Moving Sioux Falls Forward: Egger Steel helps shape city’s skyline

Behind the record building years of Sioux Falls is a family business helping support the needs of the booming construction industry.

Steel beams

Egger Steel Co. began with just three employees almost 80 years ago as a fabricator of structural steel for local construction projects.

During the expansion of the interstate highway system in the 1950s, the company added fabrication of steel bridge girders. From its headquarters at 909 S. Seventh Ave., Egger Steel consistently has positioned itself and its services to meet the changing needs of businesses.

welder works on steel beams

“Being in the construction industry, we directly benefit from the growth of existing Sioux Falls businesses and the attraction of new businesses to the area,” president Burke Blackman said. “Egger Steel has supplied materials to countless construction projects in Sioux Falls.”

Recent work has included the parking ramp and skywalk at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport, The Steel District downtown development and the new Sanford Orthopedic Hospital.

building structure with steel beams

“The construction industry thrives in Sioux Falls because of companies like Egger Steel who continue to invest in their product and their people,” said Bob Mundt, president and CEO of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. “We’re excited to see them continue to grow and evolve along with our community.”

Here’s a closer look at the business, courtesy of Blackman.

Burke Blackman of Egger Steel

Business name: Egger Steel Co.

Year founded: Egger Steel was founded in Sioux Falls in 1946 by Albert Egger and George Scudder.

Total employees in the Sioux Falls area: During the first two generations of family ownership, the company grew its workforce to more than 150 employees and grew its market to cover South Dakota and the surrounding states. The third generation of ownership brought investments in technology and automation. The current workforce of 45 employees utilizes 3D modeling and computerized (CNC) equipment to produce the same volume of production with greater accuracy and efficiency.

CEO/lead executive in Sioux Falls: Burke Blackman, president.

How would you describe your organization to someone not familiar with it?

Using design drawings created by the construction project’s architect and engineer as a starting point, we create a 3D model of the structural steel frame that shows the finished dimensions, connection details and the interfaces of the structural steel with other materials. We then purchase the required raw materials from steel mills and other suppliers.

Machines work on steel plates

We provide our shop employees with the raw materials, shop drawings and electronic files that allow them to fabricate assemblies of beams and columns with their connection materials attached. Our goal is to complete as much of the fabrication as possible in our shop where it is more cost-effective than performing the same operations in the field. When the assemblies are complete, we ship them to the project job site along with erection drawings to show how the assemblies fit together.

What are the top three reasons you continue to locate in the Sioux Falls area?

First, the Sioux Falls workforce is exceptional. We have built our company through the efforts of dedicated employees with a strong work ethic and a commitment to quality. Second, Sioux Falls is a growing community with a steady demand for new construction. Third, Sioux Falls is close enough for us to compete for business in major markets without incurring the higher costs of locating in those markets.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing your business, and what are you most proud of?

We have a generation of long-term employees that is reaching retirement age, and we risk losing the knowledge and expertise they have accumulated over many years working in our industry. To overcome this challenge, we have focused on mentorship and cross-training so that our team members are challenged and learning new skills. Not only does it help the business, but it also makes it a more enjoyable place to work.

How would you describe the culture of your business in three words?

Quality: If the pieces don’t fit together on the job site, then we have failed in our responsibility to the customer.

Trust: We aren’t micromanagers. We provide the resources necessary for everyone to perform their best and trust in their work ethics to deliver.

Transparency: We keep everyone informed about how the company is doing, and we share the profits when we are successful.

steel beams being hoisted by a lift

Why does your business choose to invest in Forward Sioux Falls?

Economic development benefits the entire community. It brings new products and services to the region, as well as new career opportunities. We appreciate that Forward Sioux Falls isn’t focused only on encouraging business growth but is equally focused on workforce development. Our company’s success is tied to the health of our community, and supporting Forward Sioux Falls is one way that we can give back.

What are your expectations for your business in the year ahead?

During 2023, everyone in our company worked long hours to keep up with the post-COVID rebound in construction activity. We expect 2024 to be a more normal year and will take advantage of the slower pace to make improvements such as implementing new production control software.

Forward Sioux Falls is a joint venture between the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux Falls Development Foundation and is widely respected as the premier economic driver for the Sioux Falls region. To learn more and connect, click here.

Sioux Falls ranked one of the best cities for Gen Z workers

It’s important for not only businesses to keep up with changes in workforce, but even cities should consider what the next generation is looking for in a place to call home.

Checkr analyzed cities across the U.S. to determine which are best for Generation Z, or ‘Gen Z.’

The results? Sioux Falls ranked No. 7 overall and is the No. 4 small city for Gen Z.

“Small cities hold a unique charm for Gen Z workers seeking an intimate and tight community environment,” the article releasing the findings says. “The simplicity and slower pace of life in these settings can offer respite from the hustle and bustle of major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. These smaller cities create a sense of peace and well-being that aligns with Gen Z’s emphasis on work-life balance.

Learn more about the ranking and see the full results by clicking the button below.

Remote workers from New York choose Sioux Falls as new home, with big benefits for family

Some people move because the family outgrows the house; Chris and Kristin Giglio knew it was time for a change when their family of six outgrew a log cabin.

log cabin surrounded by fall trees

“It was as close to paradise as we were ever going to get, but with four kids, we were going to start needing room,” Chris said. “You can’t just add on to a log cabin.”

inside of log cabin

After living in the city of Buffalo, New York, in their 20s, the couple opted for the more rural lifestyle. Their love of motorcycling took them across the country on trips, with stops in 28 states along the way. So when they decided to make a move, they drew on all that life experience – and made a long list.

