2024 Governor’s Giant Vision Winners  

Posted on: April 12, 2024   |   Categories: Announcements, News & Updates
Plain Web Student & Business Competitions (1)

As host of the Governor’s Giant Competition, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry event Chair Brad Wheeler, Vice President of Wheeler Manufacturing, announced the winners of the 2024 business and student business competitions.

After a preliminary judging process that reduced the field of applicants to those selected as qualifiers for 2024, the competition concluded with final judging activities Thursday, April 11, at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The awards were presented during the GOED Conference luncheon program, held in conjunction with Giant Vision. Winners of the two competitions were announced by South Dakota Chamber President David Owen, with Lt. Governor Larry Rhoden presenting checks and Giant Vision Committee member Mel Ustad, SD EPSCoR, and Wheeler congratulating the honorees.

2024 marks the twentieth successful year of the Giant Vision open competition. The following winners were selected as this year’s startup standouts.   

This year’s first-place $20,000 winner was Kirkwall | Defends autonomous systems from critical failure. Algorithm enables cyber attack detection, diagnostic monitoring, and preventative maintenance for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), loT-enabled AgTech, and industrial systems. William Cromarty, Sioux Falls

As the first-place winner in the open competition, Kirkwall also received a special marketing package provided by KELOLAND Media Group.

2024 Business Winner

Pictured Left to Right. South Dakota Chamber President David Owen, William Cromarty, Lt. Governor Rhoden, event Chair Brad Wheeler, SD EPSCoR’s Mel Ustad.

In second place, winning $10,000, was Dakota Adventure Supply | Company dedicated to crafting not just outdoor gear, but symbols of adventure that endure. Mission extends beyond selling products; it’s about promoting a sense of adventure and building comradery with others. Jeff Hayward and Paxton Alsgaard, Sioux Falls

In third place, winning $5,000, was Desty LLC | Modernizing the travel agent industry, offering a one-of-a-kind service utilizing proprietary databases, algorithms and artificial intelligence. Alisha Vincent and Rajesh Kavasseri, Brookings

In fourth place, winning $3,000, was Straight Up Care | Web-based platform ecosystem for substance use and mental health, Peer Specialists (PS) features a learning management system, HIPAA-compliant service delivery SaaS, reducing the nation-wide care burden and improving addiction and mental health outcomes for clients. Melissa Dittberner, Ph.D., Volin

In fifth place, receiving $2,000, was AchiTalk | Simplify and enhance global recruitment and education processes through innovative AI solutions, making hiring efficient for companies and preparing students effectively for their careers. Florian Hoxha, Sioux Falls

In sixth place, receiving $1,000 was Pioneer BioTech | Developing natural products derived from microbial fermentation, providing an eco-friendly alternative to chemical treatments for crop diseases. Matthew Cole and Brock Hansen, Brookings

Sponsors of the Giant Vision Open Competition
are South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s Office of Economic Development; Black Hills Energy; Christiansen Land & Cattle Ltd.; Dacotah Bank; First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard; KELOLAND Media Group; MidAmerican Energy; NorthWestern Energy; Valley Queen Cheese; and Wheeler Manufacturing. 

The Giant Vision Competition is a program of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, located in Pierre. SD Chamber President David Owen stated, “The goal of this program is to encourage people to explore being a business owner and to create an exciting future, along with the practical issues of creating jobs and growing the GDP of South Dakota. We have worked hard to produce an event that will benefit all of the competitors. While the prize money will help the finalists, the contacts made and rigor required to be a qualifier will help all to advance their business ideas.”

Student Competition

2024 was the eighteenth year of the college student competition. Entries were received from across South Dakota. Following a thorough review of the original applications, ten finalists were selected to compete and the winners of the Competition are: 

Taking first place in the student competition, winning $5,000, was Airborne Dynamic Systems | Innovative UAV technology that combines customization and adaptability, providing clients with comprehensive aerial data solutions. Zackery Holloway and Carson Daly, South Dakota Mines

Student Winner

Pictured Left to Right. Zackery Holloway, Lt. Governor Rhoden, event Chair Brad Wheeler, SD EPSCoR’s Mel Ustad.

In second place, winning $4,000, was Resto Rides | Ecommerce-based business that sells new, old (NOS) parts, accessories and vehicles. Pack Forster and Justice Forster, home school
In third place, winning $3,000, was Tier Five | Unique and innovative solution to address campus safety concerns by providing a comprehensive app that combines campus resources, security features, and social engagement. Alexandria Arndt, Northern State University
In fourth place, winning $2,000, was SK Reproductions | Reproduced high-value rifles that address the unmet needs of gun owners who desire access to historically significant rifles. Storm King, South Dakota Mines
In fifth place, winning $1,000, was Biotech Jet | Offers a revolutionary step-by-step instructional format that guides users through the entire regulatory compliance process. Avery Del Grosso, University of South Dakota

Competitors placing out of the prize money receive a $500 stipend to assist with the cost of participating.

Giant Vision Student Competition Sponsors:
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s Office of Economic Development, Citi and South Dakota EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research). 

The Governor’s Giant Vision Business and Student Competitions were established to help citizens realize that South Dakota is the best place to start a successful business. The program was designed as an opportunity for entrepreneurs to compete for seed money and a chance to achieve their dream. This South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry program was founded and continues to be chaired by Brad Wheeler, Vice President of Wheeler Manufacturing in Lemmon. Additional program information is available at https:/

A special thank you to the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry for putting together this recap, pictures, and spectacular competition!