Chairman's Report Ryan Boschee
Back Directions Newsletter

Chairman’s Report: 70 Years & Going Strong

  • June 6, 2024

By: Ryan Boschee, Chairman

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation traces its origins back to the mid-20th century when a group of forward-thinking individuals recognized the untapped potential of the region. Fueled by a collective vision of transforming Sioux Falls into a hub of economic activity, these pioneers laid the groundwork for what would eventually become one of the most influential economic development organizations in the Midwest.

Formally established in 1954, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation embarked on its mission to attract new businesses, foster job creation, and stimulate investment in the community. Officially incorporated in the late 1960s, its first President, Dave Stenseth, was hired in 1969 to lead the efforts to land the EROS Data Center in Sioux Falls and initiated the development of the first Sioux Empire Development Park, providing essential infrastructure to support industrial growth and diversify the local economy. This strategic move set the stage for future expansion and cemented the Foundation’s reputation as a catalyst for progress.

Over the decades, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation has achieved numerous milestones, propelling the city to new heights of prosperity and opportunity. In the early ’80s, the Foundation played a major role in attracting Citibank, now Citi, to establish its regional headquarters in Sioux Falls. This landmark achievement not only brought jobs and investment to the community but also solidified Sioux Falls’ reputation as a financial services hub. In the late ’80s the Foundation, under the direction of Roger Hainje, initiated the first Forward Sioux Falls Campaign, setting the stage for a multitude of successes over the next several years including the establishment of nine development parks.

In subsequent years, the Foundation helped establish the regional development group known as MCEDA/LCEDA and in 1991 was named Money Magazine’s Best City to Live. The Foundation continued to spearhead initiatives aimed at driving economic growth and enhancing the city’s competitive edge. From supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs through Startup Sioux Falls to promoting workforce development and infrastructure investment, the Foundation remained steadfast in its commitment to advancing the interests of Sioux Falls and its residents.

As the economic landscape evolved and new challenges emerged, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation demonstrated remarkable adaptability and resilience. Whether navigating periods of economic uncertainty, leveraging emerging technologies, or addressing workforce needs, the Foundation remained agile in its response, continuously seeking innovative solutions to propel Sioux Falls forward. In 2015, land was acquired to establish the state’s first Mega Site, Foundation Park, to attract major industry, tax base and quality jobs to the community.

Today, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation stands as a beacon of progress and possibility, charting the course for the city’s future growth and prosperity. With a diverse array of industries, a talented workforce, and a supportive business environment, Sioux Falls continues to attract investment and opportunity from around the globe. Companies including Amazon, CJ Foods, FedEx, Owens & Minor, Burwell Enterprises and Presidio Manufacturing now call Sioux Falls home. In addition, existing companies including Citi, Raven, POET, Showplace, Grand Prairie Foods and a host of other local grown companies continue to prosper here. And at the helm of this ongoing transformation stands the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, dedicated to realizing the full potential of this vibrant community.

The history of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation is a testament to the power of vision, collaboration, and perseverance in driving economic growth and prosperity. From its humble beginnings to its present-day achievements, the Foundation has remained steadfast in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all who call Sioux Falls home. As the city looks to the future with the new opening of the Dakota State University DARC Labs and the development of cyber industries in the region, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation will continue to provide cutting-edge assistance to these companies and the businesses who support them.

We’re just getting started, and the future looks bright. Thank you for your continued support as we embark on the next 70 years!