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Welcome to The Work Spot

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. 

Based in Bozeman, Montana  |  Serving all Montana communities



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Latest From the Blog

Bozeman venture capital firm eyes Missoula for growth, investment opportunities HomeStake Venture Partners , an upstart venture capital firm based in Bozeman, has hired an outreach coordinator, Andy Gordon, based in Missoula to help grow the organization’s membership base across the state. HomeStake co-founder Bill Stoddart described HomeStake as a “deconstructive” VC fund, one that’s looking for homegrown opportunities. While many Montana businesses are poised for growth, he said, some don’t have the collateral needed to secure bank funding or can’t provide the high returns needed to attract investment from other venture capitalists. Having Montanans invest in Montana companies, he added, keeps money in the state and helps grow the state’s overall economy. HomeStake currently claims around 40 members. As subscribed members, they gain access to the firm’s industry research and marketing. Members of the group then choose which companies to invest in based on their own unique interests. Stoddart said the firm’s current membership is capable of providing more than $20 million in financing throughout the state, though it has identified nearly $50 million in opportunity. By hiring Gordon in Missoula, it plans to expand its membership base to achieve a greater level of investment. The firm’s current portfolio includes a number of Montana businesses, including Gallatin Valley Botanical , Wisetail , Sofi ( hiring in Helena and nationally), the Natural Baby Company and the Sola Cafe & Market . [ Missoula Current ] Under the Big Sky storytelling video series features Red Ants Pants founder Under the Big Sky (a Montana storytelling video series featuring interesting people, businesses and stories that are found under the Big Sky), recently spoke with the founder and owner of Red Ants Pants , Sarah Calhoun. In the video, she discusses the origins of the company she started at age 25 that sells workwear for women. Tired of wearing men’s work pants that didn’t fit, Calhoun designed pants that would fit, function and flatter working women. Red Ants Pants is based out of White Sulphur Springs, Montana, where the storefront, distribution center, and international headquarters all reside in a historic saddle shop. To show support for the hard-working side of Montana and beyond, the Red Ants Pants Foundation was born in 2011. The Foundation supports women’s leadership, working family farms and ranches, and rural communities – the three things most important to Calhoun and the Red Ants Pants Community. That same year, the Foundation launched its first program – the Red Ants Pants Music Festival. In 2011, over 6,000 fans came to celebrate rural Montana in a cow pasture. Recently named the 2018 Event of the Year by the Montana Office of Tourism, the Red Ants Pants Music Festival will take place this year July 26 through 29 in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. This full story, and all other Under the Big Sky segments and stories, can be found here . [ KXLH ] Bozeman data security firm scores $1.5 million amid venture capital growth IronCore Labs (based in Bozeman and Boulder, Colorado) recently announced it raised $1.5 million in seed funding led by Bozeman-based venture capital firm Next Frontier Capital . With this recent round of funding, the company has now raised $3 million over the past 18 months. IronCore Labs , a cloud privacy platform technology, plans to use the $1.5 million to hire sales and marketing staff. The company is also planning an announcement regarding the release of a public product in the coming weeks. The $1.5 million sum was the latest in a string of successes for Next Frontier Capital, which has raised $100 million in funds for 12 companies since its inception in 2015. Among them include several Montana-based companies SiteOne Therapeutics , Submittable ( hiring in Missoula), Clearas Water Recovery , Quiq ( hiring in Bozeman), Orbital Shift and Blackmore Sensors and Analytics ( hiring in Bozeman). [ Bozeman Chronicle ] Why Montana out ranks California and New York as the “Best Places in the U.S. to Start Up” Montana recently ranked 4th on a list compiled by the personal finance site WalletHub ranking the best states to start up a business. The report, which was based on 25 key indicators of startup success, ranked Montana four places ahead of California on the list and 28 ahead of New York. Montana crushed the competition by scoring highly on WalletHub's three dimensions: business environment, access to resources and business costs.You can read more about WalletHub's methodology here . Montana boasts a relatively large transportation and utilities industry compared to the U.S. as a whole, but high-tech industries are growing, adding Montana jobs and far outpacing statewide growth, according to University of Montana data . And Bozeman, home to Montana State University, is also gaining a reputation as a tech town. But that’s not all. Three reasons founders are headed west include the thriving startup culture, ready employment base and low cost of doing business. You can find a complete list of the rankings here . [ Inc. ] Bozeman’s Rainbow Motel reborn as RSVP Motel The