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SDSU’s Ness School of Management and Economics establishes Ness School Downtown

South Dakota State University’s Ness School of Management and Economics has established Ness School Downtown, an outpost located at Startup Sioux Falls, 100 E. Sixth St.

Through a partnership with Startup, the Ness School will use the outpost to host speakers’ series, workshops and career fairs, facilitate career coaching and academic advising, and otherwise serve as a point of contact with stakeholders in the metro area.

Barry Dunn Head Shot
Barry Dunn

SDSU President Barry Dunn said Startup Sioux Falls is a natural fit for the Ness School to extend its land-grant mission beyond its Brookings campus. The original land-grant mission focused on agricultural, technical and classical studies, providing practical education with direct relevance to citizens’ daily lives.

“We’re still doing that, but we’re expanding and modernizing it to serve the quickly changing demographics and economic growth of South Dakota’s largest city,” Dunn said. “It’s about creating better access to where the most people live.”

Ness School Director Joe Santos said, “We founded Ness School Downtown on a simple proposition. As the academic business unit in a public, land-grant, comprehensive research university, the Ness School is well positioned and obligated to advance knowledge by embracing the business and cultural epicenter of our state. To this end, an outpost in Sioux Falls is an ideal instrument.

Joe Santos

“My colleagues and I see Ness School Downtown as a space for knowledge transfer, bringing what we do in research to a wide audience through outreach programming,” he said. “Through Ness School Downtown, my colleagues and I will engage the Sioux Falls metro-area business community and business audiences more broadly to think about challenges and opportunities in the innovation ecosystem, and what we could learn from fundamental principles of accounting, business law, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, management, marketing and real estate, for example.”

Additionally, the school will use the space to connect SDSU students and the Sioux Falls business community.

The Ness School’s vision is to measurably advance the study of decision making informed by economics and business analysis. In its teaching, research and outreach, the school embodies an intellectual philosophy that economics and quantitative business analysis—tools of well-informed, sensible decision making—are fundamental to thriving in and critically assessing a modern global economy.

“This vision manifests as the school serving the region through teaching, research—formally through the Agricultural Experiment Station and otherwise—and outreach—formally through SDSU Extension and otherwise. Ness School Downtown is informed by this vision,” Santos said.

Save Sept. 29 for the school’s ribbon-cutting at 12:30 p.m. and its inaugural event at 1 p.m., when Ness School faculty members Brittany Kjerstad McKnight and Craig Silvernagel join Dillon Kjerstad, of Philip, for the interactive workshop “Westside Story: A Tale of Determination, Entrepreneurship and Innovation.”

Attendees will analyze key elements of a successful entrepreneurial venture, including innovation, marketing identification and sustainable growth. Kjerstad became an entrepreneur when he acquired a single pharmacy; now he operates in eight locations.

“The workshop is a strong example of the type of programming we envision for this space,” Santos said.

In partnership with SDSU Extension, the unit that executes the university’s land-grant outreach mission, the Ness School will hire a coordinator to manage Ness School Downtown’s day-to-day operations.



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