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Keep it Local for Maximum Success

Blog on February 26th. Comments Off

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

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

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

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

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

Service Area
Southern Charles Mix County

Site Coordinator
Kelsey Doom
(605) 481-2493

Cristin Stewart

Dakota Rising, Fellows on September 15th. Comments Off

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 »

Sarina Jensen

Dakota Rising, Fellows on September 15th. Comments Off

Black Hills Equestrian Center
Dakota Rising Lawrence County

Sarina Jensen grew up in Nebraska where she developed a deep love for riding, training and showing horses. Her passion led her to success at the highest levels of equestrian competition and eventually to pursue degrees in Equine Science and Equine Business. She has successfully operated Black Hills Equestrian Center, LTD since 2009, offering horse boarding for 50 horses, horse training, riding lessons, kids’ camps, women’s retreats and, with the addition of sister company Equine Excursions, LLC, leads customized trail rides on the BHEC property and surrounding areas. She is often accompanied by two “Jr. Wranglers;” her children, Preston and Bella, who share her love of horses. Sarina enjoys an active life outside of the equestrian center and can be found riding dirt … Read More »

JB Breeding

Dakota Rising, Fellows on September 15th. Comments Off

JB’s Country Store
Faulkton Area Economic Development Initiative

After graduating from Lake Area Technical Institute, Jordan began working for Kelly Melius with Common Sense Manufacturing as well as on his ranch with horses and cattle. This being a full time job in itself kept Jordan busy. In 2012, a friend entered him in a craft show which gave him the wild ideal to start his own business. The business has since grown into a central location with many different services offered. Jordan feels very fortunate that the Faulkton community has supported his business.


Mark Bower

Dakota Rising, Fellows on September 15th. Comments Off

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 »

Change is in the Air

Blog, News & Events on September 15th. Comments Off

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

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:

Don’t Forget to Pack the Positive Attitude

Blog on July 29th. Comments Off

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

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

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

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:

What We’ve Got Really is the Very Best

Blog on June 3rd. Comments Off

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

“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

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

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 … Read More »

Spring Success with the Three P’s

Blog on May 7th. Comments Off

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

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

Check out the wonderful article Prairie Business Magazine featured about Dakota Rising at:

Channel Your Spring Fever—and Plan

Blog on February 14th. Comments Off

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

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:

GROW South Dakota makes housing a development priority

Blog, News & Events on January 13th. Comments Off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 »

Donovan Schulze

Dakota Rising, Fellows on October 22nd. Comments Off

Black Hills CO2
Dakota Rising Lawrence County

Donovan works with his father, Jefferson, and brother, Orin, at Black Hills CO2–and the dynamic amongst them is unbelievable.  The “boys” have brought a great work ethic, computer and sales skills, and a positive, motivated attitude to the company.  The three work very well together and the future of Black Hills CO2 will rest in their hands.  The significant growth and stability of the BHCO2 is the common goal which they all agree upon and work towards daily.  They are particularly good at problem solving and determining when they need to go outside of their personal expertise.  They are honest, loyal and hard-working and expect the same of their employees.

Sandra Wahlert

Dakota Rising, Fellows on October 22nd. Comments Off

Barnyard Veterinary Service & Supply
Dakota Rising Lawrence County

Dr. Wahlert grew up in Colorado and has been infatuated with animals since she was a little girl.  She graduated from Colorado State University in 2002 and established Barnyard Veterinary Service & Supply in 2003.  In 2012 she completed her certification for large and small animal veterinary acupuncture and in 2013 she became certified in animal chiropractic manipulation. Before she went to school to become a veterinarian, Dr. Wahlert worked on various cattle and horse ranches in Colorado, Nevada and Montana.  Additionally, she worked as a veterinary assistant in Colorado and Montana where she developed her love of medicine.  She has raised cattle, horses, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, rodents, and a variety of birds.  Dr. Wahlert enjoys spending time with her … Read More »

Jamie Gilcrease-Heupel

Dakota Rising, Fellows on October 22nd. Comments Off

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.

Monte Amende

Dakota Rising, Fellows on October 22nd. Comments Off

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

Dakota Rising, Fellows on October 22nd. Comments Off

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.

