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The Work Spot is a statewide, centralized hub for professionals already living in Montana or those looking to get here to find top Montana career opportunities across the state, learn about the diverse and impressive companies growing in our Montana communities and easily keep a pulse on Montana business and resources - all in one spot. 

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Latest From the Blog

Missoula's ATG acquired by international firm Missoula’s Advanced Technology Group (ATG) ( hiring ), a revenue consulting firm, announced Tuesday that it’s been acquired by Cognizant , which is a leading global provider of digital transformation services. Missoula ATG founder Tom Stergios called it an “incredibly exciting time” for his consulting company, which he built from his basement into one of Missoula’s fastest-growing businesses paired with ATG’s parent company in Kansas. Stergios noted that ATG will continue operations in Missoula. This presents growth opportunities for both its employees and clients. “There’s no layoffs, no one is leaving and we are retaining our brand — that’s a big deal — and our culture, which also is a big deal.” Along with its Kansas-based operations and delivery center in Missoula, ATG also has offices in Missouri and Ohio. ATG’s clients include major financial services, healthcare, communications and technology organizations ranging from startups to large global enterprises. Stergios said the acquisition will accelerate the growth of ATG and the Missoula office, which has about 130 employees. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018 subject to customer reviews. [ Missoulian ] A new economic landscape: Local leaders in economic development discuss the Flathead’s potential a decade out of the recession It’s been a decade since the Great Recession first took hold of America, eventually making its way to the Flathead Valley where it wreaked havoc on the housing and construction industries, along with manufacturing and other sectors. And while there were some very tough days and years for the valley, groundwork laid during the recession is growing into fruition now. This was the topic of discussion among economic development leaders on a panel at Leadership Montana’s annual convention, The Confluence, last week. The three-day event featured various panels, including a discussion reflecting on economic development in the Flathead in the last decade. Panelists included representatives from the Foundation for Flathead Valley Community College ( hiring ), the city of Kalispell ( hiring ), Montana West Economic Development , and Kalispell Regional Healthcare Foundation ( hiring ). The panel said the valley is poised for continued economic growth, largely due to government and organizations hearing from the public and going to work on their behalf. According to Katharine King, the assistant director of community and economic development with the City of Kalispell, “The economic downturn (led us) to regroup and look at what needed changing.” [ Flathead Beacon ] $400 million Montage Big Sky luxury resort breaks ground in Montana Montage International and CrossHarbor Capital Partners LLC announced the groundbreaking of Montage Big Sky , which is set to open in 2021 and will be the first ultra-luxury resort in Big Sky, Montana. "We are proud to announce the addition of Montage Big Sky to the Montage Hotels & Resorts collection," said Alan J. Fuerstman, founder, chairman and CEO of Montage International. "The stunning natural beauty of Big Sky and ease of access to a world-class array of outdoor recreation makes this an extraordinary destination. With our partners at CrossHarbor, we are eager to bring an elevated, welcoming resort experience to guests and residents of this remarkable community." The $400 million resort will feature 150 guest rooms and suites and 39 Montage Residences. Resort amenities include a three-meal restaurant, lobby bar and lounge, market, pub and recreation room with bowling alley, indoor lap pool, family swimming pool, fitness center, signature Spa Montage, ski lockers and skier services, and 12,870 sq. ft. of meeting and event space. [ Hotel News Resource ] Missoula County to resume bitcoin business discussions The Missoula County Commission will revive its public hearing on cryptocurrency mining later this month to consider ways to mitigate impacts like noise, electronic waste and energy consumption from commercial and industrial development. While the county initially was considering putting a one-year ban on new or increased cryptocurrency operations, Diana Maneta, the county’s energy conservation and sustainability coordinator, said the commissioners are considering alternatives for interim zoning. Montana and the Pacific Northwest region are popular locations for cryptocurrency mining because the climate helps cool the hundreds of computers needed for large operations, and the cost of electricity is fairly low. Currently, cryptocurrency