43 of 50
Rapid City, SD
Rapid City, SD
Bryan Vulcan
FourFront Design

FourFront Design is an architecture and engineering company founded nearly 60 years ago. I acquired majority ownership six years ago, after I retired from a 20-year career in the Army Corps of Engineers. I became aware of the company when I was stationed in Rapid City years ago. My family and I returned here because we really enjoyed the quality of life you get in the Black Hills.

My strategy was to reshape FourFront to compete in the federal market, and we've been successful in going after government contracts. The costs of living and doing business in South Dakota are less expensive, especially since we have no income tax. So we're able to charge about 10 to 20 less for our services than the national average.

One of the things I like about Rapid City is the business environment is fairly conservative, so we don't get hit as hard as other cities in bad economic times. The Midwest work ethic here is really beneficial -- you don't have to worry about whether employees are showing up and doing their job. And we have a great airport that connects with major hubs, so we can easily reach out to do business anywhere.

Sometimes people from larger markets think being from a small market might make companies such as ours less sophisticated, but I find the opposite is true. We have to service a lot of different markets, so it forces companies here to be more creative and technologically advanced. -Sheena Harrison

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