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PASQ’s Planning Efforts Provide Strategy for Madison, SD

Located in Lake County, South Dakota, the City of Madison (pop. 6,097) is a rural community on the rise.

“Madison was at a pivotal point where they had to start thinking ahead to answer the question ‘what does our future look like?’” says PASQ CEO Erik Muckey. 

To answer that question, Madison retained PASQ to develop a strategic plan for the city.

How PASQ Built a Strategic Plan with Madison

“We started by defining who was going to own the process,” explains Muckey. “We wanted to ensure representation from community leaders that would not only guide the process but be the folks in the end who would implement the process.”

A critical piece of PASQ’s strategic planning approach for communities is to develop a steering committee of engaged leaders who help to drive the process of developing the plan, provide essential local knowledge, and will be responsible for ensuring the plan gets implemented once it is complete. 

In Madison, the steering committee included leaders from education, healthcare, economic development, business, and local government. 

“The project included a three-pronged community engagement strategy: talking to individuals, talking to groups, and talking to the community,” says Muckey. “We also gave the steering committee members the opportunity to answer: ‘What do you see as the issues, who do we need to talk to, and why?’ We took that information and turned it into a process of setting up questions that were consistent across eight focus groups, 35 interviews, and a survey that reached hundreds of residents.”

“As my first strategic planning session, PASQ made the process seamless,” says Lake Area Improvement Corporation Executive Director Brooke Rollag. “They excelled in explaining the process thoroughly and followed through with precision. I deeply appreciate the clarity of the roadmap they provided, outlining our opportunities and areas of focus. Moreover, their kindness and approachability made the entire process enjoyable and productive. I look forward to more collaborations with PASQ in the future."

“What PASQ does really well is that we can marry quantitative and qualitative research,” says Jessica Meyers, CEO of PorchLight–a PASQ partner company–who played a vital role in the City of Madison Strategic Plan process. “We looked at economic data and we conducted countless stakeholder interviews with leaders from all over Madison. We held focus groups with city workers, the faith community, Spanish-speaking populations, downtown business owners, and more. 

“My favorite focus group was with the high school students. It was really cool to hear from the seniors that year and find out that they had the same concerns about Madison as the retirees. They were worried about potholes and they were worried about streets. All of the things that a regular resident was worried about, those high schoolers were, too, which was really, really cool.” 

Based on qualitative and quantitative research and in-depth conversations and feedback from the steering committee, PASQ developed a 55-page plan laying out sets of goals, strategies to achieve those goals, and objectives to measure progress toward achieving the goals. All of those actions were assigned to a member of the steering committee to “own,” along with additional accountable partners when needed. 

Taking Action

“What has been really cool to see is that Madison took the strategic plan, approved it, and is now implementing it a year later,” says Meyers. “Madison believed in this plan so much that they didn’t just put it on a shelf. We filled the plan with concrete action items, and now they’re starting to implement them.”

The steering committee now meets quarterly and PASQ provides technical assistance as needed, which recently included the development of a dashboard to track progress on the plan. 

“Madison’s Strategic Plan provides a much-needed roadmap for aligning our resources and moving our community into the future,” says Madison City Administrator Jameson Berreth. “Already we are realizing small victories and making steps toward much bigger accomplishments. PASQ enabled this to happen with gathering of substantial community input, a comprehensive examination of our community compared to others, and a practical plan that lights the way forward.”

When the Lake Area Improvement Corporation applied for an infrastructure grant, they turned to the Madison Strategic Plan for critical data and analysis ready to be incorporated into the grant application. The grant secured $3.6 million for the City of Madison. 

As a follow-up service to the strategic plan, PorchLight provided discounted recruiting services to Madison businesses, placing more than $250,000 worth of salaries into Madison in 2023 alone. 

“They’re good paying jobs,” says Meyers. “They have incredible benefits, and businesses in Madison know how to keep their people. It’s really easy to recruit people to Madison because Madison has so much going on and these are careers for a lifetime, if they choose.”

PASQ’s work with Madison to develop a strategic plan exemplifies the company’s approach. PASQ understands rural communities and provides top-notch economic analysis. PASQ also goes beyond what the numbers can tell you with our unique and comprehensive community engagement effort, providing valuable and hard-to-gather qualitative data for the communities where we work.

If you would like to see the final product for yourself, the City of Madison Strategic Plan is publicly available on the City’s website.

Contact PASQ For Your Next Strategic Plan

Is your organization or community considering a strategic plan? Reach out to PASQ today to inquire about our services.


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