Business to Business Connection
in this issue
• BOSS OF THE YEAR • overtime ruling • workforce go! pg 29
pets are big business
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contents FALL 2016 // Vol. 4 // No. 2
workforce readiness program
BOSS OF THE YEAR
the case for id theft benefits
volunteers of america
how to attract good talent
the big business of pets
also in this issue 4 5 18 20 36 41
welcome tips to starting a business get to know the chamber staff charm trail blazing new territories in helena leadership helena class of 2016 acce rx card
courting the rally, writers, and bloggers
dol overtime exemption rules FALL 2016
A Publication of the
welcome 225 Cruse Ave, Suite A Helena, MT 59601 (406) 442-4120 // 1-800-7HELENA Fax: (406) 447-1532 helenachamber.com
Congrats to Cathy on 25 years of Chamber Leadership
40 W Lawrence St Helena, MT 59601 (406) 449-2847 allegrahelena.com
Feature stories & photos Dawn Zehr
Thom Bridge, Helena IR
Local Contributing authors
Dawn Zehr Jennifer duToit-Barrett Cathy Burwell Riley Relfe Greg Kohn Mike Mergenthaler NOT LOCAL - Samantha Y. Urman, JD
© 2016 All rights reserved. The information contained within this document may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce. Every effort was made to ensure accuracy of information in this publication; however, due to the passage of time and the anomalies inherent in the publishing process, we cannot be responsible for errors or incorrect information.
elcome to the Fall issue for 2016 of the chamber’s Business to Business (B2B) Connection! We hope you find the articles interesting and informative. We appreciate the efforts of our contributing authors. For this issue, we were extremely lucky to get the expertise and prowess of Dawn Zehr. Dawn is an accomplished and professional photographer, and she has a strong background in journalism. We hope you will find her articles impressive, interesting, and personal. We appreciate her help in making this magazine topnotch. If you are an engaged member of the Helena Chamber, you’ve probably seen a lot of new projects this year. We were very proud of our new Trends Booklet that you received in the spring with all of the data about our area. We are very excited to update you on the Charm Trail which has seen great
success, as well as debut the new prescription discount cards for members. Be sure to check out those articles within this issue. The reinvented Business After Hours Expo – now called the “Business, Beer, and Bites” event on April 21st at the Fairgrounds was a huge success with between 400-500 people attending. We look for this year’s event to be even bigger and more fun. The local fare from breweries, caterers, restaurants, and hotels was a big hit with attendees. The Chamber’s Golf Tournament also filled quickly and was another great success. Look for the chamber to be very prepared for the 2017 Legislative Session where we will have a strong lobbying effort to help businesses by supporting good bills and fighting the bad ones. We always value your input on issues and bills we are working on. Each session the Helena chamber lobbies on more than 100 business bills. With all of the fall events and activities, there is no doubt your Chamber Team is working hard to provide many opportunities for our members, in addition to our daily work to “Serve, Promote, and Protect” our businesses!
Cathy Burwell // President/CEO
Tips for Businesses By Cathy Burwell
1. Place focus on keeping your current customers instead of just replacing them with new ones. 2. Develop a marketing plan. Not having a plan makes it difficult to spread your marketing budget across the entire year and who wants to run out of marketing dollars the last few months of the year or worse, to dip into other budget areas to make it up. 3. Tweak the team. Make sure all members of your team (staff) are contributing and helping your business to be successful. 4. Focus on doing fewer things REALLY WELL rather than doing a lot of things mediocre. Look at what your company does that doesn’t add significant value and eliminate them. 5. Put social media on your “gotta do” list for this year – especially if part of your client/customer base is under the age of 50. People are walking around with their “computer” phones all day long – it’s where you need to reach them.
Finding the Right Employee is a with
6. Have a budget – never try to “wing it”. It is a crucial part of your business plan and will keep you on track. Budgeting for profit is the only way you will grow your business. 7. If you are in retail sales, make sure you are set up for online sales and your website is easily found and easily used. If you are going to compete with the global market, you need to be set up to get their online business. 8. Recruit differently for your team. In this tougher market with Helena’s current low unemployment rate, be careful not to hire just to have a position filled – hire to fit the team and for the right person.
westaffmt.com // 406.443.7169 FALL 2016
WORKF ORCE REA DINESS PROGRA M
Chamber Collaborates To Help Students Become Workforce Ready By CATHY BURWELL
n an effort to assist businesses with finding more students who have been trained in soft skills, the Helena Chamber’s Education Committee is working with the Helena Job Service, Helena Public Schools, Helena Education Foundation, and Helena’s business community to help students learn skills that will give them the edge in hiring and job performance.
Workforce GO! is a four-week course delivered by the Helena Job Service to help area students prepare for entering the world of work. Many area businesses are interested in hiring student workers, and completion of Workforce GO! will teach students the skills needed to succeed in the workplace. The cost of the program to the students will be nothing – complimentary! Sessions at the two high schools will begin in November and another session will be offered in January. Class enrollment is limited, so students are encouraged to sign up early. With successful completion of the class, students will receive a certificate that will make them a “preferred” hire for a list of businesses supporting the program. BUSINESSES NEEDED TO SUPPORT PROGRAM We are seeking businesses to support the program in not only giving credence
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and preference to the program and it’s successful students but also to offer incentives to those completing. For example, sponsor McDonalds is offering every student who completes a $5.00 gift card. Businesses can contact Cathy Burwell at the chamber at 447-1942. n
2016 Boss Of The Year On the seventeenth of October bosses throughout the nation were celebrated by their employees. In Helena, however, one boss stood above the rest. Byron Stahly, President of Stahly Engineering & Associates, was surprised by friends, family, and colleagues that Monday afternoon as the Helena Chamber presented Byron with the 2016 Boss of the Year Award.
Byron, indeed surprised, was honored by the gesture. True of any great boss, he credited his team at Stahly Engineering for making the company great. In a nomination letter to the Chamber, the Stahly staff outlined the many reasons Byron deserved the award this year. The staff boasts: Under the leadership of Byron, Stahly Engineering & Associates operates like a family. Team-building opportunities are encouraged and supported through routine company functions, both during and after work hours. Byron shares in the celebration of work anniversaries, birthdays, babies, marriages, and other happy events. Byron Stahly is deserving of Boss of the Year due to his commitment to Stahly Engineering: he is a warmhearted leader that truly wants every employee to succeed in their professional career. He supports local businesses by purchasing office supplies, marketing materials, as well as other services through local agencies. Byron is a pillar of the community and is a consummate businessman and professional. Byron was presented with a plaque and prize package donated by members of the chamber valued at over $2000.00. Congratulations, Byron! Byron Stahly and wife, Theresa
From left to right: Cathy Burwell, Lynn Etchart, Jason Davis, & Byron Stahly
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Volunteers of America
Veteran Services The mission of Volunteers of America is â€œTo compassionately serve and strengthen individuals by empowering them to build healthy and happy lives.â€? Our faith-based organization is guided by professional staff and committed volunteers who create strong families and thriving communities through progressive holistic programs that lend a hand up, not a hand out.
olunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. Our holistic and integrated programs allow us to move individuals, families - and even communities - from instability to security. Our outcomes continually demonstrate that working with the potential in everyone, we accomplish more than anyone thought possible. Volunteers of America provides services that are directed to Veterans of all military campaigns; from Vietnam to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. We are active in providing services to Veterans who have become homeless since serving in the military. Because many conditions do not become apparent until after our Veterans are discharged from service, it is possible for men and women to be out of the service for up to ten years before realizing they need help. Therefore we stand poised to offer our assistance. In the Helena community our VOA office provides Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) and Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP) services. The SSVF Program serves Homeless Veterans as well as Veterans who are at risk of losing their housing. The Program began serving the Helena area in 2012 and has housed over 200 Veterans during the past four years. The SSVF program is able to provide funds for security deposits, rent and other general housing stability needs to support Veterans in finding suitable housing. Additionally, the program can assist veterans if they are at risk of losing their residence. Because SSVF provides only temporary housing assistance, other avenues of support are explored including employment or other benefits the veteran might qualify for. SSVF has offices throughout Montana including Kalispell, Missoula, Great Falls, Butte, Bozeman and Billings. In the past year, SSVF has housed over 450 Veterans throughout Montana. We work closely with the Veteranâ€™s Administration to ensure
Kriss Hensley, Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) Director; Jeff Young, HVRP Service Coordinator; Jennifer Thomas, Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Service Coordinator.