“We were tired of New York for a lot of reasons, and there weren’t really any towns we wanted to live in. We like three seasons, but 100 inches of snow a year gets annoying – plus the mud when it melts,” Chris said. “We looked out west first and checked out Montana and Wyoming but realized the towns were too small and our kids would need more. So we kept looking.”

They’re both remote workers – she works for a defense contractor, and he works in IT – so the options were unlimited. But the criteria quickly narrowed down potential locations.

Chris and Kristin Giglio family

“Some places were super expensive. In some cases, air quality was an issue. We like a change of seasons,” Kristin said.

They’d only been to South Dakota once – when a storm stranded them and their bikes in Murdo. But they began honing in on the state.

“We didn’t know if we wanted to do Rapid City or Sioux Falls,” Kristin said. “We looked at weather, schools, crime, and our daughter was in gymnastics at the time, so we looked at kids’ activities.”

Their pre-teen daughter lobbied hard for Sioux Falls after watching YouTube videos on both communities.

“We looked at things like what there would be to do – bowling alleys, miniature golf, certain stores, is there a zoo, all the activities we would do in a weekend – and it had everything we would do in New York and honestly more,” Kristin said.

Chris and Kristin Giglio family

“For us, the population was good,” Chris added. “Going from a metro area of 2.5 million to 250,000 really isn’t that big of a difference, and that mattered to my daughter. She didn’t want to be stuck in a small town. But she is a little worried about being safe, so that was all part of our thinking.”

They moved to south Sioux Falls in the summer of 2022 and enrolled their older kids in the Harrisburg School District. They now have one in middle school and two in elementary school.

“Everything is so hands-on,” Kristin said. “They teach kids through projects and experiences rather than just on a computer or lecturing them. It’s all interactive. The kids actually look forward to going to school every day and were sad when there was a snow day.”

robotics competition

The activities offered in the Sioux Falls area “are honestly more opportunities than we had in New York,” she added.

girl with boxing gloves

“Our daughter is now in volleyball and absolutely loves it. Our kids are in boxing at 605 Boxing and MMA, and I cannot say enough wonderful things about the coaching staff and adult fighters that are there. And our son is on the robotics team at school, and it is an amazing opportunity for kids to engage in and challenging and rewarding for them to see their robot in action.”

volleyball game

And that’s just the start. The family’s kids also have done baseball and soccer, and Kristin is part of a parent group helping bring meals to middle school teachers.

“I was invited to a meeting at the school to meet with the principal and teachers, and everyone is so welcoming and inviting,” she said. “They are genuinely happy to have you there to help.”

While they were newcomers with no connections, anyone they met stepped up to help, she added.

boy at boxing practice

“I had to put our Realtor, Sam Adams, down as our emergency contact on school paperwork because I didn’t know anyone,” Kristin said. “We had to put our mortgage team at Plains Commerce as emergency contacts. And you know what? All of them were happy to do it, and I would trust them with my kids!”

Chris and Kristin Giglio family

Sioux Falls’ health care community also came through for the family when their daughter began complaining about leg pain shortly after the move.

“The medical field here genuinely cares about you as a patient. We went to urgent care on a Saturday, she met with orthopedic the following Tuesday and had surgery the Tuesday after that,” Kristin said.

girl with cast on leg and foot

“The whole process couldn’t have been more wonderful. There are short wait times, they explain things to you, and you never feel rushed. Even my son needs some dental procedures, and we were given options. This is not the case in New York. You wait in doctors’ offices for at least an hour to be seen, you are rushed through and not given options.”

As a remote worker, she appreciates the small-town friendliness she has encountered in Sioux Falls.

“It is a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and being a remote worker, it’s nice because I don’t have that co-worker connection,” she said. “You go to even Walmart or Scheels, and the people that work are always pleasant and talk to you. My kids joke it’s perfect for me because I like to talk to random strangers, and people here are receptive of that.”

Chris and Kristin Giglio family

Overall, “here is like it used to be in New York,” Chris said. “The schools used to be hands-on. The people used to be outside, and we wanted more of that. That’s what it is here. It feels like 15 years ago.”

The family’s experience is a model of what others can expect with a move to Sioux Falls, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

Chris and Kristin Giglio family

“We welcome remote workers, and we know many like the Giglio family who have found this community to be a perfect fit,” she said. “If Chris and Kristin ever want to make a change, they’re also going to find many employers in this community who will embrace their skill sets. And their children absolutely are going to thrive growing up in this community.”

Life here is like moving back to “simpler times,” Kristin said. “It’s more family-centric. I feel like New York was go-go-go and very cutthroat, and here it’s more laid-back and enjoyable. Everyone is so nice here, and it’s all-encompassing. It’s just different here.”

To learn more about making your move to Sioux Falls, email

With new ownership, Creative Surfaces set to build on record-setting growth

Grow a business, sell it to a private equity firm, and sometimes an owner doesn’t love what happens next.

“I’d seen it happen in my previous life,” said Jud Pins, president of Creative Surfaces Inc. “We sold to private equity, and it was a disaster.”

Still, Creative Surfaces – which his parents, Ted and Bev, founded in 1988 and then transitioned to Pins’ ownership, was growing rapidly.

Ribbon Cutting ceremony at Creative Surfaces

A manufacturer, distributor and installer of commercial casework, countertops and signage, the highly integrated company is a main provider nationally of signage and casework for the gaming, automotive, hospitality and fitness industries.

Creative Surfaces serves as a one-stop shop for its customers because it’s equipped to fulfill the needs of ongoing, multiscope projects that require the processing of wood, metal fabrication and electrical work. Clients include everyone from fast-growing Gold’s Gym to some of the largest Las Vegas casinos.

