Spirit of Sioux Falls Scholarship application now open!

The Spirit of Sioux Falls Scholarship was established by the Development Foundation and more than 100 businesses and individuals to honor three Sioux Falls leaders who lost their lives in a plane crash April 19, 1993: David Birkeland, Angus Anson, and Roger Hainje. The Development Foundation representatives were on a trip with Governor George Mickelson and four others promoting economic development when they all perished.

The Spirit of Sioux Falls Scholarship benefits college and vocational or technical school students who are pursuing a degree in business.

Applicants for this award must live in or maintain residency in Lincoln or Minnehaha County—even though they may attend a school outside the area; or they must attend school in one of these two counties. Applicants must be pursuing a degree in business and be able to demonstrate an understanding of the role of business in American society. Motivation and ability to succeed, academic excellence, and community involvement are also criteria.

The Spirit of Sioux Falls Scholarships are administered by the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation. To learn more or apply, click here. The application deadline is March 15, 2024.

President’s Report: So What’s Next?

Bob Mundt, President/CEO

At our September and October Board retreats, we had the opportunity to share ideas with several of our community partners including our real estate brokers, city leaders, county leaders, Sioux Metro Growth Alliance, educational partners and human resource professionals from many of our key industries. These days were spent analyzing current strategies and projects including land sales, acquisition and development, identifying target markets for industry as well as strategies for retaining our current industries and talent/workforce development.

With input from our partners and analysis from staff and Board members, we have begun to assemble our action plans for the Development Foundation for the next three years. Potential opportunities include:


  • Meeting demand for smaller lots.
  • Regional options for land acquisitions and sales in neighboring communities.
  • Consideration of resource limitations when targeting and attracting companies.

Target Markets

  • Retain and expand high tech existing industry.
  • Target one corporate headquarters relocation.
  • Consider workforce limitations and critical infrastructure as it affects community growth.


  • Grow INTERN Sioux Falls programming.
  • Take Talent Draft Days to targeted campuses recruiting key high need job candidates.
  • Utilize alumni associations from high schools and regional universities to recruit talent.
  • Expand Career Connections to more regional high schools.
  • Redirect WORK Sioux Falls programming to universities and tech schools.
  • Initiate a “Come Home to Sioux Falls” campaign.
  • Focus on a skilled trades campaign.
  • Continue and expand the UPSKILL Sioux Falls programs to include CNA and skilled trades.
  • Act as a clearinghouse for contacts connecting educational institutions with businesses.

We will continue to refine these ideas into an organized workplan with implementation strategies over the next few years and work to continue our success and progress in these areas. We believe these programs will help us remain competitive and benefit our investors, our members, and our community.

Thanks for your support over this past year. We look forward to your support in 2024. Happy New Year.

Chairman’s Report: Thanks for Your Support

Steve Kolbeck, 2023 Chair

This past year has been a whirlwind for me with my first year as a State Senator, Chair of the Development Foundation and addressing all the changes taking place in the corporate world given inflation, interest rates and the focus on energy and how we produce it. I do need to thank the Foundation Board of Directors and the staff for making tough decisions and for implementing policy and programs that continue to address our challenges and move the organization forward. Aside from the fact that there’s never a dull moment, 2023 has been great and the future continues to look bright with proper planning and strategic thinking.

We were able to share our successes at the Annual Meeting held on Thursday, November 16, with many of you. Our annual report highlighted the activities and successes of the Foundation. Special kudos to Jim Soukup, our 2023 Spirit of Sioux Falls award recipient, for his outstanding contributions to the community and the Foundation.

As we reach the end of 2023, the Development Foundation has touted the success of Foundation Park to dispel the myth of “Flopdation Park” when Foundation, State and City leadership announced the Park in 2015. With over 500 acres sold to date creating over 2,300 jobs and millions in new tax base, the activity for land development and companies wanting to expand or relocate to Sioux Falls is still consistent. We have leveraged our partnerships and our relationships with the City to continue to accomplish our mission and expand our thinking. More successes will come.

