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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

PHOTO VIA PFL Livingston’s Printing for Less (PFL) expanding, plans to add 100 Montana jobs Along with the official groundbreaking of the new 55,000 sq. ft digital printing fulfillment center, Livingston’s Printing For Less (PFL) also announced it plans to add 100 new employees once the center is complete. This is on top of the 80 new positions it has already added this year in its main Livingston location. You can check out the company’s current open positions here on its website. PFL currently employs just under 300 people at its Livingston location, where online orders are printed and automated marketing materials are created for customers. Senator Steve Daines attended the groundbreaking and spoke about the importance of growing the workforce in Montana to compete globally while retaining a connection to the state. “Montana employees work hard. They’re working in a global business that is growing quickly, and I’m just proud of what they do here,” said Sen. Daines. “It’s just an example of Montana now, because of technology it’s removed geography as a restraint. It now becomes a tremendous asset for us because we get to work where we also like to play.” [ KBZK ] Burgeoning apprentice program at Missoula College looks to ease labor shortage While Montana’s unemployment rate dipped to 4 percent in April, continued job growth combined with retiring Baby Boomers and a growing economy could drive the state’s rate of unemployment down to a scant 2 percent by 2026, a problem Dylan Rogness, the apprenticeship liaison at Missoula College , is working to improve. Rogness was hired full time in April of this year as the apprenticeship liaison charged with growing the number of students looking for industry-specific jobs during (and after) college, along with the number of companies looking for trained employees. “I’m taking all the programs we have here and figuring out if we can turn them into an apprenticeship program,” he said. “Health care has been really successful, and my job now is to expand the employer partnerships and build a pool of apprentices by going to K-12 and plugging the pipeline.” With Rogness focused on the task at hand, the program has already expanded to seven business partners, and six of them will have an apprentice by the end of the month. [ Missoula Current ]   PHOTO VIA KURT WILSON / MISSOULIAN Dick Anderson Construction wins $4.08M contract to begin rebuilding Sperry Chalet The National Park Service on Tuesday awarded a $4.08 million contract to the Great Falls office of Dick Anderson Construction (currently hiring for positions across the state) to begin rebuilding the Sperry Chalet dormitory or hotel this summer. Gutted by a forest fire in August of 2017, the iconic stone-walled structure has provided refuge and memories for visitors to Glacier National Park’s high country for more than a century. Park Service officials said construction will begin in early July and continue through mid-fall, as long as the weather permits, and then will resume again in the summer of 2019, presumably concluding by that season’s end. [ Missoula Current ] Missoula welcomes American Airlines The first American Airlines flight touched down last week in Missoula, kicking off the new service in Missoula with a nonstop year-round daily flight to Dallas and a seasonal flight to Chicago. American Airlines Director of Government Affairs Billy Glunz said, “Our expectation is that we’re going to have great success here for us and for Missoula in driving traffic and makes Missoula Airport (currently hiring ) one-stop to the world. It’s a great tourist destination and a great place to do business, so we’re happy to make it easier for people to get in and out of Missoula.” The Missoula Economic Partnership has diligently worked on bringing American Airlines to the Garden City for the past five years, and the investment of Missoula’s business community has made all the difference in making this happen. [ KPAX ] MSU to offer new bachelor of arts degree in computer science A new academic program at Montana State University (currently hiring for several positions) seeks to open the world of computing to a wider range of students with varied interests and prepare graduates for diverse employment opportunities. The Gianforte School of Computing in MSU’s Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering will offer a bachelor of arts in computer science beginning this August. The degree combines computer science courses with concentrated study in areas outside science, technology, engineering and math (or STEM) — such as sociology, music, business or community health. “The motivation is to enable students with almost any interest to benefit — both personally and professionally — from computing in their lives,” said John Paxton , director of the Gianforte School of Computing. “Many computing opportunities in today’s world don’t require a whole year of advanced math and science.” Already, well over a dozen students currently pursuing the department’s bachelor of science degree have expressed interest in switching to the new degree. Paxton said he expects that, going forward, the new degree will also attract many students who wouldn’t otherwise have considered studying computer science and who have a wider range of backgrounds. [ Montana State University ] Experts agree: Billings is a pretty good place to launch a business The city of Billings has recently gained national attention when WalletHub , a personal finance and economy website, ranked the city eighth on on its top ten best places to start a business