CommonFont, a technology company based in Bozeman prioritizes customers and community; something they hope other technology companies will follow. CommonFont’s team gives back to the HRDC and their Griffin Place project. Abby Schlatter is the CEO and Co-founder of CommonFont and she emphasizes the importance of being a part of the community. She stated “There’s been a lot of growth in the technology sector in Bozeman. I would encourage other technology companies that are coming to Bozeman to give back to our community, to keep Bozeman a place that we all want to be, work, live, and grow.” CommonFont has been recognized as the ninth-best workplace on Outside Magazine’s annual “Best Places to Work in 2021”. [KBZK]
Montana Tech’s mechanical engineering department earned third place out of 393 universities by the Best Accredited Colleges for mechanical engineering. Junior, Ellie Ostermiller stated, “The end goal is to make a filter that will take out all the nitrogen in lakes and bodies of water.” It is this quality combined with a knowledgeable faculty that helped Montana Tech soar to the third-place rank. Engineering professor Jack Skinner described how engineers are supposed to improve human conditions, so they teach students to work hard and do good, much of which he attributes the high ranking to. Montana Tech was edged out in the rankings by Michigan Technological University and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. [KXLF Butte]
The holiday spiders recently found their spot high above Main Street in Bozeman. This tradition began in the 1960s and it takes a team to suspend the holiday-colored sparkling strands above the street. “We, for many years, have worked with the fire department, the city of Bozeman and many other organizations to close down Main Street, get the spiders up and running,” Downtown Bozeman Partnership economic development director Emily Cope said. “The fire department handles the maintenance of them and installing them and taking them down. We have the funding to maintain and upkeep the spiders.” Other companies help provide heavy equipment, including Kelly Tree Service, Montana Power, Bozeman Arbor Care and the city of Bozeman Forestry Department.
The four cascading tinsel decorations came about gradually. It’s unclear which shimmering strand came first. According to Downtown Bozeman Partnership’s unofficial history, support cables were first installed above the Bozeman Avenue intersection to hang the green holiday spider. But many locals recollect the red and gold holiday spiders came first, according to Rachel Phillips with the Gallatin History Museum. [NBC Montana]
Kendra Joyce, 26 years old, is a born-and-raised Geraldine farm girl who now lives in Laurel, and just graduated with her doctorate in occupational therapy from Rocky Mountain College. Her Cutting Fences podcast is reaching out and sharing stories of Montana farmers and ranchers who’ve suffered injuries or accidents and are dealing with disabilities, PTSD, and even suicide.
“I know that they're emotional and I know they're heavy, but these things need to be said,” said Joyce, “People are talking about suicide and that's not something that I ever thought farmers and ranchers really would they talk about because they're not people that liked to ask for help." These stories are also fueling her fire to move forward: “I love the way I started it because I created a sense of community and that'll always be the cornerstone, is this podcast and the people that I’ve connected with, but I’ve been moving into trying to make it a little more sustainable."
She’s now consulting with Raw Life Essentials, an adaptive equipment company in Indiana, creating another direct connection for Montana farmers and ranchers. [KBZK]
Helena Area Habitat for Humanity hopes that a new project to build four new affordable homes will be a foundation for a strong and stable community. “Especially with home prices skyrocketing as much as they have, it’s been nice to see families get in homes that they can afford and actually have the stability of a homeownership,” said Kacie Tollefson, Habitat’s board treasurer. On Thursday morning, volunteers began by putting up walls. By the end of the day, they expected to have roof trusses in place. Roy Zaborowski is president of Blitz Home Builders, a team of experienced volunteers from around the country who are providing major assistance on the project. He says this type of rapid construction is great for new volunteers.
“They can come out here and, in a day, you can see the kind of progress you can make – whereas on a normal build, you might not get to this point for two or three weeks, depending on the locality,” he said. “It gives an immediate feedback to our volunteers that they’re able to accomplish something significant in a short period of time.” Kuntz said, for a while, they weren’t certain if these four homes would be completely finished by the end of the ten days. It’s been challenging to get some materials, but the last large item – cabinets – arrived and confidence in project completion skyrocketed. [KBZK]
Giving Tuesday falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and has been around since 2012. Since then, it's grown into the second biggest day of giving in the world. Non-profits use the day to make things easier for you and it's an important day for them. "Really that window between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when the vast majority of non-profits get the vast majority of their funds," said Kim Skornogoski, marketing director for United Way of Cascade County. Giving Tuesday is done primarily online with a big social media push and presence, making it more appealing to the younger generation and helps get new donors involved. Last year, 34.8 million people participated, raising $2.4 billion dollars. "Right now, there are certainly non-profits that are hoping that Giving Tuesday just inspires people who might not normally give but want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. And that's really what a lot of people say, 'why they give on Giving Tuesday' is to just be a part of this bigger, really worldwide effort," said Skornogoski. At UWCC every $12.50 donated goes to help another person in the community. [Montanarightnow.com]
When the pandemic hit, many Montana businesses were uncertain about their futures. For example, Zoot Enterprises saw their revenue pipeline abruptly decline as clients locked their doors or had their own revenues decline. Like many others, Zoot was able to adapt and pivot their business, coming out of the pandemic on good footing. Tech is one of the fastest-growing sectors in Montana, with revenues of $2.9 billion in 2020, up from $2.5 billion in 2019. Tech firms employ over 15,000 Montanans and pay above-average wages, ultimately boosting Montana’s economy. COVID-19 accelerated remote work and the adoption of new technologies, providing a boost to tech companies who were poised to help others adapt. Montana provides many advantages to businesses- lifestyle, recreational opportunities, a healthy and supportive business environment, and motivated, quality individuals. However, housing and childcare costs have limited growth in some places. [Montana Business Quarterly]