Our workforce development efforts have revolutionized how we help business and the community recruit talent utilizing our relationships with educational institutions, human resource professionals and marketing to promote the Sioux falls region as “THE” place to have a career. As a community growing by 5,000+ people per year, we know our efforts are paying off. While we still have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, we continue to do everything we can to make the Sioux Falls region their first choice.

I want to thank the Board, committee members and staff of the Development Foundation for their work in guiding the organization. Special thanks to the retiring Board members, Kurt Loudenback and Jeff Fiegen for their time on the Board and their contributions over the past six years. I also want to welcome our two new Board members, Kurt Brost and AJ Saigh, and encourage them to further engage and be active members of this Board.

I have truly enjoyed my time leading the Sioux Falls Development Foundation and thank all of our investors. We have a strong organization and I am confident we will continue to grow, problem solve and make a positive difference in our region.

Thanks for your support.


What’s Trending in Foundation Park

Foundation Park will see two new tenants in 2024. FedEx Freight acquired 43-acres in the southeast corner of the park along I-29. They’ve begun grading and will do most of the build-out of their new freight terminal in the spring and summer of 2024. Owens & Minor, a Fortune 500 company, and Avera will be moving into a 330,000 square foot multi-tenant building in the northeast part of the park. Owens & Minor designs, manufactures, and sources health care products. They’ve partnered and supplied medial products to Avera since 2012. Avera will have numerous operations at the new facility including centralized pharmacy, supply chain, bio-medical engineering, home medical distribution and courier operations.

Both projects will make a significant impact on Foundation Park regarding size and amount of overall employment. These two projects are also following a trend in Foundation Park of significantly larger parcel sizes and overall scope of project. In addition, the structure of both projects is setting a new trend in the industrial market in Sioux Falls. Both projects were completed using a national developer, meaning that the developer negotiated, purchased, and will own the site and lease the building back to the end users. The FedEx Freight project on 43-acres was acquired by Setzer Properties, a firm based in Lexington, Kentucky. The Owens & Minor/Avera project was completed by Brookwood Capital Partners, a firm based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. We are certainly seeing this model more often as Sioux Falls continues to grow, and we market Sioux Falls on a national scale.

Cascading the Impact of Forward Sioux Falls

By Mike Lynch, program director

With 36 years of helping Sioux Falls grow its economy, Forward Sioux Falls continues to build upon its success with vision, strategy and collaboration.

And while our economic development program is widely known and positively supported throughout the area by both public and private sectors, it’s important that young professionals, as well as new/returning residents and businesses relocating to our region understand this profound impact as well. It’s one of the main reasons we published a book and also solid justification for marketing program attributes.

Thanks to generous Forward Sioux Falls in-kind investors, we’ve produced a thirty-second television commercial and radio ad to cascade our objectives and intended outcomes. The first flight has been scheduled, beginning January 2024. For a sneak peek, click here to view the TV spot.

Forward Sioux Falls Video Spot

Lifelong Kentucky residents looking for a change find Sioux Falls on a road trip – and decide to move

There’s nothing obvious to connect northern Kentucky with southeast South Dakota – other than it happened to be the route of a road trip that led to a life-changing move.

“My daughter and I only spent one night here, but it was extremely welcoming, and everyone was very happy to help, whether we needed directions or to offer food options,” said Michael Norris, who visited the city in March on his way to Montana.

“I felt like it was small, but it was beautiful, and the Falls were a natural attraction that really pulled me in. I just felt like it had a lot to offer.”

Norris grew up on the Kentucky side of the Cincinnati metro area. At 43 and after spending his whole life in one place, “you start to kind of get burned out on the same things,” he said. “I love that area and everything it has to offer, but it was time for something new and different, so I was very excited to make the move and just see what the city had to offer.”

He convinced his significant other, Jamie Lameier, to consider Sioux Falls too.

Michael Norris and Jamie Lameier

“He just said how much he loved the area, and we continued to have the conversation until I said ‘Let’s just do it.’ There’s nothing holding us back; there’s no reason why we can’t,” she said. “It’s a new challenge, and I was very up for it. You only live once, and there are more people to meet and things to experience.”