longstanding Rainbow Motel has undergone a massive renovation and reopened this week as the RSVP Motel , a new boutique motel that will contribute to the ongoing revitalization of North Seventh Avenue in the Midtown section of Bozeman. Hotel owner Dean Folkford said, “ MoFi and the New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC) and the folks at Big Sky Western Bank ( hiring across the state) have been key to financing this renovation. The strong relationships we’ve formed have allowed us to expand the scope of our project and really bring something special to Bozeman.” U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines have been supportive of the NMTC Program for years. According to Tester, “The renovated Rainbow Motel will be a boost for Bozeman’s North Seventh Avenue, helping create good-paying jobs and bolster the local economy.” Likewise, Daines said, “The New Markets Tax Credit has created good-paying jobs across our state, and today’s announcement of the Rainbow Motel renovation will continue to do that right in my own backyard.” [ Bozeman Magazine ] MSU and partners receive nearly $2.8 million to expand community-based primary care expertise Montana State University’s College of Nursing has received a grant totaling nearly $2.8 million that will enable MSU and its partners from across Montana to address the shortage of nurses in areas across the state, particularly in rural areas. In addition to nursing students, the project will also provide professional development opportunities to current registered nurses. According to Sarah Shannon, Dean of the College of Nursing, the overall project is expected to work with more than 100 baccalaureate nursing students, 20 preceptors and mentors, 40 practicing nurses and 40 faculty members. [ Montana State University ] Iron Mountain opens new facilities in Montana Iron Mountain Incorporated ® (NYSE: IRM), the global leader in storage and information management services, today announced the opening of two new information management facilities in Montana, located in Missoula and Helena. The facilities are the company's first in the state and represent a commitment to delivering the full suite of Iron Mountain's solutions portfolio to the greater Montana business community. They join Iron Mountain's worldwide network of more than 1400+ facilities providing solutions for records storage, data management, data centers, secure shredding and document imaging. "We're excited to enter the Montana market and support the state's business community," said Jim Dodson, senior vice president & general manager, Records Management, Iron Mountain. [ Business Insider ] A Montana ranching company aims to revive U.S. textile industry For more than a century, sheep shearing has been common practice across Montana. And the vast majority of the wool sheared from sheep gets sent off to wholesalers where it is then sold on worldwide commodity markets. However, one operation located in Logan in the Gallatin Valley is departing from typical Montana sheep shearing. The wool from the lambs at this operation, all raised by the Dillon-based Helle Rambouillet Ranch , will be processed into yarn, fabric and finally woolen garments bearing the Bozeman-based Duckworth label. Wool clipped in early June will show up on the company’s website and in about 75 specialty outdoor stores early next year. Duckworth’s vertical integration concept is designed to help the owners extract more value from their wool. And in addition to offering high-quality products, Duckworth’s owners have a bigger goal in mind. They see their homespun effort as a step toward reviving the U.S. textile industry, which has suffered severe contractions in recent decades. According to Bernie Bernthal, president and co-founder of Duckworth, “It’s a story of American self reliance, the story of a four-generation Montana family and how to get more involved in the value chain.” [ Billings Gazette ] Bitcoin mining finding home in Montana Bitcoin is making headlines all over the world, and this new technology could be forging a new direction for Montana’s economy according to some economists. Three companies have already invested (or are planning to invest) substantial capital and are building data centers in the state. Due to Montana’s relatively low energy rates, cold climate and abundance of unused warehouse space, companies are highly interested in mining the new cryptocurrency in Montana. But there is another reason, too - free money. A year ago, Montana Governor Steve Bullock granted one firm $416,000 to operate its business along the banks of the Blackfoot River at Bonner east of Missoula. Additionally, the last Montana state legislature acted to lower property taxes for large data centers in an effort to attract them to the state. Several companies have already ramped up operations in the state including Project Spokane, which was founded in 2016 under the umbrella of parent company Hyperblock Technologies and operates near Missoula. CryptoWatt LLC also began business in Butte earlier this year after investing $62 million and activating 2,000 computer servers at the former Mike Mansfield Advanced Technology Center. And another company, Power Block Coin LLC , has announced plans to locate in Butte and invest $251 million in cryptocurrency mining. Complimentary businesses are also popping up, like a local new business in the Flathead Valley called CMH, LLC that is