Garrett Schweitzer is the Market President of Dacotah Bank's locations in Lemmon and Bison. He understands the important role community banks play in rural economic development and takes great pride in helping business owners and farmers and ranchers reach their financial goals. He is active in the community, having served on the Lemmon City Council, Lemmon Area Charitable and Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, West River Cooperative Telephone Company Board of Directors, and Lemmon Country Club Board of Directors. Garrett and his family love the outdoors and enjoy spending time in the vast, rural areas of western South Dakota and other western states.
Ryan is the Sioux Falls Market President for American State Bank. With more than 24 years of experience in the financial services industry, Ryan assumed his current role with the bank in 2018. Prior to American State Bank, he was employed with HSBC/Capital One. He joined HSBC in 1999 as an entry level unit manager. He managed several different departments over the years including customer service and credit bureau disputes. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree from Dakota State University in Madison. He has served as a committee Chair for the Sioux Empire United Way and an 18-year classroom volunteer for Junior Achievement.
With a commitment to both rural and urban communities, Jarrett has carved a unique path in his career, seamlessly blending his educational achievements with hands-on experience across various domains. Jarrett’s educational journey began with a focus on engineering and construction management. While working in project management roles for different contractors across the United States, he realized the importance of complementing his technical expertise with a solid foundation in business. This drove him to pursue an MBA, further enhancing his ability to navigate the complex world of project management and entrepreneurship. After several years of success in the construction industry, Jarrett returned to his roots and joined his family on their farm. Here, he took on a wide variety of responsibilities, including legal, financial, and HR management, among others, demonstrating his versatility and dedication to ensuring the farm’s success. He also spearheaded the expansion of their trucking business, venturing into commercial work, and introduced a custom spray application service, diversifying their agricultural offerings. Beyond farming, Jarrett is an investor and property owner, with multiple apartments and rental properties in the Groton and Aberdeen areas. Since his return to South Dakota, Jarrett has actively participated in initiatives that make a difference. He serves on the board of directors for the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce and Aberdeen Regional Airport.
Serving as the Community Affairs Manager for Black Hills Energy, Lynn is dedicated to fostering strong partnerships and making a positive impact on the community in South Dakota. With over 15 years of professional experience in community building, advocacy, and engagement, Lynn’s journey began with the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce and later with the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority. Her involvement in policymaking at the state level and her active participation in local and statewide election campaigns reflect her passion for driving positive change. Prior to her career in community affairs, Lynn served in the United States Air Force for a decade in the Munitions Systems career field, stationed at Kadena AB, Osan AB, and Ellsworth AFB. Lynn earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science from Black Hills University and her Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Civic Engagement from Claremont Lincoln University. Additionally, she holds the Institute of Organizational Management designation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Lynn is an active member of her community and currently serves on the boards of the Central States Fair, YMCA of the Black Hills, Leadership South Dakota, and the Board of Trustees for Western Dakota Tech. Her dedication to civic service extends to her personal life, where she and her husband are raising two children.
Skya Ducheneaux is deeply rooted in her native heritage and a passion for community development. An enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Skya spent her formative years on a cattle ranch on the CRST Reservation in South Dakota, forging a profound connection to her land and culture. Skya’s educational path led her to earn an MBA in Business Administration, equipping her with the knowledge and skills to make a meaningful impact on her community. Her journey into community development began during her summers interning for the Intertribal Agriculture Council, where she was introduced to the work of Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). With dedication and vision, Skya took on the challenge of creating the first national Native CDFI dedicated to Indian agriculture, successfully launching this groundbreaking initiative in 2019. Her work continues to bridge the gap between finance and agriculture, benefiting Native communities across the nation. While Skya has transitioned to the other side of the agriculture table, her commitment to the land, her people, and her mission remains unwavering.
Attorney, licensed in both Illinois and South Dakota. My practice is primarily business and estate planning. Originally from Lapeer, Michigan. Currently on the Board of Trustees for theBoys & Girls Club of Watertown and Vice-President of the Watertown Rotary Club. As part of my civil service to the community, I am currently the President of the Watertown Municipal Utilities Board and have served as the interim City Attorney for the City of Watertown. Prior to opening my own practice here in Watertown in 2008, I served as General Counsel to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Indian tribe from 2003 to 2007. What I enjoy most about my law practice is helping non-profits and those wanting to start their own businesses and watching them grow and helping them navigate the landscape as they grow and encounter new challenges.
Bryan Breitling’s journey is a testament to his unwavering dedication to serving his community, his state, and his fellow citizens. Born and raised in Roscoe, SD, Bryan’s commitment to making a difference in the lives of others began early in life and has continued to define his career. After completing his military service, Bryan attended Northern State University (NSU) and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting and finance. Bryan later attended the University of Sioux Falls (USF) and graduated with an MBA, with an emphasis on Healthcare Administration. Bryan began his career as the administrator at Storla Sunset Home near Letcher. Subsequently, he took on the role of hospital and nursing home administrator at Bowdle Healthcare Center. For more than 20 years, Bryan dedicated his efforts to Avera Hand County in Miller, where he served as an administrator. During this time, his leadership abilities shone brightly, leading to his eventual appointment as a regional administrator, responsible for overseeing four other rural Avera hospitals. In 2020, Bryan took on a new challenge by entering the world of politics. He ran for public office and secured a position of State Senator from District 23. Now in his second term, Bryan serves as the Vice Chair of Senate Appropriations. Bryan’s commitment to community development is evident in his involvement with On Hand Economic Development, where he initially joined as a member and later became the Chair. During his tenure, On Hand partnered with Dakota Resources on several projects that positively impacted the region. Outside of his professional and political roles, Bryan has a rich history of serving on numerous nonprofit boards, demonstrating his dedication to various causes and organizations that make a difference in people’s lives.