A master electrician, Norris easily found job opportunities and accepted an offer at Harvard Integrations.

“When I interviewed, it felt like home – welcoming right away,” he said. “They had the ability to make this entire move as easy and simple a transition as possible. They were behind me every step of the way.”

Lameier’s background is in nonprofits, most recently as director of advancement at a private high school. While still in Kentucky, she connected with Canfield Business Interiors, which was looking to add to its business development team.

Canfield building in Sioux Falls, SD

“The company resonates with me personally,” she said. “My grandfather started a business, and my father became president, so I understand the ‘why’ behind the business and what they’re trying to do. When you feel good about a space, whether it’s your home or office, it makes a big difference. And the people here were very welcoming. I just had a good feeling from the start.”

The couple’s experience illustrates the variety of opportunities available in Sioux Falls, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

Michael Norris and Jamie Lameier

“We can never underestimate the value of a positive first impression,” she added. “This couple’s Sioux Falls journey began with travel and continued with their initial job interviews, where they felt welcomed every step of the way. It’s a great example for mid-career professionals who just feel like they need to make a change that there are so many opportunities to do that here and become connected to our community.”

The couple visited in July – “for maybe 24 hours,” Lameier said. “So we didn’t see a lot, but we found a place to live at The Blu, and everything was right there that we needed with being new to the community.”

Lake Lorraine in Sioux Falls, SD

They now live alongside Lake Lorraine, within an easy walk to groceries, shopping, dining and entertainment.

“It’s been an easy transition,” Lameier said.

“We’ve explored downtown, so that’s been fun, and we like hitting up new restaurants, so I’m always asking for recommendations. We’ve been to two hockey games, which is one more than we ever went to in Cincinnati, and even the networking has been good. I realized I can make connections. I used to feel like I knew everyone, but we went to a hockey game recently, and I already knew someone, so it’s been good.”

Michael Norris and Jamie Lameier

Her adult children also have been supportive of the move.

“I told them we were going on a new adventure probably somewhere you’d never guess, and my son actually guessed South Dakota,” she said. “My daughter even thought it would be nice to move west, so I encouraged her. If you have the time and opportunity and it works out, you should do it.”

Norris also has decided his initial impression of Sioux Falls was the right one.

“I think the community has a lot to offer,” he said. “We try a new restaurant at least once a week. And my daughter is happy for me too. I’m excited for her to come back out and show her the city we’ve learned to love and embrace.”

Are you looking to make a change, grow your career and connect to a community? Contact Denise Guzzetta at deniseg@siouxfalls.com to learn more about what Sioux Falls has to offer.

South Dakota a top state for relocation

Over the last few years, people across the country have said it’s time to start somewhere new. For a multitude of reasons, South Dakota is a great place for a fresh start. From our friendly people, our business climate, to our beautiful landscapes, we have it all. Now, we have a new ranking to prove it: South Dakota is the top five state for relocation according to top10.com.

“South Dakota’s low housing costs and no state income tax make it a desirable living place,” the article releasing the findings says. “Plus, South Dakota is the third state on this list with no state income tax, and it also has the fourth-highest job growth increase in the country.”

To learn more about the most and least popular states for moving, check out the link below.

Talent Thursday with Gage Brothers

Talent Thursday is a weekly social media livestream event that spotlights talent and workforce in the Sioux Falls area by sharing the stories of young professionals in our community.

For Thursday, November 30, 2023, we caught up with Joe Bunkers, who is the President and Chairman of Gage Brothers Concrete Products in Sioux Falls, SD. He shares about Gage’s workforce strategy and the successes they’ve seen.

Talent Thursday is held weekly on Thursdays at 3 p.m. CT on the Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s Facebook page. Follow here: https://www.facebook.com/developsf

Talent Thursday


Forward Sioux Falls is a unique, innovative program designed to grow and improve the Sioux Falls region. Created through a joint venture between the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, we work to outline strategic initiatives to grow jobs, businesses and quality of life.