providing services to cryptocurrency mining businesses (e.g. leasing space, infrastructure and power). [ Big Sky Business Journal ] Medicaid expansion a huge success Medicaid expansion could become a major election issue in the upcoming midterms as it’s set to renew in 2019. Montana approved Medicaid expansion in 2015, which extended coverage to more low-income and disabled Americans. During its first two years, Medicaid expansion provided beneficiaries more than $800 million in health care and infused a significant amount of money into the economy. A recent study funded by the Montana Healthcare Foundation and Headwaters Foundation found that Medicaid expansion in Montana introduces $350 to $400 million in new spending to the state’s economy each year. Medicaid expansion spending enters our economy in two ways. First, it supports new health care spending. Nearly one in 10 Montanans were enrolled in Medicaid expansion as of March 2018. Most expansion enrollees would have been uninsured in the absence of the expansion. Second, Medicaid expansion spending replaces existing spending. Even without Medicaid expansion, beneficiaries would have received some health care, but Medicaid expansion changed who pays for their care. The effect is similar to when a Montana company wins a government contract – it brings money into the state’s economy that would otherwise not be there. Medicaid expansion impacts Montana’s economy the same way, and this new money stimulates economic activity creating Montana jobs and income. It’s estimated that between 2018 and 2020, Medicaid expansion will generate about 5,000 Montana jobs and $270 million in annual personal income. [ Montana Business Quarterly ] State-of-the-art plant in Cut Bank adds 12 new, high-paying jobs Cut Bank’s Pardue Grain celebrated its official groundbreaking ceremony last week, although construction is already well underway for the new pulse crop processing facility. Owners, Roger and Lisa Sammons, along with their team are looking forward to doing business in the new state-of-the art facility in September, just in time for the 2018 harvest. “Pardue Grain is going to be able to increase Montana producers’ access to foreign and domestic markets for value-added and Montana-branded products. We are creating jobs and paying higher wages on the Blackfeet Reservation and in Glacier County,” said Sammons. “It’s a solid-based agricultural business and any time that we can add value to our crops before we send them out of Montana, it’s a win-win,” he said. The $5.7 million toll processor facility will include a food-grade processing line for pulse crops, which include chickpeas, peas and lentils. The new facility will add 12 high-paying Montana jobs, including a food safety coordinator, a transportation and logistics manager, and shift foremen and plant operators. [ Cut Bank Pioneer Press ]  
Now hiring: Montana Precision Products is looking for people to grow with company in Butte Butte-based Montana Precision Products continues to experience incredible growth and is on the hunt for talent. The company, which has more than doubled its size since it was founded in 2012, most recently shared that it has 168 employees and plans to grow by 30 percent from 2018 to 2019 and another 10 percent in 2020. Located west of Butte in the Montana Connections Business Development Park, Montana Precision Products manufactures components for jet engines as well as parts for companies like Caterpillar Inc. and Peterbilt Motors Co. The recent increase in demand for a new generation of engines from GE called “LEAP” is currently driving the tremendous growth at the company. LEAP engines can be found in aircrafts by Airbus, Boeing and Comac. According to Jeanne Nelson Kruse, head of human resources at Montana Precision Products, they are one of the fastest selling engines in the history of GE Aviation. To meet demand for LEAP engines, Montana Precision Products has been looking for people to fill a variety of positions, especially people who can learn the ropes of tungsten inert gas welding. To train employees, Montana Precision Products has set up a two-tiered, in-house paid training program. The training program represents a notable investment for Montana Precision Products, but company officials say training their employees is worthwhile because they want to hire people who are committed to Butte and are looking for a place where they can grow and move up the ranks. Browse current open positions with the company here . [ Montana Standard ] Growth Through Agriculture program still growing strong For 30 years, the Montana Department of Agriculture ’s Growth Through Agriculture program has provided funding to encourage value-added agriculture projects throughout the state. The Growth Through Agriculture program aims to support local food producers and processors, and the demand has been significant. In 2016, the program reviewed 36 applicants requesting more than $1.2 million in funding for their projects. There were 27 projects funded to the tune of $650,000, with grants ranging from $2,000 to $150,000. From 2011 through 2016, 212 total projects were funded – an average of 35 projects per year – for a total of close to $3.6 million. And these funded projects created close to 300 Montana jobs. One such operation that benefited from the program is Stricks Ag , a grain merchandiser and industry expert located in the small town of Chester, Montana. The