Vision Brookings driving force behind city’s success

Best MicropolitanA research report on the economy of the American Heartland has identified Brookings as one of five communities outperforming the nation and most micropolitan (population between 10,000 and 50,000) areas on the Coasts.

The Walton Family Foundation works to promote economic vitality in the Heartland by taking a data-driven approach to identifying the tools needed for a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem. “Micropolitan Success Stories from the Heartland” by Walton Fellow Ross DeVol selected Brookings because of seven key ingredients that attribute to its strong economic growth:

  • Universities and Research Institutions
  • Community Colleges and Workforce Development
  • Entrepreneurial Awareness, Support, and Access to Early-Stage Risk Capital
  • Diversified and Thoughtful Strategic Economic Development Planning
  • Manufacturing, Logistics/Supply Chain, and Foreign Direct Investment
  • Technology, Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  • Quality of Place

The study recognizes the collaborative strategy of Vision Brookings as key to the community’s prosperity. “Our economic development plan involves identifying unique assets and building on these to further grow the economy,” said Al Heuton, executive director of Brookings Economic Development Corporation. “Vision Brookings has been instrumental in using these resources to facilitate entrepreneurship support and business development.”

In addition to recognizing the many accolades Brookings has received, the report calls out quality of place features such as the Children’s Museum, the South Dakota Art Museum and Brookings Health System. Biomedical research company Medgene Labs and entrepreneurial company Hitch Studio are referenced as examples of successful business ventures. Manufacturing companies Daktronics, Counterpart and Falcon Plastics are identified as playing a major role in driving the economic climate of Brookings as is SDSU, the Research Park and the community’s entrepreneurial mindset.

“We need to continue to utilize the area’s strengths to remain successful,” said Heuton. “Being proactive and executing the strategic plan for Brookings will be crucial to ensuring our ability to overcome the challenges we face as a rural, midwestern community.”

The other four communities identified in the study are Findlay, Ohio; Oxford, Mississippi; Jasper, Indiana; and Ardmore, Oklahoma. For more information and the complete report, click here.

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