Casino machine

There also are storefronts in Sioux Falls: Cambria Gallery, which includes a full working kitchen and complete slabs of Cambria stone, and Creative Surfaces Countertops & Tile, a showroom for all counter material displays and in-home consultation.

“I wanted a different model of ownership,” Pins said. “As sole proprietor, you kind of just get tired of continually funding growth. All your chips are on the table every year.”

A fit came in the form of Toronto-based Lynx Equity Capital, which also has a U.S. division.

“They really should change their name because they’re not a traditional model of private equity,” Pins said. “I talked to several of the other owners Lynx had acquired, and they agreed they’re different.”

Instead of a traditional private equity approach of acquiring companies with the intent to resell them, Lynx buys primarily family-owned businesses and holds them.

“They have 55 companies, and they’ve only sold one, and they sold it to the previous owner who wanted it back,” said Pins, who continues to run the company with what he calls minimal involvement from Lynx.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Creative Surfaces Inc. to the ever-growing Lynx Family,” Andrea Natarelli, vice president of mergers and acquisitions at Lynx, said in a statement.

“This acquisition not only provides us with a foothold in a new geography, South Dakota, but it also further strengthens Lynx’s presence in the signage and cabinetry space. Over the years, Jud has built a strong organization with experienced management that competes in multiple industries, including the gaming sector across 15-plus states.”

Jud Pins at Creative Surfaces in Sioux Falls SD

In the first few months since the deal closed, there have been multiple benefits, Pins said, including allowing Creative Surfaces to streamline some internal administrative functions and synergies it has found with other Lynx companies.

“Flooring is a big deal for our clients in the fitness industry, and we get asked about it, and now we’re able to partner with a flooring company,” he said. “It’s the same with signage. They have a big exterior signage company that does exterior signs for Planet Fitness, for example. We don’t get into exterior works because we don’t have the manpower, so we’ve already shared contacts.”

There are 140 employees, mostly in Sioux Falls.

“I’ve been around this country, and this is the best workforce in the country,” Pins said. “It’s better in Sioux Falls than anywhere I’ve seen.”

Supporting continued workforce development is one reason Creative Surfaces is a longtime investor in Forward Sioux Falls.

“Trying to find people in a place with the lowest unemployment rate in the country isn’t easy,” Pins said. “But as a state and community, we’ve had some great successes lately. I think we have the best workforce we’ve ever had. We picked up quite a few people lately, and we’re seeing record numbers in terms of output.”

Workers observing a countertop installation

The story of Creative Surfaces is a classic Sioux Falls tale of success, said Bob Mundt, president and CEO of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“Sioux Falls is built on family businesses like Creative Surfaces,” he said. “We’re thrilled the company found such a good fit in ownership to continue its growth that it includes local leadership and an ongoing commitment to doing business in Sioux Falls.”

Going forward, people spending more time in their homes bodes well for the company’s Cambria Gallery business, and its continued industry diversification supports more business-to-business activity.

“We’re also seeing with talk of interest rates coming down there’s multifamily activity that wasn’t here previously, so we’re seeing some opportunities to put shovels in the ground,” Pins said.

The Sioux Falls facility will be growing along with the company. While there was a recent 25,000-square-foot addition, “we thought it would last five years, and it didn’t last two,” Pins said. “So we’re looking at an addition because our casework, or custom cabinetry, division is growing so rapidly and possibly another facility in the southeast. The good thing is business is phenomenal. We can’t build fast enough.”

Forward Sioux Falls is a joint venture between the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux Falls Development Foundation and is widely respected as the premier economic driver for the Sioux Falls region. To learn more and connect, click here.

Moving Sioux Falls Forward: JDS Industries grows world-leading business from mom-and-pop shop

From a single trophy shop to the world’s largest wholesale supplier in the awards and personalization industry, JDS Industries proves what’s possible for what once was a Sioux Falls startup.

From its headquarters in northeast Sioux Falls, JDS now counts 13 warehouses nationwide and ships worldwide.

JDS Industries Building

“JDS is a model business and employer,” said Bob Mundt, president and CEO of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. “This is a company that established a niche, grew within it and cultivated an outstanding culture along the way.”

Here’s a closer look at the business, courtesy of president and CEO Scott Sletten.

Darwin, Scott, and Nathan Sletten

Darwin, Scott and Nathan Sletten

Year founded: Sletten’s parents, Darwin and Jane, began in business in 1972 as JD’s House of Trophies. JDS Industries was formed in 1990 as a separate corporation.

Total employees in the Sioux Falls area: There are 190 employees in Sioux Falls and 350 nationwide.

CEO/lead executive in Sioux Falls: Scott Sletten, president and CEO.

How would you describe your organization to someone not familiar with it?

We are a wholesale supplier of awards, recognition, personalization and signage products. We mostly supply the blank products that people then personalize through some form of printing or engraving process.

What are the top three reasons you continue to locate in the Sioux Falls area?

Quality of our employees is a key reason we continue to do so much here in Sioux Falls. Our focus on the customer is always top of mind, and we are able to find a good amount of people here who fit in with that focus and mindset. Quality of life in Sioux Falls is also a big factor, both in our ability to operate our business and for our employees to have a stable life so that they can devote a good amount of effort and focus to work. Sioux Falls also had a lower cost of doing business than many of the other places that we have operations, which is an advantage to us as well.

What are you most proud of within your business in the past year?

I am most proud of our resilience after several tougher years with COVID and the supply chain problems. We have been able to navigate the situation well, as well as find some new opportunities that have made us much stronger and more successful today than before the pandemic.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing your business?