company received close to $150,000 in grant and loan money in the 2016 Growth Through Agriculture application cycle for the expansion of their pulse-processing facility, growing from 10 to 25 employees in a town of only 880 people. Further, the company says they aren’t done hiring yet. [ Farm Flavor ]   200 gather in Butte for Montana Young Professionals Summit About 200 young people from across Montana arrived to Butte last week for the third annual Montana Young Professionals Summit . Participants toured Uptown Butte businesses, attended conferences on leadership training and listened to guest speakers. Joe Willauer, the executive director of the Butte Local Development Corporation , helped organize the event. “To be able to show off our community to all these folks is really, really cool, and it’s a great opportunity for Butte,” said Willauer. Speakers included local entrepreneur Colin Higgins, owner of Butte’s MacKenzie River Pizza and several other franchise locations in Montana and Idaho, and Nick Smoot, founder of the Innovation Collective , a consulting and business incubator company based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. [ Montana Standard ] Montana workers hard to find, CEO of Benefis Health System in Great Falls says Great Falls' biggest private employer is having growing pains when it comes to filling entry-level jobs, and it isn't alone. John Goodnow, CEO of Benefis Health System (currently hiring ), said the hospital has gone through a lot of growth over the past few years and with that comes workforce needs. Goodnow made the comments to the newly formed Future Ready MT Cabinet, a new state committee charged with helping prepare the state with a trained workforce. Also speaking to the panel was Sara Mines of Bozeman’s Mystery Ranch (also currently hiring ). Mines said the company has had trouble finding people with experience, especially growing and developing employees to fill open leadership roles. Bullock said he hopes the panel, made of up mostly of his cabinet members, will be able to shed light on how to grow good-paying jobs in Montana. [ Great Falls Tribune ] Montana Resources in Butte Montana Resources (MR) began mining the Continental Pit in Butte in 1986. Since then, MR has produced 2.35 billion pounds of copper, 268 million pounds of molybdenum and 20 million ounces of silver. And while these are impressive numbers, MR is most proud of its 360 employees. Furthermore, the company continues to grow and is hiring more. MR is also proud of its economic impact on Butte and the state of Montana. In 2017, local goods and services purchased in Silver Bow County exceeded $21 million. Payroll exceeded $28 million, and taxes paid to Montana were in excess of $10 million, resulting in total economic impact to Montana of nearly $75 million. Additionally, MR is part of the Washington Foundation , which is underwriting some exciting projects in Butte, including the Stodden Park improvement plan which is under construction with WET Engineering and H & H Contracting ( hiring ). "Montana Resources is proud of our heritage, proud of our industry and most of all proud of our employees for their hard work and dedication to working safely," said MR's Mike McGivern. [ Montana Standard ] New indoor sporting arena breaks ground in Bozeman A local Bozeman couple is hoping to give residents a new option to stay active this coming winter. Jeff and Vanessa Stevens, former Montana State University athletes who have been working on bringing an indoor sporting facility to Gallatin County for the past three years, broke ground this past week on a new indoor sporting arena. Come rain or shine, people will be able to gear up and play all different types of sports including baseball, volleyball, basketball, soccer and even lacrosse. [ KBZK ]  Laurel refinery gets tax break for $99M expansion The Yellowstone County Board of Commissioners approved 10 years in tax benefits for CHS Inc . (currently hiring ) early this week after construction completed last fall of the Laurel refinery’s $99 million hydrogen plant. The tax benefits are given to new or expanding industry and apply only to the $99 million value of the new hydrogen plant, which has allowed the refinery to expand capacity and be more efficient. According to Pat Kimmet, CHS’ Laurel refinery manager, it can be difficult to secure capital within CHS for expansion projects like the new hydrogen plant so this tax incentive is important to building projects and overall economic growth of the plant and area. The new construction added four new Montana jobs and brings the refinery’s workforce to 378 full-time and 53 part-time employees. Together with benefits, the average union wage paid to refinery workers in Laurel is more than $67 per hour, and the refinery’s annual payroll exceeds $50 million. Patrick Klugman of Big Sky Economic Development also shared some figures around the refinery’s recently completed turnaround. About 2,400 people worked during the turnaround, pumping about $6 million into local hotels and motels, as well as retail and restaurant establishments. CHS paid another $8 million for materials and supplies during the turnaround. [ Billings Gazette ] Markovich construction and real estate businesses continue legacy in Butte For more than 75 years, the Markovich family has been building iconic structures in Butte while also building a family legacy. Their unique blend of