Dakota Resources’ Learning Network Honors 2023 Award Winners

At Dakota Resources’ Learning Network Gathering Awards Banquet in Brookings, SD, held on November 2, 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.

Like all past award winners, this year’s recipients demonstrate the best of the work that rural shapers do, and the finest of what Dakota Resources seeks to recognize through these awards.

Learning Network 2023 award winners received their awards at our Entrepreneur Support Systems gathering on November 2, 2023. Pictured left to right, Cole Anderson, Platte City Council, Elected Official Award; Amanda Anglin, Sturgis Economic Development Corporation, Mentor Award; Cyndy Larson, Larry Vietmeier, and Julie Lillis, Columbia Community Foundation, Community Innovation Prize.

Columbia Community Foundation honored with Community Innovation Prize

This year’s Community Innovation Prize was awarded to the Columbia Community Foundation for the way this community engaged more voices and empowered residents of all ages to become part of the solution. The award is open to communities who’ve partnered with Dakota Resources in the Learning Network or in the Community Coaching programs within the past year. 

On behalf of the community of Columbia, South Dakota, the Columbia Community Foundation has raised more than $850,000 to continue to support community growth. Throughout the past year, more than 30 volunteers joined six different committees, all of whom worked together on various initiatives to help Columbia thrive. Volunteers capitalized on momentum from a new baseball complex in town and raised additional funds for future community projects, including housing initiatives. In addition, Columbia has celebrated new ownership for the local bar/cafe, the arrival of a new daycare provider in town, and a successful inaugural Columbia Fest, a yearly celebration to highlight all things Columbia.

“Winning the Community Innovation Prize assures us that Columbia will continue to have the coaching expertise of Paula Jensen of Dakota Resources for the next year,” said Cyndy Larason, a long-time Columbia resident and business owner. “Paula has been an invaluable help to our community by leading visioning sessions that helped those in the community see all of the possibilities out there to make Columbia a thriving community once again.”

Learn more about Columbia’s community work here.

Learning Network Mentor Award celebrates Amanda Anglin

Next, the Learning Network Mentor Award for 2023 was given to Amanda Anglin, Executive Director of the Sturgis Economic Development Corporation, in recognition for Amanda’s ability to balance her family and friendships with her personal and community-focused core values.

As Krista Atyeo-Gortmaker, last year’s Mentor Award winner, stated in her nomination of Anglin, the work that’s done on behalf of rural communities is sometimes overlooked, but Amanda’s willingness to listen in order to understand makes her a valuable leader in the Sturgis community who’s deserving of recognition.

“There are people we call ‘lifers’ in this work, and then there are people that make this work their ‘life,’ and Amanda has become one of the few that have survived several seasons in economic development,” Atyeo-Gortmaker said. “With that comes vast knowledge of the governments and politics we see in advancing our own unique communities. Amanda is a constant friend in the business and a future partner in the creation of community.”

In response to receiving the award, Anglin shared how humbled she feels to be honored.

“I really try to do the best I can with the resources at hand and contribute positively wherever possible,” Anglin said. “Dakota Resources has been instrumental in my professional journey, providing numerous opportunities for growth and learning. I am grateful for the chance to be part of such a remarkable organization and for the positive influence it has had on my professional life.”

Platte City Councilman granted Learning Network Elected Official Award

Finally, the 2023 recipient of the Learning Network Elected Official Award honored Platte City Councilman, business owner, and Platte Development Corporation board member, Cole Anderson. 

In her nomination of Councilman Anderson, Colette Mesman described Anderson as a person who has a heart for the community of Platte. As a business owner, Anderson’s dedicated to drawing people into the community by hosting events, such as puzzle tournaments. In his work on the board of directors for the Platte Development Corporation and his role as a city councilman, Anderson has been a driving force in restoring Lake Platte, what was once a beautiful amenity and tourist attraction, after the dam was compromised in 2019. While the work hasn’t been easy due to regulatory limitations, Anderson worked with the Platte Development Corporation to raise necessary funds in less than 30 days to complete phase one of the project. Because of the work of Anderson and others, Mesman says, Lake Platte will be a beautiful recreational destination once again.

Overall, community members in Platte are grateful for Anderson’s dedication to ensuring that the community he calls home is able to thrive.

“Cole Anderson has supported the Platte community by being a business owner, volunteering on various boards and the city council,” Mesman said. “He makes decisions every day that impact our community. The outward leadership he portrays produces results in not only supporting economic development, but in advancing it. He is a true asset to our community.”

TAKE ACTION: Please join us in congratulating this year’s award winners! Leave a message of congratulations for our 2023 honorees on any of Dakota Resources’ social media profiles, linked here: Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn

Published On: November 6, 2023Categories: News & Notes

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!