting up these days. There are fewer robins and you start hearing geese moving south, joined by the other birds of summer, and you know. The season has changed. One day, you’re looking at summer and the next, autumn has arrived.

Of course the change of season, like every other change we face in life, doesn’t really happen overnight. Major shifts of light and temperature and nature herself are going on, working in the background, following a steady course toward a new beginning. And change in community development happens exactly the same way.

It starts with an awareness that it is time for a change, that we can make things better for our economy, our neighborhoods … Read More »


Asking Outside the Box Questions

Blog on October 28th. Comments Off on Asking Outside the Box Questions

When we come together in community groups or committees working hard to make this a better place to live, we all know to start by asking questions. We try to focus on the issues at hand, define the parameters of our discussions, and we ask the questions that seem logical to us—What are we going to do? What is the right course of action to take? Where do we go from here? Our goal seems to be narrowing our field of vision to meet our challenges head-on.

What happens if, instead of trying to make our approach to any issue simple, we step back and look at the complexities of every community challenge? Before we proceed to possible solutions, we can gain valuable perspective by asking some “outside the box” questions.

We can start by asking, “What are we not seeing in … Read More »


Clint Waara Joins Dakota Resources as Vice President of Business Development

Blog, News & Events on September 18th. Comments Off on Clint Waara Joins Dakota Resources as Vice President of Business Development

Clint Waara has been named the new Vice President of Business Development for Dakota Resources and Dakotas America LLC. A statewide, private, not-for-profit rural development organization, Dakota Resources serves all of South Dakota with the capacity to initiate model programs, broker projects and organize coalitions around rural development issues.

A partnership of Dakota Resources and the North Dakota Rural Development Finance Corporation, Dakotas America assigns New Markets Tax Credit allocations for approved investments in qualifying projects located in rural, highly distressed low-income communities in the United States.

In his new position, Waara communicates the capabilities of Dakota Resources and Dakotas America to investors, communities, government agencies and other strategic partners. He works with Dakota Resources President Beth Davis and Dakotas America Managing Director Lin VanHofwegen to bring the products and services of both organizations to economic development groups and communities ready to invest in … Read More »


Monte Amende and Dustin Floyd Named 2013 Dakota Rising Fellows

Blog, News & Events on August 19th. Comments Off on Monte Amende and Dustin Floyd Named 2013 Dakota Rising Fellows

Monte Amende of Belle Fourche and Dustin Floyd, partners in Deadwood-based advertising agency TDG Communications, have been selected as 2013 Dakota Rising Fellows.

Dakota Rising, a program designed to promote rural entrepreneurship, includes a $10,000 grant for professional and business development. It also partners the recipient with a mentor who is a leader in their industry. Nine fellowships were awarded across the state, including five in Lawrence County.

Entrepreneurs applying for a fellowship must be connected to the local development community and be recognized for the value they add to their local economy. They must have potential to form ongoing relationships with local and statewide resources. They also need to develop detailed professional and business growth plans.

One significant asset is the mentor partnership. The TDG partners have been working with Luke Sullivan, a nationally known advertising veteran who is currently chairman of … Read More »


Dakota Resources Hires Asset Manager

Blog, News & Events on May 18th. Comments Off on Dakota Resources Hires Asset Manager

On March 18, 2013 Dakota Resources hired Jay Headley to fill the position of Asset Manager.

Jay lives in the Sioux Falls area and is a graduate of University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business Administration. Jay is very knowledgeable in the financial services and banking industry with over eight years of experience. Prior to coming to Dakota Resources, Jay held the position of Financial Accounting Analyst at Citigroup. He has specialized in cash management, accounting, financial control and credit review.

As Asset Manager, his tasks include handling financial and accounting operations, compliance, and portfolio management for both Dakota Resources and Dakotas America. Dakotas America is also based out of Renner, SD that helps to stimulate growth and development in communities throughout the Dakotas.

Jay states what initially attracted him to Dakota Resources, “I was … Read More »


Lorri Riley

Alumni, Dakota Rising on October 9th. Comments Off on Lorri Riley

Rylo, Inc.
Spearfish

Lorri was born and raised on a ranch west of Belle Fourche, SD. While playing basketball at the University of South Dakota, she developed foot problems. She had to have surgical reconstruction of both of her flat feet, which led her into podiatry. Lorri graduated from Des Moines University with the degree of Doctor of podiatric Medicine. She opened her first solo practice – Black Hills Foot Clinic – in Spearfish in 1992. Dr. Riley started the Spearfish Surgery Center in 1995.