4th quarter groundbreakings 2023

The 4th quarter of the year always seems to be the busiest in terms of groundbreakings! Businesses and organizations are excited to get shovels in the ground before the snow flies, and this year was no different. The Development Foundation was honored to coordinate and host four groundbreakings in the fourth quarter, and 13 total groundbreakings for the year in 2023.

See photos and recaps of each groundbreaking that took place!

St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Sioux Falls, S.D., broke ground on their second thrift store location to serve the west side of Sioux Falls and surrounding areas. In addition to housing a retail thrift store, the 25,000 sq. ft. building will be home to a training center for the Vincentians that serve those in need.

L to R: Scott Ausland, Cathy Crisp – President of the Sioux Falls District Council for St. Vincent de Paul, Steve Kolbeck, Kim Burma, and Councilor Marshall Selberg.

Jacobson Plaza

The Jacobson Plaza will create a year-round recreation destination in downtown Sioux Falls. The project includes an outdoor refrigerated ice skating ribbon with a warming house, a large all inclusive playground, a splash pad, an off-leash dog park, a gathering hall with food and beverage options, public restrooms, formal outdoor gathering spaces, landscaping, and pedestrian connections.

L to R: Julie Iverson, T. Denny Sanford, Don Kearney, Eric Ellefson, Steve Kolbeck, Dianne Jacobson, Garry Jacobson – Lead Donor, Mayor Paul TenHaken, Pat Lloyd, Craig Lloyd, and Jeff Griffin.

Orthopedic Institute (Tea)

The Orthopedic Institute celebrated a groundbreaking for their new location in Tea. The new building will be a two-story, 70,000-square-foot clinic and office in the Bakker Landing development in Tea, south of 85th St. and west of Interstate 29.

L to R: Jay Buchholz, Bob Mundt, Lynda Barrie – CEO, Dr. David B. Jones Jr., Mayor Casey Voelker, and Scott Lawrence.

The Furniture Mission

The Furniture Mission broke ground on its new 27,000 sq. foot warehouse and office building on the Empower Campus. The new building will also have space dedicated to quilting, a woodshop, paint room, and more to allow ample space for volunteers and mentorship.

L to R: Rich Merkouris, Damon Sehr, Marcia Van Ginkle, Janean Michalov – Executive Director, Mayor Paul TenHaken, David Long, and Scott Lawrence.

Leah Friese Headshot
Want to hold a groundbreaking? Contact:

Leah Friese

Director of Marketing and Digital Media, Sioux Falls Development Foundation

South Dakota is Among Top-3 Freest States in America

Over the last few years, South Dakota has seen an uptick in new residents. We hear many stories from these newcomers who chose South Dakota because of our way of life that’s different from other states.

Now, the CATO Institute has recognized South Dakota as one of the top-three freest states in America.

“This study ranks the American states according to how their public policies affect individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres,” the release sharing the findings says. “The 2023 edition updates and expands on the six previous editions of Freedom in the 50 States. It examines state and local government intervention across a wide range of policy categories—from taxation to debt, from eminent domain laws to occupational licensing, and from drug policy to educational choice.”

To learn more about the ranking and to see how other states compared, click the link below.

Crowd shares workforce strategies at sold-out annual summit

From talent development to attraction and retention, a crowd came together recently for the sold-out annual WIN in Workforce Summit produced by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

Panel at WIN in Workforce Summit 2023

“For this year, I wanted people to take away that we all have a seat at the table,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“We need to grow together. We need to be very inclusive. We need to be very collaborative. Let’s keep the employees that we have. Let’s work to train them and skill them and upskill them but also let’s look at our youth and say what do they want? What do they need? And really bring them to the table and have this conversation.”

Nancy Kerrigan speaks at WIN in Workforce Summit 2023

Headlined by Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, who reminded the crowd about the power of persevering through challenge, the WIN in Workforce Summit brought together executives, human resources leaders and high school students from the Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s Career Connections program to look at the changing needs of the workplace.

