MAKING THE CASE FOR A REGIONAL CONVENTION CENTER
GET TO KNOW
NEXTGEN ENTERS YEAR FIVE
1 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
IS S U E 18 | J U N E - A U G U S T 2018
Life is motion. Keep moving toward your goals with HUB. When you partner with us, you’re at the center of a vast network of experts dedicated to advising you on how to prepare for the unexpected with: ý Business insurance and risk services to help protect your organization, brand and assets ý Employee benefits that help you navigate change, and support and engage your people ý Personal insurance to help you protect your family, your home and more Let’s protect what matters most to you.
hubinternational.com 3533 Gabel Road Billings, Montana 59102 (406) 652-9151
Advocacy | Tailored Insurance Solutions | Peace of Mind
3 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
table of contents
6.18 CONTENTS MAKE NO LITTLE PLANS
NEW LEADERSHIP TAKING THE HELM THE CASE FOR A MONTANA REGIONAL CONVENTION CENTER
WELCOME 2018-2019 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
p.30 Patrice Elliott EBMS CHAIR
FIRST INTERSTATE BANK CHAIR ELECT
NORTHERN HOTEL TREASURER
4 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
SANCTUARY/JOY OF LIVING/ JOY OF KIDS /BLACK DOG COFFEE HOUSE PAST CHAIR
6.18 EVERY ISSUE
PRESIDENT'S LETTER Celebrating Greatness.
GROW Why people join.
HORIZONS Some of the latest statistics and economic data impacting businesses in Billings.
How our efforts bolster your business and community.
MONTANAâ€™S TRAILHEAD Scoring big with sports in Billings.
TRIPS ON A TANKFUL Have map, will travel.
GET TO KNOW LENETTE KOSOVICH
GET TO KNOW JOE MCGINNiS Business Development Manager.
BUSINESS GROWTH Art House Cinema & Pub.
5 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
p.10 p.12 p.14 p.32
FROM THE PRESiDENT/CEO
BIG SKY LEVEL
THE IMPORTANCE OF PEOPLE AND PLACE
THE DELP TEAM
Here at home we have to ask ourselves this: When we eventually transform, how will we tell OUR story? Will it be one of a planned, visionary process developed when we were a healthy, thriving city? Or will we see change borne out of desperation? Another item we heard during the city visit was that Billings has two significant things going for it that Allentown did not: • People who are engaged, passionate, and ready to act. • The Hammes Company
s you’ll read about in this issues’ cover story, the Chamber recently completed it third Aspirational City Visit to the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. Each city visit we’ve orchestrated has been impactful, but one binding takeaway from each is this: every community has a story and a point in time where the community realizes it must transform to remain competitive. In Oklahoma City it was following a decision from United Airlines not to locate a maintenance facility in OKC because “their employees wouldn’t enjoy the quality of life.” Shortly after that the City was rocked by a domestic terrorist attack. In the Lehigh Valley it was the loss of 30,000 jobs when a major employer closed, taking 20% of the tax base with it.
GRANITE PEAK LEVEL
Albertsons District Office Altana Federal Credit Union Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Floberg Real Estate Big Sky Economic Development BNSF Century 21 Hometown Brokers CMG Construction, LLC Computers Unlimited Crowley Fleck, PLLP Denny Menholt Chevrolet Devfuzion DiA Events Enterprise Holdings ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Co. Gainan’s Flowers & Garden Center Kampgrounds of America Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. PayneWest Insurance Phillips 66 Red Lion Hotel Rocky Mountain Bank Rocky Mountain College Spectrum Business Stockman Bank The Western Sugar Cooperative Underriner Honda Vertex Consulting Group Walmart Walmart, Heights Western Security Bank Sanctuary, LLC
I encourage you to read on so you can learn about the experience we had in Pennsylvania. Additionally, you’ll read a story about the HVS Convention Center Feasibility Study update which also demonstrates Billings’ need to act now. Billings is a healthy, strong community. But we can be more, and we must be vigilant to remain competitive and diligent in our responsibility to lead. Your own feedback through our membership survey this spring told us our commitment to One Big Sky, tourism, and improving Billings is key to helping your business. We have the right ingredients for success, and the commitment to the long-game needed to see the community through our next transformation. Thank you for your support as we continue spearheading a better Billings.
