Meet Development Strategist Steve Watson

Samantha Boeck
Director of Talent Engagement
May 24, 2019

Steve Watson’s passions are diverse—you’ll often find him motorcycling, curling, or even taking in a European soccer match—but perhaps his greatest passion is growing the Midwest. Formerly the Director of Business Development for the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), Steve brings years of experience and relationships to his role as Development Strategist at ISG. Now Steve puts that experience to work for the entire region by pairing his development mindset with ISG’s solutions, helping public and private partners across the entire Midwest position themselves for growth.

I’ve heard you have a long list of adventurous interests. Hit me.

It’s true: my interests are all over the board and change regularly! I like volleyball, spikeball, music, downhill skiing, kayaking, motorcycling, curling, sporting clays, golf, reading, grilling, craft beer, and more! I also love to travel, and if I were to completely reinvent myself, I would consider being a boat captain or travel writer. I am a proud resident of the Upper Midwest, but I still yearn for the sea and mountains from time to time! Most recently, I have become a fan of European soccer, and my bucket list now includes a trip across the pond to take in a match.

You’re a former Director of Business Development for GOED and currently on the Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s Board of Directors. How have these experiences been valuable?

My previous role with the GOED afforded me an opportunity to connect with business and community leaders across the state and gave me valuable experience with different state funding programs, which has already helped several of ISG’s clients and partners plan for and secure project financing.

Being part of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation has also been a rewarding experience, and I’m thankful that ISG has been very supportive in this endeavor. At the end of the day, it is about serving the communities where we elect to live and do business. This gives me—and ISG—the opportunity to contribute insight and expertise which will have a lasting impact on the Sioux Falls community, even long after I am gone!

What’s a hardship you’ve had, and what did you take away from it?

After I was diagnosed with cancer, a couple surgeries, and a long recovery period, I emerged from the experience grateful to individuals such as those in healthcare who elect to faithfully serve complete strangers. It also gave me a first row seat to an important lesson in the frailty and unpredictability of life. Lastly, it reinforced the notion that life is simply not fair. Sometimes what happens to you is outside your control. In a professional context, I’ve lost projects, I’ve been passed up for promotion, I’ve missed the mark on a presentation. Introspection is important, but you can’t dwell on these setbacks. It’s best to take a lesson, as there is usually one to be had, and move on. We can’t always control what happens to us, but there is always a choice in how we choose to respond.

Who inspires you? Why?

Inspiration can be found just about anywhere if you’re receptive to it. I admire my coworkers who put in the extra hours to finish a project or generate a new opportunity for the firm. I admire parents who are selfless in support of their children. I admire those who choose to be a friend or caretaker to the elderly, sick, or downtrodden. I am inspired by random acts of kindness. Frankly, I am inspired by everyday people that lack athletic prowess, wealth, or fame. That is most of us, who despite setbacks and the challenges of everyday life, keep charging forward!

What’s your favorite part about working at ISG?

What I enjoy most is helping our clients refine and then execute on a vision. We’re all part of something much bigger than ourselves. When you view your daily work through that lens, it is hard not to get amped up about it!

What makes Sioux Falls a great place to work and call home?

While every community has its challenges, Sioux Falls has been blessed with business and civic leaders who give their time (and treasure) for the betterment of the greater community. I am continuously impressed with the generosity of our citizens—both corporate and private—who regularly lead the nation in giving on a per capita basis. A community is about people, and in Sioux Falls, most care for and are proud of where we’ve been and where we’re going.

What are your goals for the rest of 2019?

Continue to spread the ISG gospel! So far, we’ve had some excellent wins with various master planning projects throughout the region with city governments, economic development corporations, and private developers. I’d like to see these plans evolve into the next phases of development. Our food and industrial prowess is becoming more widely known, too—we’re the design firm on the three largest industrial economic development projects in South Dakota! As we continue to build brand awareness and exceed client expectations with the projects we’ve garnered, I am confident we’ll gain more traction in other markets and be able to provide more innovative services to the public works, K-12, and commercial clients and partners!

Join the conversation #ISGSiouxFalls #DevelopmentStrategist #EmployeeOwned #ControlYourDestiny

No items found.
Samantha Boeck
Director of Talent Engagement
More from
Samantha Boeck

Related Articles

Making Moves: The Benefits of Relocation

As ISG continues to grow and expand to new geographies, we want to share a few non-traditional benefits that have come with employee owners choosing to relocate. Culture transplants ensure that as we continue to grow, we stay true to our core values, mission, purpose, and culture, which not only benefits ISG employee owners, but our clients as well. This why we encourage relocation across all our locations.

Employee Owners

Meet ISG Senior Graphic Designer Mallorie Schubbe

If you know Mallorie, you know that she is anything short of how she describes her fellow coworkers–friendly, helpful, humble, fun, and knowledgeable. For nearly eight years, this Senior Graphic Designer has been making an impact at ISG with her creativity and bright personality. What brought her to ISG and what is her favorite part about working here? If you guessed the people, Mankato’s patio, and projects, you’re halfway there.

Employee Owners

Meet ISG Director of Marketing Abby Gram

As the leader of ISG’s robust marketing team, Abby Gram is a resilient creative force who is always ready for the next challenge. Read on to learn about ISG’s #Allin culture, some surprises about the marketing team, her time on the muddy Mississippi, and why she encourages others to “just keep swimming.”

Employee Owners

Meet ISG Project Accountant Bill Bartz

As a Project Accountant and former Support Specialist, Bill Bartz continues to serve as an important link between projects and employee owners. Learn more about Bill’s journey to ISG, the importance of a first-class team, and get an inside scoop about the Green Bay office and some of Bill’s favorite post-work activities!

Employee Owners

Meet ISG Civil Engineer Caleb Rasmussen

ISG’s Caleb Rasmussen is a steward for conservation through his role as a civil engineer. Focusing on surface water, Caleb works on the unique waterways of the Midwest to improve water quality and wildlife. Even though he spends much of his time outside while on the job, you can still find him enjoying the outdoors working with his livestock or spending time with his family.

Employee Owners

Meet Civil Engineer Nathan Hermer

Before he knew what civil engineering was, Nathan Hermer enjoyed building things with Legos and making elaborate tracks for his matchbox cars. As he grew older, so did his enthusiasm for design. He soon realized his pastime could become his profession. Over the years, Nathan’s passions have evolved in and out of the industry. Read on to learn more about his hobbies, how he recharges, and his favorite part of working at ISG!

Employee Owners