Missoula Leaders Engaged at Montana Economic Summit


This week the local government reporter from the daily newspaper claimed on the front page (above the fold) that the city of Missoula was not well represented at the Montana Economic Summit, held in Butte, Mont., Sept. 16-17. Nothing could be further from the truth, based upon my observations from the crowd.

The Garden City was extremely well represented with more than 100 Missoulians in attendance at the Summit, which drew an estimated 4,000 folks from across the state to discuss business development in Montana.

The event was orchestrated well. Hotel rooms were sold old. School at Montana Tech was cancelled to free up the HPER Gymnasium, the student commons building and at least 14 classrooms, many of which were entirely too small to accommodate the throngs of people trying to get in the door.

The Summit featured almost 40 break-out sessions with multiple speakers and panels, many who came from organizations in Missoula. Folks like Tom Swanson, Bank of Montana; David Glaser, Montana Community Development Corporation, Bjorn Nabozney and Neal Leathers of Big Sky Brewing Company; and Elke Govertsen of Mamalode Magazine, spoke of inspiration and innovation, successes and failures of building their business.

montanajobs-footerlogoMedia all across the country covered the keynote speakers, all who came to Butte at the request of Montana Senator Max Baucus. Of course there were lots of comments (i.e. coverage) about the federal tax overhaul and the lobbying if you will for business-friendly modification, but there was also conversation about how many of the keynotes have good relationships with Senator Baucus. Eleven different CEOs, COOs, and CFOs came to Montana to share stories about what’s happening with their companies, both internally and externally.

In a nutshell, economic develop happens because of relationships. We cannot succeed alone; we must have connections, consumers, investors, employees and so much more to create a vibrant economic environment.

I was proud to see Missoula leaders join in the conversation at this valuable statewide event focused on building a better economy so our children can raise their children in the great state of Montana. After all, that’s the goal: job creation and wealth creation so we can have this exceptional quality of life.

Our community of Missoula is out there building relationships and doing business deals that will lead to investment and job creation. Here is a sampling of folks who were presenting or whom I saw at the Summit: (SEE ADDITIONS IN BLUE)


