Gov. Daugaard Announces Economic Development Awards at 2017 Annual Conference

27 Apr 2017

Awards and Recognition


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Economic development professionals from across South Dakota gathered in Sioux Falls today ‘Gearing Up for Success’ during the annual Governor’s Economic Development Conference.

During the reception and awards banquet, Gov. Dennis Daugaard recognized two individuals and one community for achievements and contributions to economic development in South Dakota. Among the award recipients were Carol Rae of Rapid City, Rodney Fouberg of Aberdeen and the community of Fort Pierre.

The first award, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, was presented to Carol Rae, founder, board chairwoman and CEO, of ImmutriX Therapeutics, Inc., in Rapid City. The company also leases laboratory facilities in Sioux Falls. Created in 2013, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes a South Dakotan who dreams big and isn’t afraid to take risks to follow that dream. ImmutriX has developed a medical device to remove toxins resulting from medical treatments, drug overdoses or other conditions. Currently there is no method of treatment for some of these conditions.

“As the bioscience and biotechnology industries continue to grow in South Dakota, we’re fortunate to have a company like ImmutriX doing cutting edge research and bringing novel medical treatments to the market,” said Gov. Daugaard. “We’re even more fortunate to have a serial entrepreneur like Carol Rae, who not only is a leader in science but a role model to young girls and women in South Dakota.”

Gov. Daugaard also recognized the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Entrepreneurs in Residence for mentoring and supporting the Giant Vision Business Competition. In recent years, the Entrepreneurs in Residence, made up of 30 successful entrepreneurs and businesses people, have voluntarily mentored the Giant Vision winning teams. They continue to support these entrepreneurs as they grow their business ventures in South Dakota.

The second award, the Excellence in Economic Development Award, honors the dedication and commitment of eight South Dakotans, including Gov. George S. Mickelson, who lost their lives in 1993 when their plane crashed returning home from an economic development trip. The award is presented annually at the conference, and this year’s award was presented to Rodney Fouberg.

Fouberg was nominated for his lifetime achievements in economic development. His experience and involvement can be appreciated throughout the Aberdeen community, including time served on several boards, the downtown revitalization project and the affordable housing effort, called “Homes Are Possible, Inc.,” or HAPI.

“Economic development isn’t just about business retention and recruitment, and it’s not just about job creation and housing development, either. Economic development is much more involved than that,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Economic development means laying the groundwork for a community to thrive, by developing education programs that will provide new opportunities and investing in our future workforce through programs like Junior Achievement and BIG IDEA. Rod’s involvement in the community and his voluntary efforts in economic development reach beyond the Aberdeen community, and are felt across the state. For those reasons and many more, I couldn’t think of a better steward of economic development than Rodney Fouberg.”

Finally, the governor recognized Fort Pierre as the 2017 South Dakota Community of the Year.

“Fort Pierre has undergone some of the biggest transformations the community has seen in a long time,” said Gov. Daugaard. “From a new elementary school building to a new hotel, My Place, to a new riverfront restaurant and event space called Drifters Bar & Grille, community leaders in Fort Pierre have set out to revitalize one of South Dakota’s oldest settlements. While there’s still work to be done, Fort Pierre’s visionaries have successfully begun to modernize their community while maintaining its western rural charm.”

Editor’s Note: For photos of the award presentations and other photos taken from today’s conference, go to GOED’s Facebook page, To request high resolution, electronic copies of the photos, please contact Natalie Likness, GOED media relations coordinator, at or 605-773-GOED (4633).

CONTACT: Natalie Likness, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, 605.773.GOED (4633)