mines are operating in Bonner, Montana (near Missoula) as well as in Anaconda, Montana. [ Missoulian ] Study claims new Montana hardrock mines would create 3,200 Montana jobs A new study by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research helps put some hard numbers to the economic impact of hardrock mining in the state of Montana. Bureau Director Patrick Barkey explains, "We took a look at the contribution made by the eight largest hardrock operations in the state of Montana, which is a small number of companies, but a pretty big economic footprint," Barkey said. "We found that those mines, which mine copper, palladium and concrete products, jointly support over 12,000 jobs across the state. Those jobs pay an average of $86,000 a year in earnings for the workers." The study also looked at the economic potential of proposed mines if they were opened up. "We looked at the three proposed mines, the Rock Creek, Montanore and Black Butte mines," Barkey said. "We looked at a scenario where those were fully developed and became operational. That would add, roughly speaking, another 3,200 jobs to the state economy and more than $200 million in personal income within the first five years of operation." [ KGVO ] Silicon Valley's longest-serving CEO retired to Helena, but never slowed down Ray Zinn is an inventor, entrepreneur, visionary, published author, mentor and philanthropist and is proud to call Helena home. He’s also renowned as the longest-serving Silicon Valley CEO. Originally from a small, rural town in southeast California, his interest in space and engineering led him to hold more than 20 patents for semiconductor design and to co-found Micrel Corp ., a semiconductor company. Zinn served as chief executive officer for 37 years. Micrel was started with $300,000 in personal savings, something rarely done in today’s startup world. Zinn said he did it without investors so he could control his destiny and do it his way. In 2003, Zinn traded his laboratory for a ranch at the base of McDonald Pass (near Helena) and officially “retired” three years ago when Micrel was acquired by Microchip. Since then Zinn has launched ZinnStarter , the Zinn version of Kickstarter for undergraduate students. The program, which is at six universities, is part of an entrepreneurial leadership program that teaches students how to start a business. And, Zinn hasn’t stopped there. He’s also working on a book, the second book in a “ Zen of Zinn ” series, as well as writing for various business publications. [ Helena Independent Record ] Idaho-based Fisher’s Technology expands Montana presence Expanding its presence in Montana, Fisher’s Technology ( hiring ) has acquired Davis Business Machines. Fisher’s manages IT environments, sells and services copiers and printers, and streamlines business operations with electronic document management and related software solutions. The acquisition gives Fisher’s, based in Boise, a total of five locations in Montana. As of July 2017, the company had locations in Billings due to a previous acquisition as well as an office it had started in Great Falls. [ Idaho Business Review ] Mead a drink? Bozeman to get first meadery Valhalla Meadery is slated to open later this fall in Bozeman. It will be the first meaderly to open in Bozeman, and the second in Montana joining Hidden Legend Winery in Victor, Montana (Bitterroot Valley). Initially planning to serve the fermented honey beverage in its tasting room, the company hopes to eventually expand to also bottling the product. With a whole slew of well-established breweries in Montana, Valhalla co-owner Dylan Watson said there’s a lot of potential for mead to take off. And considering the state is one of the top honey producers in the nation , he said there are also plenty of opportunities for business partnerships. Mead is not for the faint of heart: Strong meads usually run in the 14 percent alcohol content range, and Watson said they can make it with up to 16 percent alcohol content. Lightweights need not stay away, though. Watson said he plans on having a mead with lower alcohol content. They will also run a small kitchen at the meadery. [ Bozeman Chronicle ] Montana Made: Montana Canvas Montana Canvas  might be the simplest business in Montana. They focus on the two Ts — tents and tarps — and have done that since 1982. “Our products are sold throughout the U.S and actually throughout North America,” said Montana Canvas owner Kirt Dinges. There are currently 28 people working in the factory near Belgrade. And, if you ask how Montana Canvas has been able to survive for more than four decades, that’s your answer: the people. “We have our office manager, been with us 30 years. We have several people in the shop that have been with us 15, 20, 25 years. So back to what you said, it’s a special place and a special group of people which is why Montana Canvas is still here,” Dinges said. Montana Canvas has moved from manufacturing truck tarps into the luxury boat tarp world and wall tents for hunting and fishing. [ KTVQ ]