  1. Alex Philp, GCS Research
  2. Arnie Sherman, Montana World Trade Center
  3. Barb Neilan, Destination Missoula
  4. Barry Good, Missoula College
  5. Bill Johnston, The University of Montana
  6. Bjorn Nabozney, Big Sky Brewing
  7. Brent Campbell, WGM Group
  8. Brian Ellestad, Missoula Airport
  9. Brigitta Freer, Missoula Economic Partnership
  10. Caitlin Copple Missoula City Council
  11. Cameron Lawrence, The University of Montana
  12. Cate Sundeen, Missoula Children’s Theatre
  13. Chad DeLong, Sustainable Efficiency
  14. Chris Behan, Missoula Redevelopment Agency
  15. Chris Schrichte TeraDact Solutions
  16. Cinda Holt, Montana Arts Council
  17. Colleen Rudio, Rudio Performance Group
  18. Cris Jensen, Missoula Airport
  19. Cynthia Fritch, D.A. Davidson
  20. Dan Cripe, ATG Consulting
  21. Dave & Krista Pyron, Taylor’d Favors
  22. Dave McKay, McKay Design & Oracle
  23. David Glaser, MCDC
  24. Dawn McGee, Goodworks Ventures
  25. Dean McCollom, Candidate for Mayor of Missoula
  26. Dean McGovern, Montana Campus Compact
  27. Dennis Toussaint, Payne West
  28. Diane Beck, Windermere
  29. Dick King, Triple Divide Consulting
  30. Dori Geils, Mamalode, Magazine
  31. Ed & Leslie Wetherbee, Old Sawmill District
  32. Elke Govertsen, Mamalode Magazine
  33. Ellen Buchanan, Missoula Redevelopment Agency
  34. Fran Albrecht, Watson Children’s Shelter
  35. Gary Funke, Wood for Haiti
  36. Heather Schmidt, Missoula Co. Public Schools
  37. Heidi D’Arment, MCDC
  38. Jack Manning, Dorsey Whitney
  39. Jakki Mohr, University of Montana
  40. James Stephens, Blue Marble Biomaterials
  41. Jeff Fee, Providence Health Center
  42. Jenna Cederberg, Missoulian
  43. Jennifer Shryock, Rainmaker Resumes
  44. Jenny Mueller, Missoula Downtown Association
  45. Jerry & Shannon Furniss, The University of Montana
  46. Jill Valley, KPAX-TV
  47. Jim McLeod, Farran Group
  48. Jim Wingard, Legal Atlas
  49. Joe Fanguy, The University of Montana
  50. Joel Block, Blackfoot Telecommunications
  51. Kevin Davis, Big Sky Commerce
  52. Kim Latrielle, Missoula Chamber
  53. Kim Luthgaart, Trippons Missoula
  54. Kim Melchert McKearnan, Community Medical Center
  55. Larry Gianchetta, The University of Montana
  56. Lisa Triepke, CostCare
  57. Lorin Peterson, Windermere
  58. Maria Pascual Carnicero, Legal Atlas
  59. Mario Schulzke, The University of Montana
  60. Matt Schmidt, Beaudette Consulting Engineers
  61. Melanie Brock, Missoula Economic Partnership
  62. Michael Fitzgerald, Submittable
  63. Michael Knauf, Rivertop Renewable
  64. Mike Halligan, Washington Foundation
  65. Mike Harrington, The University of Montana
  66. Mike Kadas, MT Dept. Revenue
  67. Mike McGowan, DCM Limited
  68. Molly Bradford, MissoulaEvents.net
  69. Neal Leathers, Big Sky Brewing
  70. Naomi Lichtenberg, Missoula Children’s Theatre
  71. Nathan Stephens, Groundswell Media Productions
  72. Pat Corrick, Farran Group
  73. Patti Ekness, Fed Ex
  74. Paul Donaldson, RMR Productions
  75. Paul Gladen, Muzeview
  76. Perry Brown, The University of Montana
  77. Racene Friede, Glacier Country Tourism
  78. Ross Peterson, Peterson Web Development
  79. Royce Engstrom, The University of Montana
  80. Scott Billadeau, Liquid Planet
  81. Scott Burke, First Security Bank
  82. Stacey Mueller, First Interstate Bank
  83. Steve McArthur, McArthur Consulting
  84. Sue LaRue, First Interstate Bank
  85. Suzanne Elfstrom, Partners Creative
  86. Terri Elander, Missoula Children’s Theatre
  87. Tia Troy, Glacier Country Tourism
  88. Tom Gallagher, Missoula College
  89. Tom Swenson, Bank of Montana
  90. Tracy Worley, Selkirk Coaching and Training Group
  91. Wolfgang Ametsbichler, Missoula Job Service

Truthfully, what I love about this list of folks I encountered is that almost all of them are engaged on some level with the Missoula Downtown Association, and many of them have created their own businesses in our market. The theme of the Economic Summit was truly focused on entrepreneurship, and that typically originates from the private sector. I am proud to say both our private sector and public sector were well represented, despite what one local reporter construed. Thank you, Missoula leaders, for your presence and engagement. I believe good things are on the rise for the Garden City.

Is your name not on this list?  Drop us a facebook comment and let us know if you attended the Summit and we’ll add you to our list.


LindaMcCarthyMissoulaLinda McCarthy has been a Missoula resident for more than 25 years and serves as Executive Director of the Missoula Downtown Association, a private non-profit, membership-based organization dedicated to promoting, supporting and enhancing the vitality of Downtown Missoula. She and her family live in the Farviews Neighborhood, and her husband, Tom Gallagher, is a computer science professor at UM’s Missoula College. Linda holds two degrees from The University of Montana and was the 2008 Montana Alumni of the Year.





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