that our clients receive appropriate services including service or non-service disability, education and medical benefits. The primary role of the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) is to provide assistance in reintegrating homeless veterans into meaningful employment. The employment goals of the participant are of their choosing. Our work is to help clarify and offer support in actualizing those goals. When given the support, services and opportunity they need, homeless veterans are more likely to engage in work. As eligible homeless veterans enter the HVRP, they are assessed to determine their readiness to become employed. Once the strengths and barriers of the veteran have been identified, a strong case-management plan is developed and initiated. HVRP will ensure that necessary referrals are made to address housing concerns, if needed. This would include referral to Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF). HVRP staff work one-on-one with each veteran to craft an employment strategy that encompasses work readiness training and individualized job search and preparation support. Staff remains actively engaged with the progress of each enrollee by regular contacts and case management documentation and continue to work with each veteran to find employment as long as the veteran is engaged. This is a team effort between the veteran and HVRP. Both the SSVF and HVRP are committed to the success of those we serve. n
How To Good By riley relfe A2Z Staffing Solutions
We live in a world filled with choices. While some choices are easy: do I buy the black stapler or the red one? Others require more thought: do I work for company A or company Z? Just as employers have choice when deciding between their top candidates, candidates also have a choice—they can opt not to work for you.
hen it comes to that ensures everyone feels attracting the best respected, appreciated, and talent, it’s important to is treated well. understand that such talent A company is a lot more than is looking for a great place just a logo, office furniture, to work. It takes a lot more or website. The core of any than a benefits package, organization is its people, fancy office, or wonderful and it is your people that perks. When will make or it comes to break your “People will forget employment, what you said, people organization. not only is it Maya Angelou will forget what you about being a said it best, “[P] did, but people will eople will forget place where never forget how you what you said, people want made them feel.” to work, people will forget it’s about what you did, becoming and but people will being a place where people never forget how you made want to stay. them feel.” Employees (and In this endeavor, there are a also customers), who feel few principals that all organiza- respected, appreciated, and tions can follow to become that treated well are more likely ideal place where people love to stay. In fact, at A2Z Staffing to work and want to stay. Solutions we have amazing candidates come to us every Create a company culture day looking to leave their
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fancy office, stuffed benefits package, and wonderful perks behind because of lack of appreciation or opportunity for career advancement. To really set yourself apart from all the other choices out there, make it a habit to ensure that everyone (from employees to customers) feels respected, appreciated, and treated well every day. Not only will this effort go a long way towards creating a positive reputation within the community by being a great place to work, it will also help increase your bottom line: engaged and committed employees will always outperform those who don’t. Provide professional development. So you’ve found that amazing candidate, and they are considering your offer against
another. One way to stand out from the crowd is to invest in your employees: budget for employee training and professional development. The crème of the crop candidates are always looking to improve their skill-set. Providing opportunities for professional development and enhanced training is a win-win for both you (the employer) and them (the employee). In this way, employees get the opportunity for educational advancement, and employers get to take advantage of the learned knowledge and skill-set. Yet, companies often miss the mark believing they cannot afford it, but, in truth, they cannot afford not to. Aside from professional conferences, skill-building workshops, or trainings, there are many free or low cost
Attract Talent ways to provide professional development and training. You can use your network to pair an employee with a mentor. Encourage the employee to grow in their skill-set by taking free (or low cost) courses online at Coursera or another educational website. There is also the opportunity of working collaboratively with a sister business to share the cost of bringing in a trainer to train both organizations employees. The key is to remember that there is no one-size-fitsall professional development solution. Rather, you need to know your employees well enough to recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and provide them with the opportunities they need to grow (both for your benefit and theirs). Investing in your employees is investing in your business. Be open, adaptable, creative, engaging, and appreciative. While it may be cliché, it remains true: the one constant in life is change. Therefore, the organizations that are open to change are the ones that thrive (while others merely survive). Encourage an atmosphere where new ideas are welcomed. Did Jimmy have a great idea on how to
“thank you!” Do not be that company. Create an attitude of gratitude within your organization, thanking those inside and outside the company. Doing so will go a long way to creating a positive workplace, and being a company people never want to leave, and always want to do business with.
use Snapchat? Did Sara have a great idea for engaging customers? Did that customer just give you a great idea for a Outsource where needed. new event or product (or how Is your Human Resource to make your organization or Manager overworked? Could product better in some way)? your Marketing Department No organization is perfect, (or person) use some help? which means there is always Does the Executive Director room for growth. Yet, you need an assistant? Could have to be open to that the office growth and use some adaptable to “Your people matter. In temporary the changes a day and age when help through that are hiring and training a new this busy always employee can cost up to season? coming $50,000 or more, attracting Providing (to new the best talent tomorrow your technology, employees new laws, is about how you treat with tools new needs, your employees today. “ and support etc). We they can always need goes a long way do better, and our service or towards improving overall product (while excellent) can productivity, and creating always be better. Therefore, a place where people always be on the lookout for love to work. Loyalty and what can be improved and productivity increases the how. Then, thank those who more people feel supported help you succeed. by the organization they are That customer who just spent 20 minutes complaining, working for. Nor do you need is giving you a gift. They just to outsource an entire brought to your attention department or position. For ways you can improve. Thank example, if your Bookkeeper them. Your employees work is feeling overwhelmed hard for you. Thank them. you can outsource just That supplier who always the accounts payable gives your business a break, part of the job, or even thank them! employee payroll, etc. By Imagine giving someone a taking an overwhelming gift, and then never hearing
responsibility off their plate, and transferring that responsibility to another organization, you create breathing room for that employee to be more productive. Similarly, if your office could use help to tackle a major project, or get it through a busy time, providing that help is crucial to employee productivity and loyalty. In the age of Virtual Assistants, you can outsource a task (a la carte), an entire position, and yes even a department. Your people matter. In a day and age when hiring and training a new employee can cost up to $50,000 or more, attracting the best talent tomorrow is about how you treat your employees today. When that new ideal candidate shows up for their first day, have you created a company culture where everyone feels respected, appreciated, and treated well? Is your organization open, adaptable, creative, engaging, and appreciative? Are you searching for ways to provide your people with the professional development they crave? Are you supporting your people by getting them the help they need, outsourcing when and where needed? All of these things matter, and will a go a long way towards setting yourself apart from the competition. So that when that ideal candidate is choosing between you and another, they choose to work for you. n
Caring is our Calling. The St. Peter’s family is full of unsung heroes who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of others. Nobody knows that better than our patients.
My eight-year-old daughter is terrified of needles but had to get some allergy testing done. Phlebotomists Kris Miller and Jules Kay helped her, talked with her, joked with her, were incredibly patient and did a fantastic job. We both walked away feeling so valued and cared for.
Debbie Skibicki, Helena
We are thankful for oncology nurse Todd Burton, RN. He is the “super nurse” in our life. He clearly enjoys his work. It’s obviously a pleasure for him to help his patients – what he does can’t be taught. He loves his job and he cares for his patients!
Margaret Crennen, Helena
Radiology Tech Robin Hutton put me at ease instantly. She was so thorough in explaining the procedure to me -totally different than I had expected. She also kept me engaged throughout the procedure, relieving my anxiety by talking about the different variety of tomatoes we were planting!