Clint Waara Joins Dakota Resources as Vice President of Business Development

Blog, News & Events on September 18th. Comments Off

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

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 »

Ron Waldner

Dakota Rising, Fellows on June 26th. Comments Off

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 »

Lisa Mueller

Dakota Rising, Fellows on June 21st. Comments Off

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 Dakota in … Read More »

Cheryl Schaefers

Dakota Rising, Fellows on June 21st. Comments Off

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 »

Melanie Hoke

Dakota Rising, Fellows on June 21st. Comments Off

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 two years, … Read More »

Dakota Resources Hires Asset Manager

Blog, News & Events on May 18th. Comments Off

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 »

Dakotas America Received a $60 Million NMTC Allocation

Blog, News & Events on April 27th. Comments Off

On April 25, 2013, the CDFI Fund announced the 2012 New Markets Tax Credit Awards. One of the awards went to Dakotas America who received a $60 million NMTC allocation to revitalize low-income and distressed communities.

Linda Salmonson, chairman of the Dakotas America board of directors, said that the organization has been a strong and successful voice for community development in North and South Dakota. “In low-income rural communities, Dakotas America has proven our effectiveness in dealing with economic challenges,” Salmonson said. “Even more importantly, we have shown the power of partnership to meet those challenges with innovative solutions that bring positive outcomes to families and communities throughout the Dakotas.”

The NMTC program attracts private-sector capital investment into low-income areas to help stimulate economic growth and create jobs. Dakotas America has already placed $130 million in NMTC allocations throughout North and South … Read More »

2013 MAEDC Best Practices Conference Sioux Falls

News & Events on April 22nd. Comments Off

The 2013 Mid-America Economic Development Council (MAEDC) Best Practices Conference is in Sioux Falls on May 15 – 17, 2013.


Registration opens soon, but you can book your hotel room now. The conference timeline is Wednesday, May 15th (early afternoon) through Friday, May 17th (mid-day). You won’t want to miss session topics including:

How Federal Legislation and Funding Affects Economic Development in Your Community
A Presentation from a National Site Selection Real Estate Firm
Talent Retention and Attraction
Mid-America Success Stories
Oil/Gas Exploration

Hotel Information:

A limited number of hotel rooms have been blocked for the nights of May 14-16, 2013 at the discounted rate of $109/night (single and double rooms).

To book your hotel room, please call 1-800-HOLIDAY by April 23, 2013. Be sure to mention that you are with the Mid-America Economic Development Council (MAEDC) Best Practices Conference to receive the discounted rate.

The site of this year’s … Read More »


Blog on April 16th. Comments Off

Dakota Resources partners with local community groups (Sites) led by a local Coordinator and driven by a local Resource Team. Together we develop a system of support for entrepreneurial development by introducing tools and strategies for:

• Nurturing a pool of entrepreneur and small business talent through business visitation, community outreach and youth activities.

• Networking resources through Resource Fairs, mentoring connections and bringing together resource partners, business leaders and entrepreneurs statewide.

• Building community support, through heightened public awareness of the value local entrepreneurs and business people add to the community by sharing entrepreneurs’ and community success stories, collaborating with other community organizations and seeking resource and financial assistance for the Dakota Rising Entrepreneur Development System.

Sites apply to be part of the Dakota Rising network and are selected through a competitive process. When selected, sites commit for three years with an annual … Read More »

2013 Midstates Community and ED Conference

News & Events on March 27th. Comments Off

Dakota Resources was proud to be part of the planning team bringing the 2013 Midstates Community and Economic Development Conference to South Sioux City, Nebraska, held at the Marina Inn on April 4.

The conference was designed to bring together community and business leaders, volunteers, professional developers, and elected officials from the three-state area to share experiences and new ideas for community and rural development.

The workshops offered revolved around leadership, entrepreneurship, creativity, and strategic partnerships. Each workshop session included a real business or community sharing its story of success and lessons learned.

Collaborative Partnerships

Blog, From the Chair, News & Events on March 1st. Comments Off

From the Chair Gloria Pluimer

As Chair of Dakota Resources for 2013-2015, I am humbled and honored to serve such a distinguished Board of Directors.  For anyone associated with Dakota Resources, you understand the success of this organization is in the quality of Board members, leadership–with Beth Davis at the helm, staff and the numerous partners. Take some time to peruse the Dakota Resources website and you will understand how this organization is able to provide the quality programs it does to stimulate financial and human investment in rural communities in South Dakota.

A key component of Dakota Resources is the development of collaborative partners.  One will see the words “collaboration” and “partnership” in a variety of forms throughout the Dakota Resources website and promotional materials.

Wikipedia identifies partnership as an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests. CollaborationRead More »

Regional System Engagement Pilot Rolls-Out

News & Events on February 15th. Comments Off

Community Members Supports Rural Development in South Dakota

Tightly knit, friendly, supportive and engaged are some of the words that define rural communities, but what about creating prospering business and well-functioning strategies? Dakota Resources, together with the Bush Foundation and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, launched the Regional System Engagement Pilot January 25 in Aberdeen, SD.