In 2005, Lorri received a patent for ThinNail®, a topical treatment for thinning thick nails. In 2006, she formed a company called Rylo, Inc. to market ThinNail®. Her most recent product is called J1 Insoles®. J1 Insoles® is patent pending for its unique design in providing a generic arch support for people with flat … Read More »


Jeff Prior

Alumni, Dakota Rising on October 9th. Comments Off on Jeff Prior

Dakota Greens of Custer
Southern Hills On The Rise

Jeff & Robin prior have been the driving force behind this family owned business since its start in 1999. Dakota Greens of Custer was a roadside flower stand on the family property until 2004. The prior’s were married in Custer in 2000 and made it their permanent residence in 2004. Jeff retired from the US Army in 2006. The greenhouse and nursery business has steadily grown, retails a full line of garden plants, and is proud to supply and care for the City of Custer’s beautiful hanging gardens every Spring. These baskets are displayed by Custer’s main street business district from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Jeff is a Certified Nurseryman, holds an A.S. degree in Ornamental Horticulture, and a grower of Annuals & … Read More »


Kelly Melius

Alumni, Dakota Rising on October 9th. Comments Off on Kelly Melius

Common Sense Manufacturing
Faulkton Area Economic Development Initiative

Kelly grew up on a family farm in rural Faulk County, SD. After high school he attended Mitchell Vo-Tech receiving a degree as an electrician. Kelly worked in the Minneapolis area as an electrician, but had a strong desire to return to his family’s farm. He moved back to the Faulkton area where he ran Kelly’s Electric and farmed and ranched with his father. He formed a partnership with his father called M&M Farms. While farming, he saw a need for a heavy duty bale feeder that would be durable and eliminate waste caused by the feeders that were available. Kelly and a friend worked together to design a unique cradle-style bale feeder, which Kelly later patented. Common Sense Balefeeder became its registered trademark … Read More »


Troy McQuillen

Alumni, Dakota Rising on October 9th. Comments Off on Troy McQuillen

Elmwood Studios and McQuillen Creative Group
Dakota Rising Aberdeen

After a typical childhood in Aberdeen, Troy packed his things and headed for Los Angeles to attend film school at the University of Southern California. He graduated in 1987 and worked in the film business for about thirteen months. He didn’t like the direction he was headed. Troy went back to the University and convinced them he was a graphic designer and was hired by the School of Business.

Troy moved back home to Aberdeen, got married, bought a house and began working as a graphic designer. Ten years later he would have a staff of 13 and dozens of name-brand Aberdeen accounts. Troy and wife Suzette purchased a historic building in downtown Aberdeen and continue to restore it. McQuillen Creative Group offices out of this building.

Troy has grown … Read More »


Margaret Lindskov

Alumni, Dakota Rising on October 9th. Comments Off on Margaret Lindskov

The Bunkhouse Inn of Isabel

Margaret was born and raised in Isabel, SD. After graduating from Isabel High School, she attended Stewart’s School of Hairstyling and received herCosmetology License. Margaret started her own business out of her home in Isabel and as her business grew, moved it to a larger location on Main Street, Isabel. In 1989, she and her husband, Dennis, purchased Hel-Mar Candles and renamed it Dakota Country Candles, merging it and her hair salon into one building. Margaret operated these businesses full-time until choosing to pursue a degree in Education. After graduating with an Education Degree, Suma Cum Laude from Northern State University and SiTanka University, she taught at Eagle Butte Upper Elementary until she and Dennis took 100% ownership of the implement and car dealership they’d been in partnership with for over 25 years. They also purchased the local motel … Read More »


Cindy Kopecky

Alumni, Dakota Rising on October 9th. Comments Off on Cindy Kopecky

The Potting Shed
Faulkton Area Economic Development Initiative

Cindy and Jerry Kopecky opened The potting Shed Greenhouse the spring of 2010. A long time passion for gardening and the desire to own their own business has led them to a successful businessventure in Faulkton, SD. The business and finance experience that Cindy gained as the Business Official of the Faulkton Area Schools for the past 27 years has been a valuable asset tothe Kopecky’s. The potting Shed is the only greenhouse in the county and the Kopecky’s have enjoyed building the business into a destination spot for surrounding community residents. One of their goals was to enhance the gardening experience for residents by offering classes, project Days, and new and innovative products.

