Early career spotlight: Emerging engineer earned debt-free education thanks to Build Dakota

Alex Deeter’s career started in a fourth grade classroom. Then he decided to learn something new himself and enter an entirely new career field – civil engineering and land surveying.

A Nebraska native and Concordia University graduate, he moved to Sioux Falls after graduation to teach at Sioux Falls Lutheran School. While he liked kids and teaching, his summer job in construction also held appeal.

“My grandpa was a contractor, so I was always around the construction industry and that ultimately pulled me away from teaching,” he said. “My dad is a teacher. He teachers physics and chemistry, so I like that too, which is partially why I like civil engineering. There’s a lot of math and physics involved. So land surveying is kind of a perfect match. I get to be outside when it’s nice or inside using my math background and be connected to the construction side of things.”


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Executive profile: For Public Works leader, building a career has meant building a city

In one moment, as a kid, Mark Cotter made a choice that led to a career.

One of his five siblings brought home a book of college majors, and as a young Cotter flipped through it, he made an instant decision.

“It said roads, bridges, pipelines,” he said. “And I told my sister, ‘That’s exactly what I want to do.’ And I went into civil engineering. It was honestly that simple. I went to college and never looked back.”

Growing up on a farm outside Chester, S.D., he had been inspired by what he saw happening around him.

“When you grow up in the country, you’re watching your neighbors work the fields, combine, harvest and you’re around a lot of large equipment. And I was drawn to it and wanted to find a way to still be in it,” he said.


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From sixth graders to chemical engineers: Workforce development STEM program connects kids with careers

Call this a formula for workforce development success: The Sioux Falls Development Foundation and POET teamed up recently to provide a memorable lesson for Brandon Valley sixth graders.

The program included a lesson on POET itself, the careers available there and a hands-on activity that introduced concepts of chemical engineering.

“It’s an excellent way to get kids exposed to careers and opportunities out there and tie that to what they’re doing in school,” said Bob Mundt, Development Foundation president and CEO, who rolled up his sleeves and helped students through the hands-on activity.

“I was amazed how the kids took to it and took to their roles and responsibilities,” he said. “This is early-stage workforce development – it’s not for next week – but five to 10 years from now, we’re still going to need them entering fields like this.”


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Mid-career spotlight: Architect charts successful career, finds personal fulfillment in Sioux Falls

Michelle Klobassa was looking to spread her wings, as the saying goes.

It took the North Dakota native to Montana as a recent high school graduate, where an accelerated architecture program at Montana State University prepared her for a career.

“After I got my master’s degree, I realized I really wanted to get back closer to family, and I had one of my sisters living in Sioux Falls,” Klobassa said. “She was a teacher, and she said, ‘Why don’t you think about living in Sioux Falls?’ So I did.”

She was 23, and found a job as an architectural graduate with a small group of architects, “which was a great blessing to me, and I had a great mentor who was an amazing boss,” she said.

A few years later, in 2007, her firm was acquired by TSP – a multi-state full-service firm based in Sioux Falls offering engineering, architecture, planning and interior design services.


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Early career spotlight: Marketer impacts success of Sioux Falls businesses, youth

From promoting Sioux Falls to businesses and workers to coordinating groundbreakings and many other duties in between, Megan Jansick is a one-woman marketing operation for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. But what distinguishes Jansick’s impact is her passion for improving the community that she’s come to call home.

Originally from Rapid City, Jansick planted roots in Sioux Falls in 2012.

“I am not originally from here, but I certainly have grown to adore this community. As many have referred to it before, it really is a hidden gem,” she said.


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First Recruitment Council meeting of 2020 presents HR trends

The new decade is here, and with that, experts in all fields, including business and human resources, are making projections and predictions for what’s to come in 2020 and beyond. Accordingly, the first meeting in 2020 of the Recruitment Council, hosted by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, presented a variety of HR trends for businesses to boost talent attraction and retention efforts in the new decade.

From the use of HR chatbots and other data-driven HR platforms to talent incentives and employer branding, the best practices that shape workforce development are the unifying themes that call together the Recruitment Council on a quarterly basis each year.

Led by Brad Schoenfelder, senior executive director of shared services for Sanford Health, and Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, nearly 85 members of the Recruitment Council registered for the event on Feb. 27 at the Sanford Research Center.


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