The purpose of the engagement is to help community and state leaders and researchers in South Dakota explore ways to improve community problem solving capacity, community vitality measurement, and leadership support through the testing of an innovative weaving of systems mapping tools – to help all of us better understand, manage, measure and thereby lead complex community change initiatives. The combination of tools includes (1) the well-researched and documented community capitals framework (CCF) for community vitality analysis, strategy and measurement (provides the ability to ascertain … Read More »

Asset Manager

Open Positions on December 6th. Comments Off

Dakota Resources, a statewide organization dedicated to stimulating economic development in rural communities, is seeking an Asset Manager. The successful applicant will be responsible for general financial/accounting operations and portfolio management, serving Dakota Resources and Dakotas America.

For the full job description, click here.

Administrative Assistant

Open Positions on December 6th. Comments Off

Dakota Resources, a statewide organization dedicated to stimulating economic development in rural communities, is seeking an Administrative Assistant. The chosen applicant will be responsible for effective office operations and marketing support, serving Dakota Resources and Dakotas America.

For the full job description, click here.

The Complexity of Community

Blog, From the Chair, News & Events on November 13th. Comments Off

From the Immediate Past Chair Jon Farris

Communities are complex systems. When approaching issues and
opportunities in community development we often only focus on
what is immediate and obvious without consideration for the
inter-relatedness of the people, organizations, and institutions
which exist in that community.

The community capitals framework, developed by Cornelia and
Jan Flora along with Susan Fey and Mary Emery, provides a tool
for analyzing how communities work. Every community has its
own unique “ecosystem,” where resources and dynamic forces
interact in complex ways. By examining those complex forces
through a framework that identifies the elements inherent in
each community, we are not only able to compare successful
strategies, but also assess that communities greatest challenges
and strengths.

Thinking of each element of community dynamics as “capital”
helps us to realize that these vital components can be utilized,
invested, blended together and exchanged to enhance the
community in significant ways. By regarding the various
community capitals as … Read More »


Blog on September 14th. Comments Off

A place to work, collaborate, get creative, inspire and, most importantly, get some work done…for an affordable rate. OpenSpace features the following features for it’s members:

Lounge Chairs
Private Conference Room
High Speed Wi‐Fi
Quick Printer
Presentation Quality black‐and‐white and color copies
Binding equipment
Portable Whiteboards
Full Kitchen


Download the PDF version here.

Drop In


2 Free days
Single Occupancy
All the benefits of the Roamer
Shared Occupancy (up to 5)

Use of OpenSpace during business hours
Use of OpenSpace during business hours
Shared Occupancy (up to 3)
24/7 access
Exclusive use of a Desk 2 Desks $300/Mo.

Discount on Exclusive Use rates
3 hrs of exclusive conference room use weekly
File Cabinet

Shared Mailing Address
1 mo deposit. Deposit is refundable upon tenant lease term expiration if tenant key is returned and condition of OpenSpace is acceptable as per the lease agreement.
24/7 Access with Unlimited Exclusive Use

1 mo deposit. Deposit is refundable upon tenant lease term expiration if tenant key … Read More »

Save the Date

Blog on May 7th. Comments Off

A dynamic conference for business owners, teachers, entrepreneurs, ag producers, community development leaders, young entrepreneurs and anyone who is interested in growing rural America!

Rural Housing Collaborative

News & Events on April 27th. Comments Off

Home Address is a new housing initiative for rural communities in South Dakota. We are currently reviewing applications for community partners who are ready to address housing needs in their community.

Home Address offers:

One on one assistance from a rural housing coach
Access to a network of rural housing resource providers
Assistance engaging your community to identify and address housing needs
A $5,000 matching grant to help pay a local housing coordinator
And up to a $5,000 match for a professional housing assessment

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After July 15, a review team will select up to eight finalist communities to join us for a one day training on September 13, 2012 in Pierre, SD.  From the final group of eight, up to four communities will be selected as the first cohort for Home Address.  Successful communities can expect to begin … Read More »

Expanding Resources to meet Development Needs

Blog, News & Events on February 8th. Comments Off

Created in 1996, South Dakota Rural Enterprise grew out of a two-year strategic planning effort to identify opportunities and resources needed to develop the state’s rural communities. During the past 15 years, as the needs of the state have grown, the programs of SD Rural Enterprise have expanded to meet those needs.

