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Gov. Daugaard Announces Economic Development Awards at 2018 Annual Conference

April 12, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) hosted its annual conference in Sioux Falls yesterday and today, closing the two-day event with Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s reception and economic development awards banquet. Approximately 250 business, education and development leaders from across South Dakota attended the conference to ‘Think Big’ in 2018.

Among the award recipients for achievements and contributions to economic development in South Dakota were two individuals and a community. Gov. Daugaard presented awards to Dr. Christian Widener of Rapid City, S.D., Jim Fedderson, Mayor of Beresford, S.D., and the community of Beresford.

The Entrepreneur of the Year award was presented to Dr. Christian Widener, co-founder and chief technology officer of VRC Metal Systems in Rapid City. VRC manufactures cold spray equipment that bonds metallic powders to metal surfaces. The high-pressure system deposits similar and dissimilar metals on most metallic surfaces in some previously impossible heat sensitive situations. VRC’s supersonic cold spray equipment enables innovative solutions for repair, additive manufacturing and coatings for many industries.

“A nationally recognized expert in cold spray technology, Dr. Widener has more than 60 publications and multiple patents because of his research and development work in advanced materials processing technologies,” said Gov. Daugaard. “VRC’s successful strategy sets the precedent for all Giant Vision competitors, making Dr. Widener an ideal choice for Entrepreneur of the Year.”

The final two awards, the Excellence in Economic Development Award, and the Community of the Year were presented to Beresford Mayor Jim Fedderson and the community of Beresford, respectively.

“2017 was an exceptional year for Mayor Fedderson and the entire Beresford community,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Without a paid economic developer in Beresford, Mayor Fedderson volunteers much of his time to shepherd projects like Hendrix Genetics, the commercial turkey hatchery that announced a $25 million investment last summer, and Century Custom Molding, a plastic-molding manufacturer that acquired a 20,000-square-foot facility.

“Beresford has proven to be a progressive community, continuing its investment in the future. I commend Mayor Fedderson and all the community leaders in Beresford for their hard work and sincere commitment to increasing workforce opportunities and improving the quality of life for everyone in their community. It’s that kind of steadfast commitment that earns you recognition as an excellent economic developer and Community of the Year, in the same year.”

Editor’s Note: For photos of the award presentations and other photos taken from today’s conference, go to GOED’s Facebook page, To request high resolution, electronic copies of the photos, please contact Natalie Likness, GOED media relations coordinator, at or 605-773-GOED (4633).



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