Our Blog > Weekly Skim: MT Business

World-renowned scientist Jane Goodall speaks in Missoula, Historic WWII planes are in Great Falls for tours and rides, Montana ag network: Sustainable Oils opens in Montana...and more

World-renowned scientist Jane Goodall speaks in Missoula, Historic WWII planes are in Great Falls for tours and rides, Montana ag network: Sustainable Oils opens in Montana...and more


Image by: Lauren Kemp

Gallatin Valley Farmers’ Market returns with food, art, crafts, and more

The Gallatin Valley Farmers’ Market is back with hundreds of people stopping by the Haynes Pavilion at the Gallatin Valley Fairgrounds each Saturday, searching for fresh produce, crafts, baked goods, and other local items. Nearly half of the vendors this year are new to the farmers’ market. Market capacity has dramatically increased since last year, when vendor numbers were restricted due to the pandemic. One hundred thirty vendors are participating, whereas only seventy were allowed in the previous year. Farmers' markets in Montana contribute about $27.7 million annually to the state economy. The Gallatin Valey Farmers’ Market generated about $1.5 million alone in 2021. This money goes back to the local community and economy and is a beneficial way to get involved in a local event for growing Montana communities. [Bozeman Daily Chronicle]

Montana ag network: Sustainable Oils opens in Montana

A greener way of producing oil has arrived in Montana. The company, Sustainable Oils opened its North American headquarters in Great Falls. Montana is a state rooted in agriculture; therefore, taking care of the planet is crucial, as many people’s livelihoods depend on it. Sustainable agriculture is on the rise, and new companies like Sustainable Oils present new options for Montana growers to choose best for the need of their farms. The company’s key to success is a plant called Camelina which is grown here, sent away, and comes back as renewable diesel. Zach Coccoli with the Montana Department of Agriculture shared, “Montana grows a lot of agricultural crops, but it hasn’t been used for the renewable fuel industry. This is the first time the state of Montana is going to have that opportunity.” [KPAX]

‘Native Pride’ program visits Great Falls

During the last few weeks, a group focusing on Native American culture and spiritual-based programs has been traveling around Montana. Native Pride is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but travels the country to host workshops and retreats centered on Native American healthcare workers, specifically mental health. The curriculum focuses on several categories and uses small groups to have topic-based discussions. The program is organized by a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, Clayton Small, who brought the program to Montana for the first time and is seeing many benefits from the discussions. Small shared that all eight tribes in Montana have partnered with the organization and have received great feedback about participants’ experiences. [KRTV]

Bear safety training events happening in Big Sky, Bozeman

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks staff hosted two bear safety events in June to offer training and hands-on practice using bear spray and other safety resources. Both events included bear displays and safety talks, with the option for participants to practice using inert bear spray in a remote-controlled charging bear demonstration. FWP staff were available to discuss bear safety practices, biology, and how to handle bear encounters. [Montanarightnow.com]

World-renowned scientist Jane Goodall speaks in Missoula 

More than 1,000 people filled the Oval at the University of Montana as world-renowned scientist Jane Goodall spoke. She presented about growing up in a world with no women scientists to look up to and the struggles and opportunities she had during the beginning of her career. She is most well-known for her breakthrough study with chimpanzees in Tanzania, as she was the first scientist to record chimps using tools. Goodall shared how most people in her life thought her aspirations to get to Africa were dangerous and expensive; however, her mother told her, “If this is something you really want to do, you’ll have to work really hard, and if you don’t give up, hopefully, you find a way.” Goodall was in Missoula for part of the University of Montana President’s Lecture Series. [KBZK]

Montana program helps post-9/22 combat veterans find purpose and meaning through archery hunting

A path is set for those in the military; however, once some veterans leave the service, that path can be unknown. Warriors and Quiet Waters is helping veterans find purpose through archery. In the last two years, Sean Gifford, who served in the United States army, struggled to find his purpose during a time when the world was isolated. Gifford shared, “It’s not just archery; it’s not even about hunting, for the most part. It’s about growth and finding our purpose once you leave service.” Gifford’s older daughter wanted to get into hunting, but he lacked the motivation to drive and take her out. That is when he decided to sign up for Hunt with a Purpose program offered by Quiet Waters. The program is a 6-month program designed to enable post-9/11 combat veterans to find clarity in their identity, values, potential, and purpose. Veterans prepare for an elk hunt in the fall and conduct a stress shoot to help them prepare. [KBZK]

Historic WWII planes are in Great Falls for tours and rides

Two historic WWII airplanes, the B-17 Flying Fortress “Sentimental Journey” and the B-25 Mitchell “Maid in the Shade” - landed in Great Falls in late June. Greg Yukkan rode in the b-17 last year when the tours came to town and was there again this year to experience it again, “These are historic aircraft and they won’t be around forever and there’s not many of them,” shared Yukkan. The Commemorative Air Force planes flew unescorted bombing missions over Europe for much of the war, and B-17s were legendary for their ability to return home after taking brutal poundings. These historic planes were on display for several days at Holman Aviation. [KRTV]