Click below for a recap of the day:

WIN in Workforce Summit 2023

2023 Spirit of Sioux Falls Honoree: Jim Soukup

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation honored Jim Soukup, President and CEO of Soukup Construction, with its ‘Spirit of Sioux Falls’ Award at their 2023 Annual Meeting on Thursday, November 16.

The award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated leadership and commitment to the economic growth and development of Sioux Falls, and honors the memory of former Development Foundation staff and board members David Birkeland, Angus Anson, and Roger Hainje, who perished along with Gov. George Mickelson and other state officials and staff in 1993 as they returned from an economic development mission.

“There is no one more deserving of this award than Jim,” Foundation board chairman Steve Kolbeck said. “There are countless examples of the ways that he’s used his knowledge and business acumen to improve our city. Whether that’s through his service to the Development Foundation or other facets of city government, he’s been a steady leader, and we are proud to honor him in this way.”

Soukup served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors from 2010-2015, and has remained a member of the Foundation’s Real Estate committee because of his institutional knowledge and sage advice. Additionally, Soukup worked with the City of Sioux Falls to secure the necessary land for its new state of the art Public Safety Campus and has been a resource to various aspects of city government.

“There’s no one at this point in time who truly embodies the Spirit of Sioux Falls like Jim Soukup,” said Dean Dziedzic, Vice President of Economic Development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. “He’s been a dedicated volunteer within the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, and has guided us in making strategic moves in terms of developing our industrial parks. We’ve been blessed to have him as part of our organization long after his board term has ended.”

2023 Spirit of Sioux Falls Honoree: Jim Soukup

From high school class to job site, Career Connections program leads students to employers

If Kayla Galindo-Lemus had never been exposed to various workplaces while still in high school, there’s a good chance she might not be working at Muth Electric today.

Instead, the Southeast Technical College student is learning on the job and in the classroom as the recipient of a full-ride Build Dakota Scholarship and a future full-time job at Muth.

“A lot of people are craving to have opportunity like that,” she said. “You go to places, you see the management, you see the people working, you see things getting built. I feel like you need to visualize things for you to like it.”

In her case, an interest in electrical work led to the scholarship and the job. That’s the goal of Career Connections, a program administered by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation and supported through Forward Sioux Falls. It exposes students — often the first in their family to go to college and first-generation Americans — to different workplaces and opportunities for job shadows, internships and ultimately supportive scholarships.

Muth Electric Build Dakota Scholarship Recipients

With Galindo-Lemus, “this is such a bright kid with such a great attitude, such a great worth ethic, and it’s so rewarding to see this is her choice and she is in a company that has been with us since day one,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

To watch her career journey from high school through employment, click below.

Career Connections Spotlight: Kayla Galindo Lemus

From South Dakota Indian reservations to leading at Amazon, area leader returns home and makes big impact

From now until at least the end of the year, Alyssa Holiday’s workdays will have little downtime.

Holiday, an area manager for Amazon, oversees one of the busiest sections of the online retailer’s fulfillment center at Foundation Park. It’s known as the “pick to pack” area, where items are picked and packed into boxes without ever touching a conveyor until they’re packaged.

Alyssa Holiday working at Amazon Warehouse in Sioux Falls SD

“She will be at full capacity the entire time,” assistant Sioux Falls site lead Vincent Gardner said.

Learn even a little about Holiday, though, and it’s clear she’s up to this – or seemingly any – task.

Born on the Pine Ridge Reservation and raised on the Yankton Reservation, she became high school valedictorian at Marty Indian School. An enrolled of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, she left South Dakota in 2007 “to pursue better opportunities,” she said.

After beginning her adult life as a stay-at-home mom, she became a single mother in 2014 and began working retail jobs in Florida. She joined Amazon in 2015 in a suburb of Tampa to gain more hours and be employed somewhere she could work at night while friends watched her young daughter.

Alyssa Holiday working at Amazon Warehouse in Sioux Falls SD

After two years as an entry-level associate packing boxes, she wanted to learn more. It took her to a different Amazon location in Florida, where ultimately “I learned to problem-solve and was an ambassador and trained all the new hires they were bringing in and did something other than constantly scanning,” Holiday said. “I was able to use my mind a little more.”

