Eagle Creek Software Services must be getting tired of working so hard trying to convince prospective employees to move their families out to Pierre. Company president Ken Behrendt says he'll bring 200 jobs to a new center in Vermillion and maybe—maybe, a word left out of the headlines—1,000 jobs around the state in the next five years.
Past performance does not guarantee future results, but when Eagle Creek opened its Pierre office a few years ago, it said it would create 200 new jobs. Eagle Creek currently has 100 employees in Pierre (that 100th hiring happened last August).
As in Pierre, Eagle Creek will save money in Vermillion by moving into a building the city will build for it for $4 million. The University of South Dakota will share the cost of training workers. In further corporate welfare, USD will also create a master's degree program to feed Eagle Creek's labor pipeline...
...a program that attentive observers may find looks a lot like programs already active at Dakota State University. Did no one think of Madison, with its already significant state investment in IT training, as a logical location for Eagle Creek's next expansion?
Daugaard noted that Vermillion came to mind shortly after state economic officials began formal discussions with Behrendt.
“When you are in the business of attracting industry to your state, you find out what they want and try to fill those needs,” the governor said.
Daugaard noted that after he and other state officials had initial conversations with Behrendt about his desire to expand Eagle Creek in South Dakota, it became apparent that Vermillion could fill the company’s needs.
“Vermillion has lots of high-caliber students at the University of South Dakota ... and if there is opportunity for them right here in Vermillion, how much better will it be for many of those students who can seize that opportunity? This is going to be something quite unique,” he said [David Lias, "Vermillion Ready for Onshore Opportunity," Yankton Press & Dakotan, 2013.03.14].
You think site for IT jobs, and you think Vermillion first? Or Pierre? How does Madison not come to mind?
Four years ago I asked Madison City Commission candidates how, with Dakota State University's programs and skilled IT students, Madison could have lost to Pierre in recruiting Eagle Creek. This year, Madison's mayoral candidates must face the same question.