Continuing to find opportunities for growth that fit within the range of things that we do well and our customers have a need for. We have a lot of interaction with our customers, as well as suppliers around the world, and are always looking for what is new and what is next. We add around 1,000 new products to our line per year, which is much more than any other competitor in our core markets.

How would you describe the culture of your business in three words?

Always customer-focused.

In everything we do, we always want to keep our customer in mind — how are changes going to impact them and hopefully make things better or easier for them. We want to be the easiest supplier to do business with so we become the default supplier to our customers for much of what they need.

Why does your business choose to invest in Forward Sioux Falls and what specific advantages or value have you found in partnering with FSF?

We choose to invest in Forward Sioux Falls because the quality of life in Sioux Falls and quality of the workforce play a role in how successful we can be. Probably the most important role we look to them for is workforce development — both in bringing people to Sioux Falls and then developing them once they are here.

What are your expectations for your business in the year ahead?

Given the weaker economy expected in 2024, we are expecting slower but steady growth. With many things like supply chain more normalized now, it is allowing us to focus more on strategy and execution instead of feeling like we are playing defense and “whack a mole” like the last several years.

Forward Sioux Falls is a joint venture between the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux Falls Development Foundation and is widely respected as the premier economic driver for the Sioux Falls region. To learn more and connect, click here.

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 to learn more about what Sioux Falls has to offer.

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 to get connected, or visit to learn more.

From California to Sioux Falls, nurse who doubles as DJ calls move a dream come true

Ny Bradley will tell you her Sioux Falls move has been nothing short of a love story – on multiple levels.

“My now fiance, Donny, and I met seven years ago and were madly in love in Texas,” she began. “He decided he was going to go to trucking school and do well, and he went off and did that, and I was working as a nurse.”

Ny and Donny

Donny’s job led him to settle in Sioux Falls, but when he asked Ny if she’d be willing to move too, she said no.

“Sioux Falls is an excellent hub for truckers. The roads are very truck-friendly, and he’s right in the middle of the country, so he’s home every five or six days, which is unheard of for truckers,” she said.

Volvo Semi Truck

“It’s best for his balance, and I understood that, but I was only 25 or 26 years old and wanted to travel and learn music.”

Bradley’s path led her from her native Texas to Los Angeles, where she continued to work as a nurse and went to school for music production with training in audio engineering.

But the two stayed in touch and after reconnecting last year realized “we were each other’s person,” she said. “For both of us, it was something where there was no question.”

After visiting Sioux Falls twice, “it was enough for me to realize I loved it, to my surprise,” Bradley said. “I don’t feel a need anymore to experience the fast life and these big parties, not that Sioux Falls doesn’t have places for that, but I realized what I wanted was to be in a community where I felt connected. That’s why I love being here. I’ve been here like a month, but every time I visited, people were amazing and so friendly.”

Ny and Donny

It didn’t take her long to connect to a like-minded community. After posting a message on Reddit asking about the electronic dance music, or EDM, scene in Sioux Falls, a response immediately suggested she check out an event being held at Full Circle Book Co-op downtown.

She met the host, himself a transplant from New York, “and he said there isn’t much of a scene here, so we decided to partner in some way to bring forward more EDM here,” she said. “Me being a DJ and producer and him being in management event coordination, we just meshed, and we’re going to make it happen. I think a lot of people in Sioux Falls, especially the younger generation, will be interested in hearing electronic music and not having to go to Coachella or New York to hear something, so that’s what we’re going to do.”

Ny Bradley

Bradley also is far from leaving her nursing career behind. While music became her outlet working as a COVID nurse during the pandemic, she held onto a dream of being a pediatric nurse in labor and delivery or the neonatal intensive care unit.

“I’ve been in critical care and worked as a COVID nurse and did a lot of medical surgical pediatric, but in LA, every time I would apply, they would tell me I needed two years of NICU experience. Well, without getting hired, how would I get it?” she said.

While she moved to Sioux Falls without a job, she applied for two at Avera Health on the drive east.

“I applied to the mother-baby unit and the NICU, and I was offered both positions,” she said. “I’m now a NICU nurse, and I start in a few weeks. I’m over the moon. I can’t tell you how much I’m falling in love with Sioux Falls. I’ve had dreams where I’ve been a baby nurse, and now that dream is coming true. My family dreams are coming true as is finding that community where it feels like this is a great place to have kids or have a startup, depending on what I do with my music.”

In the meantime, look for her at the next House Dance Music Show at Full Circle Book Co-op on Nov. 18 when she’ll be DJing, beginning at 10 p.m.

Ny Bradley

In her free time, she enjoys meditating at Falls Park, where she’s inspired with ideas for songs, as well as discovering unique experiences like corn mazes. She lives just south of Sioux Falls in Harrisburg and is loving her shorter commutes.

“I’m used to it taking 45 minutes to go to work, and this is the best. It takes me no time,” she said.

Bradley’s experience in Sioux Falls might sound too good to be true, but it’s not outside the norm, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“Everything you’ve heard from Ny about her experience can be replicated and is reflective of what this community offers,” she said. “It is an outstanding place for health care, for trucking, for the arts and for those interested in starting a business and starting a family. It is as easy to get connected as Ny has found. We’re thrilled she and Donny will be starting their life together here and can’t wait to see how they continue to contribute to building our community for others.”

Ny and Donny

How does Bradley know the community is ready for her to put her unique spin on it? She thinks back to that first house show downtown, where she saw everyone from teenagers to people in their 70s dancing away.

