Economic Development in Kadoka

I’m going to have a few words to say about the direction of South Dakota’s economic development policy in the next few days, and I thought I’d begin by rewinding the clock back to my family’s early days in Kadoka.

You’ll recall from earlier posts that my mother ran a store there.  A Kadokan who was a power in the GOP helped my father get started in business.  His name was Chester Leedom.

Chester helped my dad get elected as county engineer in four counties, which gave him the huge salary of $100 per month and the opportunity to learn a lot about Jackson, Stanley, Haakon, and Jones Counties.

Dad did surveys and supervised construction. He began keeping records and realized that most of the contractors were not very mathematically inclined.  They did not seem to know how much money they were making (or losing).  It seemed like a good opportunity.

Dad had the know-how but needed credit and cash.  And in that one sentence you have the seeds of a company and the seeds of an economic development program that might work better than the one we’ve got — at least in the long run.  Think about the “know-how” part in particular.

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