2024 Governor's Conference on Economic Development
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem announced that the winners of the Large and Small Community of the Year awards were Rapid City and North Sioux City, respectively. She also announced that Mutch Usera is the winner of the Excellence in Economic Development Award. First Gentleman Bryon Noem presented the awards on Governor Noem’s behalf.
“Thanks to South Dakota’s ‘Open for Business’ mindset and the hard work of our community partners, our state is emerging from the COVID pandemic with the strongest economy in America,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “In particular, our Communities of the Year – Rapid City and North Sioux City – stepped up to support their neighbors. Mutch Usera has been instrumental in diversifying projects in the Black Hills for years, and we thank him for his longstanding commitment and passion.”
The awards were presented during the Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s (GOED) annual spring conference at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. Economic development, business, and community leaders from across South Dakota attended informational sessions on housing and workforce and learned how to navigate difficult conversations from keynote speaker, Henry Lescault.
“It was great to welcome our partners back together for the first time in a few years,” said Commissioner Steve Westra. “Between blizzards and the COVID-19 pandemic, we haven’t been able to host a full conference in three years. It was long overdue to get together as a whole network, to catch up with old and new friends and hear from some of our state’s leaders.”
In 2020, Elevate Rapid City created the Emergency Bridge Loan Program to assist small business owners, providing more than $220,000 to 18 businesses. They had checks out the door in just four days.
North Sioux City has experienced impressive growth over the last several years, driven largely by globally recognized companies like FIMCO Industries, Royal Canin, Wytec and Sterling Computers.
For photos of the day’s events and award presentations, visit GOED’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SDGOED and search for the album, “Spring Conference 2021.”