Walsh is Spirit of Sioux Falls Award winner

Tom Walsh, Sr., well known as president of Dakota King and GreatLIFE, was presented with the 2016 Spirit of Sioux Falls Award during a special ceremony at the Sioux Falls Development Foundation annual meeting, Thursday, November 17, 2016. The award recognizes leadership excellence and dedication to the Sioux Falls business community and its economic growth.


Development Foundation president Slater Barr led the annual meeting, which featured a report from SFDF Board of Directors chairman Dale Froehlich and an update on growth in the Sioux Falls area during 2016. In addition to presenting Walsh with the Spirit of Sioux Falls Award, the Development Foundation president named the 2016 winners of the Spirit of Sioux Falls Scholarships, Cameron Burgard, a management information systems major at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management; Andrea Carstensen, majoring in business administration and computer information systems at Augustana University; Britt Jacobsen, a journalism and business administration major at Augustana University, and Payton Larsen, majoring in finance at the University of South Dakota.


Following graduation from Augustana College, Tom Walsh was a Vista volunteer and worked as a counselor, probation office and program coordinator for the Minnehaha County Juvenile Court System. In 1975, Walsh opened the first Burger King restaurant in South Dakota, developing over 50 Burger King restaurants in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin since then. During his tenure as president, Dakota King restaurants earned awards for operational excellence and community and local store marketing, among many others.


In 2013, Walsh partnered with Malaska GreatLIFE, based in Kansas, sharing a mission to enrich the lives of families and individuals through golf, fitness and healthy lifestyles. The enterprise has grown rapidly, now with over 10,000 memberships at regional golf courses, bowling alleys and state-of-the-art fitness centers.


Walsh is well known for his compassion for children, expressed through a variety of humanitarian efforts. He founded the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation in 2002 to provide medical, educational and humanitarian assistance to children and families in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Under his leadership, South Dakota’s Make-A-Wish Foundation became the #5 Chapter in the United States. Walsh was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2009.


“Tom Walsh’s commitment to Sioux Falls, as a corporate citizen and a friend of economic growth, has consistently made this a better place to live and work,” Froehlich said. “The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is proud to honor Tom for his many contributions to our community.”




For further information, contact Slater Barr, Sioux Falls Development Foundation president, at 339-0103 or email  

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