Laurie Gulbranson, Helena
Home Health nurse Sherry Ramuta, RN made a huge difference in my husband, Norb’s, treatment. Not only was she highly skilled in the medical attention he needed, but she also spent time each visit to discuss how he was doing. She had lots of thoughtful suggestions that were incredibly helpful. She’s amazing!
Ann Lauer, Helena
Our family, privileged to take care of yours. stpetes.org • 457-4180 12
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G e t t i n g Ba c k t o Ba s i c s
With The Village Doc Having practiced for more than twenty years as a Board-Certified pediatrician in a local pediatric clinic, last fall Dr. Blayne Fritz was ready for a change in the way he practiced his medicine. On November 1, 2015, Dr. Fritz and his wife, Jennifer, who is a CNA and Certified Infant Massage Instructor, launched Village Doc, a pediatric practice with a unique service and mission: they provide same-day house calls for acute care situations in the Helena valley and to areas within reasonable driving distance from Helena.
Dr. Blayne Fritz and wife, Jennifer
heir mission is to create a pediatric healthcare experience that places value and emphasis on a parent’s or caregiver’s time, while offering compassionate, intimate care to a sick or injured child in the comfort of his or her home. His desire is to bring a more relaxed, caring doctor-patient interaction back into pediatric acute care as a supplement to a child’s regular pediatric care. Dr. Fritz is the “Village Doc” whom you call when your child has, say, a sore throat, pertussis, chicken pox, a minor laceration or injury, or for your preemie’s monthly weigh-in, when it isn’t feasible to wait for a later appointment with your regular pediatrician, you wish to avoid the Emergency Room, or when
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it is difficult or imprudent to bring your Dr. Blayne Fritz came to Helena from sick child into the doctor’s office for any Iowa, where he grew up and attended the number of reasons. University of Iowa for his undergraduate This pediatric house call model, a first degree and medical school. He completed in Montana, provides a time-efficient, his residency at the University of convenient, and intimate quality of care Wisconsin in Madison before landing in that benefits both the parent and the Helena, where he spent twenty years as child. For parents, his hours allow him a primary care pediatrician at Helena to make a house call as early as 7:30 Pediatric Clinic. Jennifer Fritz was raised a.m. on most weekdays, before other in Helena; she received her training as pediatricians open their doors, and late a Certified Infant Massage Instructor in into the evening, after a parent is home 2006 at the International Loving Touch and the doctor’s office is closed. For the Foundation Inc. in Portland, Oregon, and young patient, a caring received person who is trained her CNA “For Dr. Fritz, the impetus for shows up at her house, from Helena this transition in his career grew College. where all of the doctor’s out of a fervent desire to place attention is focused on They are compassionate, kind and intimate the parents her, in a relaxed and familiar environment. of five care over the “business” of Parents have access children, practicing medicine.” to a patient portal; were foster the doctor can send parents for prescriptions digitally to a pharmacy at ten years, and enjoy various forms of the conclusion of the visit; and the Village outdoor recreation in and around our Doc is a preferred provider for most community. insurance companies in the Helena area. It is important to recognize that For Dr. Fritz, the impetus for this Village Doc’s pediatric house call service transition in his career grew out of a is a different service and experience than fervent desire to place compassionate, the pediatric primary care experience. kind and intimate care over the “business” Dr. Fritz encourages parents to remain of practicing medicine. He wished to in relationship with their child’s move from an intense, fast-paced work primary care physician; his service environment into a more relaxed tempo is a supplement to the regular care a that makes possible a relational and child receives from his or her primary intimate setting with his patients and care physician. For those occasions their parents. This affords him more when a trip to a doctor’s office, walk-in opportunities to develop a deeper doctor/ clinic or emergency room is difficult or patient bond, which in turn leads to better inconvenient, the Village Doc is hoping education and well- informed decision to fill the pediatric acute care niche in making on the part of the parents. our area. n
The Case for Identity Theft Benefits By greg kohn Legal Shield Associate
ew things are as disruptive for employees as the aftermath of identity theft. Lost time at work, and distracted minds while on the job, also lower productivity and impact the bottom line. Consider the numbers. In 2015 there over 163 million identities breached or compromised. Of that number, 16.6 million people or 7% of the US. Population were victims of one or more incidents of actual identity theft resulting in over $24.7 billion in direct or indirect financial losses. 36% of these victims reported moderate or severe emotional stress as a result. Identity theft is more than just credit card or bank account fraud. It manifests itself in many ways:
• ID theft is also on the rise. The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel database reports that identity theft is still the #1 consumer complaint. • According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), Identity Theft protection is the #1 voluntary employee benefit requested by employees for the last three years.
Identity theft may not require the services of a lawyer, but it can still take numerous hours for an employee to straighten out the situation. “As the use of electronic medical records and e-filing for taxes increases, so do the reports of identity theft,” • Credit fraud said Holley Maher, a partner with MRCT, an insurance, • Social Security fraud retirement and HR consulting firm in Clayton, Mo. “The biggest reasons to offer • Driver’s license fraud “The biggest reasons to offer identity theft benefits identity theft benefits are lost • Medical records fraud are lost productivity and employee stress, which, in turn, productivity and employee • Criminal/Character fraud add to medical costs,” said Heidi Rasmussen, co-owner stress, which, in turn, add to • Tax return fraud of freshbenies, a Dallas-based employee benefits firm. medical costs,” • Passport fraud Without access to ID theft protection services, an employee • Social Media/email fraud could spend hours of work time trying to resolve related issues. This does not even include any general loss of Employers are spending millions of dollars on data security productivity from an employee dealing with the stress and worry against malware, ransomware and employee/vendor theft. As of the situation. a result, employers are trying to instill an awareness of data Moreover, Rasmussen noted, the longer an employee security throughout their organizations and they are asking doesn’t realize that his or her identity has been stolen, the their employees to be alert and aware of potential security worse the damage becomes. “It could take hundreds of hours issues with data management. to resolve,” she said. “It’s far better if an identity theft is found Employers now have an opportunity to show their early in the process, and that’s the goal of a good identity theft employees that they not only want their employees to protect protection program.” company data, they also want their employees to have the “Considering that the Target Corporation breach affected 35 opportunity to protect their personal and family data as well. percent of the American population and the impact of the recent While only about 35% (up from 25% in 2013) of employers Yahoo breach of over 500 million email addresses, passwords, currently offer specific ID theft protection services as voluntary etc. is yet to be fully seen, this is a hot topic right now,” she said. benefits, the rationale for doing so can be compelling. Give your employees the opportunity to protect their personal When employees have their identity stolen, criminals can and family data just like you ask them to protect your company use that data to open fraudulent bank and credit card accounts, data by offering ID Shield voluntary employee benefit at no cost obtain government benefits, and apply for employment. to the employer. They will appreciate your concern for their Here are some numbers to consider: personal and family protection and data. n • Nearly 75 percent of ID theft victims are between the ages of 20 and 59, the prime working years.
Contact the Helena Chamber of Commerce or Greg Kohn, Legal Shield Associate at 406-697-8787 for more information. FALL 2016
Boeing is a proud partner of the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce. Working together, we can reach outside the classroom to ensure a qualified workforce for the future.
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Get to Know the Chamber Staff
TV Show you canâ€˜t miss? The Voice
Interesting fact/ Something we might not know about you? Animal Science Major at MSU (Go Bobcats!) & barrel racer/roper when I was younger.
Where did you grow up/hometown? On a farm/ranch near Sunburst, MT. (Refiners!) 18
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Worst Fear? Snakes and Claustrophobia
One word that describes you? Passionate
Hobby? Golf and photography
What you like best about working at the chamber? Meeting and working with the best people in Helena. Go Team Chamber!
Worst Fear? Letting life go by without cherishing every moment. Time goes fast.
Interesting fact/Something we might not know about you? My family is obsessed with waterparks. Our plan is to take a trip around the U.S and hit all the best.
