After move from Texas, company charts significant growth from new Sioux Falls location

Mike Strandell’s initial foray into entrepreneurship was an experience likely shared by many.

“I jumped in the deep end not knowing how far the shore was,” said Strandell, a Watertown, S.D. native who has led multiple companies.

He quickly learned to “swim” in the early 2000s, after his initial acquisition of Macurco, a company that specializes in commercial and industrial gas detection.

It was founded in 1972 in Denver and did $3 million in revenue when Strandell took over in 2001. He grew it to $15 million, then sold it to 3M five years later.

Macurco gas detection

But what might have sounded like a classic successful entrepreneurial exit turned out to be anything but.

“3M moved it to Austin, TX and brought it to an existing factory, but it became secondary to the core business and subsequently wasn’t performing,” Strandell said.

By the end of the decade, he was approaching 3M about buying it back – with the plan to move it back to South Dakota.

“When Jeff said he wanted to come back here, we were all over that,” said Chad Hatch, managing partner of Sioux Falls-based Bird Dog Equity Partners, which invested in the company.

After a lot of research and consulting with state and local economic development leaders, Macurco made the decision to move in 2014.

Macurco gas detection team

“We became convinced Sioux Falls was the place,” Strandell said.

“We started with a bare bones operation and consequently have grown to almost 30. Our revenues have increased quite substantially, probably five times from when we took it back from 3M, so we couldn’t be happier.”

Macurco primarily sells products designed to control ventilation in confined spaces, such as parking garages and warehouses. In many states, new buildings with parking ramps are required to install natural gas detectors.

Macurco gas detection

The company also serves the oil and gas market with wearable protection and personal safety, area protection on oil and gas rigs and explosive-proof environments.

“And we are into municipal wastewater treatment plants where they made have different needs for gas detection,” Strandell said. “Our technology covers a great variety of gases.”

gas detection machine

It deliberately decided not to focus on residential markets, so while a major security system chain might include Macurco detection products in its installations, they’re not found on the shelves of major retailers.

methane detector

About 15 to 18 percent of the company’s is international, with exports going to Latin America, Mexico, some in South America, “and we do quite a bit into the Middle East, Dubai is a big one, Saudi Arabia a little bit and a little bit into Africa,” said Jeff Christiansen, company president and minority owner, who runs the day-to-day operations.

“We have some clients in Mexico City who have worked with Macurco since the 1990s, and we don’t have a big problem getting things exported out of here. Everyone has been very helpful when we’ve needed them.”

The Sioux Falls operation began in a relatively small 5,000-square-foot building but evolved to double in size in a new facility in 2017 at 3601 N. St. Paul Ave.

Macurco gas detection building

The footprint is bigger than that, though.

“All our spend on supply chain is with ESI (Electronic Systems Inc.) here in town, so they build all our printed circuit boards and we work closely with them,” Christiansen said.

Electronic circuit

Growth has been tracking about 12 to 15 percent a year, “and we’ve got a healthy bottom line along with it,” Hatch said.

Macurco’s story is a solid example of the kind of success companies find in Sioux Falls, said Dean Dziedzic, vice president of economic development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“There are just so many layers to it that illustrate why companies enjoy doing business here,” he said. “Here you have a company that moved from Texas, saw significant revenue growth, praises the workforce, works in partnership with another great local business, exports successfully and continues to invest here. We couldn’t be happier for their success.”

Man assembling parts at Macurco gas detection

Strandell underscored the value Macurco has found in Sioux Falls too.

“We have quality employees. We have a great workforce. I don’t think we could have made a better choice for where to locate the business,” he said.

“And our products are life safety products. We get calls all the time thanking us for having a quality product that actually saved someone’s life. When you reflect on how many hundreds of thousands of products we’ve sold, we’ve affected a lot of lives and I think it’s something to be proud of.”

Directions Newsletter Q3

DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION LAUNCHES “WORK SIOUX FALLS”

Our community is receiving interest from individuals all over the nation on relocating here to work and live. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is implementing Phase II of the community’s talent and workforce recruitment campaign to leverage interest and promote employment opportunities available within our existing businesses.