Cindy and Jerry have been lifelong residents of the Faulkton area; raised three … Read More »


Emily Heintzman

Alumni, Dakota Rising on October 9th. Comments Off on Emily Heintzman

Double Duty Portable Storage
Aberdeen

From an early age, Emily has known that one day she would operate a large company. She has used every job and experience as a learning opportunity to gain the skills needed to be successful. Working as a distributor, owning her own salons, being a landlord, and managing her family of six and foster children on a budget has prepared her for this next stage. Over the past two years, she and her husband have researched and started Double Duty portable Storage and Movers in Aberdeen. The company provides services to both residents and commercial businesses that need moving, portable storage, and transfer services. Currently operating in the Aberdeen area, the company plans to expand to the Midwest region and eventually become the leading portable storage and moving company in the nation. … Read More »


Chris Brill

Alumni, Dakota Rising on October 9th. Comments Off on Chris Brill

RABCO Products
Spearfish

The father and son team of Richard and Chris Brill started RABCO products in 2002 and moved it to Spearfish in 2009 to fill a niche of selling and manufacturing custom vinyl envelopes, sheet protectors, badge ID holders, restaurant menu covers, and more. RABCO is able to foil stamp logos and other information on their products as well. With Richard’s 40+ years in the plastics manufacturing industry and Chris’ business and IT background with MCI Communications and other telecom companies, they are determined to grow RABCO products into a competitive plastics manufacturing company. RABCO has leased a facility in Spearfish, SD, and has purchased several machines in order to manufacture in the Black Hills. Chris and Richard are off to a great start and look forward to many years here in SD.


Southern Hills On The Rise

Dakota Rising, Sites on April 16th. Comments Off on Southern Hills On The Rise

Service Area
Fall River and Custer Counties

Site Coordinator
Andrea Powers
605-891-9123
shed@hs-sd.org

Fellows:
Mark Hollenbeck of Sunrise Ranch
Jeff Prior of Dakota Greens of Custer
Cristin Stewart of The Hot Springs Vault


Faulkton Area Dakota Rising

Dakota Rising, Sites on April 14th. Comments Off on Faulkton Area Dakota Rising

Dakota Rising Lawrence County

Dakota Rising, Sites on April 12th. Comments Off on Dakota Rising Lawrence County

Service Area
Spearfish Zip Code 57783

Local Site Services: Dakota Rising Business Consulting, mentoring, business financing, entrepreneur breakfast roundtables, business seminars, BHSU Center for Entrepreneurship

Local/Regional Resources: Small Business Development Center, Lawrence County Loan Fund, West River Revolving Loan Fund, SBA

Site Coordinator
Melissa Barth
(605) 642-2626
director@spearfishchamber.org

Site Champion: Bob Meyer

Resource Team Members: Melissa Barth, Bryan Walker, Bob Meyer, Chris Malo, Barbara Zwetzig, Helen Meriman, Dan Contonis

Fellows:
Peg Austin of Vanilla Bean Bakery
Josh Fritz and Jeff Drumm of Crow Peak Brewing Company
Bryan Lessly of Western Sky Media
Chris Malo of Black Hills Urethane
Jim Meyer of Quarq Technology, Inc.
Dee Sleep of Chicken Creek Communications
Les Voorhis of Royal Tine Images
Chris and Richard Brill of RABCO Products
Lorri Riley of DPM, Rylo, Inc.
Ron … Read More »


Kory Anderson

Alumni, Dakota Rising on April 11th. Comments Off on Kory Anderson

Anderson Industries, LLC.