TV Show you can‘t miss? The Voice, and thanks to TV Anytime I never miss it.
One word that describes you? Dedicated
Where did you grow up/hometown? Great Falls, MT
Jennifer duToit-Barrett Office & Communications Director
Hobby? Spending time with my husband and four kids.
One word that describes you? Determined
What you like best about working at the chamber? The incredible amount of knowledge my coworkers have. I love what I can learn from them and admire what they can offer businesses.
TV Show you can‘t miss? I don’t have a television, but I make sure to listen to the latest Freakonomics episodes.
Where did you grow up/hometown? Butte, MT
Interesting fact/Something we might not know about you? I run a small-batch soap business with my husband called Barrett Goods.
Hobby? Hot-potting throughout the West
What you like best about working at the chamber? The variety of work I get to take on each day: events, communications, visitors, and graphics. FALL 2016
Helenans have a long history of arts and culture as is evident in our many museums, art galleries, and performing arts venues that are still paving Helena’s history and maintaining its status as one of America’s best small arts towns. The entrepreneurial spirit continues to fill our downtown walking mall (one of less than a dozen left in the U.S.). Unique and interesting specialty shops make for a definite destination for visitors and locals alike. Great Northern Town Center, Helena, Mont. Historic Reeder’s Alley takes you back in time, showcasing Helena’s origins. Our Great Northern Town Center will impress you with its modern but inviting ambience. Helena has grown and expanded in all directions with many areas to enjoy. All of the businesses along the Charm Trail will impress with their hospitality and strive to make you feel welcome!
Charm Trailheads Trail Follow the Charm Trail through historic Helena and make a personalized keepsake from your travels to Montana’s capital. Pick up your bracelet and signature Montana charm at a Trailhead for $5. Then visit Charm Trail Locations around Helena to add charms for $1.50 each to complete your bracelet.
Blazing New Territories in Helena!
A stroll around our beautiful city will show you just how “charming” Helena is and we hope you will enjoy it as you get on the Charm Trail and visit some of our most interesting businesses. Enjoy building your charm bracelet while you indulge in exploring Montana’s Capital City. Happy Trails!
Best Western Premier Helena Great Northern Hotel Helena Area Chamber of Commerce Holiday Inn Conference Center Downtown
Montana Historical Society
Charm Trail Locations
he Helena Charm 225 Cruse Ave, Suite ATrail was officially Helena, MT 59601 Radisson Colonial Hotel Helena launched mid-summer 2016 and is 406-442-4120 experiencing tremendous success in its first few months. The trail started with 15 locations and 20 charms. As of October 1st, 11 additional Barnes Jewelry locations were added, bringing the trail to a 357 N Last Chance Gulch 406-442-3000 total of 29 locations and 35 charms. Not only 10 am - 5:30 pm Mon. – Fri. have the stores reported nearly 200 charmseekers coming into their stores in the first Bear’s Den Custom Framing & Gallery couple of months, but those buyers building bracelets have also been doing some residual 2104 N Last Chance Gulch 406-442-4151 9:30 am - 5:30 pm Mon. – Fri. 10 am – 3 pm Sat. shopping while in stores. One collector reported to the chamber that they made a Best Western Premier Helena Great Northern Hotel $50.00 purchase at one location. Another bracelet collector, after stopping at all of the 835 Great Northern Blvd. 406-457-5500 charm locations, said she had spent around Open 24 hours $500.00 amongst the stores with charms. Supporting member business is the real story Big Dipper Ice Cream behind the Charm Trail. 58 N Last Chance Gulch 406-513-1051 While the trail was created to give visitors 12 pm - 9 pm Mon. – Sun. and locals an engaging “scavenger-hunt” activity, the true result is driving traffic to Big Sky Cycling & Fitness Helena’s own retail stores and locations. The 801 N Last Chance Gulch 406-442-4644 Charm Trail program sends visitors and locals 10 am - 6 pm Mon. – Fri. 10 am- 5 pm Sat. alike into stores. The success of the program can be traced by collecting the number of Birds & Beasleys charms sold. Participating merchants are 2 S Last Chance Gulch 406-449-0904 pleased with the program so far. 9:30 am - 6 pm Mon. – Sat. 11 am – 4 pm Sun. It is amazing how many community members have contacted the chamber about Capital Sports & Western the new charms added on the first of October. 1092 Helena Ave. 406-443-2978 We want to thank the merchants for being a 9 AM – 8 pm Mon. – Fri. 8:30 am -6 pm Sat. 10:30 am - 4 pm Sun. part of this fun and optimistically beneficial program. Cricket Wireless For more information on the Helena Charm Trail, contact the Chamber staff at 2030 Cromwell Dixon LN 406-443-2246 10 am - 8 pm Mon. – Sat. 12 pm – 5 pm Sun. (406) 442-4120. n
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505 N Last Chanc 10 am - 5:30 pm M
225 Cruse Ave. Su 8 am - 5 pm Mon. -
2109 N Last Chan 10 am - 6 pm Mon
105 Reeders Alley 8 am – 5 pm Mon.
Holiday Inn C
22 North Last Cha Open 24 Hours
411 N Last Chanc 10 am - 6 pm Mon
1609 11th Ave. Su 10 am - 8 pm Mon 12 pm -5 pm Sun.
Lewis & Clark
120 S Last Chance 10 am – 9 pm Mon 10 am – 5 pm Sat.
400 Euclid Ave #5 10 am – 6 pm Mon
Golden Girls Antiques Mall
Monroe’s High Country Travel Plaza
505 N Last Chance Gulch 406-442-4120 10 am - 5:30 pm Mon. - Sat. 12 pm - 5 pm Sun.
3122 E US Hwy 12 406-442-3259 5 am – 10 pm Mon. – Fri. 6 am – 10 pm Sat. – Sun.
Helena Area Chamber of Commerce
Montana Historical Society
225 Cruse Ave. Suite A 406-442-4120 8 am - 5 pm Mon. - Fri.
225 N Roberts 406-444-2694 9 am - 5 pm Mon. – Sat. Open until 8 pm on Thursday evenings
Helena Industries Thrift Store 2109 N Last Chance Gulch 406-442-2033 10 am - 6 pm Mon. - Sat. 10 am -5 pm Sun.
Helena Tourism Alliance 105 Reeders Alley 406-449-1270 8 am – 5 pm Mon. – Fri. 9 am – 2 pm Sat.
Montana Outdoor Sports 708 N Last Chance Gulch 406-443-4119 9 am – 6 pm Mon. – Fri. 9 am – 4 pm Sat. 11 am – 3 pm Sun.
M–T Glass Liquor Store 1609 11th Ave. Suite H 406-442-8545 9 am – 7 pm 7 Days a Week
Holiday Inn Conference Center Downtown 22 North Last Chance Gulch 406-443-2200 Open 24 Hours
JMACS Pottery 411 N Last Chance Gulch 406-996-1279 10 am - 6 pm Mon. - Sat.
Leslie’s Hallmark/Montana Store (2 locations) 1609 11th Ave. Suite F & 3321 N. Montana Ave. 406-442-3933 10 am - 8 pm Mon. – Fri. 10 am – 6 pm Sat. 12 pm -5 pm Sun.
Nickel’s Gaming Parlour 2100 N Last Chance Gulch #C 406-443-5554 8 am - 2 am 7 Days a Week
Parrot Confectionery 42 N Last Chance Gulch 406-442-1470 9 am - 5:30 pm Mon. – Sat.
Queen City Framing & Art Supplies 400 Euclid Ave
10 am - 6 pm Mon. - Fri.
10 am - 4 pm Sat.
Lewis & Clark Library
Radisson Colonial Hotel Helena
120 S Last Chance Gulch 406-447-1690 10 am – 9 pm Mon. – Th. 10 am – 6 pm Fri. 10 am – 5 pm Sat. 1 pm – 5 pm Sun.
2301 Colonial Drive Open 24 Hours
Linda’s Bridal Images & Mr. Tux 400 Euclid Ave #5 406-442-4982 10 am – 6 pm Mon. – Fri. 10 am – 3 pm Sat.