“A man put his cane down and got on the dance floor. I didn’t even see this in Los Angeles,” she said. “It filled my heart with so much joy and confirmation that this is what I want. Sioux Falls ended up being literally everything I wanted, and I feel like one of the best things I can do is contribute something back.”

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

Workforce development leader takes stock of progress, weighs in on future needs

Dave Rozenboom views workforce development through multiple lenses.

As the president of First PREMIER Bank, he recognizes there are some areas of workforce that have to be addressed at a company level.

“There are certain things you have to own as an employer – compensation, benefits, culture – but then there are things that go beyond a company level and have to be addressed at a community level,” said Rozenboom, who also has served as a leader within Forward Sioux Falls.

“There also are things we need to work together on, and in many ways, I think we’ve done a really good job on that front as a community and now are in a position where we can look at what needs to be done next.”

The annual WIN in Workforce Summit, produced by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, is an opportunity to do just that. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center and will bring together thought leaders such as Rozenboom to address the state of workforce development today and tomorrow.

He will help lead off the day on the panel Talent Talk: Get To Know the People Changing Our Workforce Landscape.

We sat down with Rozenboom for a look back and ahead at workforce development – and a preview of what to expect at the WIN Summit.

Looking back on the time you’ve focused on workforce development as a community leader, what kind of progress have you seen the Sioux Falls area make?

Even looking back about six years ago, it’s amazing how things have progressed. At that time, I remember an effort between the business community and higher education to align around our shared needs for a prepared workforce, and today there have been a number of game-changing initiatives. Some clear examples certainly are the Build Dakota Scholarship program, an incredible success story that changed the conversation in our community to reflect that a two-year degree can be a great career path. The full-ride Build Dakota Scholarships supported by seed money from Denny Sanford and the state of South Dakota have been completely embraced by industry partners and have really created an unbelievable program. And then more recently, the South Dakota Freedom Scholarship created the state’s first need-based scholarship that fills a critical gap. Between those two programs, we have really helped create pathways to provide greater access to education.

I also think there’s much greater awareness in the community about the increasing diversity of Sioux Falls, and Forward Sioux Falls, through Sioux Falls Development Foundation programming, has done a lot to help employers connect with this future workforce. The Career Connections program for high schoolers is a very concentrated effort to bring students into workplaces and allow employers to tell their story.

First PREMIER Bank has been a strong supporter of Career Connections and other workforce development efforts. How are this and other best practices helping you as an organization?

We have definitely seen results from Career Connections. It’s new enough that the students who participated are still in high school or college, but we’ve had students from the program go on to take part-time jobs with us and gain valuable exposure to the banking industry. Within First PREMIER, we also find a lot of value in connecting our executive leadership with our first-generation workforce. We’ll organize a lunch and invite several first-generation team members and have them share their stories with our executive team. It’s a chance to learn about the challenges they have overcome and hear what they have to tell us about their experience as employees, as well as being a chance for us to reinforce their importance to our organization. I’d encourage any organization to do something similar. A lot of this is about education – whether you’re a student, an employee or in management.

Workforce development also is about retention. What are some examples of what you have done at PREMIER to keep top talent?

I think it started very early on with our founder, Denny Sanford, and continued through our CEOs, Miles Beacom and Dana Dykhouse. Denny said very early on that culturally we want to be a company that people want to be a part of. We’ve focused on our people being our most important competitive advantage, and I think that shows.

What gaps do you think still exist in the Sioux Falls area when it comes to addressing workforce needs?

I think we need to start connecting more dots – dots from the student to school counselors, parents and employers to the opportunities that are now present. We now have all the building blocks in place. We’ve removed a lot of financial barriers, the tools are now in place, and we need to help all involved learn what’s available and how to take advantage of it.

As a community, I think Sioux Falls really is in a position to go from being a place that benefited from rural-to-urban migration to one that benefits from urban-to-urban migration. We have a diversified economy with an array of jobs, an excellent education system, low crime compared to the national average, low taxation and an amenity-filled community for our size. For a long time, people were going from the Midwest to the coasts, and now I think people are coming from the coasts to the Midwest, so I think we have a tailwind in Sioux Falls.

About the WIN in Workforce Summit

Sessions at the WIN in Workforce Summit are eligible for nine SHRM and HRCI recertification credits. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is recognized by SHRM to offer professional development credits for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP® recertification activities.

Space is limited for this transformative event, so register soon here to reserve your seat.

Former Californian now helps build Sioux Falls skyline thanks to opportune move

There were four states on the list of possible moves: South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida — and South Dakota?

“It’s kind of funny,” California native Brock Williams acknowledges. “We’d never thought about South Dakota.”

But that changed in 2020, when he and his wife, Sabrina, started looking to move outside of his home state.

“She’s originally from the North Carolina-Virginia area, and my family is spread out,” he said. “We were already thinking about moving away from California, then 2020 happened. Once we went through that, we thought, what’s really holding us back?”

Brock and Sabrina Williams

And, because of the national attention South Dakota received during the pandemic, the couple’s interest in the state grew.

“We started researching, and once you do, it opens up this path to the Midwest,” Williams said. “We started learning more about the Midwest and realized if we were going to make the move, Sioux Falls was the place to be.”

With two decades of experience in the construction industry, both residential and commercial, he began seeking a new role to fit with his project management background.

“I got an offer in South Carolina, an offer in Florida, and they just didn’t feel right,” he said. “The companies didn’t feel right, the area didn’t feel right, and then I got a call back from Journey Construction.”

After his first interview with Journey, it felt right.

“Journey, in a sense, grew up with Sioux Falls, and I appreciated the history they had and felt a good connection,” he said. “But still, when they gave me the offer, I was a little nervous because I wasn’t sure how the area was going to grow.”

