Sioux Metro Growth Alliance announces award recipients for economic development

Sioux Metro Growth Alliance
Sioux Metro Growth Alliance(Dakota News Now)
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 11:37 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Sioux Metro Growth Alliance recognizes the accomplishments of businesses, people, and communities every year with awards such as Business Partners of the Year, Community Innovation, and Regional Economic Development Champion.

Salem, SD, DGR Engineering, and Mike Geraets of Dell Rapids, SD, were honored at Wednesday’s Sioux Metro Growth Alliance (SMGA) annual meeting with a Partner in Progress award, according to a press release from SMGA.

Honored for Community Innovation was the City of Salem. The Community Innovation award is granted to a member community that has demonstrated successful new ideas in community development or achieved a community goal through partnership and community effort.

Salem Mayor Glenda Blindert, Jeremy Grady of First Dakota National Bank, and Lori Heumiller all accepted awards on behalf of the community of Salem.

In less than one year, after devastating losses to the community from the 2022 derecho, the Salem community rebuilt a local Economic Development Corporation, rallied together in fundraising nearly $250,000 for local economic development work, and launched an industrial park, and already has future housing plans in the works.

“The work of the Salem community over the past year is awe-inspiring,” said SMGA president and CEO Jesse Fonkert. “We are proud to partner with Salem to support their efforts, and really look forward to their continued growth trajectory.”

The SMGA put together a video for this award, which can be viewed here.

Business awarded Partner of the Year

This year’s Business Partner of the Year award was presented to DGR Engineering. DGR Engineering continues long-standing relationships with many members in the Sioux Metro communities, including Dell Rapids, Salem, and Crooks. DGR’s approach to partnership and community involvement in the towns they work in is something that shines in the work they do.

“They’re at every one of our council meetings talking the project, talking future projects, talking about the project that’s going on. They’re always just a wealth of information and communication,” shared Lori Heumiller, City Administrator in Salem, SD.

DGR Engineering’s longstanding relationship with the City of Dell Rapids is notable as well, with projects ranging from critical infrastructure and city maintenance to economic development and future planning.

“One of the individuals we work with is Lance Mayor, and he strives for perfection in his planning and his specifications,” shared Justin Weiland, Dell Rapids City Administrator.

The Business Partner of the Year award is awarded to a company, enterprise, or entrepreneur doing business in the SMGA region that has shown outstanding community development support or regional economic development partnership activity during the preceding year.

The SMGA put together a video for this award, which can be viewed here.

Individual recognized for community economic development

The final award of the evening was presented to Mike Geraets, a long-time Dell Rapids, SD resident. This honor is awarded to an individual living in or working in our region that has shown active support for community development through recent or cumulative past service to economic development and community enhancement.

Mike has earned a reputation for his solution-oriented approach to community challenges, his servant leadership, and positive perspectives. As one of the city’s biggest advocates, Mike served in the City Council, Economic Development Corporation, as well as supporting other area of growth through organizations like SMGA.

“We need more people like Mike Geraets in public service,” Fonkert said. “He’s the first to volunteer when something needs to be done and a true advocate for growth and process, not just in Dell Rapids but in our broader region. We’re thankful for his genuine care for his community and the broader Sioux Metro area.”

The SMGA put together a video for this award, which can be viewed here.