SIOUX FALLS | Rapid City students, entrepreneurs and business owners had a strong showing last week during a statewide awards ceremony.

Carol Rae of Rapid City was named entrepreneur of the year for 2017. She is founder, chairwoman and chief executive officer for ImmutriX Therapeutics, based in Rapid City and with office space also in Sioux Falls.

“ImmutriX has developed a medical device to remove toxins resulting from medical treatments, drug overdoses or other conditions. Currently there is no method of treatment for some of these conditions,” the Governor’s Office of Economic Development news release said.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard and David Owen, president of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, distributed the awards Wednesday at the annual Governor’s Office of Economic Development banquet in Sioux Falls.

The Giant Vision awards also were presented to businesses and students during the conference.

Winning first place and $20,000 in the business division was NP Systems Integration of Rapid City, headed by Daniel Stanton.

University researchers helped start the tech company, whose research partner is The Center for Security Printing and Anti-Counterfeiting Technology. Together NPSI and SPACT created an anti-counterfeiting platform that will be marketed under the brand name SecureMarking.

Second place and $10,000 in the business division went to Primary Manufacturing of Humboldt, a plastic-parts maker owned by Ladd McCluskey.

Third place and $4,000 apiece went to two companies. They are Ease, a senior citizen-oriented hardware and software notification company owned by Travis Kiefer in Aberdeen; and XpressRules of Yankton, a speech-based document-modification company owned by Lanny Turner and Ron Turner.

The fifth-place prize of $2,000 was received by Sioux Falls-based Health Workforce USA, doing business as Connect US Health, owned by Krista Marx and Sandy Williams. It is a national data platform that connects health-care students and practicing professionals with opportunities for jobs and education.

In the Giant Vision student division, there was a tie for first place.

The two student winners are Ellen Schlechter, from Faulkton High School, who developed The Calving Book app that allows cattle producers to keep track of their production; and Henry Wegehaupt, from South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, whose Parkston-based Provender Technologies offers automated feed bunks for cattle.

The South Dakota Refinery Co. project at Mitchell, and its student developers from Mines, who are Scyller Borglum and J. Zack Malone, took third place and $3,000.

Receiving fourth place and $2,000 were University of South Dakota students Sam Hummel and Tyler Frank for their e-commerce platform called The Knak. Fifth place and $1,000 went to 305 Bucking Stock, based in Brookings and owned by Jack Stark of South Dakota State University.

The four remaining business finalists and six remaining student finalists received $500 apiece toward travel expenses.

Brad Wheeler of Lemmon, president of Wheeler Manufacturing, chaired the Giant Vision panel of entrepreneurs who served as judges.

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“This is an exciting day with high energy people working hard to share in the American dream,” Wheeler said in the chamber’s news release.

Fort Pierre received the 2017 Community of the Year award.

“Fort Pierre has undergone some of the biggest transformations the community has seen in a long time,” Daugaard said.

He specifically mentioned a new elementary school building, the new My Place hotel and a new riverfront restaurant and event space called Drifters Bar & Grille.

“While there’s still work to be done, Fort Pierre’s visionaries have successfully begun to modernize their community while maintaining its Western rural charm,” Daugaard said.

The excellence in economic development award went to Rodney Fouberg, an Aberdeen banker and a longtime member of the state Transportation Commission. 

The award recognizes dedication and commitment of eight South Dakotans, including Gov. George S. Mickelson. They died April 19, 1993, when the state MU-2 airplane crashed in Iowa as they returned from Cincinnati.

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