May 25, 2022 | EST. READ TIME: 2 MIN

Watertown Development Company Announces New Executive Director

WATERTOWN, S.D.– The Watertown Development Company (WDC) has named Michelle Kakacek as the WDC’s new Executive Director effective immediately.  The announcement comes after an extensive national search with an executive search firm, DDA Human Resources Inc.


“Michelle’s credentials, experience, and personality make her an excellent leader for economic development in Watertown,” said Board Chair Jim Redlinger. “She has demonstrated success in all facets of economic development, business development and community leadership. We are very excited to have someone of her ability leading the WDC. I am confident she will bring innovation and strategic direction that will be a true asset in the continued development of Watertown.”


Kakacek has more than 7 years of experience in economic development as the WDC’s Director of Business Development. In that role, she was involved in industrial business retention and expansions, which allowed her to work with business prospects and manage projects for new and expanding companies. Kakacek also led the Workforce Development program, working with the Watertown Workforce Advisory Council and other local stakeholders to develop and execute programs designed to recruit workforce to Watertown and retain and up-skill the area’s incumbent workforce – such as the WDC’s Attract & Enhance Program. In addition to those efforts, she played an active role in the revitalization of Downtown Watertown, helping redevelop several properties to bring new small businesses to the city’s core.


“I am thrilled at the opportunity to lead the WDC and look forward to continuing the organization’s proven track record of furthering the economic prosperity of the Watertown area,” stated Kakacek. “With a talented staff, dedicated Board of Directors, and strong relationships with civic leaders and business and industry partners, I am confident that WDC will continue to innovate and maintain its presence as a leader in the field of economic development.”


Kakacek obtained her bachelor’s degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Administration from the University of South Dakota and obtained recognition as a Certified Economic Development Professional (CEcD) in the fall of 2020 from the International Economic Development Council. The CEcD program is the most prestigious designation in the economic development profession, and recognition shows that you have the breadth of knowledge to perform at the top level in the profession.