About Us

Our Mission:

Benchmark Data Labs

is a non-profit consulting company that specializes in economic analysis, program evaluation, and data outreach. We believe that smart and impactful decision-making is built on a foundation of reliable data and sound methodology. Benchmark Data Labs uses its expertise and products to inform and educate its clients and the public so that they can make data-driven decisions that will support their future success.

How We Give Back

Our consulting revenues directly support our dedication to making impactful data accessible to our region through the South Dakota Dashboard. We invest time and resources to design and update our dashboards so that everyone has access to this data free of charge. We also conduct pro-bono outreach in the form of trainings, presentations, and data inquiries. 

Our History

Our mission and passion has always been to help organizations and communities make smart and informed decisions. In the beginning we served as a library-based information service known as the Black Hills Knowledge Network. Our work focused on providing the public with rich digital histories and aggregating local news stories so that decision makers would have access to the background and context needed to make the right decisions for their organizations and communities.

In 2014 we started to evolve our mission by launching the South Dakota Dashboard with the support of the Bush Foundation. Launching the South Dakota Dashboard showed us the potential we had to further our advocacy of data-driven decision making by expanding the public’s access to timely and accurate data and statistics.

Our evolution to Benchmark Data Labs brings many exciting changes but we haven’t forgotten our past. Our digital history archive and community resource pages will remain active, generously housed and maintained on the Rapid City Public Library website. If you were a user of the South Dakota Dashboard, then check out the South Dakota Dashboard page on our current site. You’ll find more data than ever before and even more powerful dashboards to help you explore the data.

Staff

Dr. Jared McEntaffer –
President and CEO

Dr. Jared McEntaffer is President and CEO of Benchmark Data Labs. He came to the project in 2017 from the Pennsylvania State University where he taught several economics courses. A South Dakota native, Jared received his PhD in economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2015 where he co-authored several labor market and workforce studies while working with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bureau of Business Research. His research fields include program evaluation, economic forecasting, human capital formation, economics of education, and regional labor force development.

Callie Schleusner –
Director of Monitoring and Evaluation

Callie Schleusner is Director of Monitoring and Evaluation for Benchmark Data Labs. Born and raised in South Dakota, Callie is an evaluation specialist and regional geographer. She holds a graduate certificate in program monitoring and evaluation from American University and a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Art History from Macalester College. Callie joined the project in 2014. Her specialties include utilization-focused evaluation, interactive data collection, and dynamic data visualization.

Board of Directors

  • Matthew Hasvold – Board Chair
    Black Hills Energy
  • Kyle White – Vice Chair
    Black Hills Energy
  • Cecily Englehart – Treasurer
    Swift Foundation
  • Eric Abrahamson
    Vantage Point History
  • Jamie Toennies
    United Way of the Black Hills
  • John Riker
    GSA

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