DoubleTree by Hilton MSU Billings EBMS NorthWestern Energy Holiday Station Stores U.S. Bank
LiNK is proudly distributed at these member businesses: • Barnett Opticians • Beartooth Vision Center • BioLife Plasma Services • Brewer Dental Center • Crowley Fleck PLLP • Doc Harpers • Double Tree by Hilton & Starbucks • EBMS • Fringe Salon & Boutique • Grand Avenue Dental Care • Heights Eye Care • Jiffy Lube • KTVQ
Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
2015 Chamber of the Year
• L P Anderson Point S Tire – both locations • Masterlube - all locations • MorningStar • Moulton Bellingham • Olsen Ortho Studio • PayneWest • Picture Perfect Ultrasound • RiverStone Health • Sanctuary Spa • St. Vincent Healthcare • Starbucks • Thomas Smile Designs • Western Heritage Center
Published by: The Billings Gazette Project Management/ Editor: Kelly McCandless Creative Designer: Nadine Bittner Photo Contributors: Billings Gazette Staff Photographers, Billings Chamber, Visit Billings, Rhea Wolpoe, Adobe Stock Advertising Sales: Contact the Billings Gazette Advertising
Department by calling 406-657-1370
www.billingschamber.com PO Box 31177 Billings MT 59107-1177 406-245-4111 • 800-711-2630
6 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
WHY PEOPLE JOIN BY JENNIFER REISER, IOM CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
hambers of Commerce appeal to the common interests and needs of their members, and provide access, resources, and solutions related to priorities such as: • education, talent attraction and job creation • promoting the local area and region • developing a skilled workforce • providing support to growing enterprise • creating opportunities to build a local network • advocating for business at the local, state and federal level
Members join to get something for their business and to get something done through the chamber. According to Cathi Hight with Hight Performance Group, there are four types of members – business builders, business investors, community builders and community investors.
Business investors are small to medium enterprise, real estate brokers, insurance agencies and financial service representatives. Community builders are often larger employers such as financial institutions. Community investors are typically the largest employers and represent a community’s major
A business may fit in several categories and may move categories as their business matures. In general, business builders are typically smaller businesses offering products and services. They can also be non-profit organizations or community agencies.
industries. Members in each of these quadrants have a varying level of desire to invest and to be involved. Although Chamber member benefits are open to all members within each investment level, use of benefits can be tailored to match each category.
BENEFITS FOR BUSINESS BUILDERS
Networking events such as Business After Hours, Connections & Collaborate and committee participation; complimentary use of Chamber member mailing list.
BENEFITS FOR BUSINESS INVESTORS
Major events such as Chamber Breakfast & Annual Meeting, business referral network, Jobs Board, Event and Deal Postings; access to qualified relocation leads. 7 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
The Billings Chamber of Commerce has strategically selected benefits to meet the needs of all members. Whether you grow your business by showing up, physically being present for events and activities, and exchanging business cards, or your focus is more about investing in a long-term vision for the Billings area, the Billings Chamber benefits are designed for you. For a review of your benefits or to develop a strategy to best utilize your benefits, please contact Member Engagement Specialist, Rene’ Beyl firstname.lastname@example.org.
BENEFITS FOR COMMUNITY BUILDERS
Advertising & marketing opportunities in LiNK magazine, brochure space in the Visitor Information Center, opportunities to host Chamber meetings.
BENEFITS FOR COMMUNITY INVESTORS
Executive relocation services, personalized matchmaking, access to invitation-only committees, visibility at major Chamber events and in Chamber publications.
KEY ECONOMIC INDICATORS Hotel Occupancy
80.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 70.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 60.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 50.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 40.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 30.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 20.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 10.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 0.0%____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2015
Unemployment Rate Comparison County Population
Percent change in county population 2010-2013
3.9% Unemployment Rate as of April 2018 Yellowstone County
Median Household Income
Airport Deboardings: City Comparison
500,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ 450,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ Average Home Price
400,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ 350,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ 300,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ Number of Business Licenses
250,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ 200,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ 150,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________
School District #2 Enrollment
100,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ 0_________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2015 2016 2017 2018*
Sources: Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Billings Association of RealtorsÂ®, City of Billings, School District #2, U.S. Census Bureau and the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research..