Tizer Botanic Gardens & Arboretum 38 Tizer Lake Road 406-933-8789 10 am - 6 pm Mon. - Sun. Seasonal - Please call ahead.
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? S T PE T G
the big Business of pets By dawn ZEHR
he sun rises on a frigid holiday morning, and the anticipation of the day beckons you out from under your mountain of blankets. On the mantle in the festively decorated living room sits a beautifully knit stocking in a Nordic pattern; inside, you have placed a brightly colored bulb-shaped toy, a fluffy reindeer plush toy, a red and white striped sweater with a penguin knitted onto the back, candy canestriped pajamas, a beautifully wrapped all-natural cookie, and matching accessories made with designer fabrics and genuine leather. Your dog sleeps nearby. She stretches, shakes herself awake, and trots to your side as you place the stocking on the floor in front of her. She eagerly chomps down on the cookie while you sneak the pajamas over her head. According to a recent poll, 76% of pet owners in the U.S. classify their pets as “beloved members of the family,” while 19% responded that they are “well cared for, but still considered animals.” Clearly, the American mentality towards pets has shifted dramatically in recent decades. In 1994, American pet owners spent 17 billion dollars on their pets; this year, expenditures are projected to be a colossal 62.75 billion dollars – including the initial purchase of the animal, food, supplies, medicine, veterinary care, and pet services, such as grooming. In the past forty years, pets have moved from the crudely built house in the back yard to the custommade, hand embroidered, designer-fabric bed in the corner of the bedroom – or in the case of one very lucky Chihuahua, a meticulously decorated bedroom under the stairs, replete with a miniature chest of drawers, bedside lamp, golden bed, all under the suspicious gaze of the poker-playing dogs, in tiny
replica. Since 1984, the life expectancy for dogs has nearly doubled, from six to seven years to the current eleven or twelve. This is in part due to new diagnostic technology, less toxic flea and tick killers, better quality food, and vaccines. Today, people are seeing their pets as members of the family and thus taking greater measures to care for them and keep them alive. A shift in demographics shines some light on the “pets as children” phenomenon. More Americans live alone; millennials are waiting longer to marry and have children; retired people are living longer; and empty nesters are turning their attention and assiduous care to new and beloved pets. Pet owners have demonstrated their commitment to their four-legged family members: during the heart of the financial crisis from 2007 to 2009, the business of pets grew more than ten percent. Entirely new industries are being raised up with tremendous success to cater to the millions of people who are willing to make personal sacrifices for the sake of their beloved pet. It’s a good time to be a pet in America – those empty-nesters have access to innumerable eager entrepreneurs ready to sell them pet insurance; chew toys that resemble Presidential candidates; hand-made kennels, bird cages and caskets; all-natural shampoos and cleaners; organic treats and food products; and services that include pet-sitting, kennel cleaning, costume sewing, breeding, adoption, pet photography, transportation and lodging, mobile grooming, training and even cremation. In the following pages, we will meet some of the business owners in Helena who are providing a variety of excellent services to our beloved pets.
All About Grooming
ou can’t help but smile and relax when you enter the bright, colorful, sun-filled space that houses All About Grooming, a professional grooming business located behind Walmart. As you take in the warmly decorated and painted rooms, you are likely to be greeted with a wet nose by a contented, freshly groomed dog as he waits for his owner, who is chatting at the desk with one of the four friendly ladies who work here. Inside the grooming area, you can see Karen Alexander, owner of All About Grooming, and Molly, a groomer who also sells the homemade gourmet dog treats in the delightful packages displayed at the front desk. Heidi and Debbie are busy in their respective rooms, washing and drying the twenty-plus dogs that come through their doors each day. Karen Alexander, a Texas native, brought her extensive training and experience to Helena in 2004, when she launched her professional grooming business; All About Grooming moved into its current location in March of 2015. Karen has thirty years of experience as a groomer, and was trained at the VTI Grooming Academy in Dallas. Her heart for animals and for grooming is evidenced by the comfortable, relaxed atmosphere of pure enjoyment that infuses the whole place.
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Her colleagues brag effusively about her, declaring emphatically that she is an excellent employer, and there is nowhere else they would rather work. She supports the Helena economy by buying locally, and by partnering with Helena’s Career Training Institute, which matches young people as volunteers with local businesses as a way of obtaining skills and experience. About six months ago, the women of All About Grooming started welcoming these young people into their grooming family, teaching them skills and offering them the benefits of new human and animal friendships. One of the distinguishing aspects of All About Grooming is the strong sense of family and teamwork among the four women who work together. Molly Horton is a Helena native and professionally trained groomer who came to join Karen five years ago. She has a total of eight years of experience as a groomer, and enjoys house-sitting, as well as baking homemade dog treats for her side business, Barking Mad Bakery. She sells her gourmet dog treats at the front desk, as well as at the farmer’s market and various craft shows in Helena. For Molly, working with animals is her calling and she has found a second home and family in All About Grooming, with her coworkers, and with the animals she sees every day – “They are a part of our family when they’re here.” Heidi Hill is a “floater” – she helps wherever she is needed; however, she can usually be found in the animal washing room. She has been working here for five years, and also claims her workplace as a second home. She is from Ogden, Utah, moved to Helena in 1999, and has three daughters and a cat. Heidi speaks with heartfelt delight about her work, her coworkers, and the opportunity she has to work closely with animals. Debbie Biegel, a Billings native, was raised on a ranch and has enjoyed a lifelong passion for animals. She moved to the Boulder area in 1993. She worked for the Lewis and Clark Humane Society for more than four years, drove a charter bus for ten years, and joined the family at All About Grooming in February, where she spends her days drying pets. Debbie has been married for forty years; she has four children and five grandchildren, along with her dogs and horses. n
Alpine Animal Clinic
Exceptional, Affordable Care for your family.
Wampler and her well-trained staff are known to go the extra mile for their patients and their humans. Dr. Heidi Wampler, a general practice veterinarian, has a special interest in orthopedics, advanced soft tissue surgery, internal medicine, and ultrasound. She supports the Helena community through volunteer work with programs such as 4-H, high school Career Days, elementary school “Kid’s College,” and donates medical and surgical care for the Lewis and Clark Humane Society, as well as many other charitable organizations around our Helena community. n
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lpine Animal Clinic, located on Cedar Street, is Helena’s first AAHA-accredited veterinary hospital, and provides exceptional care and boarding services to Helena’s beloved pets. Dr. Heidi Wampler, a Helena native, wife, and mother of three, realized her dream of opening her own small-animal veterinary clinic in 2008, when Alpine Animal Clinic first opened its doors. Alpine’s beautiful, bright and meticulouslyplanned facility contains space for animal boarding, routine health care, surgery, critical care and emergencies, dentistry, rehabilitation therapy, an on-site laboratory and pharmacy, as well as a state-of-the-art Intensive Care Unit and other high-quality diagnostic and monitoring technology. Dr. Heidi Wampler is from Helena; she graduated from Capital High and started her undergraduate degree at Carroll College. She finished her degree in Biology at University of Michigan in 1998 and entered veterinary school at Colorado State University, where she completed her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. For the first seven years, she practiced with other veterinarians at local affiliated vet clinics; in 2008 she struck out on her own and opened Alpine Animal Clinic. Currently, Dr. Wampler is joined by four other veterinarians – Dr. Merry Michalski, Dr. Paul Ryan, Dr. Darice Henry-Ford, and Dr. Cathy Davis, who is also a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist. For Dr. Wampler, seeing the big picture when providing care to the patients in her clinic is essential – “you won’t hear what you’re not listening for.” This holistic philosophy of veterinary care is the shaping force in her personal approach to practicing. She enjoys taking the time in every exam to look “nose to tail,” getting down on the floor with the patient, paying attention to every detail while putting together the complete picture of the animal’s family experience and social dynamics. This fully-pieced together puzzle allows her to see the things many people don’t know they’re missing. Her attention to detail is just one contributing factor to her success as a veterinarian; Dr.