CHAIRMAN’S REPORT: PLANNED SUCCESS

While the year started amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions on business operations and our “normal” way of life, the Development Foundation continued to address the needs of the business community with breakthrough workforce development programming, new land sales and targeted marketing to other states and industries.  As we approach the end of our 2021 fiscal year, we have begun to recognize the results of our chosen strategic directions.


PRESIDENT’S REPORT: LAND, WORKFORCE, HOUSING AND REDEVELOPMENT

These were among the topics discussed at the Development Foundation’s Annual Board Retreat in May as the Board began to strategically plan for the next five years of the Forward Sioux Falls program and future activities of the Foundation.


FORMER MINNESOTA VIKINGS LINEBACKER CHAD GREENWAY TO HEADLINE WIN IN WORKFORCE SUMMIT

South Dakota native and former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway will headline the annual WIN in Workforce Summit on October 28 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.


FORWARD SIOUX FALLS NEARS END OF CAMPAIGN

Forward Sioux Falls, a joint venture between the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, is nearing the end of the public fundraising portion of our capital campaign that will provide funding for the next five-year economic development program.


SIOUX FALLS DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION WELCOMES LEAH BLOM

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is pleased to welcome Leah Blom, who has joined the team as our digital and social media specialist. She will manage all of the Foundation’s digital and social media marketing efforts, as well as provide marketing support for all of SFDF’s programs and initiatives.


FURNITURE MART USA GROUNDBREAKING

Founded in 1976, Furniture Mart USA has grown from a single location in Sioux Falls to a family of brands with 59 stores in 35 communities across six-states. The groundbreaking ceremony marks construction on a $25 million, 300,000 square foot addition to their distribution center and corporate headquarters in Sioux Falls.  In addition to relocating the existing retail clearance center, the project includes a new 40,000 square foot Furniture Mart and 40,000 square foot Ashley HomeStore with improved customer conveniences.


AUGUSTANA UNIVERSITY RESIDENCE HALL GROUNDBREAKING

Augustana broke ground on an $50 million housing plan focused on new and enhanced facilities to meet the needs of the growing number of students on campus.


ACCOLADES

TOP CITY FOR RENTERS!

SIOUX FALLS HAS AN OVERALL “A” NICHE GRADE

Philadelphia Police Officer Finds Supportive Community with Move to Sioux Falls

You might think finding a first job as a police officer wouldn’t be that hard.

Rachel Mitchell found out otherwise.

It was 2012, and the new graduate from North Carolina’s Elon University had realized while studying journalism and criminal justice that she wanted to be a police officer.

“I applied all over,” said Mitchell, a Delaware native. “I was not really ‘in the know’ about how hard it was to get a police job, especially when you don’t have family in law enforcement.”

The job search led to all kinds of short-term roles – from waitressing to working a brief stint as a corrections officer in a prison to the district attorney’s office in Philadelphia, where she worked two years as a paralegal and realized “I definitely still wanted to work in law enforcement.”

By then, in a bigger city, she was able to land a job in 2016. She started on bike patrol right out of the academy and then moved to an area of the city known as “the heroin capital of the country,” she said. “So we were right in the midst of the opioid epidemic as fentanyl was coming out and people were getting hard with it.”

But last year, she was working in West Philadelphia when the need to make a change hit.

“Obviously, the whole world has kind of been under a lot of stress with the COVID pandemic, and I looked around at who was handling the response well and who was handling it poorly,” she said. “For a lot of people, their quality of life depends on their ability to move about freely and go to work and provide for their families, and I saw the impact of some of the restrictions people struggled with.”

It hit especially close to home.

“My mom lost her small business due to COVID because she lives in a place where restrictions kept her business closed so long she wasn’t able to come back from it,” Mitchell said.

“I was a front-line worker and worked the whole time, but I saw what it did to people who were crushed by serious restrictions. So my husband and I started looking for where we could relocate where there’s strong local leadership and support for law enforcement from the community and government.”

The search led her to Sioux Falls, where she didn’t know anyone but found the Sioux Falls Police Department willing to work through the hiring process with her.