Alberta Bair Theater in Billings gets record $1M private donation The Alberta Bair Theater (find volunteer opportunities ) has received a $1 million gift from private donors Jim and Chris Scott, pushing the performing arts organization above the $9 million mark in fundraising as it prepares to renovate the aging theater. The organization anticipates renovation and expansion costs of $12 million. The renovation plan, developed by CTA Architects ( hiring ), includes a 3,200 square-foot expansion that will double the size of the lobby and ground floor concessions and incorporate the new ticket office. The theater will go dark on May 1, 2019 and reopen in September 2020. [ Billings Gazette ] Montana startups find receptive audience at 2018 TechCrunch Disrupt Conference Four Montana business startups attended the 2018 TechCrunch Disrupt Conference in San Francisco last week, spreading the word about the state’s booming tech industry and connecting with businesses from around the world. The event is the world’s largest tech startup conference, hosting thousands of companies, investors and economic development organizations. Montana companies attending included Missoula-based Audience Awards and Elebase.io , along with Bozeman-based Triple Tree and WebBuy . [ Missoula Current ] Osborne Building to rise in downtown Bozeman with help of innovative federal program from Missoula-headquartered MoFi After standing vacant for nearly a decade, the final lot leveled by the 2009 natural gas explosion in downtown Bozeman will be home to a new restaurant, office space to the community and other exciting community benefits. According to one of the project developers, Bryan Klein, credit was given to local Montana companies who helped solve various financing issues. “This project definitely would not be happening without the help of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), MoFi ( hiring ) and First Security Bank ( hiring )”. The New Markets Tax Credit Program is an innovative federal program that helps incentivize and finance economic development projects in low-income census tracts around the country. Missoula-headquartered MoFi works with investors to turn the credits into cash and then uses that cash to fund catalytic development projects. In this particular case, the NMTC came with some exciting benefits to the community of Bozeman. First and foremost, the project will create more than 150 stable, quality Montana jobs that are accessible to low-income people. The third floor will be leased to nonprofit organizations that have a primary mission of serving low-income communities and will be leased at 50% of the market rate. And the fourth floor’s flexible office space, with an emphasis on creative collaboration and business incubation, will provide room for Bozeman’s growing entrepreneurial and startup economy. Additional examples of businesses funded with New Markets financing include the new Missoula Food Bank , the Great Falls Rescue Mission’s Cameron Family Center , the Copper King Hotel in Butte, the tribal government building on the Fort Peck Reservation in Poplar, and the Universal Athletic Service headquarters in Bozeman. [ Bozeman Magazine ] Missoula-based tech company onX names former Amazon exec as CEO Missoula-based outdoor tech company, OnX ( hiring ), recently named Laura Orvidas as CEO. Orvidas was formerly the VP of Consumer Electronics at Amazon. She said onX’s decision to hire a female CEO is exciting, not only for Montana but for a male-dominated industry. “That speaks volumes to the board, Eric the founder, and the leadership team – that they would hire a woman from Chicago to run a tech company in Montana,” Orvidas said. “I think it really showcases that people recognize diversity is important and are trying to make positive change.” Eric Siegfried will remain onboard as founder, continuing work to enhance the off-pavement location experience as well as leading advocacy efforts for public lands and access. Siegfried said Orvidas’ experience will help propel onX to its next stage of growth. onX closed a $20.3 million growth equity investment led by Summit Partners in February and announced their intentions to create dozens of new Montana jobs between Missoula and Bozeman. Orvidas is excited by the company’s growth and is looking forward to working with a smaller team. [ Missoula Current ] Labor report touts growth, new program on tap for brewers Montana’s economy continues to grow, state officials said Tuesday, noting an annual Labor Day report that 4,600 Montana jobs were added in 2017. The report, compiled by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry , noted that Montana has posted the fourth-fastest wage growth nationwide in the past decade, gross domestic product growth is outpacing the rest of the United States and entrepreneurs started 2,940 new businesses. Additionally, with Montana’s unemployment rate at 3.7 percent, the lowest it has been in over a decade, this means a