Small Business Spotlight: Daktronics Celebrates 50 Years In 2018

BROOKINGS, S.D. – When you think of small businesses in South Dakota, you probably don’t consider Daktronics eligible given its size.

Currently, the company has manufacturing facilities worldwide and employs more than 2,500 people.

2018 marks 50 years for the company that got its start in a small garage in Brookings, thanks to the vision of two South Dakota State University professors. Co-founder Al Kurtenbach said it was easy to recognize back then that there was a lot of young, local talent that was underutilized, and not all of them wanted to leave to find a good job.

“There are a lot of talented people in South Dakota and a lot of them come to Brookings. We’ve developed a unique system to attract them to work for us,” said Kurtenbach.

The company hires hundreds of college sophomores and juniors in the area to work full-time during the summer and part-time during the school year in the hopes of keeping local talent in the area.

Kurtenbach says the experience helps them realize they don’t have to go elsewhere to be challenged.

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