8 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
*2018 Reporting January-April.
ADVOCATING FOR YOU: HOW OUR EFFORTS BOLSTER YOUR BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY BY DANIEL J. BROOKS, BUSINESS ADVOCACY MANAGER electronic and physical communication, our website, social media, events, and small group meetings, we aim to help keep you informed.
ocal and state issues lobbying are consistently two of the highest ranked benefits Billings Chamber members receive, according to our annual member surveys. But for those new to the chamber, or those who have been with us but haven’t had time to stay consistently involved, the value of our efforts might not be immediately evident. So I thought it would be informative to take a quick look at how the three components of our business advocacy benefit you.
The Billings Chamber works with our elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels to address the issues identified by our business community as important to them. At the local level we talk with Billings councilpersons about One Big Sky District (OBSD), tax increment finance (TIF), our tourism business improvement district (TBID), and other items. During the last legislative session the chamber monitored over 1,000 bills and actively supported or opposed 41 bills, with a success rate of 61%. Admittedly, we would like that success rate to be higher, but also acknowledge that we addressed some difficult issues. Local option, public incapacitation, bonding bills, and reducing the business equipment tax all fell short of passage into law. But we will continue to support those issues and look forward to increasing our success rate in the 2019 Legislative Session.
The Billings Chamber implemented our Elections Have Consequences initiative to inform our membership about how candidates complement or conflict with our chamber priorities. After piloting the process through the Billings municipal elections a majority of membership (69.69%) said the information provided helped them to make their decisions. We’ve continued the process with the state legislative races and hope the information is as useful to our membership as it was during the local elections. During the 2017 Legislative Session we partnered with other community organizations to host bi-weekly videoconferences between Billings residents and our legislators working in Helena. If you were unable to make any in 2017, I strongly encourage you to get them on your schedule in 2019. With the difficulty for our business community to sacrifice a full day for travel, our videoconferences allow Billings residents the opportunity to hear and know more about what is happening in the legislature. In December we co-hosted a Tax Reform Breakfast to provide you with a better understanding of the details and provisions in the then-recently-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. And if you were unable to make the breakfast presentation, the information provided is still available on our website: billingschamber.com/public-policy/.
We continue to hear from our elected officials that they want to hear from you. So we work to make it easier for you to have your voice heard. Our Action Center (billingschamber.com/ action-center/) allows you to look up your officials and quickly and easily send them an email. Since we started utilizing our Action Center platform (Feb. 2017), members have sent 3,285 emails to their elected officials. That averages close to 7 emails per day from Chamber members to local, state, and federal officials. Whether you were voicing support or opposition to an issue, or just telling them thanks for their service, we appreciate you taking the time to engage because it’s incredibly valuable they hear from you. The Billings Chamber also hosts monthly Coffee with Councilpersons roundtables to allow our members the opportunity to meet and get to know their local representatives. With 12 completed in the last year, we’ve helped connect approximately 200 chamber members with local elected officials. For more information about your chamber benefits regarding our advocacy efforts, please check out billingschamber.com/businessadvocacy-infographic/. Thank you to all of our members for being actively engaged, reading our emails, and completing surveys to help shape the direction we take. We look forward to working for, and with, you as we head into the 2019 Legislative Session.
Another aspect of our Business Advocacy Department is keeping our membership informed. Using
Our new inforgraph illustrates advocacy work and how it impacts you. Take a look at BillingsChamber.com/business-advocacy-infographic/.