Mayor Paul Ten Haken with Rachel Mitchell

“They made it really nice and easy for me because I lived so far,” Mitchell said. “They consolidated all my testing into one week because I wasn’t sure I could swing it flying out more than once. So it was perfect because I was able to come out here in January and had my testing in the morning, and when it was done, we still had the night to explore the town and drive around and look at apartments and go out to eat and interact with people and see if it was a community where we could see ourselves moving.”

You read that right: They visited in January.

“Overall, there are so many little things people probably take for granted, like not having much traffic, and I know I haven’t hit the winter, but the weather’s been good so far,” Mitchell said.

“I just feel like the environment overall is extremely easygoing, and it’s very refreshing coming from a hustle-and-bustle environment in a huge city where everyone is rushing and honking at each other and not really concerned about the person on their left or their right.”

People like Mitchell “are a home run for public safety in Sioux Falls,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said.

“They’ve already made a commitment to a law enforcement career; they just need to find a home where they can do that job well and an environment that will support and equip them. It’s great to see the number of law enforcement professionals that are reaching out to our department and want to make Sioux Falls their home.”

The city has seen more out-of-state recruits than anytime in the past, he added.

Sioux Falls police department swear in

“From a recruiting standpoint, these officers come into our department with reciprocity and make the training and orientation process quicker and easier because of the skills they bring to the job day one,” TenHaken said.

“This community has always been a strong supporter of law enforcement, and we’re certainly seeing that in our out-of-state recruitment numbers right now.”

Now, that Mitchell is an official member of the Sioux Falls Police Department, she said she’s feeling support inside and outside of her workplace.

“It just seems both the community and the people that work within our department have our best interest in mind, which is huge,” she said. “I would say a lot of people who work in other departments, especially in big metropolitan cities, can’t say the same thing. From what I’ve gathered here, people want to come to work to do the right thing and have each other’s backs and keep the community safe, which is the whole point of policing.”

Her husband, Justin, who has a background both in teaching special education and managing a butcher shop, was recently hired by Look’s Marketplace.

Rachel Mitchell

“And he’s very happy there,” she said. “We went to dinner there, and he asked if they were hiring because he had worked at a similar place back home, and all they asked was if he needed another week to settle in.”

The couple’s experience is increasingly common in the Sioux Falls area, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“We are seeing one spouse attracted to our city by a fantastic career opportunity, and the next thing you know, the other spouse also has found an incredible next career move,” she said. “And they both find they absolutely love the lifestyle and the community support here.”

That’s definitely been the case for the Mitchells.

“Here, I just get more of a community vibe,” she said. “People interact even if they don’t know each other, and they’re overall more kind and definitely more happy. It just seems like a more warm environment than where I was living. That type of lifestyle wears on you over time. So it’s super refreshing to come to a place where people are happy to get up and go to work every day and spend time with their families. People overall seem more grateful for what they have here.”

To get connected to the Sioux Falls Police Department, click here. 

Former Minnesota Vikings Linebacker Chad Greenway to headline WIN in Workforce Summit

South Dakota native and former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway will headline the annual WIN in Workforce Summit on October 28 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.

The annual workforce symposium brings together industry leaders, innovative educators, and business professionals from the upper Midwest region to prioritize, strategize, and energize workforce development.

Greenway, known for mental and physical resilience and strong work ethic, will kick off the event with a conversation on leadership.

“I’m excited about it,” Greenway said. “I love to break it down and tell the whole story about my background and where my leadership skills started.”

Long before he became a leader in the football huddle, Greenway gained leadership skills on his family farm in Mount Vernon, managing kids younger than he was. They built fences, moved cattle, and took on added responsibilities.

“That gave me the opportunity to be very selfless in my thought process of what it took to make a farm run and to thrive in that role and get better and strong,” he said. “Learning how to lead someone without an ego, I applied it in college, dropping back down and being a freshman and working your way up. Same thing in the NFL. The pressures that come with being a high pick and as a linebacker being a required leader in the huddle.”

In today’s workplace, there needs to be an emphasis on culture, he added.

“Are we a company people want to work for? Suppose the pool we’re hiring from has shrunk to essentially almost no pool. How will I attract that savvy young person coming out of college, or the veteran in the field you want to bring over? How do I separate myself?”

In business, as in football, it starts with fundamentals, he suggests.