Anderson Industries LLC president Kory Anderson’s experience in the manufacturing industry started at age 12 when he began working for his father’s business as a welder and machinist. In the last three years, he has managed the operations of Anderson Industries, a company he started in 2006. Prior to that, he was employed as the Engineering Manager for the Horsch Anderson Company, which manufactures large seeding and tillage equipment for agriculture. He was responsible for the design and manufacturing of new products, as well as managing the engineering relations with Horsch Anderson and partner company Horsch Maschinen GmbH located in Sitzenhof, Germany. Previous to his management position at Horsch Anderson, Kory attended North Dakota State University and studied Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. During college, Kory worked at Larson Welding and Machine Company in Fargo, ND as the welding and … Read More »


Peg Austin

Alumni, Dakota Rising on April 9th. Comments Off on Peg Austin

Vanilla Bean Bakery
Spearfish

Peg Austin entered the baking trade after a successful 30+ year career in the healthcare industry. During her medical career, she worked as business office manager for a multi-specialty physician clinic, served as VP of a medical outsourcing company, taught physician reimbursement nationwide, and co-authored a college-level textbook. Peg and her husband of 33 years (and business partner) Chuck have two grown sons and have been part of the South Dakota business/healthcare industry since 1985.

An opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream of owning a bakery presented itself in 2009, and she accepted the challenge of keeping fond memories of a favorite hometown bakery alive, while bringing healthy trends and new tastes to the residents of Spearfish. With her new designation as a Dakota Rising Fellow, she looks forward to working hand-in-hand with the residents and business … Read More »


Kristin Bennett

Alumni, Dakota Rising on April 7th. Comments Off on Kristin Bennett

YES, LLC.

Having grown up in Britton, S.D., Kristin Bennett graduated in 1982 and left for sunny California where she earned degrees in art, graphics and business administration with an emphasis in public relations and marketing. After college, she worked as a recruiter for IBM, shared in her father’s business, and began her career in non-profit management in 1991. Having been widowed, then divorced, she found the job market to be extremely attractive in Denver. She moved there for a period of three years, greatly expanding her non-profit management business in the process. In August 2007, she realized that South Dakota was the best place to raise her kids and made the move ‘back home’. Today, Kristin runs her business in Britton, where she lives with her three children: Emma (13), Clara (9), and Joe (8). They are surrounded … Read More »


Josh Fritz & Jeff Drumm

Alumni, Dakota Rising on April 6th. Comments Off on Josh Fritz & Jeff Drumm

Crow Peak Brewing Company
Spearfish

Josh is the Vice President/Owner of Crow Peak Brewing Co., LLC. Josh grew up on a cattle ranch in Montana where he learned the value of hard work and being self-employed, but it was in Montana and later Colorado where he developed a taste for premium, handcrafted beer. Josh and his wife Tanya and their newborn daughter Josie moved to Wall, S.D. in 2002 to manage the family ranch. In 2009, they sold the ranch and decided to go in a different direction. Having spent seven years in South Dakota with virtually no good beer to speak of, Josh convinced the rest of his family to invest in Crow Peak. With an email and a couple of phone calls to Jeff Drumm, the founder and current co-owner, the plan was set in motion! Crow … Read More »


Brad Heitmann

Alumni, Dakota Rising on April 5th. Comments Off on Brad Heitmann

Trail Tamer ATV, Inc.

Brad Heitmann was born and raised in the northeast corner of South Dakota by Lake City but the businesses he has owned or managed have taken him to Arkansas, Missouri and North Carolina. Currently, Brad is the President/CEO of Trail Tamer ATV, Inc of Eden, S.D., a company that specializes in the design and manufacturing of four-, six- and eight-wheel amphibious vehicles. A division of that same company is an ag equipment parts, repair and welding facility that markets its products worldwide. Brad, a true entrepreneur and developer, is dedicated to the success of the communities he lives in. He is actively involved in the Chamber of Commerce as President and V. President, Community Development V. President, A+ committee board member, Main Street Program facilitator, Workforce Investment Board private sector, Awarded Missouri Volunteer of the Year, Training … Read More »


Mark Hollenbeck

Alumni, Dakota Rising on April 4th. Comments Off on Mark Hollenbeck

Sunrise Ranch.
Southern Hills On The Rise

Mark Hollenbeck is an Edgemont, S.D. native. He holds a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and is a licensed Professional Engineer in South Dakota.