Her manager showed her an option to gain career skills on-site, and she took classes to learn computer skills as she began applying for her next promotion. She moved to another location in Florida as a logistics specialist, learning to plan routes for drivers and then learned of the chance to relocate to Des Moines, where ultimately she applied as area manager.

“I just wanted to keep moving up. I wanted to keep going,” she said. “My previous managers coached me in how to interview, and I was given the position, so I went from hourly pay to a salary and got to learn a lot.”

Alyssa Holiday working at Amazon Warehouse in Sioux Falls SD

Not only that, she led the No. 1 problem-solve launch team for Amazon in 2020.

“I learned so much about configuring things and following standards and making network changes,” she said. “Some of the standards I set in my building are now in every fulfillment center. For me, it was a big thing. I didn’t get to graduate college, and being able to do things at this caliber is very exciting and exhilarating to me. I consistently learn something new every day.”

Now 37, she moved to Sioux Falls early this year, a city she used to visit from Wagner to shop and see family in the area.

Alyssa Holiday working at Amazon Warehouse in Sioux Falls SD

“I like it because it’s a city but not really a big city,” Holiday said. “I grew up here, but I lived in Tampa and Orlando, and Des Moines is bigger, but Sioux Falls still gives you everything a city has, but it has small-town vibes, and the traffic is amazing.”

Inside Amazon, Holiday now is doing her own amazing things. She formed an affinity group for Native American team members that has grown to 45 people.

Native American employees at Amazon Warehouse in Sioux Falls SD

“I had tried doing it in Des Moines, and I was dead-set on starting this Indigenous affinity group when I got here. One of the first things I did was get senior approval,” she said.

“We had a land blessing, brought some medicine men here, and they prayed for the building and said some prayers and blessed the site, and we gave a land acknowledgement speech. It was amazing. People were crying. It was very fulfilling for me to see that.”

Now, all of South Dakota’s tribal flags hang in the Amazon employee locker room.

South Dakota's tribal flags in a locker room at Amazon Warehouse in Sioux Falls SD

“I never thought I’d see that as a Native American,” Holiday said. “We’re represented at Amazon. To me, that’s unheard of.”

The group already has volunteered for efforts like supporting Feeding South Dakota and wants to enhance its skills in science, technology, engineering and math and has offered help with resume-building. Holiday is working with a similar Amazon group in Seattle for help with workshops.

“We’re all still learning how to run this group, but we have huge plans,” she said. “I want to invest in them and give them the opportunities I didn’t have.”

Alyssa Holiday working at Amazon Warehouse in Sioux Falls SD

From leadership’s perspective, “she’s awesome,” Gardner said. “She does a lot for our site. She’s done some amazing things helping with the building launch and has lots of initiative and drive.”

While her work at Amazon keeps her busy, Holiday is enjoying family events she used to miss by living out of state and is enjoying calling herself a South Dakotan again.

“What Alyssa has done in her career is nothing short of remarkable, and the fact that she’s now offering a path forward for other Native American professionals is so exciting to us,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

Indigenous at Amazon display boards

“Amazon has shown itself to be a model employer as far as offering opportunities for employee growth and skill development, ongoing promotional opportunities and unique ways to engage its employees. There’s so much to take away from this story on so many levels.”

For Holiday, a career at Amazon has been “a great opportunity,” she said. “I don’t have a degree, and now I’m leading and developing the people that I used to be. For me, that’s a huge thing, and I tell that to my associates all the time: I used to be in your shoes.”

Are you ready to continue your career journey in Sioux Falls? Email deniseg@siouxfalls.com to get connected, or visit siouxfalls.com to learn more.

South Dakota ranks No. 9 for best health care

Health care affordability and accessibility are two of the top considerations for quality of life. Luckily, South Dakota ranks near the top when it comes to health care. Recently, WalletHub ranked South Dakota as the ninth best state for health care in the United States.

“To determine where Americans receive the best and worst health care, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 44 measures of cost, accessibility and outcome,” the article releasing the findings states.

To see how rest of the nation compares, click the link below!