A community with momentum

Editor’s Note: After 18 years as Workforce Development Director for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Mary Medema retired as of July 31. We wish her good health and fulfillment in her retirement, and thank her for her years of service. Prior to her retirement, she penned the article below with her reflections.



MOMENTUM was the theme for the Forward Sioux Falls 2021 campaign that recently achieved its fundraising goal of $15.5 million to fuel economic prosperity over the next five years. Having been involved in four of the previous six Forward Sioux Falls campaigns and programs—all of which had a unique theme—Momentum is my personal favorite.


Merriam-Webster defines momentum as “the strength or force that allows something to continue to grow stronger or faster as time passes.” Granted, that is only one of the definitions for this word offered up in the dictionary, but it is a powerful one. It made me wonder if since it is always a challenge to describe Sioux Falls to those unfamiliar with us, why not continue the campaign theme and describe ourselves as a COMMUNITY with MOMENTUM.


Of course we may further choose to add some facts about….

·         Our robust economy and job growth

·         The creative people and growing cultural offerings here

·         The impressive amenities adding to recreation and entertainment options

·         The passionate leaders, staff and volunteers that provide services in both the public and private sector

·         The rich education and training offerings at every level that prepare our students for success in life and work


Or consider Sioux Falls a Community with Momentum because of…

·         Those committed to expanding housing for our growing population

·         Those who keep us safe

·         Those who fix what is broken

·         Those who make or deliver goods for their customers

·         Those who keep the focus on forward progress and new and better opportunities


Throughout the past 18 years in the role of Director of Workforce Development, I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of passionate and Sioux Falls-centric people who fall into one or more of the categories listed above. It has truly been an honor and a privilege to work with them.


The population grew by nearly 56,000 and the workforce more than 40,000 during those years. The numbers are impressive but it will never just be about the numbers for me. It is about the incredible opportunities for careers and quality of living for every individual who chooses to call Sioux Falls home. There will be no shortage of new or renewed opportunities for those who lead or work on workforce initiatives in the future. I wish them well and expect that they too will enjoy carrying out additional strategies and being on the front lines.


Thank you for working with me to prepare and grow the workforce of tomorrow.


By Mary Medema, Workforce Development Director

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