“If you have a bad game or the team has a bad game, how do you right the ship? When you strip things back to fundamentals – footwork, responding to what I see in front of me, letting my body react – I always get back to my center. And I think companies have to get back to who they are,” Greenway said. “Set that culture, lean on that, and create an environment people want to be a part of.”

He’s also increasingly familiar with the newest generation entering the workforce, as a father of four ages four to 13 who coaches kids in basketball and soccer.

“This generation gets a little bit of a bad rap,” he said. “They don’t appear to be as hardworking as the generations that have come before, and I think that’s a fallacy in a sense because the work is just different now. Kids coming out of college are programming apps and building technology. We’re not cold calling for ad sales anymore. We’re working smarter to spread the word quicker, and we’re more efficient now than ever.”

No matter what the work, it gets back to being where people want to be, he added.

“How do I make it comfortable – not always fun, but an environment where kids want to come be part of that,” he said.

Greenway brings a valuable perspective to the topic of workforce and leadership, said Dana Dykhouse, president of First PREMIER Bank.

“We’ve had him speak to our staff before on lessons in leadership, and he has a really unique and great perspective on it,” he said. “He’s just got a great style and story from growing up in Mount Vernon to the bright lights of Iowa in college and his career with the Vikings.”

Chad Greenway’s leadership discussion kicks off at 12:00 Noon. Following Greenway, WIN Summit has nine breakout sessions with 43 talent and workforce experts. Experts will share their organizational strategies involved in talent development, attraction, and retention, to help and enhance your talent management initiatives. 

“WIN Summit break-out sessions have incredible and very tangible workforce tips to help organizations of all sizes,” shared Michelle Lavallee, CEO of South Dakota Children’s Home Society.” 

Human Resources professionals may also earn five continuing educational credits for attending WIN in Workforce Summit 2021 Telecast. 

“We’re thrilled to welcome Chad Greenway and grateful to First PREMIER for making it happen,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development. “His message about what talent today wants in employment is very timely and will set the tone for an incredibly valuable day. We look forward to connecting him and dozens of other experts with tactical strategies you can immediately apply back in the workplace.”

Click here to learn more and register for the WIN in Workforce Summit.

Development Foundation launches “WORK Sioux Falls”

Our community is receiving interest from individuals all over the nation on relocating here to work and live. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is implementing Phase II of the community’s talent and workforce recruitment campaign to leverage interest and promote employment opportunities available within our existing businesses. 

In early July, the Development Foundation launched the “WORK Sioux Falls” initiative to promote the careers available in Sioux Falls area businesses. Utilizing print materials, digital advertising, and a dedicated page on the SiouxFalls.com community website, the Development Foundation is promoting existing businesses and careers in the area. The campaign is targeting individuals within 250 miles and metropolitan areas including Omaha, Sioux City, Minneapolis, Fargo, and Des Moines.

The video advertisements running in these markets can be viewed below and the dedicated web page is available at www.SiouxFalls.com/careers.

These efforts, in addition to our talent attraction programs through universities, tech schools, local high schools and alumni groups are meant to help attract the talent and workforce existing businesses need.

Forward Sioux Falls Nears End of Campaign

Forward Sioux Falls, a joint venture between the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, is nearing the end of the public fundraising portion of our capital campaign that will provide funding for the next five-year economic development program.

The Forward Sioux Falls 2026 Campaign, which has a $15 million cash goal, is led by co-chairs Dave Rozenboom (President, First PREMIER Bank), Dave Flicek (Regional President and CEO, Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center) and Paul Hanson (Sioux Falls Region President, Sanford Health). Mayor Paul TenHaken is serving as honorary campaign co-chair. The campaign cabinet comprises over 40 business and community leaders.

Before any funds are raised, there is an extensive evaluation process of existing programs, as well as creation and consideration of new programs and goals to be added. During ideation and design of the Forward Sioux Falls 2026 program, there was sound justification to continue to expand talent development, attraction and retention initiatives which evolved from the 2015 Strategic Workforce Action Agenda.

