Elevate Rapid City (“ERC”) is an exciting new entity, resulting from the merger and alignment of several key community business-oriented organizations. The mission of Elevate Rapid City is “to achieve shared economic and community development goals that will elevate the quality of life and employment opportunities for all those who call Rapid City home.” In summer 2017, Elevate initiated a five-year economic development funding campaign with a goal of a $4.25MM. The community’s response has been remarkable as $8MM has been committed.
Rapid City is in western South Dakota and considered the Gateway to the Black Hills, home to both Mount Rushmore National Monument and Badlands National Park. Rapid City has a growing population of over 74,000 making it the second largest city in the state and part of an MSA of 131,000. The 100-mile trade and labor shed is over 250,000 and Rapid City is the regional hub for commerce with a diverse economy. including hospitality and tourism, natural resources and extractive energy, agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare and life sciences, business services, finance and insurance, higher education, recreation and retail. Ellsworth Air Force Base is located 10 miles east of Rapid City, with over 4,500 military and civilian employees and home to the 28th Bomb Wing, one of only two B-1B bases in the world, and a second mission of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA).
Rapid City Economic Development Partnership: 501(c)6 public-private economic organization focused on new jobs, business attraction and growth of existing businesses, and promoting entrepreneurship. EDP engages with other partners both in and out of the region, including townships and villages, developers, site selectors, educational institutions and officials at state offices in Pierre.
Economic Development Foundation: 501(c)3 nonprofit, owns and operates Rushmore Business Park and South Creek Industrial Park and Ascent Innovation. Located on the campus of South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Center is 40,000 sq.ft. business incubator housing 21 companies. A new second incubator, Ascent Innovation Campus, is in the final stages of development in downtown Rapid City.
Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce: 501(c)6 and the largest business organization in the Black Hills region with over 1,150 members and has achieved the 5-Star Chamber Accreditation by the U.S. Chamber.
Ellsworth Development Authority was formed in 2009 by the South Dakota legislature; close working relationship among local governments, the private sector and property owners to promote and protect the economic impact of Ellsworth AFB and associated industry while preparing for additional growth in missions at the Base.
President & Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of Elevate Rapid City reports to the Chair of the 30-member Board of Directors, which meets monthly. The CEO will lead the ERC team which will include 3 Division Vice Presidents, an Executive Assistant and additional staff members. CEO will lead the vision and mission of the organization and seek to cultivate important working relationships with partners throughout the Black Hills. The CEO is responsible to the Board for the full range of activities of the ERC, with the overall responsibility for the complete administration and operation of the organization which is expected to be structured in 3 key divisions: Economic Growth (former ED Partnership), Innovation (former Foundation/Ascent Innovation) and Small Business Development (former Chamber). This leader will interpret and execute the policies established by the Board providing a vision for ERC’s growth and success and oversee the development and allocation of programs and resources in support of the mission. This includes providing overall leadership to ERC staff and all volunteers in executing the mission, along with financial management and reporting, economic development, public policy and advocacy, marketing and public relations, fundraising, motivation of volunteers, maintenance of physical office space.
Outstanding opportunity to lead a newly-aligned economic development organization in a growing and vibrant region. A true public/private partnership, ERC represents the first time in Rapid City’s history that four of the leading economic development organizations have aligned to lead strategic economic growth and development according to a collective vision and shared plan vetted by more than 100 community leaders. The new CEO will build on established momentum to execute the vision of leading the community to higher levels of success. Elevate Rapid City will be expected to work smart, hard and fast in order to be viewed as “the” collaborative economic development organization in the region. The level of collaboration between the private sector and public sector is Rapid City exceptionally strong. Known as a highly philanthropic city, residents come together to support community development in ways that are not often seen. Recent examples include $100MM bond approval for Rushmore Plaza Civic Center expansion and wide support for a new entrepreneurial tech center. The prospect of a new federally-awarded, next-generation B-21 bomber housing facility at Ellsworth Air Force Base is generating a great deal of excitement as well.
Ideal candidate must have a proven track record of success with at least 15 years of progressively responsible experience in economic development gained in public-private partnerships or a combination thereof. This could come from a variety of backgrounds such as: the top executive within a progressive and effective comparably-sized chamber of commerce, economic development organization, or related significant business association organization; experience as a “#2” or other senior-level executive at a larger like-enterprise as noted above; an executive with a strong record of community involvement from a complex private or public sector entity. Regardless of professional background, successful candidates will be able to demonstrate proven results with respect to job creation, business recruitment and/or workforce development. Experience with significant board interaction, engaging large numbers of volunteers and experience and comfort speaking to large audiences of 500+ attendees are all strongly desired. A Bachelor’s degree is expected; an advanced degree desirable. IOM, CCE, CEcD or CAE desirable.
About Elevate Rapid City c/o Waverly Partners
WAVERLY PARTNERS is a national retained executive search firm with consultants located in Atlanta, Charlottesville, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Greenwich, Kansas City and Toledo. We have been designated as the only "preferred provider" of executive search services by ACCE. WAVERLY PARTNERS is a generalist search firm, serving nationwide clients including chambers of commerce, economic development and other nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities, Fortune 1000 service and manufacturing corporations, privately held entrepreneurial growth companies, hospitals and healthcare organizations, and professional service firms.