Brock Williams

But that nervousness didn’t last long. He soon learned Journey would oversee the large expansion of Cherapa Place in downtown Sioux Falls, which includes a 10-story office and condominium tower, two buildings of retail and apartments, a parking ramp and central courtyard.

He joined the team as a project manager in late 2021.

“Being from California, I was part of some larger projects, and I’ve never backed down from one, so I wanted to be on Cherapa, and that’s what happened,” he said.

“The project has been going great. The other two project managers on the Cherapa project, Joe Niewohner and Jesse Davey, have both been on the project since the beginning with me and have been a huge help in familiarizing me with the new-construction market and learning about South Dakota. The entire Cherapa team has been very welcoming and accepting of me.”

Brock Williams views Cherapa Place project in Sioux Falls South Dakota

His employer also has fulfilled the promise he saw in that initial interview.

“Journey really does stand by their values and ethics,” Williams said. “Where I come from in California, it’s a real cutthroat environment, but because of how we do business here, I’ve built stronger business relationships in the last two years than I did in 15 years in California. It’s pretty crazy – yet refreshing.”

Sabrina Williams has found a job she enjoys too, putting her health care background to work at Delta Dental.

“It allows her to work from home, and she absolutely loves it,” Williams said. “It’s a great company, and she loves working for them. We’ve gotten really lucky with the work environment and finding great employers here.”

It’s more than luck, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“Brock and Sabrina’s experience is exactly what so many others discover as they explore their career options in Sioux Falls,” she said.

“This community is filled with employers who reflect your values and respect your needs and the role you play in contributing to our shared success. Construction and health care are two fields in particular where we have so many opportunities as a growing community to welcome newcomers ready to grow their careers.”

Brock Williams working for Journey Construction in Sioux Falls South Dakota

The family has happily moved into an east-side home near Harmodon Park, where despite Williams working in downtown Sioux Falls, his commute is 10 minutes.

“I still have friends from California, and when I tell them I get off work at 5:30 and am home by 5:40, they’re like, ‘You’re kidding me,” he said. “Back home, I commuted an hour and a half to two hours each way. After doing the math, I realized how much of my life I was spending in my car.”

With their newfound free time, the couple enjoys taking their Labrador retriever out for walks on the vast Sioux Falls trail system and hiking at state parks.


“We’re really big on fishing, we like to kayak, and then, in the winter, we try to go snowshoeing while we can, so we’re embracing it full force,” Williams said. “Before moving, I’d never really gotten into hunting. But the state has a program for people who are new, which one of my co-workers introduced me to, so I’m hooked on pheasant and deer hunting now.”

Brock Williams pheasant hunting in South Dakota

Looking back, “I’m really glad we left,” he said. “We go back and visit, but once you live in a place like this and then revisit the hustle and craziness in the bigger city, it’s very noticeable, but coming back always gives you a chance to decompress.”

Brock and Sabrina Williams


In the coming months, Cherapa Place will begin moving in its new office tenants. Early next year, the building Williams is overseeing will move in its first residents. For someone new to the community, helping immediately impact its skyline has left a big impression.

“I think Sioux Falls is just a great place to live, and these projects are going to turn Sioux Falls into an even better place,” Williams said. “I think it’s moving in a great direction, the leadership this city has is phenomenal, and I think we have a bright future in Sioux Falls.”

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

Collaborative effort brings STEM students, education, businesses together

Arthur Tao is weeks away from starting his senior year at Lincoln High School, but he already has spent the summer learning about neurodevelopment and doing research around a protein causing a rare disease.

Kiara Schilling and Jaritza Cruz are entering their sophomore year at South Dakota State University and shared a lab this summer while working on projects synthesizing compounds involving prostate cancer and myeloma cells, respectively.

They’re just three of the dozens of students who came together this week for a symposium organized by South Dakota EPSCoR, the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, which held the event for students to present their work and receive feedback from professionals in their field.

students mingling at SD Biotech/SD EPSCoR Networking Reception

“I learned a lot – a lot you don’t learn for labs in classes,” said Schilling, a Minnesota native majoring in chemistry and biotechnology.

As part of their visit to Sioux Falls, the students had a chance to connect with one another, graduate schools, graduate students and the Sioux Falls business community as part of a networking event sponsored by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation in partnership with Sanford Research, South Dakota Biotech and EPSCoR.

students mingling at SD Biotech/SD EPSCoR Networking Reception

“We wanted to open these students’ eyes to the incredible opportunities to continue their education and their careers here,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“With them as primarily undergraduates, we start with the advantage that they’ve already chosen South Dakota for their education. Now, it’s up to us to help them realize their next steps can be here too.”

The students also had a chance to tour Sanford Research.

students tour Sanford Research Labs

“This was such a great opportunity for us to show all the available careers at Sanford,” said Kara McCormick, who oversees outreach and communications at Sanford Research and serves on the board of South Dakota Biotech.

“During the tour, they saw research labs and learned about the different types of equipment and bench research that happens at Sanford. We’ve also worked with many undergraduates participating in the symposium on their research and have for a number of years. We’ve found there are quite a few students who come back multiple summers, and many end up going to graduate school in South Dakota or even working here when they graduate.”

students tour Sanford Research Labs

Tao didn’t exactly need the tour – the high school student actually did his research work at Sanford this summer.

“This opportunity is fantastic. A lot of larger regions don’t have something so immersive,” he said. “It’s the culture of learning that’s surprised me the most. People have been really helpful, and there have been boot camps and seminars to teach me the basics, so the learning curve has become easier.”

He also took full advantage of the networking offered.

