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This piece is presented by the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.
With a client lineup that includes Amazon, Microsoft, Costco and Starbucks, you might expect Ryan Swanstrom and his team to be based on the West Coast.
Instead, the four-person group works from an office at the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.
“It’s pretty neat,” said Swanstrom, who leads the Sioux Falls office of Seattle-based Matisia Consultants, a fast-growing firm that offers a variety of services to businesses, including project management, organizational transformation, data science and network security.
Swanstrom became connected to the 250-person company through a former co-worker. They met at Wells Fargo & Co. in Sioux Falls five years ago. Swanstrom left to work for Microsoft; his co-worker moved to Seattle for work, and they would get together when Swanstrom traveled there for business.
Swanstrom traveled nationwide for Microsoft training people on cloud-based data science tools, and on one visit to Seattle his former co-worker introduced him to the CEO of Matisia.
“There’s more of the type of work we do than they have people in Seattle, so they were looking for other places to hire,” Swanstrom said. “Since I was in South Dakota, the option came up to maybe try hiring in South Dakota, so we did.”
Networking with a group of people in the industry locally, Swanstrom didn’t have much trouble filling an initial few positions.
South Dakota colleges, especially SDSU, “train people like this,” he said. “Most of them don’t stick around. A lot of them go to Minneapolis or the East Coast. I’d really like to help provide an opportunity for people with these skills and talents to stay in South Dakota and work on interesting things.”
Zeal became a natural fit for the business to locate its office, he said. The group moved in July 1.
“It had everything we wanted without us having to set everything up,” he said. “We had fully furnished office space with desks and chairs, they had meeting space, a reception desk, and there are interesting events that happen here.”
The team’s data science work involves collecting information and helping businesses use that information to make better decisions, he explained. In addition to the major corporations, Matisia’s clients include nonprofits such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Path and Partners for our Children.
“Although we don’t have plans to target South Dakota-based organizations, it’s not off the table,” Swanstrom said. “Right now, most of our work is focused on supporting clients in the Northwest.”
As Matisia evolves, however, he sees opportunity to grow network security work in South Dakota. He is actively hiring for his team and wants to talk to people living here and those who might like to move back.
“We don’t hire for specific positions. We hire for people and skill set,” he said. “And we’re definitely interested in growing here. We’ll see how big we can get it.”
With a client lineup that includes Amazon, Microsoft, Costco and Starbucks, you might expect Ryan Swanstrom and his team to be based on the West Coast. Instead, the four-person group works from an office at the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.