When Dan Hoyer, Senior Consultant for Veizades & Associates, found himself traveling extensively and spending very little time in his Berkeley apartment, he figured it made sense to work remotely in an area without exorbitant cost of living expenses like San Francisco, where Veizades is headquartered. He pitched his hometown, Rapid City, and the company agreed. Today, Dan works in the Ascent Innovation incubator and couldn't be happier.
Veizades & Associates was founded in 1979 to provide high quality geothermal engineering and consulting services. Geothermal involves drilling wells to extract hot water. Once it reaches the surface the water is converted to steam, which is used to power a turbine and generate electricity. Unlike oil and natural gas, geothermal energy is a renewable resource. One of the first companies to take advantage of geothermal energy was Pacific Gas and Electric in California; their complex known as The Geysers produces 700 megawatts of power, and 40 percent of the fluids used to generate electricity come from clean, recycled sewage. Veizades has clients around the globe, doing work in far-flung locales like Turkey, Kenya, and Indonesia. Despite an extensive client list, the company only has 14 employees. "We're very focused and have a niche developing geothermal...that's all we do," Dan explains. They often partner with another firm called GeoLogica that does geology and reservoir work, allowing them to expand or contract on various projects as needed.
When Dan was ready to open the Rapid City "branch"—he laughs when he says this, given that he's the sole occupant—he wanted to work with innovative people and partner with School of Mines, so Ascent Innovation was a logical choice. He moved in this past February and felt right at home. The competitively priced office rent was attractive, but not the primary factor in Dan's decision. "For me it's not driven by economics; it's a nice office, a good space with open halls conducive to interaction. There are some very creative people there, and I've always believed that creativity breeds creativity." Dan has already partnered with the School of Mines on a DOE grant that was not successful. He plans to continue working with staff to collaborate on projects and pursue grants together.
Like other area professionals, Dan is enthusiastic about Rapid City's future. While COVID has presented challenges, it has also created opportunities. "I think we are all learning that remote is a plausible way to work," he explains. "You don't have to live in the same city as your office, and places like Rapid City—with clean air and water and great outdoor opportunities will be more attractive than in the past." Dan also points to assets like the School of Mines and Ellsworth Air Force Base, and is impressed with the work that groups like Elevate Rapid City are doing to foster entrepreneurship and promote growth in order to bring quality, high-paying jobs to the area.
"It's a great place to be right now!" he says.