Return to Rural

Posted on September 20, 2019

Carey Grosdidier
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When it comes to local rural and economic development, providing young adults with reasons to live and work in South Dakota is a priority.

If retention doesn’t work, the next best step is recruitment.

Dakota Resources is committed to retaining and recruiting professionals by providing rewarding, fulfilling career opportunities in rural locations. If this past summer is any indication, those efforts are working.

Two of its newest hires are South Dakota natives who left the state to pursue their dreams and were happy to return home after landing jobs with Dakota Resources. A third recruit is an Iowa native who moved to rural South Dakota to “make a difference.” All three young professionals were attracted to Dakota Resources’ flexible schedules, the ability to work remotely, a commitment to doing good work and an atmosphere that encourages everyone on staff to have an equal voice. These are all benefits that attract today’s millennial workforce.

 “We get excited when we see all these impressive resumes coming into Dakota Resources other states, and especially from former South Dakotans who want to come back home,” says Dakota Resources President Joe Bartmann. “I guess it means we are doing something right, both within our own organization and through the work we do to change the conversations about rural. When people leave our state thinking the grass is greener and realize it’s plenty green right here, it’s a good thing for South Dakota. And it’s a very good thing for Dakota Resources.”

Tyrelle Schweitzer was recently hired as a Marketing Strategist. She grew up in Timber Lake and graduated from South Dakota State University in 2015. She moved to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area where she worked as a Project Manager at Street Factory Media and as an Account Manager at Bolster, both advertising agencies. After nearly four years in the city, Tyrelle was ready to come back to her rural roots and make an impact on communities across the region. She recently moved to Presho where she is working remotely with Dakota Resources, helping rural communities thrive while still being able to follow her passion for traveling and to visit her family in Minneapolis.                                   

Ellie Naasz first heard about Dakota Resources after watching a video promoting RuralX, one of the organization’s annual events. She was so impressed by the event’s mission that she contacted Bartmann just to let him know she would be interested in a job if one ever became available. The Jefferson, SD native was living in Colorado at the time, earning a master’s degree from Colorado State University. A year later, she was offered the position of Program Impact and Support Coordinator at Dakota Resources. She and her husband moved to Sioux Falls and she started her new job in early August.

“Colorado is really beautiful, but it’s so expensive to live there,” she says. “Our life goals, such as buying a house, are more achievable in South Dakota. We both grew up and have family here, so the decision to come home was pretty easy. Plus, Dakota Resources is doing amazing work and I wanted to do something that makes a difference.”

You can do anything from here, and live the kind of rural life you love.

Joe Bartmann, President of Dakota Resources

The organization’s most recent hire, Ali Gaffney-Peden, is an Iowa native who saw a job opening with Dakota Resources on LinkedIn and was hired for the position of Accounting and Loan Servicing Specialist soon after.

“I never imagined I’d move to South Dakota, but my significant other works at the University of South Dakota so it was not out of the question,” she says. “When I saw this job, I knew it was for me.”

Prior to being offered a position at Dakota Resources, Ali worked in large public accounting firms for several years, and also held a position with a publicly-traded publishing company in Des Moines.

“I am from Van Meter, Iowa and grew up on a farm so I understand and appreciate rural communities. I was ready to leave the city and love the welcoming, friendly feel of a small town,” she says. “Being able to make an impact with an organization like Dakota Resources really appealed to me.”

Supporting thriving rural communities to create entrepreneurship, business development, affordable housing and quality of life initiatives are just a few of the ways Dakota Resources works to help South Dakota remain attractive to young graduates.

“Rural South Dakota is full of possibility,” says Bartmann. “You can do anything from here, and live the kind of rural life you love. Every time someone chooses South Dakota, it’s a win. And every time a person goes away to see more of the world and comes back to build a life, it’s a double win.”

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