Press Release

Gov. Daugaard Announces Economic Development Awards at 2016 Annual Conference

April 13, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) rolled out its own version of a red carpet at this year’s annual conference, which was held today in Sioux Falls.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard recognized two individuals and one community for achievements and contributions to economic development in South Dakota. Among the award recipients were Sean Coffman of Sioux Falls, Ralph Hanson (posthumously) of Pollock and the community of Britton.
The first award, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, was presented to Sean Coffman, founder of Carsforsale.com in Sioux Falls. This award recognizes an exceptional business person who takes big risks to follow their dreams, and that’s just what Coffman did when he began his business in 1999. Since then, the company has grown to more than 170 employees and lists more than two million vehicles for sale nationwide.

“Since its inception, Carsforsale.com has seen incredible growth,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Carsforsale.com soon plans to begin construction on its new corporate campus right here in Sioux Falls. It’s a great honor to recognize Sean for his giant vision and innovative spirit,” Gov. Daugaard added.

The second award, the ExcelleRalph-Hanson.jpgnce in Economic Development Award, honors the dedication and commitment of eight South Dakotans, including Gov. George S. Mickelson, who lost their lives when returning home from an economic development event in 1993.The award is presented annually at the conference. Ralph Hanson was honored with this year’s award. Sadly, Hanson died in January.

“While we can’t share this honor with Ralph in person, we can share it in spirit, with his family, and tonight we honor the legacy he left behind in his community and region,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Ralph has a long list of achievements, including his first big economic development project, recruiting PIC (Pig Improvement Company) to Campbell County. Located southeast of Mound City, it employs 55 people—that’s seven percent of Campbell County’s total labor force.

“Ralph was a positive, supportive force in northeast South Dakota and his good nature and positive attitude helped create an atmosphere of camaraderie among all the rural counties,” said Gov. Daugaard. Hanson’s wife Darlene and his son Arnie accepted the 2016 Economic Development Award on his behalf.

Finally, the governor recognized Britton as the 2016 South Dakota Community of the Year.2016CommOfYrBritton-(1).jpg

“Britton is an example of a community that’s put its experience, expertise, enthusiasm and its pocketbooks to good use for improvement of their economy and quality of life,” said Gov. Daugaard. “What once were ideas have turned into realities thanks to the collaborative efforts between economic development professionals, volunteers and local citizens,” Gov. Daugaard added.

“Collaborative efforts and leadership are keys to sustainability, progressive growth and success. That’s why Britton is more than deserving to be named this year’s Community of the Year,” Gov. Daugaard concluded.

Editor’s Note: For photos of the award presentations and other photos taken from today’s conference, please visit GOED’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SDGOED. To request high resolution, electronic copies of the photos, please contact Natalie Likness, GOED media relations coordinator, at natalie.likness@state.sd.us or 605-773-3301.


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Natalie Likness

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