Prairie Business Magazine - Construction 2017

South Dakota Economy Grows with Innovation and Initiative

Scott Stern 2017-06-06 13:02:43

As a South Dakota native and commissioner of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, I feel a real passion for watching businesses expand and our economy grow. Through prudent government and responsible regulation, we have maintained one of the best business climates in the nation, and there is truly no better place than South Dakota for companies to call home. I’m proud to say that numerous businesses from around the world are doing just that. In 2016, Royal Canin USA, a subsidiary of Mars, Inc., announced the construction of a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in North Sioux City. The facility represents a $100 million investment. With operations on five continents, the company could have invested anywhere, but they chose South Dakota. North Sioux City saw additional growth when Red’s All Natural Burritos, based in Franklin, Tenn., announced its expansion to the state and community. Red’s All Natural Burritos markets a variety of frozen products, including burritos, bowls, enchiladas and taquitos, which can be found in large retail chains across the nation. And, in early May, Ag Processing Inc., (AGP) a cooperative, celebrated its expansion with a groundbreaking ceremony for its new soybean crushing facility in Aberdeen. The facility will process more than 45 million bushels of soybeans a year, so the economic impact is huge. In addition, the project will create about 50 new jobs. As much excitement as these types of announcements garner, it is important to note that they don’t just happen by accident. Our economic development team is constantly working with community and business leaders on a number of projects and initiatives that help make doing business in South Dakota a reality. We are currently working to fill Foundation Park, South Dakota’s first megasite. The business park, located in northwest Sioux Falls, sits on away from the Sioux Falls Regional Airport, and is fully serviced by the BNSF railroad. The park will contain a mix of heavy and light industrial sites, ranging in size from 2.5 acres to 100+ acres. In May, we were happy to announce Foundation Park’s first project. Win Chill, LLC, a 205,000 square-foot, full-service refrigerated foods warehouse and distribution center, acquired 54 acres from the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. It’s an exciting project not only for Sioux Falls, but also for South Dakota’s economy. But sometimes, we can have the perfect site with the right building and all the desired infrastructure in place, and outside factors – such as workforce or housing – can still prevent us from finalizing a deal. That’s why we are moving forward with our Bulldoze, Build and Beautify program. The goal is to help community and economic developers fulfill workforce housing needs while beautifying their communities. More than 3,000 blighted properties have been identified, and state officials are working on cost-efficient ways for these sites to be repurposed into affordable housing for a growing workforce. One thing I really like about projects such as these is that they can apply to both urban and rural areas. Growing up in Freeman, S.D., I got to see firsthand how South Dakota’s business climate benefits homegrown companies. With experience working my family’s business, and then in the corporate world, I’m proud to say that there is no better place to run a business – big or small – than in South Dakota. We are open for business! PB

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