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South Dakota District Office
2329 N. Career Ave Suite 105
Sioux Falls, SD 57107
United States
Phone: 605-330-4243
Fax: 605-330-4215

South Dakota's Small Business Person of the Year for 2013

Midwestern Mechanical, Inc. is a plumbing, heating, HVAC and fire protection contracting firm with a reputation for providing quality work design and service in the region. The work performed includes new work, additions, alterations, maintenance and repairs. Midwestern Mechanical has offices in Sioux Falls and Rapid City in South Dakota, and Sioux City and Spencer in Iowa. In 1983 at the age of 23, Dwayne Klarenbeek established the business in Sioux Falls and has successfully grown the operation over the past 29 years. Throughout the years, the business has expanded from a start-up two-man shop to the current 125 employee operation it is today. Many of its employees have been with the company since its inception. Expansion began in 1998 whenDwayne opened the location in Sioux City. The business expanded again in 2009 to Spencer and then in 2010 a fourth location was opened in Rapid City. These expansions were made possible through guaranteed loans with the U.S. Small Business Administration. In 2012, Dwayne turned to Dakota BUSINESS Finance to assist him with obtaining an SBA 504 loan to refinance his existing building in Sioux Falls which was completed in 2008. While sales have steadily increased to a level of approximately $20 million per year, competition and the cost of materials have also continued to increase. In response to adversity and the changing economic climate, Dwayne implemented several significant changes to address the issues. Midwestern Mechanical has reportedly dramatically changed its focus and direction and now focuses on margins, profitability, efficiencies and relationship building. Dwayne also shows personal involvement in the day-to-day operations of the business. Monthly meetings are held with the foreman to discuss quality and performance issues such as job layout, manpower scheduling, material ordering, quality control and safety issues. These brainstorming sessions often include the owners and project managers. Dwayne has also started making regular brand and jobsite visits which have shown to boost employee morale and improve quality and efficiency. In addition to being an experienced businessman and successful entrepreneur, Dwayne understands the importance of community involvement as well as continued improved and innovative business ideas. Midwestern Mechanical is a member of the South Dakota Association of Plumbing – Heating – Cooling Contractors, Inc., which Dwayne has said has helped him develop important relationships with other contractors and supplies. He also supports the local Chambers of Commerce in the cities where his businesses are located. Dwayne was named the South Dakota Small Business Person of the Year for 2013.

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2013 Women’s Center of Excellence Award

The South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SD CEO), is located on the campus of Black Hills State University.  In 2009, the University, through a five-year grant awarded by the SBA Office of Women Business Ownership, established the SD CEO.  The mission is to provide comprehensive training and business assistance, support and counseling for aspiring and established entrepreneurs on a statewide basis.  Specific target audiences include Women, Women Veterans, Native Americans, Youth Entrepreneurs and the Socially and Economically Disadvantaged. 

Since 2009, SD CEO has exceeded all of the goals set forth in the SBA Work Plans.  Each, year the number of participants continued to expand from 535 attendees and clients in the first grant period to over 1200 in the third year grant period.  SD CEO created a monthly Women In Networking (W.I.N.) organization, created and hosts the annual Celebrating Women in Business Luncheon and created and hosts SD CEO’s signature event, the South Dakota’s Women’s Business Conference.  Helen Nessan-Merriman has served as the SD CEO Director since November 2009  and was named Honorary Commander for the 28th Contracting Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base in August of 2012.    

2013 Young Entrepreneurs of the Year

John "brofounded" 9 Clouds with his brother Scott in 2009 when Scott came home from Norway and John was back for the weekend from Minneapolis.  It was when they decided to have pizza and noticed their mother reaching for the phone book to find a number.  It was at that point the “bros” decided to launch their business and use this opportunity to move back to their home state of South Dakota.  Together they connect businesses with customers by using the Internet and adding personality to a brand. 9 Clouds excels at social media marketing, market research, blog development & strategy, search engine optimization and paid search campaign management.  They are also co-founders of Lemon.ly, a visual marketing firm that is on a mission to make the world an easier place to understand.   That company specializes in infographics and data viz, and works with clients in South Dakota such as Purity Seeds in Raymond and the Kuchen Man in Rapid City and around the country including Toyota, Nike, Marriott, PepsiCo and the United Nations.

9 Clouds worked directly with 77 SBDC clients providing Social Media Consulting.  Each client was given four one-hour sessions with one-on-one coaching online, four hours of strategy and analytics from 9 Clouds, a social media best practices handbook, unlimited email support and a one month membership to their online training site for continual support.  Client response was very favorable with positive results.   

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