list , highlighting the city's business-friendly ecosystem. WalletHub ranked nearly 200 metropolitan cities across the U.S., looking at three key metrics and evaluating each city based on those measurements. Measured was a city's business environment, availability of resources and business costs. Andy Zoeller, Finance Director for the City of Billings (currently hiring ), wasn't surprised by the city's national ranking on the list given the large quantity of business licenses the city reviews each month. Overall last year, the city of Billings issued 1,105 new business licenses and renewed another 5,400. Not included in the city's licensing numbers are businesses that would be regulated by state boards, like dentists, lawyers, chiropractors and cosmetologists. [ Billings Gazette ]   Local tech startup commonFont feeds Bozeman’s communal fountain one gift at a time Bozeman-based commonFont (currently hiring for several positions) has taken a new approach to corporate charitable giving and could perhaps be setting a new trend. Through a partnership that the company began in 2016 with HRDC (also hiring for several positions), its second-year donation (after significant first-year donations) marked the beginning of a pattern, a “pay as you go” contribution model to which the young commonFont company plans to adhere as the business continues to flourish. “As the company grows, it impacts our employees, our clients, and the community in which we operate,” says Co-founder Matt Fulton. “The concept of waiting until we reach some arbitrary threshold of growth or success before we give back was inconsistent with our company values. Just as we invest aggressively to provide exceptional employment opportunities and grow the business, we should be investing in the community we’re relying on.” According to Co-founder and CEO Abby Schlatter, “Our philosophy on giving is that if we have the ability to give, we should put it to use in the moment, do what we can, and make sure those returns are going into the community. If we want Bozeman to continue to be a great place for our company to grow and to recruit, hire, and retain people, we need to give back.” Offering some insight for other prospective businesses who may wish to adopt a similar strategy, Fulton advises that giving should be a charitable act at base, but also an informed business decision. Check out the full article to learn more about commonFont’s partnership with HDRC and all the community benefits and investments as a result of this partnership - as well as the giving strategy behind it. And if interested in learning more about the fast-growing startup company that makes giving back to its Bozeman community a priority, check out our recent company spotlight featuring commonFont to get a behind-the-scenes look into the company and also learn about open positions its hiring for. [ HRDC ] Technology makes oil profitable at lower prices, featuring Billings-based GTUIT There’s no need for the oil patch to wait for the return of $100 oil to see big profits. Astounding advancements in technology in the oil fields, since the bust, has so reduced production costs that “boom” profit margins are now being realized at much lower prices per barrel. Improvements to the fracking and horizontal well technologies are allowing producers to reach lengths “never before seen,” according to Bloomberg. And now with new technology produced by Billings-based GTUIT ( hiring ), there is also technology to combat the challenge of “flaring” - burning of the gas - which much of the Bakken is facing while it looks to develop more gas pipelines to take fuel to “more-promising markets.” GTUIT’s proprietary technology allows producers to reduce flaring while at the same time capture the value of a fuel which has a very real market value. As of the beginning of the year, GTUIT had recovered and processed over 1 million barrels of NGLs since 2012, preventing the emissions of more than 300,000 tons of CO2. [ Big Sky Business Journal ] Industrial subdivision planned for Bonner to attract more business A Missoula-area businessman is leading efforts to develop an industrial subdivision at the Bonner West Log Yard Targeted Economic Development District (TEDD) to attract more businesses to the area. Eric Groenweghe, general manager of Harris Manufacturing ( hiring in Missoula), is also strongly considering donating a big swath of riverfront property to the public, but said he needs TEDD funds from the county for the initial capital for the entire project. Groenweghe said he and his team are looking at 20 to 25 lots varying in size from 2.5 to 5 acres, and he hopes to attract mainly manufacturing businesses. “Our target is to bring in (manufacturing) people like ourselves. We make pressure vessels and heat exchangers, so we would like to bring in industries that service that industry as well.” Everything is in the early planning stages right now, but Groenweghe hopes to ask the county in the near future for some Targeted Economic Development District funds to kickstart the project because his company lacks the amount of capital needed to get it going. [ Missoulian ] Billings City Council approves One Big Sky District development plan agreement, sets stage for more studies Earlier this week, the Billings City Council approved the One Big Sky District development plan agreement, setting the stage for more than $2 million in studies to be conducted over the next few months to identify up to three catalyst projects that proponents say could eventually spur $1.5 billion in downtown development. The council voted in April to contribute $100,000 to fund the studies, with Billings strategy partners