tightening labor market can make it difficult for businesses to fill positions. According to Governor Steve Bullock, “The key to economic growth and prosperity is a trained and talented workforce.” And, in this spirit, the state also recently announced the first-ever Montana-registered apprenticeship brewing program . An apprentice will complete about 140 hours of online courses through the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and will then earn a certified national credential. With Montana having the second highest number of breweries per capita in the nation, with 9.6 breweries per 100,000 residents and an ever-rising number of breweries across the state, the new program is being well received. [ Great Falls Tribune ] Crickets go to Boomtown! Belgrade-based company, Cowboy Cricket Farms Inc, is one of 11 startups in the 11th cohort of Boomtown Accelerator in Boulder, Colorado. Boomtown is a business accelerator that creates programming custom to each founder and business. Besides the onsite program, Boomtown gives $20K to each team and provides business mentors and staff support. The program ends in a Demo Day where each team pitches to investors and also to the public. The edible insect farm, food manufacturer and technology developer founders, Kathy and James Rolin, will remain onsite for the entirety of the program to grow Cowboy Cricket Farms to the fullest. Other key personnel will remain in Bozeman to continue operations of the business. “Our goal here is to continue the growth of our Partner Farmer program, finish our Automated Bin Habitats, and to grow as a company,” said Kathy Rolin, CEO. According to co-founder James, “We see our potential growth as endless, and we are really excited to be a part of Boomtown and to accelerate that growth.” [ Cowboy Crickets ] Inaugural Early Stage Montana Showcase scheduled for September 22nd The inaugural Early Stage Montana Statewide Showcase will take place on September 22nd in Bozeman. Early Stage MT is a non-profit collaboration of Big Sky Economic Development Authority, Blackstone LaunchPads at MSU and UM , Frontier Angels , Montana High Tech Business Alliance , Montana State University , Montana Manufacturing Extension Center , MonTEC , Missoula Economic Partnership , Next Frontier Capital , and Prospera Business Network . The showcase will feature emerging tech companies from across the state, alongside venture capital firms, representatives from accelerators and other tech influencers. See a complete agenda and register for the event here . [ Early Stage Montana ] A new doppler lidar developed by Bozeman-based Blackmore solves self-driving cars’ need for speed The lidar system developed by Bozeman-based Blackmore ( hiring ) was recently highlighted in WIRED magazine. The technological advance has the potential to help self-driving cars see and understand the world around them more easily than before. [ WIRED ] Helena’s Carroll College named best regional college in the West for 8th straight year Carroll College ( hiring ) was recently named the best regional college in the West by U.S. News and World Report for the eighth consecutive year. The school received a perfect score of 100 from the report, which rates 1,800 academic institutions nationwide. The college received Best Regional College in the West for Veterans for the fourth year in a row and ranked third for Best Value College in the West. It also topped the list for the new category of Undergraduate Teaching. Carroll faced similarly sized colleges in the regional category, with universities and national liberal arts colleges competing in their own divisions. Other Montana schools fared well on the list including Montana Tech at No. 5, Rocky Mountain College at No. 8 and University of Montana Western at No. 9. [ Helena Air ] Montana seeks to roll out statewide health information exchange (HIE) in 2019 Several years ago, the State of Montana used HITECH Act funding to begin creating a statewide health information exchange (HIE) called HealthShare Montana, but that effort eventually faltered. Now, the state has redoubled its efforts to create a new nonprofit, Big Sky Care Connect HIE, which will expand on a pilot effort already under way in Billings where Riverstone Health ( hiring ), Billings Clinic ( hiring ) and St. Vincent Healthcare ( hiring ) have begun efforts to exchange health information across networks with the hope of taking the concept statewide. The goal is to have a business plan completed for Big Sky Care Connect HIE by the end of January 2019 so providers who wanted to join could begin expanding out from the Billings pilot by next July or August. [ Healthcare Informatics ] Missoula airport secures $8.7M federal grant for new terminal building project The Missoula International Airport has secured an $8.7 million federal grant to help fund a new terminal building, streamline passenger flow, add food retailers and double the number of gates. The airport is just beginning a multi-year initiative to accommodate rapidly increasing passenger numbers, including starting construction on a new three-story, 175-000-square-foot terminal building that should be done by 2021. The entire project could cost as much as $110 million and will be paid by user fees, grants and other sources. Additionally, the City of Missoula is in the process of annexing about 3,200 acres  of airport land to make way for expected development in the future. [ Missoulian ]  