SiouxFalls.com, Talent Draft Day, WIN in Workforce Summit, WIN engagement platform, and Your Future STEM are some examples of workforce initiatives that will continue to be funded, along with our ongoing business attraction, retention, and expansion efforts. In addition, there will be continued support for the Young Professionals Network, Sioux Falls Thrive, STARTUP Sioux Falls, advocacy, air service, Foundation Park, and the USD Discovery District.

New initiatives have also been built into the 2026 program and include the following:
Affordable Housing: Providing resources to support the collaborative efforts of the City of Sioux Falls, Sioux Empire Housing Partnership (SEHP), US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and others to address workforce accessible housing needs.

Career Connections: Partnering with local businesses from a variety of industry sectors, Career Connections will provide high-potential at-risk high school juniors and seniors with a career exploration and mentorship opportunity and financial assistance for concurrent dual-credit course work to help them begin their post-secondary education and career journey.

REACH: Funding to expand this workplace literacy program.

Cyber/IT Park: Seed funding for a new vision to partner with Dakota State University, local tech companies and the City of Sioux Falls to create a Cyber/IT campus in Sioux Falls.

Innovation Center of Excellence: A proposed new Center within the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce where public and private sectors will partner and collaborate to deliver innovative programming focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. The Center will also support Next Level Leadership Academy, New Ideas, Think Tank and others.

“Future Sioux Falls” strategic plan: Provides funding for our next community-wide long-range vision and strategic planning process.

A primary Forward Sioux Falls objective during the formative years of the program was to elevate our community from a regional hub to one that is now nationally recognized for an ability to attract businesses, as well as people to fill jobs and raise families.
Key outcomes since 1987 include a 236 percent job growth (91,000 net new jobs) and a 214 percent increase in the Sioux Falls MSA population (142,200 net new residents). Sioux Falls has also received prominent national accolades, including the #1 city in the United States for young professionals and the #1 best small place for business and careers (12 of the past 20 years).

Projected outcomes and goals for Forward Sioux Falls 2026 include:
• 4,500 new direct jobs at above median wage
• $500 million in new capital investments
• $250 million in new property tax revenues
• 300 existing companies assisted
• 1,000 new housing units from the Housing Fund
• 25,000 new residents
• 1,000 apprenticeships/internships/job shadows
• 30,000 direct workforce contacts
• 250,000 electronic workforce exposures

In 1987, the blueprint for future economic growth and diversification in Sioux Falls was envisioned and our potential was unleashed. With each five-year program, investors have relied on Forward Sioux Falls’ initiatives to expand and elevate the region’s economy and it has exceeded all expectations.

We thank all organizations and individuals who have invested in Forward Sioux Falls 2026 and encourage those yet to do so, to give strong consideration to join the effort. Please reach out to Mike Lynch, Director of Investor Relations with questions (mlynch@siouxfalls.com) or visit www.forwardsiouxfalls.com for more information.

Sioux Falls Development Foundation Welcomes Leah Blom

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is pleased to welcome Leah Blom, who has joined the team as our digital and social media specialist.  She will manage all of the Foundation’s digital and social media marketing efforts, as well as provide marketing support for all of SFDF’s programs and initiatives.  In the spring and summer of 2019, she worked with the Foundation as a social media intern, and is excited to be back in a full-time position.

“I had such an awesome internship experience here, I’ve always wanted to come back,” Blom said. “It’s so fun to be a part of all the exciting things going on economically in Sioux Falls.”

Blom is a native of Pipestone, MN, and is a 2019 graduate of Augustana University.  Previously, she worked at The First National Bank in Sioux Falls as a content strategist and copywriter on the bank’s marketing team.  Aside from her marketing skill set, she loves Sioux Falls, and is looking forward to helping the Foundation continue to make Sioux Falls a great place to live.

“Growing up in a rural area, there were limited options for shopping and entertainment, so my family came to Sioux Falls all the time. Because of that, it became like a second hometown to me, which is what eventually led me to attend college here and move here after school. Organizations like SFDF who invest in improving Sioux Falls are the reason for stories like mine, and I’m excited to help others experience how great our community really is,” Blom said.

President’s Report: Land, Workforce, Housing and Redevelopment

These were among the topics discussed at the Development Foundation’s Annual Board Retreat in May as the Board began to strategically plan for the next five years of the Forward Sioux Falls program and future activities of the Foundation.