Yellowstone floods see short-term losses, long term gains

As the Yellowstone River recedes, power and access to nearby sites re-open. There are still questions about damaged property and infrastructure however, there is little concern for the river's well-being. Local experts view the flood as the latest in a history of similar events that will ultimately be beneficial, specifically for fish species. There are rarely significant losses in fish populations due to flooding. The most likely outcome is that the floods will improve the ecosystem’s health and that the water flow will create new tributaries and habitats for fish who would otherwise have no access to them. Fish will have more food, improved survival space, and more room overall. [Missoulian]

Relics of Saint Bernadette were on display in Great Falls

The relics of Saint Bernadette were on display for veneration at the Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Great Falls. “The Sanctuary in Lourdes, France, reached out to us. We reached out to our bishop, who also was very in support. He wrote them a letter and said, yes, we would gladly accept them...” said Mary Jo Stebbins, the pastoral assistant at Our Lady of Lourdes. The tour started in April of 2022 as the relics began their first United States tour, making regular stops at parishes across the country. The tour began in Florida before traveling to 30 cities across the country on its way to the west coast. [KRTV]

Glass recycling fundraiser to benefit Citizens for a Better Flathead

Glass recycling opportunities are rare in the Flathead, but in late June, there was an opportunity to get rid of stacked-up recyclables. Citizens for a Better Flathead teamed up with Flathead Recon to hold a glass recycling event. The suggested donation amount was 50¢ per pound of glass brought in. The glass is then recycled at the event, where it goes through a pulverizer and is mainly used in landscaping. The event aims to bring awareness to diverting reusable materials from the landfill. [KPAX]

Great Falls church participates in ‘Crayon Initiative’

An estimated 90 pounds of crans were all sorted by hand at Sunrise Presbyterian Church in Great Falls. The church is participating in the Crayon Initiative, where crayons are collected, sorted, and shipped to the nonprofit that, in return, turns them into new crayons to be used at hospitals across the country. Crane Munoz, Pastor of the church shared, “It fits very well with what our goals are for this year, and that is to increase awareness around environmental issues for our church family as well as the community around us.” Crayons are not biodegradable and schools, at the end of the year, toss hundreds of pounds of them away. The national average shows that about half a million pounds of crayons go into landfills yearly. The crayons are just one of many environmental initiatives underway at the church. The church also facilitates pill bottle cleaning for re-use, can recycling, product exchange, LED light implementation, energy audit and carbon footprint education, renewable energy exploration, and more. [KRTV]

New physical therapy business opens in Great Falls

The Great Falls Development Authority estimates that at least several dozen businesses have opened in the town in 2022 and anticipate more in the year's second half. The town continues to grow with more people and businesses arriving constantly. The GFDA has seen growth in the past six months and says Great Falls has a lot of momentum in new businesses and development. One of the latest businesses is OrthoRehab, which is a physical therapy clinic run by Ben Moerkerke. He is from Conrad, MT, and wanted to stay local, sharing that the clinic makes sense for the community as the more people there are, the more that may need physical therapy. [KRTV]

Climb Big Mountain marking 30 years in Whitefish

Climb Big Mountain celebrates 30 years with hiking, snow, and incredible views. Flathead Industries, a local program that has been creating opportunities for more than 40 years, created the event to raise funds and connect with the community. Director of Retail Operations Mitch McKinley shared that each dollar raised goes right back into the community to help support those with developmental disabilities and that the work is so rewarding because of its impact. The climb is 3.8 miles on the Danny On Trail. The trail features signs with facts about what Flathead Industries does and how many people they have assisted in achieving their goals. The funds raised in 2022 will go toward crisis intervention training for first responders to learn how to assist people with mental disabilities, with a portion of the proceeds going toward the Flathead Industries GAP Scholarship Program that helps support people after they graduate high school. [KPAX]

Great Falls man aims to get more people golfing

Golf may appear to be a simple sport; however, the game has many nuances that can be daunting for people. The owner of Shooters Golf, Jacob Pearson, is passionate about golf and wants to get more people into the sport. He organizes weekly socials at golf courses in Great Falls, intending to help people better understand the sport. “We have set out a bunch of kind of fun, unique targets on the range. We have tables and chairs, we play music, and then (in) the actual gameplay, we kind of work through intervals of practice time. Then, everyone is issued a certain number of unique, numbered balls that count for points,” said Pearson. The inaugural season in 2021 was a success, and Pearson hopes the 2022 season will follow the same level of success. [KRTV]

Kalispell’s Lemonade Day was a big success for kids in the valley. 

To celebrate Lemonade Day, 33 stands were set up across the valley, most located in Kalispell. The goal of the celebration is to teach kids how to start, own, and run their own businesses; however, the kids were happy to be outside, selling lemonade and making a little bit of money. Greta Wells of the Double Trouble Lemonade stand shared, “Just seeing the happy looks on people’s faces when they drink our lemonade” was the event's highlight. Kids were taught how to talk to customers and how to make change. [KPAX]

Company Spotlights

Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co.

Anderson ZurMuehlen is an accounting and business advisory firm with headquarters in Helena, MT and 6 other locations across the state. Anderson ZurMuehlen was recently named as a 2021 Inside Public Accounting 200 firm, and a 2021 best firm for technology.  The company and its employees have a strong reputation for integrity and the company has confidence and respect for all of its employees. Anderson ZurMuehlen is currently hiring for three positions. The two Bozeman positions they are seeking include a Senior Tax Accountant and a Tax Accountant Supervisor and the position they are seeking for Billings is a Senior Tax or Attest Accountant