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Bridger Veterinary Hospital
ridger Veterinary Hospital is a bustling practice located on the corner of Custer and Green Meadow in Helena. Seeing a great variety of patients from across Montana, this beloved veterinary practice has built itself up the old-fashioned way – without advertising, by word of mouth. Bridger Vet is truly a mixed practice; its four doctors carry close to fifty years of experience and each one is dedicated to treating all species, including chickens, ferrets, dogs, cats, horses, and some exotic animals. Dr. Keith Stav and his wife Sharleen, both Helena natives, bought Bridger Veterinary Hospital 21 years ago. They started out living in the back of the clinic and ran it themselves for four years. Initially, Keith and Shar Stav were looking into purchasing a practice in Hamilton, Montana. On their way through Helena, they stopped to chat with Dr. Pannitier at Bridger Veterinary Hospital, who indicated that his practice was for sale. They decided that Helena was the right place for them, and 21 years later, their generous and heartfelt love of the people and animals of the Helena community has earned them the “Best in Helena” honor for the past three years. Dr. Steve Sekerak, a Wyoming native and fellow student with Dr. Stav at Colorado State University, practiced in Cody, Wyoming before coming to Helena to join the practice in 1999. They are joined by Dr. Autumn Harris, DVM (Oklahoma State) and Dr. Freyja Swanson, DVM (Colorado State), both of whom came to work at Bridger Vet in 2015. In addition to its four doctors, Bridger Vet employs 13 people, including five veterinary technicians. Dr. Keith Stav grew up around a variety of animals in Helena, and worked for Bridger Vet in high school. He completed his undergraduate degree in biology at Montana State University, working at veterinary hospitals along the way. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University and practiced in Glasgow for two years. Shar Stav was also raised in Helena; she went to Carroll College, and has a background
in banking, though she always had the desire to work in the veterinary field. Throughout her entire life, 4-H has played an important role; in her younger years, she was a member of 4-H, and as an adult, she has been a 4-H leader in Montana and Colorado. Through Bridger Veterinary Hospital, she continues to support local 4-H programs in our community. n
Shar Stav & Dr. Freyja Swanson
Dr. Autumn Harris
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Montana Vet Specialists
Dr. Brenda & Dr. Britt Culver
rom the moment you meet Drs. Britt and Brenda Culver, you are taken in by their unbridled passion for what they do every day as veterinarians in the Helena community and beyond. With a combined 22 years of training and 44 years of experience as veterinary doctors between this husband and wife team, everyone who steps through their doors – both four-legged and two-legged – is assured of the highest quality and assiduous personal care and attention. They are joined by Dr. Misty Clausen, a general practice veterinarian who has a special interest in Theriogenology, or animal reproduction. For Dr. Brenda Culver, a primary care veterinarian, the unique relationship and bond between a pet and its owner is a particular focus in her practice. She emphasizes the importance of offering pet owners compassionate and nonjudgmental guidance in the decisions they make regarding their “kids in fur walking on four legs,” whether it be treatment options or difficult end of life decisions. She has a strong interest and advanced training in Ophthalmology, and sees referral cases from veterinarians from around the region for these cases. Dr. Britt Culver is the only Board-Certified Internal Medicine Specialist in Helena, and one of only two internal medicine
specialists in the state of Montana. Many of his patients are referrals from across the state, including cases that require advanced and non-invasive diagnostics such as ultrasound; endoscopy, laparoscopic surgery and biopsies. If you want to see Dr. Culver’s face light up, ask him about the technological advances that recently allowed him to perform a non-invasive surgical procedure to repair a dog’s collapsed trachea, with minimal recovery time and residual side effects. Another benefit of technology in veterinarian practice is the ability to quickly and easily consult with other specialists about certain cases; Montana Vet Specialists has an affiliation with a veterinary ophthalmologist, radiologist, and board certified surgeons. Both doctors acknowledge the value in seeking second opinions, and the relationships they’ve built with other highly trained professionals in their field are tremendous assets to their practice as well as to their patients. In addition to the patients he sees at his Helena office, Dr. Culver operates a mobile service in places like Great Falls and Bozeman, where he is able to offer his ultrasound equipment, experience and expertise to those communities which do not have this level of access. Both Britt and Brenda Culver thoroughly love what they do – for Brenda, her delight in her work has become more profound as she has developed confidence in what
she does. Not only do they enjoy the animals they are privileged to care for, but they both find tremendous satisfaction in the human relationships that are inherent in their work. n
Valley Veterinary Hospital
alley Veterinary Hospital is an integrated veterinary practice on the north side of Helena. Dr. Tia Nelson, Dr. Kristi Costley, and Dr. Kristin Bull have combined their education and experience to offer traditional Western medicine as well as acupuncture, chiropractic, prolotherapy, nutritional health and hospice care for old or sick animals. Other services include in-house diagnostic blood tests, digital radiography, and ultrasound, among other laboratory services. “All creatures great and small” are treated on site and on house call – from cats and dogs to horses and cows. The veterinary hospital offers grooming and boarding services, as well as an ambulatory veterinary service for farm and house calls and a 24-hour emergency on-call veterinarian. Dr. Tia Nelson opened her own practice in 2002, and moved into its current location on North Montana Avenue in 2010. She grew up in Great Falls, worked as a professional farrier in the Greater Helena area for 15 years before getting into veterinary school in 1995. She graduated from Colorado State University in 1999, came home to Helena and started working with another veterinarian. All told, she has been in practice as a veterinarian for 17 years. Dr. Nelson is the first veterinarian to hold an undergraduate degree in Anthrozoology, the study of the human/animal bond, which she received from Carroll College in 2015.
