May’s Board Member Spotlight is on Dean Dziedzic, Vice President of Economic Development, Sioux Falls Development Foundation
Saturday, May 01, 2021
Greetings Mid America EDC Members!
We hope that you were able to join us for our Virtual Best Practices Conference last week. If you want to re-visit any of the sessions, you can do so via the Whova Website - https://whova.com/portal/webapp/mebpc_202105/Agenda
Our current Mid America EDC Board President, Dean Dziedzic welcomed us at the conference. Outside of leading Mid America EDC, he’s a pretty busy economic developer in Sioux Falls, SD. We hope you enjoy getting to know Dean and hearing about his experiences.
Q.1 Tell us about yourself! How long have you been on the Mid-America EDC board?
I have served on the Mid-America board since 2015. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself and treasure all the friendships along the way. My economic development career started in 2009 at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. It must have been my mid-life crises moment because prior to that I spent my entire career in financial services. I vividly recall my first interview, prior to getting started I felt compelled to be totally transparent. I let them know that if they were looking for someone with economic development experience, then I am not your guy. Fortunately, that did not disqualify me, and the interview went on and things worked out well. I have learned that economic development is not rocket science and for the most part is relationship building, facilitating and strong partnerships at the state and local levels. On the personal side, I have been blessed to have spent the last 30 years with my best friend that just happens to be my wife. We have three wonderful children and two grandchildren, with two more on the way. For those of you not at this stage in life, trust me…. grandkids are the best!
Q.2 What are you working on daily, weekly, & monthly at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation?
As Vice President of Economic Development, I oversee our business retention, expansion, and recruitment programs. We have a Director that does an excellent job carrying out business retention and expansion, along with many other tasks at the local level. My focus and time are spent primarily on recruitment and attraction outside of South Dakota. I have the flexibility to budget, market and promote the organization to achieve the desired results. I am responsible for our key industries and making sure we are effectively marketing those to companies and site consultants across the country. In normal times it is not unusual to be doing multiple conferences or site selector forums to strategically promote Sioux Falls. The Development Foundation is unique in a sense that it owns a large amount of industrial park land. Over the last 40 years we have developed ten industrial parks that employ over 13,000 people. Controlling the ground in greenfield site projects is a key advantage. We have the flexibility to incentivize projects that we really want. Much of my time is spent in land development, whether it is working with local engineering, prospects, and companies or simply responding to RFI’s.
Q.3 You’re experienced with large scale industrial park development. Can you tell us more about your mega industrial park, “Foundation Park”. How did it start, how long did it take to get the park to market, how long did it take for businesses to take interest in the park and purchase land?
Foundation Park is our tenth and most recent industrial park in Sioux Falls. In our region it would qualify as a “mega site”, which is totally different than any other park we have developed. It represents 900 acres with Class 1 BNSF rail bisecting the park. In addition, it has the advantage of being located at the quadrant of two major interstates, I-29, and I-90. We announced Foundation Park in June of 2015, it involved the acquisition of land from seven different landowners at the time. We landed our anchor tenant for the park in May of 2017. Win Chill, Inc. acquired 54 acres for a cold storage facility. Phase I represented 205,000 sf., a year later they added phase II for another 125,000 sf and they are currently working on phase III which represents an additional 125,000 sf. Win Chill really was that first domino that kicked off much of the needed infrastructure to launch the park. Since then, we have added four more tenants to the park, with the most recent being an Amazon fulfillment center on 80 acres and 2.6 million sf. Shortly after the Amazon announcement we landed yet another record setting deal with CJ Foods/Schwans. CJ acquired 140 acres and will be building a 700,000 sf. Asian food processing facility, which will be the most automated food processing facility in North America. Overall, Foundation Park has been a huge success and we are doing our best to keep up with demand and continue building infrastructure.
Q.4 You’re an avid runner. Any comparisons between running and economic development?
Around that time of my mid-life crises, I needed to lose some weight and decided to settle on running. First couple times out the door I would make it a few blocks; not being deterred I kept at it. I eventually built up to a 5k, then a 10k, then a half-marathon, and a full marathon in 2007. In total I have completed 30 marathons and a 50-mile race at the age of 50 to cross off a bucket list item. Running allows me to unhook, prioritize and reflect. There tends to be many parallels between running and economic development. Economic development is a marathon, it is not a sprint. This was my toughest lesson when I started in this profession, you simply need to stay in the game and try to outlast your competition. To perform your best in any road race you must put in the time as it relates to training. In the world of economic development, we do many small things daily that may seem inconsequential at the time but may pay dividends down the road. In the world of marathoning you can only run two or three races in a year. In the world of economic development, you may only ring the bell and land a few projects each year. Morale of the story is that you need to celebrate each win no matter how big or small. In addition, keep in mind that you are improving daily whether you realize it or not if you put in the time and effort.
Feel free to reach out to Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org or (605) 988-4259.
Category: Board of Directors