What makes Brookings so special?
By Kristi Larsen, BEDC Marketing Director

I think if you ask every Brookings resident, you will get a slightly different answer. That is because every person who lives here has his or her own opinion of what they value most. From where we live and work to what we like to do in our spare time, all the features of Brookings are part of our recipe for a high-quality, unique and vibrant community. The “special” happens when we collaborate as a community to determine our goals, and work together to accomplish them.

Here at Brookings Economic Development Corporation, our mission is to build the economy that will support that vision of Brookings. Throughout 2017, we will be writing a weekly blog to talk about what we are doing each day to grow and develop our community.

First of all, let’s introduce our staff.

Al Heuton, Executive Director – the ringleader of the bunch! Al has been leading economic development efforts for the Brookings area since 2005. In addition to overseeing all aspects of our organization and the Vision Brookings private sector investment program, he focuses on business recruitment and expansion efforts.

Kristi Larsen, Marketing Director – I have been with BEDC since May of 2012. My responsibilities include retail business recruitment, office administration and accounting as well as marketing and promoting Brookings and BEDC.

Lindsie Bartley, SDEC Campus Director – Lindsie was hired in July of 2014 to head the South Dakota Education Campus at Brookings. SDEC was created to provide workforce education and training services for Brookings area businesses.

Jennifer Quail, Director of Entrepreneur Support – Jennifer has been with BEDC since March of 2016. She provides support and services to local entrepreneurs and start-up businesses as well as overseeing the Brookings Area Makerspace, a community workshop for innovation and product development.

Stacy Aesoph, Director of Workforce Development – Stacy started her role with BEDC in April of 2016. She focuses on creating awareness of career opportunities in the Brookings region and implementing workforce recruitment and retention strategies.

The projects we are involved in on a daily basis are all designed to positively affect the economy of the Brookings region. Our community roadmap, or recipe, includes five main components that guide our efforts:

1. Smart and Balanced Growth – Grow the community through responsible, informed decision-making.

2. Economic Prosperity – Create household, business and community wealth.

3. Competitive Business Environment – Assemble the resources and amenities that will allow businesses to flourish.

4. High Quality Community – Create an environment to establish the community as a people destination.

5. High Performance Community – Be a role model for other communities.

Consider what we have accomplished over the last ten years as the result of our community collaboration efforts – new and expanding businesses, population growth, housing developments, new amenities, new schools, expansions at SDSU, and so much more!

But one thing is constant in the lifecycle of a community – change. We need to stick to our proven recipe and take advantage of opportunities as they come along. We are looking forward to sharing with you what BEDC is doing to help ensure a strong and prosperous future for the Brookings region. More importantly, we look forward to continuing our partnership with all of you to create that special place we call home.

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