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When conversing with Dr. Nelson, one immediately gets the sense that she carries within her a deep passion for continued learning and engagement with her field. Years ago, she caught wind of a new technique called prolotherapy, also known as nonsurgical ligament and tendon reconstruction, and self-taught herself this highly effective form of treatment. She receives referrals from all across Montana and parts of Wyoming for prolotherapy treatment. There is always more to be discovered within the field of veterinary medicine, and Dr. Nelson goes about her continual discovery and learning with tremendous passion, curiosity and drive. Her love for animals goes beyond her practice – Dr. Nelson and her husband raise milk cows and horses, grow their own hay, and maintain a large garden. Valley Veterinary Hospital staffs a total of 15, and is noticeably a well-established, pleasant and professional environment in which each person who works there understands that the animals they treat are family to their human companions. Compassionate and personal, high quality care is essential to the mission of this veterinary practice. n
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Rally, Writers, and Bloggers By Mike Mergenthaler Helena Chamber Vice President and CVB Director
he summer of 2016 arrived and left encourage writers to come to Helena and in a flash! The leaves have fallen experience all that the Capital City has to and the surrounding mountain peaks offer and then to share their experiences have been capped with snow. It truly with their followers. seems that the busier you are, the faster Craig was interested in doing some the seasons seem to change. The Helena outdoor activities, including fly fishing Chambers Convention & Visitors Bureau on the Missouri River. We were on the kept busy this summer by hosting a river at 6am as the sun began to peak out Car Rally, two social media writers and over the tops of the mountains to the East. bloggers, and a book author. The Caddisfly Hatch was in full-swing— Rally North America hit Helena on thousands of flies swarmed over the river. July 12 when 77 sports cars converged on Although we didn’t catch any fish that the Capital City as part of a five-day tour day, it was a wonderful experience to be of the Northwest. Each team of drivers able to float the river, absorb the scenic had to check in at the Helena Chamber beauty, and take in the fresh Montana air. where they each received a gift bag and a As Craig said regarding our lack of reeling clue directing them in any fish, “That’s why to their next stop. they call it fishing and “Over the past few years Drivers then raced not catching!” the CVB has brought in 10 to the Big Dipper Craig and Barb both Travel Writers at an average Ice Cream and had the opportunity cost of $1,700 per Writer. concluded their stay to visit the Farmers This investment in return in Helena by visiting Market, relax on the the Cathedral to take boat tour of the Gates received articles, online part in a photo opp of the Mountains, listen stories, and social media as part of the day’s to some great music at content in a circulation requirements. Race the Symphony Under reach of over 1.7 million.” Organizer Tony the Stars, ride the Last Intrieri was truly Chance Tour Train, appreciative of the stroll along Last Chance efforts of the Helena CVB and that Helena Gulch, and take in a play at Grandstreet would definitely be considered as the Theatre. starting point for a future Rally. The two greatest highlights for Barb Craig Zabransky from New York were having her photo taken with and Barb Nefer from Florida arrived in Governor Bullock while touring the Helena later that same week. Craig and Capitol and having the opportunity to Barb are both Social Media Bloggers and personally observe Brian’s skill of creating were invited to Helena to take part in chocolate masterpieces at the Parrot what the CVB refers to as a “Press Tour.” Confectionery. The purpose of these press tours is to Craig and Barb both have numerous
posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine and Snapchat. Craig has released a podcast of his visit along with several highlights of his trip to Helena. You can view these at http://www.stayadventurous. com/ 2016/08/episode-17-helena-montana/. To view Barb’s postings go to http://www. hypeorlando.com/in-the-shadow-of-themouse/2016/07/10/join-me-on-a-big-skyadventure-in-helena-montana/. On August 1st and 2nd the CVB hosted Dr. Larry Campbell, an author on a 45-day exploration trip following the Missouri River from its’ beginnings in Three Forks Montana to its confluence with the Mississippi River in St Louis Missouri. Campbell was once a mathematics professor who, for six weeks last summer, turned explorer, adventurer, photographer and author. Campbell spent 2 days in Helena taking in the sites and attractions that make Helena special, including the Last Chance Tour Train, Capitol, Cathedral, Original Governor’s Mansion, Montana Historical Society, and historic, downtown Helena. Of course, no trip like this would be complete without a ride on the famous Missouri river at the Gates of the Mountains. Dr. Campbell will be writing a book on his adventures as he travels along the river. The working title of his book is “Rollin’ On The River: Sights and Stories Along the Missouri River.” The Helena CVB feels privileged and honored to have hosted these writers and events. Sincere thanks and appreciation to all the businesses and individuals who helped welcome the Car Rally, bloggers, and writers. n FALL 2016
CONGRATS to the Class of 2016!
MT Department of Commerce
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First Interstate Bank
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Chamber VP, Leadership Helena Program Manager Interested in learning more about Leadership Helena? Contact Mike at (406) 442-4120 or mmergenthaler@ helenachamber.com
Essential Facts About The New DOL Overtime Exemption Rules By Samantha Y. urman, JD Legal Editor, ThinkHR
n May, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the publication of a final rule amending the white collar overtime exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The final rule, published in the Federal Register on May 23, 2016, increases the threshold salary for the exemption to $913 per week ($47,476 per year), the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region (currently the South). The new rule also increases the total annual compensation requirement needed to exempt highly-compensated employees (HCEs) to $134,004 per year and established a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles and to ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption. The final rule amends the salary basis test to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level. The final rule makes no changes to the duties tests for both standard and HCE positions. When does the final rule take effect? The final rule will be published in the Federal Register and take effect December 1, 2016. Initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and the HCE total
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annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year) will be effective then. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020. What is the intent of the final rule? Proponents argue that the overtime regulations haven’t been meaningfully updated in decades. An exemption from overtime eligibility originally meant only to apply to highly-compensated white-collar employees has applied to certain employees earning $455 per week or $23,660 per year since 2004. In addition to the salary threshold, exempt employees must hold a position that passes the “duties tests” within specific exempt classifications defined in the regulations. According to the DOL, 62 percent of full-time salaried workers were eligible for overtime pay in 1975, but today only 8 percent of those same types of workers are overtime pay eligible due to the low salary threshold that has not kept up with inflation and wage growth. This final rule updates the salary level required for exemption to ensure that the FLSA’s intended overtime protections are fully implemented, and to simplify the identification of overtime-protected employees, thus making executive, administrative, and professional exemption tests easier for employers and employees to understand and apply. What are the basic applications of the FLSA?
Editor’s Note: FLSA overtime rule changes will impact most chambers and many member companies. The degree and nature of the impacts will vary by organization. Our goal with this article is not to explore nuance, but instead to provide all ACCE members with a solid foundation of the essential facts about the rule changes. Pending legal challenges and proposed legislative fixes to these rule changes are not addressed in this piece.
Employees classified as nonexempt from the salary and duties tests covered by the FLSA must be paid at least one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for any hours they work beyond 40 in a workweek (or eight hours in a workday in some states). An employer who requires or permits an employee to work overtime is generally required to pay the employee premium pay for such overtime work. The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour at the federal level. Some states have higher minimum wage rates. Generally, employees of enterprises that have an annual gross volume of sales made or business done of $500,000 or more are covered by the FLSA. In addition, employees of certain businesses are covered by the FLSA regardless of the amount of gross volume of sales or business done (enterprise coverage). These businesses include hospitals, businesses providing medical or nursing care for residents, schools (whether operated for profit or not for profit), and public agencies. Even when there is no enterprise coverage, employees are protected by the FLSA if their work regularly involves them in commerce between states (interstate commerce). The FLSA covers individual workers
who are engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce. State and local governments are also subject to the FLSA; domestic service workers (such as housekeepers, full-time babysitters, and cooks) are also normally covered by the law. What are the white collar exemptions to the FLSA? The FLSA’s white collar exemptions exclude certain executive, administrative, and professional employees from federal minimum wage and overtime requirements. Certain computer professionals and outside sales employees are also excluded from these requirements. The final rule addresses changes in the salary thresholds for the executive, administrative, and professional employee and HCE categories. Currently, to qualify for exemption, a white collar employee generally must meet all of the following tests: • Salary Basis Test: An employee must be salaried, meaning that he or she is paid a predetermined and fixed salary that is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed. • Salary Level Test: An employee must be paid at least a specific salary threshold, which is $913 per week (the equivalent of $47,476 annually for a fullyear employee). • Duties Test: The employee must primarily perform executive, administrative, or professional duties, as provided in the DOL’s regulations. Certain professionals are not subject to either the salary basis or salary level tests (for example, doctors, teachers, and lawyers). There is no salary level test required to qualify as an exempt outside sales employee. Finally, the current regulations also contain a relaxed duties test for HCEs who receive total annual compensation of $134,004 or more paid on a salary basis.
