April 16, 2021 | EST. READ TIME: 3 MIN

Watertown Development CoMPany Announces New Executive Director

News Release
April 16th, 2021
7:00 A.M.
Contact: Traci Stein
Director of Marketing and Public Communication
Phone: 605 884 0340
Email: traci@wdcsd.com


WATERTOWN, S.D. —Watertown Development Company (WDC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Vaux as Executive Director.


Mark brings to the WDC a diverse background that includes a proven record of community service, with sixteen years in economic development; serving as CEO of a 450+ member chamber of commerce and 200+ member economic development corporation, and working as a Senior Business Development Representative for the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). Throughout his career, he was fortunate to have made connections with key stakeholders in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

His roots began in Watertown and he has spent many of his years in economic development working closely with the WDC on several business expansion and retention plans.


“My parents were born and raised in Watertown, and my grandfather, Claude Paterson, was the Chief of Police in the late ’50s to early ’60s. From my years with then-Congressman Thune, and while at GOED, I spent a lot of time in Watertown working on a variety of projects with the WDC. I have always been impressed with the vision and passion of the WDC team, the board, and civic and business leaders. I’m excited to join the community and keep building on the momentum.”


Mark has led many successful economic development initiatives, including the implementation of a public-private workforce development council to address workforce needs, successfully collecting more than $70,000 from a fundraising campaign to support it. He also led the efforts of a public/private partnership to address the community’s affordable housing needs by securing a large donation of land from a business for housing development. As the GOED’s Business Representative, Mark played a key role in developments such as a food processing plant in Huron, the wind manufacturing plant in Aberdeen, and the recruitment of a call center.


It was also under Mark’s leadership in Mitchell that led the redevelopment efforts of Main St Mitchell, which included the acquisition and development of five new properties/businesses in six months.


Jim Redlinger, board chair of the WDC, said of Vaux’s hiring, “The WDC Board of Directors is excited to work with Mark as the new executive director of the WDC. He is well known in the state of South Dakota. We’ve previously crossed paths with Mark in economic development projects in Watertown and I believe he will prove invaluable in his new position at the WDC. We look forward to working with Mark in 2021 and beyond.” Redlinger added, “The WDC Board, along with its staff, thank Chris Schilken for his leadership and the commitment he has given the WDC during his three years as executive director. His contributions have been significant.”