This is a paid piece from the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance.
Simplified: Tyler Tordsen is the new president and CEO of the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance, the state's largest regional nonprofit economic development organization. He sat down with Sioux Falls Simplified to talk about his top priorities to help bring more people and more businesses to the metro.
Why it matters
- The Sioux Metro Growth Alliance (SMGA) has been serving the region for more than 30 years – previously under the names Minnehaha County and Lincoln County Economic Development Associations.
- The mission of SMGA is to empower communities to grow, which is accomplished by connecting community leaders to resources to help them develop infrastructure, attract businesses and collaborate with others in their same position.
- Tordsen is bringing both state and federal expertise to SMGA. A lifelong South Dakotan, he most recently worked as the southeast regional director for Sen. Mike Rounds, as well as the state director of tribal affairs. Tordsen is also serving in his first term as a state representative in the South Dakota Legislature.
“Tyler’s experience building teams, connecting resources, and navigating economic policies will be a tremendous asset to SMGA and our members," SMGA Chair Jay Buchholz said.
Q&A: Get to know Tyler Tordsen
Answers are edited for length and clarity.
SMGA is all about growth. What do you see as the biggest opportunities for growth in the region?
Tordsen: I think it's anywhere. All of these communities have something unique to add, their own identity, their own history.
- You hear everybody say it that our state and our region is the best place to live, work and raise a family, and we want to be able to share that with folks who come here.
Being able to have strategic ongoing conversations about managed growth to make sure that we’re working together and thinking with as many perspectives as we can to see the growth that we want to see for our communities, big and small, looking 50 or 100 years out.
What are the biggest challenges to fostering that growth?
A lot of it comes down to that actual, physical infrastructure – in addition to adjacent infrastructure like workforce challenges and some of the childcare challenges that we see.
- A lot of growth tends to come down to, "do you have enough water, enough wastewater, do you have the natural gas hookups you need and what is that usage going to look like?"
Being a little bit more cognizant of what kind of industries we want here, what demands does that require of our infrastructure – that seems to be one of the biggest challenges to overcome regardless of where you look.
As you start this week in your new role, what are your top priorities and early goals?
First and foremost, there's just a lot to learn. My intention the first couple months is to go and fill in the gaps that I don't know or that I haven't been exposed to yet.
- I really want to get to know all of these communities and counties, get to know the people, the leaders, the business owners – listen to them and learn from them.
I also want to share ways that we can be helpful as a resource connector – just working together in a regionalized approach towards growth and quality of life amenities or our communities.
Ultimately, it's about making sure that we continue to build the success of our organization and that we're able to be a storyteller for our members as well.