pitching in about $577,000. Landmark Development Services Company LLC – Hammes Company of Madison, Wisconsin - the project developer – will provide up to $1.34 million worth of research and expertise to develop the economic development plan that proponents say will help employers attract talented workers to help replenish the city’s aging workforce; improve dining, shopping and hotel choices; boost the city’s available Class A office space; and could result in construction of a state-of-the-art convention center. Everyone who testified Monday supported approving the proposed agreement. Karen Baumgart, director of BillingsWorks , said Billings is home to about 2,700 people who completed high school or college in 2017 – and will have nearly 5,000 Montana job openings by the end of 2018. “We need to have a community that people want to live in,” she said. [ Billings Gazette ] The need to grow. Documentary features groundbreaking work of local company The award-winning 2017 documentary “The Need to Grow” explores the premise that a mere six decades of farmable soil remains on Earth given the current rate of soil degradation. Positing that the future of mankind depends on saving our planet’s dying soil, the film tracks innovators in global solutions, including the pioneering work taking place at Algae AquaCulture Technologies in northwest Montana's Columbia Falls, which figures prominently in the film. Now, the finished film is making its way through the festival circuit, and on June 16 at 7 p.m. the filmmakers will screen the film in Whitefish at the O’Shaughnessy Center followed by a Q and A and reception with the filmmakers and stars of the documentary. [ Flathead Beacon ]  
This is commonFont Team photo at Medallia Experience 2018 in Long Beach, California commonFont is one of downtown Bozeman’s most exciting places to work, not to mention one of its best kept secrets. Their team of driven, intelligent and passionate professionals is growing quickly, and they’re hiring !  Impromptu team photo from The Work Spot MT’s office visit (only half of the team is pictured) Launched in late 2013 by co-founders Abby Schlatter and Matt Fulton , commonFont is running full-speed ahead with a team of 14 and plans to grow to more than 20+ in the next six months. commonFont uses Medallia and other software platforms to help enterprise clients capture, manage, and act on customer feedback data to improve the customer experience. Their client list includes Fortune 500 companies and several of the world’s most admired brands. Co-founders Abby and Matt are originally from central Illinois and Atlanta respectively, and have spent much of the previous ten years in California, but they had a vision to move to Montana and put down roots in the booming mountain town of Bozeman . With Boulder, Colorado, also on the consideration list for where to start their company, they chose Bozeman over Boulder (and Silicon Valley) after tallying up community attributes of the town in which they wanted to work and live. Both have deep leadership, operational, and technical backgrounds, and they knew that they could build a company that wins by making technology high impact and by providing an exceptional customer experience. But, what does that have to do with “font?” After a trip to Italy where the founding duo visited the communal fountains in Rome, they were inspired to name the company “commonFont” (font is the latin root of fountain) to represent an entity that enriches the entire community that it serves. No doubt about it, commonFont lives up to its name. The team believes in benefitting everyone the company touches - its employees, clients, and community - all while constantly learning and growing, much like a fountain that is continually flowing. So what’s the secret sauce? While the beer on tap, snacks in the kitchen, and company happy hours are certainly a plus, there is much more to what makes this group succeed. Employees enjoy competitive salaries, health insurance, an open PTO plan, company retirement contributions, and generous parental leave. Additionally, the team are  a tight knit crew, with a culture that is continually cultivated through collaboration. Beer on tap in the office kitchen area commonFont team member Angie arrives at the office to find a whole lot of comical Valentine’s Day love on her desk They meet twice weekly - once to conduct a knowledge share and again for a weekly initiatives meeting where they discuss ideas and suggestions to make the work environment operate more smoothly. This team also cultivates trust in one another through regular community service activities like volunteering at Fork & Spoon , Montana’s only “pay what you can cafe,” and after-hours social events such as the recent bowling extravaganza where the team got together for an evening of fun.   commonFont team volunteering at local Fork & Spoon Cafe If you think commonFont sounds like an awesome place to work, you are right on track. The team is currently hiring , and building your own stand-up desk may be just an interview away (a hint to what your first day on the job looks like)! Specific technology experience isn’t a must, although analytical capabilities, an interest in technology, and a desire to serve clients are critical. commonFont is looking for driven professionals that can demonstrate their passion for getting the job done right. Oh yeah, and being “wicked smaht” doesn’t hurt either. commonFont employees know it as a “safe place to take risks - they succeed together and fail together.” Ready for the next step in your career? Learn more about commonFont and the current positions it is hiring for here on The Work Spot MT .