Land – As the Foundation continues to sell property in Foundation Park and Park VIII creating new jobs and tax base, leadership has begun to research and explore property that may serve as the next industrial park well into the future.  Finding land with assets similar to Foundation Park will be a challenge and will take the cooperation and support of the City, the State, and the private sector.  The recent passage of the Tax Increment Finance District for Foundation Park North and the ability to develop infrastructure will serve as a catalyst to complete the Park and attract industries to the region.  We will look toward regional solutions as well and work to include neighboring communities in this effort.

Workforce – We hear it loud and clear.  We need more workers.  We need to continue building our workforce from within and recruit talent, filling the talent pipeline with more qualified people.  We will continue to grow programs; strengthening our ties to universities, colleges, tech schools and community colleges to attract new talent to the region.  We will work with our local school districts to engage middle school and high school students in career education, apprenticeships, and internships to keep our talent here.  We will continue to recruit production workers from across the region promoting the excellent quality of life available in the metro area and the quality of jobs available here.

Housing – As we recruit companies and workforce to the region, it is imperative that we also partner with the City, the State and other housing advocates to provide more housing options and affordable solutions.  Supporting state programs and legislative incentives to meet the housing challenges and playing an active role in implementing those solutions should be a part of our efforts.

Redevelopment – As Sioux Falls continues to expand, the City is looking for ways to utilize existing infrastructure and redevelop targeted areas of Sioux Falls with alternative housing choices, upgraded commercial opportunities and less expensive alternatives to development.  Targeted areas of the community can be redeveloped to expand the tax base, provide affordable housing options, and improve access to City services and quality of life amenities.  We believe the Development Foundation can play a role in these efforts and will work with City officials to implement a plan.

As we continue to aggressively implement our plan of action for 2021, we will begin to expand our role and work with multiple partners to assist with these challenges moving forward.  We appreciate the continued support of our members, our investors and our elected officials and will continue to meet the challenges of growth with the collaboration needed to succeed.

Bob Mundt
Story by

Bob Mundt

President/CEO Sioux Falls Development Foundation

Chairman’s Report: Planned Success

While the year started amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions on business operations and our “normal” way of life, the Development Foundation continued to address the needs of the business community with breakthrough workforce development programming, new land sales and targeted marketing to other states and industries.  As we approach the end of our 2021 fiscal year, we have begun to recognize the results of our chosen strategic directions. 

In October of 2020, we announced the sale of 80 acres to Amazon for their new five-story, 3.2 million square foot distribution center promising 1,000 new jobs and a $200 million investment.  Later that quarter we closed on sales to Tessier’s, Inc. and Muth Electric.  In January we announced CJ Foods and the sale of 140 acres in Foundation Park North, promising an additional 1,000 jobs and a $500 million investment.  In June we announced the sale of 37 acres to FedEx for their 350,000 square foot distribution center projected to employ up to 600 people.  Also, in June we closed on the sale of 21 acres in Sioux Empire Development Park 8 to Presidio Manufacturing and Outdoor Gear Manufacturing generating additional jobs and investment.  With these sales, we were able to pay off all our contracts for deeds and the REDI Loan from the State used to purchase Foundation Park in 2015. Retiring these debts marks a tremendous milestone for the Foundation!

Also starting in late 2020, the Development Foundation worked with the City to establish the Foundation Park North Tax Increment Financing District capturing the increase in future property tax revenues generated from recent sales in Foundation Park South to install infrastructure in Foundation Park North.  With the passage of the TIF development plan, the Foundation is now in a position to expedite the buildout of the infrastructure plan for the Park allowing more timely access and sales of land north of the rail line including the CJ Foods project. 

In addition, we were able to step up our efforts in workforce and talent recruitment utilizing electronic programming and recruiting tactics to continue to fill our talent pipeline.  Programs including Talent Draft, Talent Rebound, Career Connections, and WORK Sioux Falls which introduced over 750,000 potential workers to Sioux Falls and our employment opportunities.  Advertising campaigns in several midwestern cities and 300+ post-secondary institutions exposed potential employees to Sioux Falls providing direct connections to employers.

