South Dakota State University President Barry Dunn recently bestowed the SDSU Presidential Medallion upon Al Heuton, who is retiring in December after serving as the Brookings Economic Development Corporation’s executive director since June 2005.
The SDSU Presidential Medallion is bestowed on very select individuals who have significantly contributed toward the advancement and benefit of South Dakota State University.
“Al has been instrumental in building and developing the Brookings business community and creating a high level of economic growth that has made our community a destination for many,” Dunn said. “His leadership created numerous opportunities, many that have had a positive impact for both the Brookings community and SDSU. Al was a great teammate; opportunities were identified where the university’s academic programs, faculty and research focus have been a driver in establishing key relationships that have attracted new businesses to Brookings and helped start others.”
Heuton was instrumental in helping attract Bel Brands to Brookings and its 170,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. He invested countless hours over the course of 18 months to secure this major employer for the region. Bel Brands and SDSU continue to work closely in the areas of dairy manufacturing and dairy production.
Also, during his time with the BEDC, Heuton oversaw the recruitment and expansion of businesses that has resulted in the creation of more than 1,000 jobs and capital investments with a taxable value exceeding $100 million. In addition, he collaborated with community stakeholders to implement the Vision Brookings fundraising initiative, which has raised over $7.4 million in private sector investments and leveraged an additional $50.4 million in outside funds.
Heuton, an Iowa State graduate, previously worked in community, economic and business development leadership roles in Ottumwa, Iowa, and Scottsbluff, Nebraska. He also provided key leadership in the new I-29 interchange coming to Brookings.