Mark has been involved in energy-producing industries for much of his career, designing and managing natural gas systems for the Black Hills Division of Montana Dakota Utilities and as the Executive Director of the South Dakota Office of the American Petroleum Institute. He was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives where he served from 1989 through 1994. He also served as Mayor of Edgemont from 2001 to 2006. Along with his wife and four young children, he lives and ranches on an organic ranch north of Edgemont. In addition to their grass-fed organic business, … Read More »


Lori Holt

Alumni, Dakota Rising on April 3rd. Comments Off on Lori Holt

Quilter’s Corner
Faulkton Area Economic Development Initiative

Lori opened Quilter’s Corner, in Faulkton, S.D. in August of 2009. Lori grew up in rural South Dakota and developed a passion for quilting shortly after marrying her husband, Kurt, 31 years ago. She and her husband have owned and operated a cattle ranch for over 30 years and in 1997 added a hunting lodge to the business. After working for several years at a quilt shop in Aberdeen, S.D., her dream came true in 2009 when she opened Quilter’s Corner and her vision of “someday” moving to a larger location became a reality in spring 2011. Quilter’s Corner is quickly becoming a destination shop with many customers traveling 50+ miles to share their enthusiasm for quilting and provide overwhelming support for a small-town, local business.


Chad Homan

Alumni, Dakota Rising on April 2nd. Comments Off on Chad Homan

Homan Welding
Faulkton Area Economic Development Initiative

Chad is co-owner and president of Homan Welding, a welding and repair company that started as a business adventure with his brother, Brian, in 2007. The desire of both Chad and Brian to be their own boss inspired them to start the company from the ground up. Previously, Chad worked as an employee on a farming and livestock ranch for 10 years. Before that, Chad was involved in the dairy industry, where he owned and managed a small dairy farm for two years.


Thomas Hurlbert

Alumni, Dakota Rising on March 31st. Comments Off on Thomas Hurlbert

Hula Design/Build Architecture
Dakota Rising Aberdeen

Tom earned his Master of Architecture degree from Montana State University in 2001 and interned for firms in New York City and Sioux Falls. In 2008, Tom opened Hula Design/Build Architecture, with offices in his native Aberdeen and in Sioux Falls. His firm is involved in various community-oriented project including downtown streetscape and façade projects, school and college designs, low-income housing, community planning, office, religious, retail and hospitality. Tom is also developing high-quality residential and commercial projects with the idea that Dakotans deserve better quality. Hula’s mission statement is “Bring more thoughtful design to the upper plains.”

In addition  to Hula, Tom is also involved in several community organizations, builds office furniture, and co-hosts the Rock Garden Tour on South Dakota Public Radio.


Bryan Lessly

Alumni, Dakota Rising on March 30th. Comments Off on Bryan Lessly

Western Sky Media, Inc.
Spearfish

Born in Los Angeles, California, Bryan has always had an eye toward television, video and film production. Growing up, it seemed he was always the official photographer and moviemaker for family vacations. During his career he has produced television specials from the Olympic Games to the Super Bowl. In local television, broadcasting as a sports director and special projects producer, he pioneered an award-winning documentary series on “Midwestern Wetlands Restoration” and was host of “Outdoor Iowa” and the groundbreaking “Friday Night Heroes” high school sports specials. More than 30 years of working both in front of and behind the camera, as well as experience in marketing and public relations, has provided him with in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the media world. In 2005, he founded Western Sky Media, Inc. and the company … Read More »


Chris Malo

Alumni, Dakota Rising on March 29th. Comments Off on Chris Malo

Black Hills Urethane.
Spearfish

Castaway Products, located in Westlock, Alberta, Canada, was started by Chris Malo in 2002. But before starting his own business venture, he was the fifth employee hired at Lehman Trikes and worked there for eight years as a machinist, draftsman, Quality and Safety Manager, and Plant Manager. Lehman Trikes started in John Lehman’s garage and eventually became the largest trike company in the world. The opportunities and education Chris received from this experience were critical in building the skills he needed to succeed in business. After four successful years in business in Canada, Chris had the opportunity to expand his operation into the USA — he jumped at the offer. Black Hills Urethane began operations in May 2006 and within two years B.H.U. had tripled in size.


Jim Meyer

Alumni, Dakota Rising on March 28th. Comments Off on Jim Meyer

Quarq Technology, Inc.
Spearfish

Jim has always been a hands-on sort of guy. He spent his teen years building stuff and wrenched in a bike shop. In college, he joined the solar car race team and spent far more effort designing and building solar cars than he did on classes. Fortunately, Jim had a knack for standardized tests and was accepted to graduate school in Mechanical Engineering at MIT. While there, he worked a bit on hybrid car technology and did his thesis on race car data acquisition. In 2006, he quit his real job and moved to Australia with his wife to train more and find inspiration. He was only there a few weeks before he really wanted a power meter, but didn’t like the options. Jim realized that his background in bicycles, engineering and data was … Read More »


Jenny Nelson

Alumni, Dakota Rising on March 27th. Comments Off on Jenny Nelson

Sisseton Flower Shop

After graduating with a business degree from Northern State University, Jenny worked in various offices and spent over 10 years with Farm Credit Services of America as a Country Home Loan Officer. Work was good, but she knew she wanted something more.

