Efforts to help community growth in Sioux Falls started in 1987 and continues to this day. Forward Sioux Falls is a collaborative effort between the Chamber of Commerce and the Development Foundation to make the city a better place.
"The idea was to put together an organization whose primary focus was growing the economy of Sioux Falls. Helping local businesses grow and attracting new businesses to our community, which are the two things the Chamber and Development Foundation do best," SDN Communications CEO Mark Shlanta said.
Shlanta serves as the chair of this joint venture. He says that each campaign from the beginning was split into five year segments so they could each have their own purpose.
"Different campaigns along the way have had different themes, maybe different focuses, but one common tenant throughout all them has been workforce," Shlanta said.
The latest campaign started in 2011, and since then, 7,000 new jobs were created in the city. They are currently on track to surpass the goal of 10,000 new employment opportunities. The group has also exceeded their fundraising goals, raising $12 million for this campaign that started on the heels of a difficult recession.
There were other challenges along the way as well.
"We were uncertain of our national marketing campaign and how much benefit we would get from that. I would argue that we're getting tremendous benefits. You're seeing articles about Sioux Falls and South Dakota show up in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, being heard in the national press," Shlanta said.
That national push is music to the group's ears because it only means more growth for the City. Even though they are halfway through their sixth campaign, they are already planning ahead for campaign number seven.
"It's hard to say what that next new idea will be, but as we work through the planning process, it will bubble up to the surface," Shlanta said.
One of the unique goals of this campaign is expanding air travel opportunities at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport. Shlanta says as more airlines decide to use the space, more people will find their way to the area.