“That’s been invaluable,” Tao said. “I’ve been able to ask others in the field what advice they would give to me as a high schooler. Getting that broad perspective of people in the field with different backgrounds from mine has been really helpful. Going into the internship, I was thinking of doing my undergrad and med school, but this has made me consider a Ph.D. route or an MD-Ph.D.”

For the current undergrads, the exposure to Sanford Research and the networking that occurred there were equally valuable.

“It was really exciting to come here,” said Cruz, who came to the U.S. from Mexico to major in biochemistry. “I’m looking into medical school in South Dakota, and it was really cool to meet other students here.”

Students mingling at SD Biotech/SD EPSCoR Reception

Schilling was inspired by the work at Sanford Research too.

“I thought it was really cool seeing the facilities,” she said. “It kind of makes me want to come here.”

The networking between grad students and undergrads can be just as beneficial as introducing them to businesses, said Mel Ustad, the principal investigator at South Dakota EPSCoR.

“They’re not only interacting with future employers but getting to meet students who are pursuing paths similar to themselves,” he said. “It’s a great, all-around learning experience as an undergraduate and a valuable opportunity to conduct hands-on research at the same time.”

The event and the symposium the following day drew seven businesses looking to connect with workers in STEM fields, said Joni Ekstrum, executive director of South Dakota Biotech.

Students mingling at SD Biotech/SD EPSCoR Reception

“We hear regularly from biotech businesses searching for talent to help support their work, and the good news is South Dakota is full of that talent in our universities. The key is making those connections,” she said.

“That’s why events like this that combine professional development with education and networking are so valuable.”

That was the goal behind the Development Foundation supporting the event, Guzzetta said.

“It’s all about making those connections, building those relationships and exposing our talented students to worlds and people they never knew existed,” she said. “We know conversations that begin at events like these can lead to long and rewarding careers.”

From California to New York – and now Sioux Falls – professional actress brings talent to new home

There were plenty of reasons Katelyn Walsh figured she wouldn’t end up moving from her home in California across the country.

Applying to New York University’s famed Tisch School of the Arts already required being accepted into one of the nation’s most competitive arts programs. Then, not only was the aspiring actress accepted to the school but also offered a spot in one of its most coveted programs and given enough financial assistance to make it a possibility.

Katelyn Walsh

“The only reason I moved was for the education,” Walsh said. “I loved performing, and this was the only thing I felt worth investing in.”

She graduated in 2022, but that was only after the pandemic upended the experience, causing her to return to California and put her senior year on hold.

Katelyn Walsh performing

“I can’t spend my senior year online,” she remembered thinking. “And that’s what they were going to have us do. Trying to dance and sing on Zoom was not really worth it to me.”

She ended up being paid to perform at a regional theater in Utah.

“I gained experience, but my mind shifted,” she said. “When I did go back for my senior year, my ability to thrive in the city had changed a lot. It was already a little scary the first three years, but I felt a lot less safe, and it got worse and worse. I’d fallen in love with the city but started falling out of love with it.”

Katelyn Walsh in front of Radio City Music Hall

Her values had evolved, she said.

“I really wanted family, and I didn’t feel safe walking other people’s kids as a nanny. How would I feel safe walking my own kids?” she said. “It wasn’t worth the sacrifice, especially since I was paying over $1,000 a month for an 8-by-8 room, and my closet was in my kitchen. My roommates loved it, but it wasn’t for me anymore.”

But returning to California wasn’t in the cards, either. Her parents had gotten an estimate on their house on a whim, “and they got way more than they expected,” Walsh said.

Their move brought them to Sioux Falls. She has grandparents originally from North Dakota, and her sister’s family lives in Bismarck.

“My parents realized ‘if our kids ever want to settle near us, we don’t want to have them settle somewhere it’s hard to raise a family financially,’” Walsh said. “The area we were in was slowly going downhill, but financially it was costing more.”

While she had no experience with Sioux Falls, the recent NYU grad decided she would move here too, keep auditioning nationally and travel for roles as needed.

Katelyn Walsh in New York City

“But as I soon as I got back to New York for an audition, my anxiety flared and put me back to where I was a year ago,” Walsh said. “And I realized I love performing. No doubt in my mind. But if I’m paid zero money performing and making money another way, I will be just as joyful as if I were paid more on a larger scale. That never mattered to me. Maybe I could do it, but I don’t think I want it.”

And that’s the story that brought her to a Sioux Falls stage, where she played the lead role this spring in The Premiere Playhouse’s “Cinderella.”

Katelyn Walsh performing in a production by the Premiere Playhouse in Sioux Falls SD

“One of my co-workers at Blarney Stone, where I’m a server, found out that I liked theater, and he jumped on it and asked if I’d ever thought about auditioning,” she said. “I’ve only done paid work for four years, so I think it’s a big shift mentally volunteering my time and serving the community, and it actually excited me more when I thought about it that way.”

Katelyn Walsh performing in a production by the Premiere Playhouse in Sioux Falls SD

What excited her most “was being around such a diverse group of people,” she continued. “You might think NYU and diversity, but I think we get stuck in a bubble. A lot of us are college age or right out of college, very privileged, and this was different. A lot of times in small-town theater companies there’s politics behind the scenes, and I didn’t know what to expect. But everyone was so nice, beyond anything I could have imagined.”

Katelyn Walsh performing in a production by the Premiere Playhouse in Sioux Falls SD

She now has a second job and is trying to figure out what her full-time work future looks like. She has thought about teaching and potentially seeking another degree.

“The opportunities I got to perform with kids in “Cinderella” made me realize that’s definitely something I could pursue in the future,” she said.