In fall 2006, Jenny completed a Floral Studies Program at Southeast Tech in Sioux Falls and tested to become a member of the South Dakota Designers Club. Being educated in the floral industries area was important to Jenny — she wanted to be ready to own the business in 2007.

As an active part of the Sisseton community, Jenny owns and operates the Sisseton Flower Shop. In the past four years her goal has been to expand the gift area of the shop and ultimately be recognized as a more than just a flower shop, since she offers … Read More »


Dee Sleep

Alumni, Dakota Rising on March 26th. Comments Off on Dee Sleep

Chicken Creek Communications
Spearfish

Dee has owned and operated Chicken Creek Communications, a full-service graphic design and communication service, since 2001. The business is located in Spearfish on the northern edge of South Dakota’s Black Hills.

Dee earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from South Dakota State University before the Internet explosion. She specializes in print communications, but she is well-versed in web design and marketing options, as well. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in journalism through the University of Nebraska at Lincoln’s distance program.

Dee has taught Mass Communications courses at Black Hills State University and has taught web design courses through the Black Hills Community Education program. She volunteers with various clubs and organizations throughout Spearfish. She currently serves on the Spearfish Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Dee and her husband, Matt, have three daughters.


Mark Stein

Alumni, Dakota Rising on March 25th. Comments Off on Mark Stein

ESCO Manufacturing.

Mark Stein is a second-generation owner of ESCO Manufacturing, a wholesale electric sign manufacturing firm with facilities in Watertown and Webster, S.D. ESCO’s primary customers are sign companies, which are located all across the United States. Also part of ESCO is Stein Sign Display, a retail sign company that sells, services, and installs signs for end-user customers, primarily in eastern South Dakota. Mark has been in and around the sign business almost his entire life, starting while still in high school during summer vacations. After graduating from Northern State in Aberdeen, Mark obtained his MBA from Arizona State University in 1979. While in college, Mark held several part-time jobs to pay for school expenses. These included videographer for KABY-TV, News Director for the campus radio station, and onsite management of a storage rental complex. Mark then joined … Read More »


Les Voorhis

Alumni, Dakota Rising on March 24th. Comments Off on Les Voorhis

Focus West Gallery
Spearfish

Les has been a professional photographer since 1990. After learning the ins and outs of the stock photography business as a Photo Editor and Image Library Manager, he decided to put his skills to the test with his own work.

Les is also a teacher, teaching photography classes and workshops. In 2001, Profotos.com selected him as one of the top 100 photographers in the country.

Les is widely published and his published images have appeared in magazines, advertising campaigns, retail packaging, calendars, websites, books and more. Les and his wife, Julaine, own Focus West Gallery in Spearfish, as well as a stock photo agency, Royal Tine Images, Inc. Les’ work is also available in several galleries and art shows throughout South Dakota and the western US.


Tobey Vander Laan

Alumni, Dakota Rising on March 24th. Comments Off on Tobey Vander Laan

Wild Dutchman Products, Inc.
Tri-Community Economic Enhancement (T.R.E.E.)

Tobey and his dad, Wayne, run Renegade Auto and Wild Dutchman Seeds. Tobey is a farm boy through and through. Growing up, he farmed with his family and raised dairy cows and feeder cattle. Tobey attended Lake Area Vo-tech in Watertown and received his auto mechanics degree. He and wife, Sandra, moved back to the farm where Tobey did most of the mechanic work. In 1994, he started Renegade Auto, a body shop, with a friend. Tobey also turned their old hip roof milking barn into a hunting lodge and moved Wild Dutchman Seeds to a part of that barn. In 2006, the hunting lodge burned down, destroying the Wild Dutchman Seeds homemade equipment. Tobey didn’t give up though, he restarted Wild Dutchman Seeds in a new facility where they … Read More »


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