businesses in both construction and real estate has made them market leaders. Markovich Construction Inc. and Coldwell Banker Markovich Real Estate (formerly Markovich Real Estate) are family-owned businesses in Butte that span generations. The Markovich family entered the building business in the 1940s, and members of the family have continuously operated the construction company since its inception. Markovich Real Estate opened in July of 1981 as a compliment to Markovich Construction. Markovich Real Estate recently joined the Coldwell Banker franchise, becoming Coldwell Banker Markovich Real Estate. Most recent (and notable) projects include being named general contractor for the $35-million Praxis Center for Innovative Learning , a planned medical simulation center to be located in Uptown Butte, as well as Butte’s new $8.7-million Ridge Waters pool in Stodden Park . Additionally, the company just recently completed the new terminal for the Bert Mooney Airport having served as the general contractor. [ Montana Standard ] Workforce shortages continue to plague manufacturers, survey says The photonics market across Montana has drastically changed in the past 20 years. What was once made up of a few photonics businesses twenty years ago is now comprised of a slew of fast-growing companies. Bozeman’s Big Sky Laser Technologies (now Quantel ) was founded in 1982, has grown to employ 60 Montana employees and is currently hiring . All a trend that one Quantel employee described as an upward trajectory indicative of a larger trend in Montana manufacturing. However, despite the positive nature of the growth, this same rapid growth in Montana’s manufacturing sector has left many businesses struggling to fill open positions, according to a recent survey. Conducted on behalf of the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center , nearly three quarters of the companies surveyed reported a shortage of workers. “Finding and retaining the workforce is becoming the biggest challenge for Montana manufacturers,” said Jenni West, associate director of MMEC. But, focusing on technical training programs such as Gallatin College (which recently graduated its first class of photonics technicians) and the efforts of the MMEC itself (which offers its own set of trainings and business services) is a good place to start, West said. [ Bozeman Chronicle ] With brand new terminal, Butte's Bert Mooney Airport pushes for more flights Butte’s Bert Mooney Airport has a spectacular new terminal. Now, the airport is focused on getting more people — and more airplanes — to use it. The value of Butte's air service to the local economy is enormous. One oft-quoted budget analysis shows that more than 300 local Montana jobs are dependent on the existence of air service to and from Butte. Now, with the new $10.5 million terminal funded by a combination of $1 million from the county's Hard Rock Mine Trust and federal grants and loans, the airport is looking to increase its services by adding a Denver flight to its current two nonstop flights to and from Salt Lake City per day. In addition to grabbing a larger share of the Montana commercial aviation market, the airport is well positioned to take advantage of positive developments in the Mining City like the Praxis Center, a planned medical training facility that is expected to generate 3,500 to 4,000 trips to and from Butte a year, as well as the ever growing interest in the local outdoor recreation economy. [ Montana Standard ] Montana high school students take part in first summer entrepreneurship program Nine high school students from across Montana are participating in the first Montana Summer Startup Academy on Montana State University’s campus in Bozeman this summer. The new three-day program is a collaborative effort put on by the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship , the nonprofit One Montana and Blackstone LaunchPad to teach high school students the basics of entrepreneurship and running a business. Kregg Aytes, dean of the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, said he hopes the program will help the students make decisions about college and their careers and prepare them for business and entrepreneurship after high school. Trevor Huffmaster, director of Blackstone LaunchPad at MSU, said the program is aimed at equipping young students to be involved in business. “[It’s about] learning the tools and getting exposure to local entrepreneurship,” Huffmaster said. “We’ve done a lot of this with older students...this is a great space to get folks engaged at an earlier stage.” [ Bozeman Chronicle ] Post-Colstrip economy will be rough for all of Montana, state Chamber of Commerce says A study paid for by the Montana Chamber of Commerce says the early closure of the Colstrip power plant would hurt Montana's economy beyond just the loss of Montana jobs at the plant and the coal mine that feeds it. The study prepared by University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research says billions of dollars would be lost in economic output, tax revenue and wages if all four of Colstrip's units closed by 2027. The study assumes that Colstrip's two newer units could run until 2043, even though most of Colstrip's six co-owners plan to phase out their coal-generated electricity portfolios before then. Colstrip's two older units are scheduled to close by mid-2022. No date has been set to close two newer