Montana has faced a boom in the technology industry. Jason Dougal is the president of the National Center on Education and the Economy. He says that while there are a lot of openings but there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill them. He points out that this is a great opportunity for schools to offer training on needed skills, like coding. The tech industry is growing seven times faster than the rest of the economy and offers higher wages. If businesses can’t find employees in Montana, they will be forced to move from the state. [Montana Public Radio]
Two teams from Montana State University received awards from the 32nd John Ruffatto Business Startup Challenge, held October 8th in Missoula. Competing teams pitched to a panel of judges for awards. Posted! Software won three awards and nearly $20,000 in funding for their business, which is a posting app for one-time jobs on college campuses. Aizy Tech SAR Drone Project, which creates drones for first responders, won funding and mentorship from the program. Both teams were excited to be a part of the competition and left feeling encouraged in their missions to impact Montana’s economy. [MSU News Service]
This country has not put an emphasis on infrastructure in years, relying on what was built by generations before us. Just passed was a bipartisan infrastructure bill which will invest in roads, bridges, water systems, and high-speed internet. Montana will receive $3 billion from the bill, directed toward safter roads and bridges, rehabilitated water systems, and internet access for virtually every Montanan. These will be a boom for the Montana economy, creating jobs in construction as well as steel and other materials, which all must be sourced from within the United States. The most important piece is that this influx of capital will come without raising taxes on Montana families. [The Western News]
Montana agriculture continues to gain international attention with Senator Daines recent trip to India setting the stage for Montana to be front and center in the U.S.- India Trade Policy Forum next month. Daines met with India’s Minister of Commerce, Piyush Goyal, to discuss removing trade restrictions for Montana pulse crop exporters, even sharing Lentil Crunchers from Farver Farms of Scobey, MT. Daines also met with pulse crop importers to strengthen demand for Montana produce, and university students to find new areas of collaboration between the innovative U.S. and Indian technology industries to combat Chinese growth. Daines’s trip comes shortly after Gianforte reopened the Montana-Asia Trade Office in Taiwan, with hopes to renew the influence of Montana goods around the world. [Valley Journal]
Sustainable Oils, a Great Falls plant-science company, will be constructing a storage facility capable of holding 600,000 bushels of their proprietary camelina grain in Havre over the next few months. In addition to the grain bins, the 45 acre site will have a rail link to increase the transport efficiency of Montana grown grains to a refinery in Bakersfield, CA. Sustainable Oils is the industry leading expert on camelina, a non-food grain that can be turned into biodiesel. Their parent company, Global Clean Energy Holdings is currently constructing the biodiesel refinery in California and has secured a contract with ExxonMobil to purchase up to 220 million gallons of diesel a year for five years. Once completed, the refinery will be the largest renewable energy facility in the western United States. In order to meet this need and the future demand for their product, Sustainable Oil's long-term plan is to contract 1 million acres of camelina in Montana and across the Northern US. [Valdosta Daily Times]
The fashion and clothing industries are notoriously detrimental to the environment. The “fast-fashion” cycle of wearable goods in the modern world contributes an unbelievable amount of waste to landfills each year, not to mention the exorbitant amounts of energy required to transport those goods around the globe. Montanans have always been conscious of this impact. Missoula alone has over 15 local retailers selling used clothing, meaning residents have a plethora of options when it comes to buying low-cost, lightly worn garments. Even though cheaper prices are the biggest draw, many people are attracted to the “story” that comes with each article of used clothing. Who knows, the next jacket you buy might have been to the top of Granite Peak, or those shorts could have floated the length of the Missouri River… If you want to find your next great outfit, make sure to check out your local used-good boutiques! [Missoula Current]
Pathlabs uses technology to provide superior media services for companies with the promise of delivering extraordinary results from their in-house teams. Pathlabs believes that companies deserve simple results with cost-effective media and services. They value transparency, accountability, and confidence in all media. Pathlabs is seeking a Media Coordinator in Missoula, MT. The perfect candidate for this position will assist account managers and company analysts with campaign setup and hold the ability to work in a fast-paced environment. If you or someone you know is interested in this position, you can read the full job description on our website. [Pathlabs post]
MeatEater Inc. is currently hiring for an Assistant Video Editor in Bozeman, MT. The responsibilities of this position include time management skills, communication skills, attention to delta, and the ability to prioritize tasks. MeatEater Inc. is an outdoor lifestyle media and commerce company that believes having a deeper understanding of nature enhances the lives of everyone. The company was founded by Steven Rinella and The Chernin Group with the TV series debuting in January of 2012. MeatEater is based in Bozeman and they specialize in creating premium content in the industries of hunting, fishing, conservation, and culinary. If you or someone you know would be interested in this position, apply using the link in the job description. [MeatEater post]
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 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 a creative and experienced Tax Accountant and Attest Accountant for multiple locations across the state. Benefits for the position include parental leave, health and retirement, paid half-day summer Fridays, flexible work arrangements, and many more. If you are interested in the position, apply at the link in the job description. [Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co. post]