Last week, 25 people sat down with South Dakota Public Broadcasting and heard all kinds of stories about Hand County folks and stories from our area. We heard from kids, adults, and seniors about why they love this community and what makes it so special. We advertised this event in The Miller Press and our Facebook page so if you are upset you didn’t attend, that’s on you.
This week, I had the honor to speak to the newest group of NEW economic development professional’s cohort which is hosted by Dakota Resources. They traveled from Deadwood, Salem, Murdo and Platte and we sat down in Chamberlain to learn about our work together. I was asked to speak to this group as a “veteran” in the Economic Development world… I told them I am no expert and I am learning as I go.
A couple weeks ago, I sat on a panel for a local scholarship and had the opportunity to sit down with Miller High School Seniors to talk about their high school experience and their future. I was very pleased about their answers in how they are involved in our community, their work ethic, and where they see themselves in the “real world.” It was very encouraging to hear that most of them want to be in rural communities and back home someday.
Most readers already know how much passion for Hand County, On Hand Development has. I believe that most leaders in The City of Miller and Hand County share that passion for our community and they back that passion up with the necessary funding. I know that the Board of Directors for On Hand Development has passion for our community because they show up and do the work without any compensation. They volunteer their already limited time because of their passion for Hand County.
It’s hard to believe that I have been at On Hand for three years already. May 6, 2022 marks my official 3-year anniversary date here at On Hand Development. (It’s also my husband’s birthday so it’s a big day at the Beranek home.) This last year has been a wild ride, but I am truly blessed to be sitting in this chair and doing the good work I get to do every day.
Last Thursday night, the City of Miller, the Miller School District, On Hand Development, Miller Civic and Commerce, and Hand County celebrated 2021. This event was open to the public and we invited folks thru the Miller Press and Facebook. This is the official On Hand Development Corporation and Miller Civic and Commerce Annual Meeting. Looking at everything our community has accomplished; we take this opportunity to celebrate together because we have all worked hard together to make things happen in our community. This is also an opportunity for our community to come in and hear what is going on and visit with the leadership from several different entities.
I was visiting with a business owner last week about how business is going. He couldn’t say enough about how awesome our community support is. He went on and on about how wonderful our community is supporting local business but we need to continue to educate on what shopping local really is and what it means for our community. He said that people need to remember that shopping local is about supporting the people who we do life with. His words really stuck with me.
Last week, I was visiting with other Economic Development professionals around the state about our programs here at On Hand Development and they were so surprised in the success of our most significant program, our Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). I decided it might be best to gather some information on our most significant program, and let my community know what kind of impact it has on Hand County and how other communities envy having that option for businesses.
I truly love where we live. Some people have told me that I am the biggest cheerleader for our area and I will always take that as the biggest compliment. When someone asks me where I live, I always smile and say the greatest small town in South Dakota, Miller!
Have you noticed there are a lot of new faces around our area? Have you made an effort to put a name with those faces? I was visiting with a business owner the other day and they said, “I go to the grocery store and I don’t know anyone in there. It’s so awesome to see all those new faces!” Here at On Hand Development, getting those new faces connected to our community is a goal we take seriously.
We hear it all the time, “What was going on at the Center last night? It looked like a huge event. What would we do without that place?” When we drive by there is always something going on there!” And lately, that couldn’t be truer.
I recently visited Austin Texas and their slogan is, “Keep Austin Weird.” We saw this on T Shirts, hats, cups, billboards, business windows, bumper stickers, EVERYWHERE. Keep Austin Weird is the slogan adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote small businesses in Austin, Texas. It is intended to promote local businesses and is inspired by comments made by Red Wassenich in 2000 while giving a pledge to an Austin radio station.
For the last year, I have been participating in the South Dakota Nonprofit Capacity Building Program. This credentialed professional development opportunity is a 15-month training program that involves: 1) Four fundraising courses taught by faculty from The Fundraising School at Indiana University 2) Attainment of CFRE credentials 3) Activities with a statewide cohort of South Dakota fundraising professionals.
I traveled to Pierre this last week to put in sometime relationship building and education for future projects. I visited with a Representative who updated a group of economic development professionals about what is going on in Pierre and he even gave us a look into “behind the scenes” into a few bills.
When we think of back -to-school, we don’t think of Valentine’s Day. Usually, our first thoughts are when summer is about over in August and buying school supplies. 2022 has different plans for Miller School District. This unusual back-to-school season, I want our entire community to pack three school supplies; Patience. Flexibility. Grace. Last week, we got a message from the Miller School District asking to be patient while the school comes up with a plan. Let’s give them that respect.
Since the fall of 2014, Hand County has enjoyed its Community Center. The theme surrounding the Center has been donations and volunteer work. It all began when the Miller School gave the land and the old elementary building complex to On Hand Development Corporation for $1 for the purpose of developing a Community Center. With that gift, the On Hand Board of Directors immediately went to work securing manpower and design teams to turn an old school into a beautiful, functional complex that benefits not only Hand County citizens but surrounding businesses and families.
This is the hardest time of year for our small businesses, there is no better time to emphasize the importance of that simple act, and it really is that simple. Do you have groceries to buy for the week? Buy them from our local grocery store. Do you have Valentines Day presents to get? Buy them from our local businesses. Need cleaning supplies? There are a ton of options locally.
This week, our family is welcoming a new face to our home and our community. His name is Danilo and he is from Brazil. He is so excited to be part of community where everyone knows everyone. Our community has hosted many exchange students over the years and from what I am hearing they always feel welcomed. The whole process really got me thinking on how to make everyone welcome and connected to our community.
At our annual strategic planning session, the On Hand Development Board of Directors, agreed that the number priority for 2022 is to assist our existing businesses in Hand County and help new businesses come to our area. We have always put existing businesses as a top priority, but this year, we are dedicating even a larger portion of our time and resources into your business.
Jim Jones is the newest face to the On Hand Development Corporation Board Of Directors. Jim was appointed by Hand County for the County Commissioner seat at the January 2022 meeting. Jim is taking the seat of Luke Wernsmann who sat on the board for the past seven years.
Happy 2022, Hand County friends! Did you make a New Year’s Resolution this year? Maybe you want to get healthier, go to church more, be more cheerful, donate to more local charities or volunteer more. I challenge you to add something to your New Years Resolution…let’s all try and supporting local MORE in 2022 than we did in 2021!