units, though Colstrip co-owner Avista Corp. has set a 2027 end-of-life depreciation schedule. Results of the study suggest that Montanans would collectively earn $5.2 billion less between 2028 and 2043, should the Colstrip Electric Generating Station close completely 10 years from now. Additionally, the study suggests that an estimated 3,300 Montana jobs would be lost both at the plant and statewide in state and local government and that more than 7,000 Montanans would leave the state in search of better economic opportunity. According to Webb Brown, Montana Chamber of Commerce CEO, “We want to get this out to as many people as possible and start planning. Our ultimate preference for this plant is to continue 3 and 4 for as long as possible. If this helps that discussion in ways we can do that, we’re happy to have it there.” [ Billings Gazette ] CryptoWatt bitcoin mining operation ramps up production at facility near Butte CryptoWatt , which purchased the former MSE site outside of Butte, has been moving at lightning speed to be up and running in the competitive business of cryptocurrency. Now, having invested more than $60 million in the site, CryptoWatt is considering other locations around the state - with intentions of keeping its headquarters in Butte. According to company spokesperson Matt Vincent, CryptoWatt currently has around 20 full-time permanent employees and still expects to employ around 50 more people when fully built out. The site is still under construction, and more power and racks of servers are expected to come online in the coming months. [ Montana Standard ]  
PHOTO VIA BETTERROOT Raising the bar: Florence couple's unique vision brings apple spirits to Montana For Jesse Spaulding and Hannah Weinert, the journey of building a business based on the Bitterroot’s famous apple crop began a couple of years ago. It first started with the duo perfecting the art of creating handmade ciders for the business they named betterRoot and then continued last year, after investing in a custom-made, copper still, with their plan to start Montana’s only distillery focused entirely on creating a variety of fine spirits from apples. With a growing number of custom distilleries appearing across the state, the couple is not alone in their business venture. However, they are the first to make all of the products from apples, something the Bitterroot valley has an abundance of. And while the couple has planted their own orchard with cider-variety apples they hope to use someday to create their ciders and spirits, they are currently focused on distributing their first products - an Apple Jill brandy and other, soon-to-be-released gin, vodka, applejack and coffee liquor. [ Ravalli Republic ]  Bozeman-based Pulsara expands to provide a comprehensive communication solution for entire regions Bozeman-based Pulsara (currently hiring ) recently announced the latest version of their communication platform, which includes real-time consultation between specialists, transfer functionality and streaming video. Pulsara is a regional communication network for healthcare. All healthcare providers in the region can communicate about a patient on a dedicated communication channel. The data gathered through the application can provide practical insights into referral patterns as well as reveal useful quality metrics for improving efficiencies in the transfer process. According to James Woodson, Board Certified Emergency Physician and CEO of Pulsara, “This iteration of Pulsara is a turning point for the company. Simplifying the jobs of clinicians and allowing for increased efficiency and optimized patient care has always been Pulsara’s goal. With the added features of consult/transfer and live video, we hope to streamline the communication process even further.” [ PRWeb ] New study names Great Falls most affordable market for food processing The Great Falls Montana Development Authority (GFDA) announced this past week that Great Falls is the least expensive market to operate a food processing plant based on a review of 25 U.S. cities. The study, conducted by The The Boyd Company , found that annual operating costs for a 325-person food processing plant in Great Falls are 25% less than the most expensive metro (i.e. Boston, MA). "We are pleased with the result of this extensive, in-depth survey. It shows companies that receive materials from our area will find it more cost effective to locate here, near the source of the ingredients, as they expand and grow," says Brett Doney, president of GFDA. The Great Falls region is an emerging destination for food processing plants with a recent investment of $20 million by Montana Specialty Mills on a new processing center. Other food processing companies in the region include Pasta Montana , which recently invested $6.5 million in a line expansion; Montana Eggs, which recently opened a new $9 million facility; Montana Milling ; General Mills ; CHS Nutrition (currently hiring ) and others. [ Benzinga ]  Officials break ground in Billings on Montana's first freestanding rehab hospital Officials broke ground this week on the Rehabilitation Hospital of Montana, a two-story facility with 34 beds that will be built in west Billings. It is anticipated to serve more than 1,000 patients a year. The new facility will be managed by Kindred Inpatient Rehab Hospitals and is expected to be completed in 2019. Russ Bailey, COO of Kindred Inpatient Rehab