Katelyn Walsh performing in a production by the Premiere Playhouse in Sioux Falls SD

Walsh’s early experience in Sioux Falls is a good example of what other artists will find here, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development.

“Sioux Falls is an incredibly welcoming and vibrant community for the arts and is becoming more so all the time thanks to talent like Katelyn relocating here,” she said.

“It’s easy to get involved in nonprofits like The Premiere Playhouse, but increasingly we are finding artists with paid performing opportunities, whether in a locally produced film, the local music scene or through special events. And if Katelyn does decide to look at more education, she is going to find so many opportunities in the area that will fit her work-life-school balance.”

Katelyn Walsh performing in a production

If time allows, you’ll likely see Walsh on stage in Sioux Falls in the future.

For now, though, “I love this town,” she said. “It’s got some great parts like downtown, there’s plenty to do and fun places to go, but it’s got the small-town feel where people are willing to chat at the grocery store. I bought a car for the first time, and being able to walk to my car at night and feel safe is definitely different.”

For someone who has lived on both sides of the country, landing in the middle seems to have its benefits.

“I was surprised how friendly my co-workers were and how it wasn’t too difficult to make friends,” she added. “Accepting that I was allowed to change my mind was huge. You think you’re on a path, and everyone expects you to follow through in a certain way, but it’s OK to change your mind and have your life take on a different form than you ever imagined.”

If you think your path could wind through Sioux Falls, we’d love to connect with you! Email or visit to learn more about opportunities to grow your future here.

Family of 9 relocates from Canada to Sioux Falls, finds all-around positive move

About six months after his sister moved her family to Sioux Falls, Bryan Grim and his family followed.

“We were looking to get out of Canada for a while and see what the States was all about, specifically the Midwest,” he said. “And with my sister here, when we were looking at places, it naturally came to Sioux Falls.”

She told her brother “it’s way sunnier” compared with where they were from in Vancouver, she enjoyed her job in health care, “and the church community she joined was very welcoming, and for her family, that made it a lot easier transition.”

A job search online led Grim to Raven Industries, which embraced his experience in software engineering.

“As a software engineer, I had options in Sioux Falls – from agriculture to financial services – and my mom grew up on a dairy farm, so I always had the attraction to agriculture, which steered me in Raven’s direction.”

He and his wife, Leanne, moved last year with their family of seven kids and found a 6-acre hobby farm southwest of Sioux Falls.

Grim Family

“That was the other thing that impressed me about Raven – they made it clear it’s a family-friendly company, which was a big draw for me,” Grim said. “Looking at a job switch and a country switch in my mid-40s, I wanted it to be as easy as possible.”

At work, he now gets to use his skills working on cutting-edge ag technology designed to support farmers.

“I get to work on field computers that do a lot of guidance and steering for these big machines, and it’s pretty fun to be part of that,” he said.

Bryan Grim working at Raven Industries in Sioux Falls, SD

And at home, he gets to try his own hand at small-scale farming.

“We moved from a 6,000-square-foot lot in the suburbs, so it’s been a fun move,” he said.

“My wife is really embracing the culture, the free space we have and is starting to plant big gardens. We bought 40 chickens, so we’re going to see what we can do with that acreage, and she’s loving it. But we’re still 10 minutes from town, so everything is accessible.”

He also gets to spend time with his sister and her family of five kids. His own kids have loved the Great Plains Zoo and Butterfly House & Aquarium. And with dedicated hockey and softball players, “we’re at the Sanford Sports Complex multiple times per week,” Grim said.

“They’re all getting along pretty good with classmates and fellow church members, and the community seems to be really friendly. It sounds cliche, but when you move here, you do feel the friendliness.”

Grim family at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD

He also has plenty of company at Raven, which regularly hires nationwide and beyond.

“Raven has grown exponentially,” Grim said. “You talk to most people and they seem to have joined in the last few years. Plus, I have team members in Seattle, Billings (Montana) and in Minnesota. But there are a lot of people moving into Sioux Falls for Raven.”

This summer, the family looks forward to camping and getting to further explore the Sioux Falls region.

“People who talk about traffic here I don’t think have driven in other cities,” Grim added. “Being downtown for work is really nice, and the fact it doesn’t take an hour to get out of it is even nicer. In Vancouver, you go downtown, and it’s a two-hour drive. Here, I’m home in half an hour tops.”

Grim family at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD

The family’s experience reflects much about what new residents love about the Sioux Falls area, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“Raven is such an importer of talent, and we’re so happy that Bryan and his extended family have found welcoming careers and communities within a community here,” she said.

“The fact that he’s able to put his software engineering skills to work in such a meaningful way is a huge win, as is how the family is able to enjoy all the best of Sioux Falls along with a rural lifestyle. We couldn’t be happier to welcome them not just to our community but to the U.S.”

Grim family stands in front of an American flag on the day they became U.S. citizens

Bryan Grim and his four oldest children on the day they became U.S. citizens.

Are you ready to make your move to Sioux Falls? Connect with to learn more about career opportunities here.

INTERN Sioux Falls welcomes first cohort to Sioux Falls with planned engagement activities

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation announces programming events to help employer interns connect with their peers.

“Connecting with others was critical for me as an intern,” says Claire Herbst, SFDF’s talent recruitment coordinator. “We developed programs to help younger talent connect with peers and immerse themselves into the Sioux Falls community.”

Programs include guest speakers with YPN and a scavenger hunt through downtown Sioux Falls to help interns feel at home within the Sioux Falls community.

Program dates include June 28th, July 11th, and July 27th.

For organizations interested in INTERN Sioux Falls programming, please contact Claire Herbst at