School is in, smoke is out, and our fishing game is strong. Get your weekly skim of Montana business news below while hanging onto this last bit of summer.  From basement hippies to fastest growing, Missoula tech company continues to scale Missoula-based Submittable (currently hiring ) recently made Inc. Magazine’s list of the nation’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies.  Founded in 2010 by three college friends, the company has grown from 26 employees last spring to 72, and is now measuring the firm’s revenue in the millions of dollars. Still, CEO Michael FitzGerald takes a humble view of the company’s beginnings and its long-term goals for growth, which include 500 workers who earn more than double Missoula’s median wage. “It feels crazy to me,” FitzGerald said. “I’ve never done this before. Every time we add a new employee, we’re treading new territory.” Recognizing the company’s potential for growth and his own limitations, FitzGerald and Submittable are now bringing on experienced executives to move the company to the next phase of growth. “We’re trying to find people who have been at our stage and have gotten to the next stage,” FitzGerald said. “At each stage, there’s certain characteristics for a company, so we’re in the thick of that. It’s where you scale and start to have managers. Our first 30 employees were Missoula hippies trying to figure it out. Now, we’re bringing in the executives.” [ Missoula Current ] PRISM Spectrum Holdings acquires Montana environmental firm PRISM Spectrum Holdings LLC , an environmental remediation and demolition contractor based in Pittsburgh, announced last week that it has acquired Copper Environmental Consulting Inc. , an environmental consulting, engineering and project management firm based in Anaconda (currently hiring ). Founded in 2006, Copper Environmental grew its staff to 40 employees over 12 years. The multidisciplinary staff includes environmental engineers, geologists, hydrogeologists and geochemists. Copper Environmental will add to Prism's capabilities with technical expertise and engineering services that will be incorporated through all of its services. [ Pittsburgh Business Times ] Can Do: Why Montana is an incubator for fast-growing tech companies On this episode of Montana Public Radio’s "Can Do" series, Christina Henderson , executive director of the Montana High Tech Business Alliance , explains what entices so many new companies to start up or relocate to Montana, and how the Alliance plans on continuing to help start-ups and established businesses alike. The episode discusses the Montana tech boom, how technology has changed company culture, and the broad variety of Montana jobs the tech industry has to offer in the state. [ Montana Public Radio ] Nonprofit Ronald McDonald House in Missoula breaks ground on $2.77M expansion The Missoula Ronald McDonald House has been hosting families who need a place to stay while their child or children receive medical treatment for many years. But, in 2017, the house had to turn away 72 desperate families due to a lack of space. “It’s heartbreaking to tell a family that we can’t accommodate them,” said Amy Peterson, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Montana. However, between a generous donation of $957,000 from AbbVie , a research-based global biopharmaceutical firm, as well as other local and regional donor support and a $650,000 gift from the Jane S. Heman Foundation, Peterson said the Missoula Ronald McDonald House is at 82 percent of the total needed to fund the expansion, and that construction will start immediately. [ Missoulian ] Verizon Business ranks Missoula among top 10 small U.S. cities to start a business After compiling data across a number of categories, Verizon Business named Missoula one the best small cities in the U.S. to start a business. The third best, to be precise. “Some would think it a little out of the way for starting a business, but Missoula is enjoying a fast trend upward in its population and economy,” the ranking stated. “Plus, it’s probably one of the most picturesque cities on the list.” According to Verizon, the rankings reviewed data from 300 U.S. cities with a population between 50,000 and 75,000 people. Factors included education, the time it takes to commute to work and access to broadband. It also considered income per capita and labor costs, loans per capita, and tax scores from the 2018 State Business Tax Climate. Missoula was the only Montana city ranked by Verizon Business. [ Missoula Current ]  
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