Hospitals, said Kindred’s business model is to partner with high quality hospitals across the country. Therefore, the plan in Billings is for Kindred to partner with both Billings Clinic ( hiring ) and St. Vincent Healthcare ( hiring ). Bailey continued to comment that the state-of-the-art hospital in Billings will employ more than 150 employees at capacity, “many of which will be new jobs created for the local market.” This means more Montana jobs, including Montana healthcare jobs. According to City of Billings Mayor, Bill Cole, “Health care is truly foundational to the economy of Billings, and we want to be the very best partner we can be in attracting and retaining the quality health professionals we need.” [ Billings Gazette ] The Montana High Tech Business Alliance summarizes five unique advantages to doing business in Montana In 2017, the Kauffman Foundation funded a research study on Montana’s entrepreneurship ecosystems. The report confirmed that Missoula and Bozeman enjoy some of the highest levels of entrepreneurship in the nation in terms of startup and high-growth companies. The study also uncovered that the Montana ecosystem offers different and unique assets for growing businesses compared to traditional tech centers like Silicon Valley, Seattle or Denver. According to the research, the Montana High Tech Business Alliance recently summarized five unique advantages to doing business in Montana. (1) Dense networks of active local support organizations that are well-perceived and utilized, (2) active support and accessibility of Montana’s elected officials, (3) a high quality of life and an attractive destination for clients to visit for training or business meetings, (4) a high quality workforce with high employee retention rates and (5) the ability to grow through bootstrapping rather than high levels of capital. You can find a summary of the study here or can continue on to read the full report here . [ Montana High Tech Business Alliance ] Sanderson Stewart named one of Zweig Group’s 2018 best firms to work for Billings-headquartered Sanderson Stewart has once again been awarded “Best Firms to Work For” by the Zweig Group for 2018. The “Best Firms to Work For” award recognizes the top architecture, structural engineering, civil engineering, environmental, geotechnical engineering, landscape architect/planning and multi-discipline firms in the United States and Canada based on their workplace practices, employee benefits, employee retention rates and more. Sanderson Stewart, with offices in Billings and Bozeman, also serves the Denver/Fort Collins area. The company has been in business since the early sixties. And it’s also worth mentioning they are currently hiring . [ Sanderson Stewart ] Film company started by MSU seniors sees international growth Two seniors attending Montana State University have been providing a variety of services to filmmakers since establishing their own film company, Egerton Crescent Productions , in 2016. And now, they are experiencing a new level of growth after the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, now serving clients on an international scale. Owner Omar Parker said, “People are worried about the quality of the film and the picture. That’s fantastic, but you need both sides to it. We have been able to offer a lot of things like financing help, management, organization and accounting.” The business partners have grown to love Bozeman and plan to keep the company in Bozeman after graduating. Furthermore, looking into the future, the two partners plan to continue to work on short films but also hope to break into bigger media platforms such as TV. [ KXLF ] Montana Made: Paradise Dental Technologies In this week’s Montana Made series, get a behind-the-scenes look into Missoula’s Paradise Dental Technologies  (PDT) . The company creates the number one dental instrument in the world -- the Montana Jack. It's a tool that hygienists and dental professionals say they cannot live without. PDT CEO Linda Miller says that 40-70% of dental professionals have carpal tunnel or some type of muscular skeletal disorder, which is a big reason why the company focuses on the ergonomics of their products. The company humbly started 18 years ago in Miller's garage. Today, the company is looking at 21% growth over the first quarter of last year, is ranked the #2 dental instrument company in the US, UK and Canada, is prevalent in roughly 50 other countries, won “Employer of Choice” Award of 2018 and gives back on a global level. And, the company is also hiring .  [ KPAX ] Montana State University named the best college in the state to help graduates find a job by Business Insider Business Insider recently released its list of the best college, in every state, to help graduates find a job, and Bozeman’s Montana State University topped the list for Montana - noting a 90% placement rate. The career website Zippia used data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and CollegeScoreCard to find the college in each state with the highest percentage of graduates that had full-time jobs 10 years after graduation. Find the complete list here . [ Business Insider ]  Butte-based app developer sees bright future in destination application concept Butte-based couple Sean and Jessica Kalagher have turned a love for the outdoors into a concept that could give destination tourism a techy new edge. After years of excursions and