This is a paid piece from the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance.

Simplified: The team at the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance is growing once again. Meet Lisa Zens, the newest member, whose focus will be on helping manage and attract growth in the communities of Harrisburg and Worthing.

Why it matters

  • Lincoln County is the fastest-growing county in the state, and both Harrisburg and Worthing are contributing to that growth.
  • Zens has years of experience working in the economic development space, and she said she's looking forward to building relationships that help bring more industrial businesses, more housing, more value-added agriculture and more resources for Harrisburg and Worthing residents.
  • Zens new role is also the latest example of the growth in capacity the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance has seen in recent years.
"As our team grows, so too does our ability to help grow the Sioux Metro," said Jesse Fonkert, president and CEO of SMGA. "Lisa brings years of experience in building relationships, building capital and building community, and we're excited to welcome her to this new role."

What folks in Harrisburg and Worthing are saying

City and economic development officials in both towns are excited to see Zens in her new role.

"Lisa’s energy and experience in economic development combined with her passion for building relationships and serving the business sector in multiple capacities make her a tremendous asset," said Adam Walsh, co-chair of the Harrisburg Economic Development Corporation.

Walsh added that with Zens' help, his team will be able to hit the ground running in strategic planning and focusing on the Heart of Harrisburg initiative.

Worthing Mayor Crystal Jacobson said she and other residents are looking forward to welcoming Zens into their community.

"Lisa has a vast range of knowledge that we know she will use to help expand our community," Jacobson said.

Q&A: Meet Lisa Zens

Answers are edited for length and clarity. All answers are from Zens.

What's your background? I'm originally from Sioux Falls and a Washington High School gradate. I spent several years working in Redfield in various roles focused on economic development, and I've also worked with the Governor's Office of Economic Development and Ag Resource Management.

What are you bringing to this role? I wanted to be back in economic development, and I feel like I bring resources in knowing the state programs. I know every resource we can utilize.

Why is this work important? Because of the way we are growing. I think we are a hot spot – we have great taxes, we're a friendly community. Economic development is just so important. Everything puts value back into the community.

What are you most excited about in your new role? Getting to know people in the Sioux Falls area. In Redfield, I was known everywhere. I miss that, so it'll be nice just being more involved again.

What do you do when you're not doing economic development? I have six children and four grandchildren (with another on the way!), so that takes up a lot of my time. My husband and I are also huge Harley fans, so we often do fundraising poker runs and travel to the Hills.