PHOTO VIA BUNKER LABS BOZEMAN Bunker Labs Bozeman hosts official ribbon cutting ceremony at Zoot Enterprises Bunker Labs is a national nonprofit organization built by military veteran entrepreneurs to empower other military veterans as leaders in innovation. Through local chapters across the U.S., Bunker Labs provides educational programming, access to resources, and a thriving local network to help military veterans and their spouses start and grow thriving businesses. Six months ago, Nathan Wiens (an entrepreneurial Army veteran himself) set out to bring a local Bunker Labs chapter to Bozeman. Just last week, Wiens and many others celebrated the official ribbon cutting of Bunker Labs Bozeman - the national nonprofit’s newest chapter. Those who attended the launch event heard from community leaders, local veteran entrepreneurs and Bunker Labs’ very own Todd Connor, CEO and Founder of Bunker Labs. Wiens, Executive Director of Bunker Labs Bozeman, said “We are so excited about the path ahead here in Bozeman and can’t wait to see all the amazing companies that will grow right here in our backyard. Thanks again for coming out and supporting veteran entrepreneurship.” If you missed the official ribbon cutting ceremony, check out the next monthly Bunker Brews on June 20th at Sidewinders . [ Bunker Labs Bozeman ] Vision Net adding 70 miles of broadband fiber to Billings and Helena Vision Net , a Montana-based telecommunications solutions company with offices in Great Falls, Helena, Missoula and Billings, announced this week that it is bringing an additional seventy miles of new broadband fiber to Billings and Helena. Both communities are experiencing increasing demand from consumers and businesses for high-quality, reliable broadband access. The project began last month and is estimated to be completed by August 2019. The company worked with leaders in both cities to ensure the new network put in place will not only meet the present demand but also allow for future growth as reliable broadband access is a driving consideration for companies looking to expand and/or relocate to communities across Montana. Webb Brown, President and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce , noted the importance of collaboration when investing in the state. “Vision Net’s expanded investment in fiber networks demonstrates the effectiveness of collaboration between industry leaders and local officials when it comes to broadband infrastructure,” he said. “With fiber becoming essential in day-to-day operations, commitments like this are making Montana a more attractive place to do business.” [ Business Wire ] New organization aims to provide mentorship, access to capital to Montana startups In a state operating with a relative trickle of venture funding, many Montana startups find themselves having success but in need of funding. A new program, Early Stage Montana (which we’ve covered in past week skims), was formed this past spring and aims to change the funding dynamics for emerging businesses across the state of Montana. The nonprofit, which was started by a collaboration of startup incubators and venture groups, hosted pitch competitions across the state last month giving companies like Bozeman-based Sellout a chance to tell their story. Sellout earned top marks, followed by Alosant, and both companies will participate in the Bozeman hyper-accelerator program later this summer. There is also a hyper-accelerator in Missoula and Billings this summer. The program, staffed by 30 educators and business owners, is part of Early Stage’s vision to provide companies with assistance with aspects such as business planning and financial projections. In September, both companies will take part in a statewide showcase competition, joined by the four other winners of separate regional pitch events in Billings and Missoula. The winner of the final — held on Sept. 22 at the Museum of the Rockies — will score $50,000 in investment credit. A dozen organizations including MSU’s Blackstone LaunchPad , the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center , Next Frontier Capital and Prospera Business Network , helped bring the nonprofit to life. This type of collaboration is what it will take to keep Montana startups on a level playing field with their national counterparts. [ Bozeman Chronicle ]   PHOTO VIA DAVID HEBERT PHOTOGRAPHY & DESIGN Tech leaders discuss importance of Montana's outdoor recreation At a recent roundtable panel discussion in Missoula, local tech companies discussed their abilities to capitalize on Montana’s outdoor recreation opportunities to entice clients and recruit talent. Fast-growing tech companies such as LumenAd ( hiring in Missoula) and OnXmaps ( hiring in Bozeman and Missoula) shared their thoughts on what they anticipate for the future of the tech sector, which has been reported to be growing much faster than the Montana economy as a whole - providing more than $1.03 billion in wages and 15,000 jobs. The roundtable event was sponsored by Business for Montana’s Outdoors , a coalition of 180 businesses representing 5,000 workers that advocate for the value of public lands and the outdoors as an economic asset. [ Missoulian ] Summer tech camp offers kids on Flathead Reservation opportunities A summer camp on the Flathead Reservation is aiming to grow career opportunities for young people in the tech fields. The week-long program, taught by professors at Salish Kootenai College ( hiring for several positions) and experts in coding, game design, cyber security and data