As we plan for 2022, the Board of Directors of the Development Foundation is focused on additional issues that form the big picture of economic development including quality job creation, property tax base expansion, workforce, housing, quality of life and future land development.  Together with our partners, we will meet these challenges and find solutions that will allow continued growth and development.  We look forward to serving you well into the future.

Pat Costello

Pat Costello

Board Chairman

Furniture Mart USA Groundbreaking

Founded in 1976, Furniture Mart USA has grown from a single location in Sioux Falls to a family of brands with 59 stores in 35 communities across six-states. The groundbreaking ceremony marks construction on a $25 million, 300,000 square foot addition to their distribution center and corporate headquarters in Sioux Falls.  In addition to relocating the existing retail clearance center, the project includes a new 40,000 square foot Furniture Mart and 40,000 square foot Ashley HomeStore with improved customer conveniences.

This family owned and operated business, leads by example supporting the community by providing jobs, 380 in Sioux Falls and 1250+ company-wide,  and through charitable giving. In recent years, the company has provided over $1,000,000 to 70-plus organizations in the region

Thinking Retirement, Couple Finds Sioux Falls Move Filled with Benefits

Terrie Christensen and her husband, Alan, found their new Sioux Falls home thanks to family and a video call.

“We bought this house sight unseen,” Terrie Christensen said.

“We knew the housing market was tight, and his niece was a big help. We bought a house in her neighborhood, and we did the whole video thing, which worked very well. So we wrote the offer and had it submitted, and we were one of five, but ours got accepted.”

That was in September 2020, after the Christensens had decided to move from Wisconsin to be closer to Alan’s family.

Terrie and Alan Christensen Move to Sioux Falls for Retirement

While he’s retired, Terrie is beginning a job search in Sioux Falls as she winds down her role as an office manager for a structural steel fabricator in Wisconsin. With experience in accounting and human resources and a background in consulting, in addition to overall office management, she already has seen opportunities in Sioux Falls.

“I’m a point where I don’t have to work, but I want to work, and that makes the job search a little different,” she said.

“I decided it was time to start putting feelers out there, so I put my information on Indeed and updated LinkedIn, and I had a phone interview a few days later and a couple other responses, so I’m not worried about finding something. There’s a lot I could do.”

The Christensens’ situation is similar to many at or near retirement who are relocating to Sioux Falls, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“Sioux Falls is consistently ranked among the top places in the nation to retire, and we see many seniors moving here to take advantage of that,” she said.

“At the same time, you definitely do not have to retire once you arrive. Terrie will discover, like many others have, that there are so many job opportunities whether you’re looking for an encore career, a part-time role or even a rewarding chance to volunteer.”

In 2020, Forbes ranked Sioux Falls among the top 25 cities for retirees after comparing data on 750 cities and looking at factors such as cost of living and health care facilities. The city got high marks for the number of physicians, good air quality and no state income tax.

“Not only are you moving to a safe community with short commutes and many housing options, but the medical care is second to none, and the factors such as our parks and downtown are as appealing to seniors as any other generation,” Guzzetta said.

That has been the case for the Christensens. While they had visited family in Sioux Falls before moving, they’re just now getting a firsthand look at life in the city.

Terrie and Alan Christensen Move to Sioux Falls for Retirement

“We’re in a really nice neighborhood in southwest Sioux Falls that’s five minutes off the interstate, so you can get anywhere in 15 minutes. They did a good job laying out a whole loop around Sioux Falls,” she said.

Watching the news is “so boring,” she joked.

“There’s not four or five shootings and robbers and people running from the cops. All they talk about is the coronavirus.”

Growing up in Iowa, she compares Sioux Falls to the kind of place she was used to – large enough to offer a lot without being overwhelming.

“It has everything we need,” she said. “Top medical facilities in the nation, and we’re kind of foodies, so we like to go out to eat, and we like the trendy microbreweries and wineries. We hung out downtown, and it’s very nice. I would say it’s very comparable to the Milwaukee area, just with semipro instead of pro sports.”

Other seniors have shared similar impressions, Guzzetta said.

“They also find it’s easy to become connected and make new friends here,” she said. “It’s a very neighborly place, there are so many organizations you can join, and you’ll quickly feel part of the community. We encourage anyone of any age considering a move to reach out to us so we can offer all the resources available to you.”