Communities are the foundation of our society, and their strength and success lie in the unity of its members. Yet, often at the heart of so many communities is disunity. As a community coach, I collaborate with rural leaders to build local capacity and engage community members in working on local priorities so their community can thrive. One of the most common topics that comes up as the groups are planning for future outcomes is their desire for unity with other community leaders.
It’s that time of year when we all hear some version of “I can’t believe it’s been a whole year already!” Maybe you’ve heard it a few times today. Maybe you’ve said it. I don’t look at it that way. Instead of measuring how fast the year went by, I like to think about how much. How did we spend our precious time this year? How much of it was on things that matter for rural communities? Where do we want to spend more or less time next year? How can we build habits and systems to make that happen?
It’s been said that dropping a pebble in water creates a ripple effect that emanates outward from the source. At Dakota Resources, we believe the same can be said about cultivating a thriving rural, particularly when a pebble is dropped with intention inside rural towns like Murdo, South Dakota. Last year, the Murdo Development Corp. engaged with Dakota Resources’ Community Coaching program to spark growth and development in the city of Murdo. Dakota Resources’ Kristi Wagner, who serves as the Director of Organizational Relationships and Community Coach, facilitated the Community Coaching process in this rural town, which is home to the Jones County seat in South Dakota.
At Dakota Resources’ Learning Network Gathering Awards Banquet in Brookings, SD, held on November 3, 2023, three honorees received distinguished awards in appreciation for their service to their communities. This annual tradition, which takes place at the Entrepreneur Support Systems Learning Network gathering, allows Dakota Resources to celebrate the innovative work that is happening in rural places across the state.
I spent some valuable time this week doing a bit of data discovery about rural communities. In my search I explored an interactive map showing the percent change in total population from the 2010 to the 2020 Census at both the state and county levels. I first zoomed in to view the South Dakota county-level data – it was a mix of blue (growth) and beige (decline) county blocks spread across the east and west sides of our state. I discovered 33 of 66 counties in South Dakota had positive population growth in the past ten years!
We believe the future of rural exists here, right now, and that it’s up to all of us to shape it, together. In this spirit, Dakota Resources launched our inaugural Annual Giving Campaign in September, with a goal of financially bolstering our programs and our work to empower rural communities. With an initial goal of 100 supporters by the end of 2023, we’re already halfway there, and today, we ask you – our readers, followers, and partners in a thriving rural – to show your support for us.
While conferences and workshops are frequently offered by all types of organizations and industries, opportunities to truly engage with others by sharing success stories and best practices are comparatively rare. Every year since 2018, Dakota Resources’ Learning Network program hosts quarterly events known as Thriverr Gatherings. Although our Thriverr Gatherings share some commonalities with a typical conference or workshop, we’ve spent years designing these events to cultivate regular and consistent collaboration and connection for our members.
It’s harvest time here in rural communities across the Midwest and the nation, and it’s that word “harvest” that rings so true for communities like Hoven, South Dakota. While many think of crops like beans and corn as integral parts of a farmer’s fall harvest, the town of Hoven experiences a harvest each day, with the help of Dakota Resources, as community volunteers work together to reach their potential of creating a thriving rural community.
Success stories are among our favorite tales to tell, and that’s certainly the theme of our work with the Entrepreneur Fund. Like Dakota Resources, Entrepreneur Fund is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that lends capital and provides services in order to diversify the regional and rural economy in northern and central Minnesota and, since 2022, in rural Wisconsin as well. Born out of a need to diversify industry on the Iron Range in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, Entrepreneur Fund was founded with two main priorities: to support entrepreneurs to start and grow small businesses that would create steady incomes for themselves and others, and to renew the entrepreneurial culture in the region.
My short answer is a resounding, "Yes!" Decision making can and, according to my experiences, is best when both intuitive and data driven. Let me share a small-town story about how intuition and data can improve decisions.
Community and economic development work is often complex and can mean many different things. For this reason, Dakota Resources continues to survey our constituents in order to take stock of rural development work in and around South Dakota. In late 2022, Dakota Resources engaged stakeholders in a survey in order to assess the building blocks of a thriving rural community and gather statistics around what economic development organizations throughout the state are doing when it comes to economic development in their service area.
Last week, Dakota Resources launched a new website to better serve rural shapers. The website, which can be found at DakotaResources.org, offers an improved user experience, both on desktop and on mobile, and features a more intuitive navigation menu and pages that are better suited to our work today.
Sara Bartscher ACCOUNTING & COMPLIANCE COORDINATOR Sara Bartscher [...]
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This year at RuralX we explored “Loving Where You Live.” What are the places you love? What does it mean to practice loving where you live?
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This year at RuralX we explored the question “Where do we go from here?” We dove into these topics with our online audience and watch parties throughout rural.