Keep in mind that job titles do not determine exempt status, and the fact that a white collar employee is paid on a salary basis does not alone provide sufficient grounds to exempt that employee from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. For an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all of the applicable requirements provided in the DOL’s regulations. What is a highly-compensated employee (HCE)? An HCE is paid total annual compensation of $134,004 or more and is deemed exempt under § 13(a)(1) of the FLSA if all of the following apply: • The employee earns total annual compensation of $134,004 or more, paid on a salary basis. • The employee’s primary duty includes performing office or non-manual work. • The employee customarily and regularly performs at least one of the exempt duties or responsibilities of an exempt executive, administrative, or professional employee. For example, an employee may qualify as an exempt HCE if he or she earns at least $134,004 annually and customarily and regularly directs the work of two or more other employees, even though the employee does not meet all of the other requirements in the standard test for exemption as an executive. For HCE exemption under the final rule, employees must earn a minimum of $913 per week on a salary or fee basis, while the remainder of the total annual compensation may include commissions, nondiscretionary bonuses, and other nondiscretionary compensation. How are nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments included in the salary test? For other non-HCE employees, the final rule allows nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including
commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary test requirement. This includes nondiscretionary incentive bonuses tied to productivity or profitability, such as profit-sharing, retention or production bonuses, and incentive payments, including commission payments based on pre-set formulas. Under certain conditions, catch-up payments within the quarter may be allowed. The final rule does NOT allow discretionary bonuses that are awarded irregularly and at the employer’s sole discretion to be included as part of the standard salary test requirement, such as spot awards for performance or special projects. Is there a small business exemption from the FLSA or the DOL’s overtime rule for white collar workers? The FLSA does not provide an exemption for small businesses. Generally, the FLSA and the final rule apply to employees of enterprises that have an annual gross volume of sales made or business done of $500,000 or more, and certain other businesses (enterprise coverage). Even when there is no enterprise coverage, employees are protected by the FLSA if their work regularly involves them in commerce between states (interstate commerce). The DOL has published a Small Business Guide (www.dol.gov/whd/ overtime/final2016/SmallBusinessGuide. pdf) that provides additional information to assist small employers in complying with this rule. When will annual automatic updates to the salary thresholds be made? The automatic updates to the standard salary and HCE total annual compensation levels will be made every three years by applying the same method used to set those levels in the final rule. The DOL will update the standard salary level to maintain it at the 40th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest wage Census Region, and will update the HCE total annual compensation level to maintain it at the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers nationwide. The first update will take effect on January 1, 2020.
Where do I start when the new rule is implemented? Although these changes do not go into effect until December 1, start considering your options for compliance now. Options include raising pay to meet the new exemption thresholds, reducing workloads for individual employees who regularly work more than 40 hours per week and whose jobs will be reclassified as overtime eligible to reduce overtime payments, adjusting salary budgets to allow for additional overtime pay, and carefully planning your communications strategy for announcing the changes you will be making.
Begin your analysis by: 1. Determining exempt positions where employees currently earn less than $47,476. 2. Identifying your pay strategy and modeling scenarios where you increase the salary of these employees above the new salary level to maintain their positions as exempt, reducing salaries for newly reclassified nonexempt employees, and calculating the additional overtime the newly reclassified nonexempts may be earning. 3. Analyzing work requirements and duties for employees who are reclassified as nonexempt, establishing overtime
restrictions and hourly reporting requirements. 4. Analyzing your benefits and paid time off structures to determine whether changes need to be made as the employee transitions from exempt to nonexempt status. 5. Planning your communications strategy so that impacted employees will understand the changes and expectations going forward. For more information, visit ThinkHR.com n
Offering online resources, training and live advisors, ThinkHR helps businesses of all sizes and industries save time, money and avoid costly risk and liability. All ACCE Benefits Trust clients have access ThinkHR resources. Email Stacey Breslin, ACCEâ€™s VP of Benefits Services, for more information. Samantha Yurman is one of ThinkHRâ€™s legal editors. She is a licensed attorney in California and Florida with over 10 years of experience researching and analyzing human resources legislation and law. Samantha uses her expertise to translate highly technical legal topics into usable information for our clients.
Business to Business Connection
FREE New Benefit For Chamber Members and Their Employees ACCE RX Card – Save Your Employees up to 75% on Their Prescriptions!!!
he Chamber is proud to announce a brand new program as a member benefit: the ACCE RX Prescription Discount Card. This prescription discount card is an amazing way for members to offer a free benefit to their employees that may help them to save hundreds of dollars per year on their prescriptions. One in 10 Americans don’t take their medication as prescribed simply because they can’t afford to. The card offers up to a 75% discount on most prescriptions at all local, chain pharmacies. With the cost of prescriptions rising dramatically, this member benefit can be offered free to your employees because you are a member of the Helena Chamber.
The discount is available at nearly every pharmacy in Helena. Offered by United Networks of America (UNA), there are no income requirements, no age limitations, and no applications to complete. The cards can be sent to you for your employees or downloaded on the chamber website (www.helenachamber. com) with your member code. The program was launched to help uninsured and underinsured Americans afford their prescription medications. The card can be used by individuals who have prescription coverage but their medications are not being covered. When using the card, persons with insurance need to use either their insurance coverage or this prescription card—not both. While researching this program, we checked a staff member’s prescription for Symbicort (allergy inhaler), which costs $178.00/month outof-pocket with the Chamber’s insurance. With the discount FREE Prescription Drug Card, compliments of: card—checking UNA’s website— the same prescription, IN HELENA, would cost between $31.00 and $34.00. We also checked out Epi-pens that are being reported as costing $300600.00. With this card, the cost The card below is pre-activated and can be used immediately in Helena was around $98.00. to save up to 75% on your prescription drugs. To take advantage of this program call or stop by the Chamber office (225 Cruse Ave. Prescription Drug Card Highlights Suite A) and we can get you started. Cards can be picked up The FREE Prescription Drug Card is perfect It’s pre-activated and can be used for the uninsured and underinsured, but immediately at over 68,000 pharmacies at the chamber, mailed to your EVERYONE is eligible for a free card. nationwide. business, or downloaded on the All prescriptions processed through the The card can be used to get discounts on chamber website. To download, program are conﬁdential. most brand name and generic medications, you will need to call the chamber with discounts up to 75%. The program’s LOWEST PRICE logic for your member code. All guarantees that you pay the lowest of Great for people with Health Savings employees (full-time and discount oﬀ Average Wholesale Price-AWP, Accounts (HSAs), High Deductible Plans, discount oﬀ MAC pricing, or Pharmacy Medicare Part D, or Non-Covered part-time) and their immediate Promotional/Retail price. Medication. families are eligible for the cards. n
CHAMBER MEMBERS: Help yourself to some
This card is pre-activated for immediate savings at participating pharmacies! Simply cut out the card below and fold along center line.
It’s the place we call home. You love it here and so do we. It’s neighbors helping neighbors. It’s you and together.
© 2016, Forbes Media LLC. Used with permission.
We create solutions that build better communities
We value our community and are honored to support youth education, civics, athletics and non-profits
www.m-m.net 406.442.3050 | 1 Engineering Place, Helena, Montana 59602 42
Business to Business Connection
Andrew Brosten Chef, Partner
Your plan: improve the health of your employees and your bottom line
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Your plan: PacificSource
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The Radisson Colonial Hotel,
Get Our Best Available Rate by mentioning this ad at booking!
previously the Red Lion Colonial Hotel.
With our valued customers in mind, we joined the Radisson family of upscale hotels, a change that is sure to upgrade all our customers experience in Helena, Montana. As we continue our transition to a Radisson hotel we will be completing a full upgrade to our guest rooms featuring new furniture, new bedding,
iHome clock radios with ipod docks, carpet, drapery, and bathroom amenities. Around the hotel you’ll notice some enhanced amenities as well! We’ll now offer an iConcierge mobile app where you can order room service, request extra pillows, ask for a wake-up call, and make reservations all from your room! Guests will also enjoy the same upgraded conveniences they previously had at the Red Lion including: fitness center, indoor pool, and complimentary wireless Internet access. Radisson prides itself in going the extra step for their guests and we’re excited to embrace this way of serving our guests.
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All New/Upgrades: Completely renovated guest rooms, meeting rooms and public spaces (in progress) Rewards program - Club Carlson
Radisson Colonial Hotel - Helena | 2301 Colonial Dr | Helena, MT 59601 406-443-2100 | www.radisson.com/helenamt
Helena Area Chamber of Commerce 225 Cruse Ave, Suite A Helena, MT 59601
MONTANA’S OWN With nearly 600 of Montana’s very own employees, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana is one of the most loyal employers in town. Since 1940, we’ve been here when our boys came home from the war, when you first got married, when you had your first baby and when you went through a family health crisis. We’ve always been here for you. And we pledge we’re not going anywhere. We’re Montana’s own Real Montanans helping you when you need it most. Through it all.
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