Diane Andresen to retire at year's end

Diane Andresen, who began her career with the Sioux Falls Development Foundation in 1981 as an administrative assistant, will retire at the end of December. Andresen currently serves as manager of membership and administrative services, handling accounting and office management for the organization she has served for over half its existence in Sioux Falls.



“When I started, it was just president Dave Stenseth, vice president Roger Hainje and me,” Diane remembered. “We shared a small office with the Chamber where the downtown metro transit station is now.”



The addition of new Sioux Empire Development Parks and the construction of the EROS Data Center made her job grow with the expanding community, Andresen said. She was responsible for monitoring the EROS project and paying construction bills, as well as managing the lease-back agreement between the Development Foundation and the federal government. Today, she keeps track of multiple accounts in several financial institutions, does the Port of Entry accounting, payroll and personnel management for the Development Foundation staff and all development park accounts, including the complex financial transactions for Foundation Park.



Andresen is perhaps best known by the business community as the “Queen of Groundbreakings,” a task she has also managed since 1981. She has scheduled and coordinated somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 groundbreaking ceremonies over the past 36 years, sometimes in rain, snow and howling wind.



“I’ve ruined more pairs of shoes at groundbreaking ceremonies,” she said. “Until the last few years, we’ve scheduled groundbreakings whenever a business wanted to do it, year round. Now we limit our season from May through October and ask companies to provide a tent if the weather is inclement.”



Andresen said the people she has worked with over the years have been the best part of her job.



“You spend more time with the people around you at work than you do with anyone else,” she said. “They become like a family to you.”



Diane said she plans to take at least a couple of months off to relax and reflect on her career, which has been at the heart of the growth and changes in Sioux Falls during the past four decades. After she’s taken some time off, she plans to find other ways to stay active in the community she has helped to build.


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