Heartland Consumers Power District announced the hiring of Richard Benda as director of economic development.
Benda comes to Heartland with more than 25 years of experience in economic development, community relations and project management.
He most recently served as development director for Lloyd Companies and previously acted as a loan administrator for the South Dakota Investment Fund.
From 2006-10, Benda was cabinet secretary for the South Dakota Department of Tourism and State Development, where he oversaw nine departments. He has also served as president of the Watertown Development Company, Focus Watertown and worked as a regional representative for the Governor's Office of Economic Development.
Benda left the state for a time early in his career to serve as vice president of Schenectady Economic Development Corporation in New York.
"Heartland has a great reputation and I am excited to join the team," said Benda. "I look forward to getting out and getting to know all of our customers and assisting them in any way I can."
Benda has been involved with numerous national and state economic development organizations, including the International Economic Development Council, the International Council of Shopping Centers and the S.D. 2010 Research & Commercialization Council.
"Richard has a strong background in economic development, and Heartland and our customers will benefit greatly from his experience," said Heartland CEO Russell Olson. "We are very excited to have him join our team."
Benda graduated from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion with a bachelor of science degree in business management.