South Sioux Economic Dir. makes room at the inn - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

South Sioux Economic Dir. makes room at the inn

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SOUTH SIOUX CITY, NE (KTIV) -

 He's spent the past eight years bringing business to the Cardinal City.

Now, South Sioux City, Nebraska's Economic Development Director, Dan McNamara is starting a business of his own, in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

"To a businessman like us, Dan McNamara is kind of like a Kelly Flynn," said Pat Boeshart, the owner of LiteForm Technologies, which has gone through two expansions in recent years.

Much like South Sioux City's winning basketball coach, Dan McNamara quickly proved himself as the go-to guy around the Cardinal City after he was hired in 2005.

"If you need something, he's the first person you call," said Boeshart.

To give you an idea of the success McNamara has been a part of, between 2006 and 2009 16 companies either moved into South Sioux City or expanded here.  That represents more than 500 new jobs and $628 million dollars in investment.

"It would have been nice to hit that billion dollar mark," said McNamara.

He says his greatest accomplishment isn't in the numbers. 

"The biggest thing is the relationships," McNamera pointed out.

During his tenure, McNamara's reached across the table and across the globe, even taking an economic trip to Asia.

"I've had the opportunity to be a part of a lot of different things in Nebraska that I'll never replace," said McNamera.

One project he hoped to be a part of was the development of this land behind me into a new data center.  It doesn't look like that will happen before McNamara leaves.

"We actually had a very large company looking at it.  The week that they were coming was the week all the issues were going on.  It took us immediately out of contention," McNamera admitted.

The issue he spoke of was the flood.  McNamara doesn't like to talk about it because he says he doesn't want it to be in the headlines.

"I don't want people to continue pulling up the Siouxland area and constantly that dirty word keeps coming back up," McNamera explained.

After helping dozens of business owners realize their dreams, it's time for one of his own.  McNamara tried several years in a row, to book a stay during Sturgis, at the Harney Peak Inn, but couldn't get a room.

"I sent an email and said, "hey if I can't stay there maybe I'll buy the place, just as a joke," recalled McNamera.

They took him seriously.  McNamara and his wife Mary are now the proud owners of the quaint Hill City establishment.  It's a project he hoped to undertake with his good friend Bill Simmons, of Sioux City.  Simmons died suddenly this year, but he'll still play at part at Harney Peak.

"Billy was the tender of the fire, and we're going to do a big fire pit," McNamera said with emotion.  

Though he may have his sights set in South Dakota, "Together we are Siouxland strong, and I've always been a big proponent of pushing Siouxland," has always been his philosophy.

He says his heart will stay in Siouxland.

McNamara is keeping his South Sioux City home.  He'll spend six-months out of the year in the Black Hills.  He plans to step down from the Economic Development Department early next year.

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