Conceived as primarily a financial intermediary to serve South Dakota’s Revolving Loan Funds, the organization quickly recognized that other resources were necessary for growing a strong economy in rural communities. By serving as a “research and development” group for South Dakota’s economic future, SD Rural Enterprise has evolved into a major resource for community development.

“One by one, the programs that today identify SD Rural Enterprise came into being to address opportunities and missing resources,” said Beth Davis, the organization’s president since 1999. “By becoming the resource for leadership training, … Read More »

To Everything There is a Season

Blog, From the Chair, News & Events on February 8th. Comments Off

Why are we considering a leadership program when we are a loan fund?  What does entrepreneurship have to do with economic development? Community-wide planning—doesn’t someone already do that?

From the Chair By Jon Farris

These are all questions that have been asked as SD Rural Enterprise evolved from a loan fund for other loan funds into an organization that makes a variety of resources available to support economic and leadership development.  Both the questioning and the diversification speak volumes about the strength of this organization. While the scope of our products and services has expanded to meet the needs of development organizations, our evolution into the organization we are today has happened with intentional commitment to our purpose, “To stimulate financial and human investment in communities that are invested in themselves.”  As a board, we hold management accountable to not only our … Read More »

What’s in a Name?

Blog, From the President, News & Events on February 8th. Comments Off

From the President by Beth Davis

This is the final issue of the SD Rural Enterprise newsletter. The 2011 Annual Report will be a publication of Dakota Resources—and here’s why.

The image of SD Rural Enterprise was due for a facelift. An update of our marketing materials and website was included in the 2011 work plan. Before embarking on that project, we decided to take a look at the SD Rural Enterprise brand as it has evolved over the years. We gathered board members, staff and a variety of constituents together with Joe Henkin and the staff of Henkin Schultz Communication Arts for a branding session. We explored how SD Rural Enterprise is perceived. What do we do? What is our position in the development market?

Among the observations of those sessions was the fact that the word enterprise implies business to many … Read More »

Our Strong Leadership Makes Us Successful

Blog, News & Events on February 8th. Comments Off

Since its inception, South Dakota Rural Enterprise has welcomed business leaders from communities all across South Dakota to our board of directors. Their commitment to creating opportunity, their proven leadership skills and their high standing in the state’s leading industries have helped us forge an organization that strengthens our economy.

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Explore the Board Members and SDREI timeline using the PDF links below:

Board Members Graphic

Timeline Graphic

Download the complete Winter 2012 Newsletter —  CLICK HERE


Davis receives Distinguished Service Award from USD

Blog, News & Events on January 11th. No Comments

Beth Davis, president of SD Rural Enterprise, is the recipient of one of the University of South Dakota’s Distinguished Service Awards, given annually by the Beacom School of Business. Davis was presented the 2011 Special Merit Award, reserved for individuals who serve the South Dakota business community by promoting the value of business to society. The award also recognizes those who help businesses succeed by providing resources and advice to companies interested in starting or growing in South Dakota.

“I accept this award on behalf of SD Rural Enterprise and the people who make it a successful force for economic development in our state,” Davis said. “Communities, investors, board members and a dedicated staff all work together to build South Dakota’s economy. We understand that people make things better for their communities and our state.”

According to Michael Keller, Dean of the … Read More »

Lorri Riley

Dakota Rising, Fellows on October 9th. Comments Off

Rylo, Inc.

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

Dakota Rising, Fellows on October 9th. Comments Off

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

Dakota Rising, Fellows on October 9th. Comments Off

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

Dakota Rising, Fellows on October 9th. Comments Off

Elmwood Studios
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 his business from a one-man shop that … Read More »

Margaret Lindskov

Dakota Rising, Fellows on October 9th. Comments Off

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

Dakota Rising, Fellows on October 9th. Comments Off

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 sons; have … Read More »

Emily Heintzman

Dakota Rising, Fellows on October 9th. Comments Off

Double Duty Portable Storage

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. Double Duty’s … Read More »

Chris and Richard Brill

Dakota Rising, Fellows on October 9th. Comments Off

RABCO Products,

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

Dakota Rising Aberdeen

Dakota Rising, Sites on April 15th. Comments Off

Faulkton Area Dakota Rising

Dakota Rising, Sites on April 14th. Comments Off

Dakota Rising Lawrence County

Dakota Rising, Sites on April 12th. Comments Off

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

Site Champion: Bob Meyer

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

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

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

Vanilla Bean Bakery

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


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

Crow Peak Brewing Company

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western Sky Media, Inc.

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

Black Hills Urethane.

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

Quarq Technology, Inc.

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

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

Chicken Creek Communications

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

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

Focus West Gallery

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, 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

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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