Considering a move to Sioux Falls? Click here to get connected to the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

TenHaken to Share City’s Approach to Mentoring at June 22 Networking Lunch

With more than 1,300 employees, the city of Sioux Falls ranks among the largest employers in the community.

And the organization, like many, is striving to be an employer of choice.

“We need to be looking at culture and engagement in the same way the private sector does to stay competitive and also to be a role model in the community,” said Rana DeBoer, the chief culture officer for the city of Sioux Falls.

“Everyone wants to be a part of something that’s bigger than themselves; that’s what makes work great. Organizations with a positive workplace culture are shown to have engaged employees who feel respected and valued.”

A big key to that is mentoring. The city recently started an employee mentoring program called The Path focused on providing support for career and personal development.

“Our approach to this program will allow employees to learn from and support each other, and the program is wide-reaching,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said.

“For example, new employees will be matched with a mentor, newly promoted leaders will have the same from a peer mentor, and our leadership development programs always include a mentor match. We have seen a great response already from employees and are in the process of launching our first mentorship cohort.”

The hope is to instill a “mentoring mindset,” in the city’s culture, he said.

Mayor Paul Ten Haken speaking to youth

“It’s the right approach to communicating and collaborating effectively with our residents. And when that happens, we are able to best help create a high quality of life with our residents. So we just keep fostering it in our daily work while holding ourselves accountable to it through our core values and impactful programming like The Path.”

And the city is measuring its success, TenHaken said.

Employee engagement scores as tracked digitally have shown steady improvement and are at a high of 8.1 out of 10.

“We’ve also seen our nonretirement retention rate improve. We are right in the middle of some heavy work on recruitment and establishing our brand as an employer to find and hire the right people for the work of public service,” he said.

Mayor TenHaken will share a look at the city’s approach to mentoring, both internally and in the community, at the June 22 Recruitment Council Networking Lunch organized by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Washington Pavilion.

Workforce 101:  Learning How Mentoring Enables Talent Development and Retention is open to any business leader focused on workforce development.

“We’re very excited to welcome Mayor TenHaken and allow him to share more about the critical role mentoring plays as it relates to talent,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“The city is a national leader in this regard, and so much potential still exists.”

The mayor will detail his Sioux 52 Mentoring Initiative at the event, which he said offers myriad benefits for business leaders.

Mayor Paul Ten Haken speaks on Sioux 52 Mentoring Initiative

“We are actively asking companies to embrace mentoring and motivate employees to participate through benefits like paid volunteer time off, which we have modeled the way by implementing at the city,” he said.

“And we’ve seen a great response from the community in stepping forward to make this commitment.”

In 2020, more than 250 individuals signed up to mentor, 30 businesses signed on to be business partners who are creating a culture of mentoring in service to the community, and 27 organization that administer mentoring programs joined the Sioux 52 Mentoring Initiative movement.

“We look forward to continuing the momentum we’re seeing around mentorship, especially going into the fall, which is a kickoff to many mentorship programs,” he said.

The pandemic has further shown the importance of culture and how important the leader’s role is in that, DeBoer added.

“We’ve been increasing the role of our leaders to be good coaches and mentors to strengthen relationships and foster high levels of trust,” she said. “We’ve always had a focus on employee well-being and especially so this past year. We’ve fine-tuned our well-being offerings and are ramping up on mental, physical and community well-being. We need to take care of each other; public service is hard work, and it’s critical we take care of our people at the same intensity we take care of service performance.”

Augustana University Residence Hall Groundbreaking

Augustana broke ground on an $50 million housing plan focused on new and enhanced facilities to meet the needs of the growing number of students on campus. 

The largest portion of the plan includes a new residence hall on the south end of Augustana’s north campus near 33rd Street and Grange Avenue. The L-shaped building will be three stories high and house up to 200 students.  The facility will consist of semi-suites with four beds and a bathroom in each unit.  Two of the university’s existing residence halls — Bergsaker and Solberg —will also see upgrades.

The new residence hall, the south courtyard and renovations to Bergsaker Hall are expected to be completed by the fall of 2022. Renovations to Solberg Hall will be finished when students return in fall 2023.