lugging around heavy and expensive field guides, the couple had an idea. What if there was a smart phone app that would allow users to carry a variety of field manuals in the palm of their hands? This idea has now turned into an app, iXplore Yellowstone . The app, which launched in April of this year, helps users identify flora, fauna, geological features and other items commonly found inside Yellowstone National Park , ranging from the iconic geysers to the many buffalo. And critical to much of the park, the app can function offline without cell coverage and Wi-Fi, so long as the entire application is downloaded. It also has a journal function that allows users to take notes, upload photos and keep track of what they've seen in the park. The Kalaghers now have their sights set on creating other applications, possibly for other national parks and for the state. The couple said they would like to turn their application concept into a company and one day grow enough to develop several applications and maintain a staff. [ Montana Standard ] ViZn Energy Systems secures funding, restarts operations After shutting down operations and temporarily laying off employees in March of this year, Columbia Falls-based ViZn Energy Systems is back in operation with more than 40 employees and a new CEO. The large-scale energy storage company, which develops highly complex zinc-based redox flow battery technology, began welcoming employees back in late May but held off on a public announcement until financial documents were finalized. Company officials say the reboot comes after a successful round of financing, resulting in $15 million of new funding led by a prominent energy industry private equity fund and several of the firm’s long standing investors. The Montana-based location (in Columbia Falls) is the firm’s primary research and development facility and has always employed the majority of employees compared to outside of Montana. The company says the commercial organization will likely expand again in 2019. In the meantime, sales and marketing will be conducted primarily through strategic partners vs in house. [ Flathead Beacon ] Missoula Early Learning Center to expand; businesses can reserve spots for employees A planned approximate $2 million expansion of the Missoula Early Learning Center will potentially increase the center by an additional 10 rooms, allowing up to 220 children at the daycare center. The center currently serves 70 children ages 0 to 5. The additional 150 open spots will help ease the burden of a shortage in child care options for working parents. Kelly Rosenleaf, executive director of Child Care Resources in Missoula, said the lack of child care in Montana means some working parents are unable to find or afford care for their child, making it increasingly difficult for parents to stay in the workforce. The Missoula Early Learning Center and the Missoula Chamber of Commerce have said they will work together to build relationships with local businesses, allowing them to pay for reserved spots at the center for their employees’ children. Kim Latrielle, president and CEO of the Missoula Chamber of Commerce, hopes that this model of allowing businesses to reserve spots for employees can be used in other Montana cities with a child care shortage, too. [ Missoula Current ] New brewery in downtown Missoula will use greenhouse gas recovery system Conflux Brewing Company is set to open in downtown Missoula later this summer with spacious outdoor decks, high-end pub food with a Southern twist and an innovative system that recycles the carbon dioxide created in the fermentation process. The new brewery has partnered with a Missoula green tech company CO Brew Inc. for a CO2 recovery system that will keep thousands of pounds of the greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere and cut down on transportation costs. Taylor Woods, the founder and CEO of CO Brew Inc., said that each barrel of beer produces 11-13 pounds of CO2. And breweries also buy CO2 for further carbonation of beer, transferring liquids between tanks, cleaning kegs, packaging and in draught lines. “So they’re consuming 10-13 pounds per barrel. The problem is there has been a technology gap preventing breweries from taking a raw vapor and turning it into a pure liquid CO2, which is way more compact to store.” Woods’ company has developed technology to solve that problem. Conflux will be the second location with this system implemented, which is currently operating at another Missoula brewery, Lolo Peak Brewery . [ Missoulian ] Montana's unemployment rate down slightly to 3.9 percent Montana’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 3.9% for the month of May. For comparison purposes, the U.S. unemployment rate was at 3.8% in May. “Montana’s economy is strong and growing – more Montanans are on the job than ever before in our state’s history, and we lead the country in middle-class growth,” said Governor Bullock. “And we continue to invest in the workers of today and our workforce of tomorrow – all the way from pre-school to post-secondary education like college, apprenticeships and work based-learning.” Montana payroll employment posted a gain of 1,000 Montana jobs, while total employment levels posted insignificant changes over the last month. The largest gains were in the professional and technical services industries. [ ]
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