analytics, aims to expose young tribal members to fields of work they might not otherwise see on the reservation. Native American high school students from any tribe are invited to apply for the free, week-long program at the Salish Kootenai College campus in Pablo, Montana. Velda Shelby, member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes , started the camp last year. When asked about the camp, she said, “If they can learn technology, coding, any aspect of it, there are more opportunities." [ Montana Public Radio ]   PHOTO VIA BIG SKY COWORK Bozeman-based Zinovo buys local cowork business Bozeman-based Zinovo , a growing services company that helps companies manage and support their Salesforce platforms, recently announced its purchase of CoWork Bozeman (with plans to change the co-work space business name to Big Sky CoWork ). According to Jonathan Distad, founding partner of Zinovo, “We have been so warmly welcomed by the Bozeman start-up community that when we found a space for our growing company AND had the opportunity to carry on the coworking business, it seemed like a win-win.” The rebranding to Big Sky CoWork is to better represent their greater vision for the business - which is a regional coworking space. With that, comes the addition of a second location in Big Sky’s Town Center. It will offer open spaces in a similar model to the Bozeman location. Each location will have varying privileges at the other locations, depending on the membership level each member chooses. “We are elated to see Big Sky CoWork come to our community,” said Candace Carr Strauss, CEO of the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce . “As an organization that strives to ensure a positive business climate exists for our 400+ members, we believe Big Sky CoWork will bring much needed resources to our small businesses, our ever-increasing number of telecommuters and aspiring entrepreneurs.” The Big Sky space is anticipated to be ready for members beginning July 1. Zinovo is growing and currently hiring talent in the Bozeman area. [ Zinovo ] A strong handshake, talent and a gut feeling led Israeli tech company 4Cast to Missoula CEO of the Israeli-based technology firm, 4Cast (a spin off of Eltel Technologies ) sat down recently with the Missoula Economic Partnership and the Montana World Trade Center to discuss how Missoula emerged as the preferred location for his company’s first U.S. office and his plans moving forward. The company’s path to Missoula began more than two years ago and now plans to open this month with a handful of employees. Additionally, if things go as planned, the company could add 100 more Montana jobs in the next four years. According to CEO Nissim Titan, the location was not a quick decision. “We met with 19 states, analyzed a little information and had a road show to different states,” said Titan, naming Utah and Florida among them. “Although it was snowing, we stopped in three Montana communities – Billings, Bozeman and Missoula. It’s a gut feeling why I came to Montana.” While the cities he toured offered different benefits, Titan settled on Missoula due to a number of factors, crediting the work of the Missoula Economic Partnership and Montana World Trade Center as well as the city’s supportive existing tech sector. Other contributing factors were direct flights to Utah and San Francisco and the proximity of the University of Montana , where the company’s technology could be taught as part of a growing effort to craft specific courses to the real-world needs of area businesses. [ Missoula Current ] WinCo store pumping new life into 24th Street West and Central Ave. in Billings The corner of 24th Street and Central in Billings is looking at a facelift this summer. The former Kmart building, which has been on the corner for more than forty years, will come down, and construction on a new grocery store, WinCo , will begin. Idaho-based WinCo Foods is one of the largest certified employee-owned businesses in the country. This will be its first store in Montana. In addition to the WinCo space, two other new companies have committed to building small storefronts along 24th Street West in front of the new WinCo. The names and industries of those businesses have not yet been announced. [ Billings Gazette ] After snubbing TIF request, Missoula county proposes a moratorium on new cryptocurrency mines In a recent heated Missoula county commission meeting, county officials proposed emergency zoning rules that would halt all new cryptocurrency mining in Missoula county for up to one year. Citing environmental and safety concerns, county officials are proposing emergency zoning rules that would halt all new cryptocurrency mining in Missoula county for up to one year. The rules wouldn’t require Project Spokane (the cryptocurrency mine near Bonnor outside Missoula) to shut down, but they would create a new zoning district that prohibits cryptocurrency mining as a primary or accessory use in unincorporated areas. Project Spokane, which has talked of doubling or even quadrupling the size of its 20 MW mine, wouldn’t be able to expand operations at the Bonner mill site under the moratorium. The rules would also add bitcoin to a list of prohibited home occupations, a category that includes restaurants or pet-boarding businesses. That means no one could hook up a new mining server — whether a teenager in his parents’ basement or a commercial operator in a vast warehouse — outside city limits. [ Missoula Independent ]
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