9 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
BY ALEX TYSON, IOM
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, VISIT BILLINGS
10 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
trong gains have been made in sports tourism in Yellowstone County in recent years. From the Wells Fargo NAIA DI Women’s Basketball National Championships (2017-2020) to NCAA DII Cross Country West Region Championships (2014, 2016, 2018, 2020) along with supporting youth and amateur sports events like the Big Sky Volleyfest, 406 Duathlon, softball and baseball events, Trailhead Trifecta, YMCA’s Montana Marathon, and Above the Rim 3x3 basketball event, there is no doubt this community 18 understands the importance of athletics to the character of the competitor and to the local economy as a sports destination. Furthering the community support is Visit Billings, which assists dozens of sports events annually. These events include those listed above as well as lacrosse tournaments, Big Sky State Games, and more. The Billings Tourism Business Improvement District underwrites the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) fee at MetraPark for all Montana High School Association (MHSA) sanctioned events and joins forces with School District #2, Billings Catholic Schools, and Laurel’s School District to support hospitality efforts for administrators, coaches, and officials during tournaments. We take sports seriously because it’s a tourism demand driver for our stakeholders (hotels/motels) as well as restaurants, retailers, and area attractions like ZooMontana and the Western Heritage Center. And, we know this community/county is ripe with untapped potential. Facilities construct the core to meet the needs of youth, amateur, and collegiate sporting events. Visit Billings, a marketing and sales organization, eagerly monitors infrastructure
...there is no doubt this community understands the importance of athletics to the character of the competitor and to the local economy as a sports destination.
strides being made following the release of the Yellowstone County Sports Facility Feasibility Study executed by Victus Advisors. The study, paid for by a Big Sky Trust Grant as well as funds donated by partners like Visit Billings, the South Billings Urban Renewal District (SBURD), our neighbors in Laurel and other community sports-focused groups, helped answer many questions about the state of, and future of, sports at Montana’s Trailhead. In addition to the study, we consider the insights of the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC), offering four (4) key factors sports organizers consider when making a site selection: • Quality of Sports Venues • Proximity and Access • Hotels and Amenities • Reputation and Brand How does the county stack up? According to Victus Advisors, Yellowstone County does not currently meet the venue requirements for the majority of sports events. However, despite weak facilities, the proximity and access to hotels and amenities that are in place in the community along with convenient interstate access are both major plusses and attractive to organizers. And, the fourth bullet point, reputation and brand within the sports industry, is strong for Billings due to past efforts of Visit Billings and major players in the segment despite a lack of high-quality facilities. So, we are three for four for the NASC; but facilities aren’t an easy hurdle. With current and recent successes, we recognize the growth opportunities for Yellowstone County are significant with both large and small infrastructure installations. In fact, we commend the SBURD for its quick work implementing study recommendations by looking at installing lights and turf at Amend Park while developing concepts for aquatics in the same area of town. In FY19, Visit Billings staff, together with the Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) and Chamber of Commerce Boards, will plan to expand sports tourism efforts for Visit Billings
11 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
as a destination marketing and management organization. Supporting public partners like the City of Billings, Yellowstone County, and South Billings Urban Renewal District as well as private investors and sports managers like those with Revolution Sports Campus, will be important to Visit Billings staff and the future of this essential tourism segment. Meanwhile, continuing to foster relationships with MSU Billings, Rocky Mountain College, Big Sky State Games, the YMCA as well as the area’s youth and amateur tournament directors are all a top priority. As FY20 approaches, Visit Billings is excited to apply the findings from research released in the Yellowstone County Sports Facility Feasibility Study. Visit Billings is looking to establish strong sales and marketing efforts in sports and will look to join the conversation of creating a sportstourism focused committee to grow youth and amateur sports in the region. We have an incredible sports community: people vested in providing opportunities for athletes as well as helping position Billings as a sports tourism destination to boost business. As the recommendations from the study begin to be put into action, Visit Billings looks forward to maintaining our role as a catalyst for sports tourism in general, and a leader in demonstrating the Billings, Montana’s Trailhead experience for every athlete, spectator, planner, and visitor.
The mission of Visit Billings is to generate room nights for lodging facilities in the city of Billings by effectively marketing our region as a preferred travel destination. Visit Billings is managed by the Billings Chamber of Commerce. VisitBillings.com
TRiPS on a TANKFUL
OUT HERE, WE HAVE A STORY TO TELL. This map will lead you on a historic journey following the movements of Lt. Col. Custer and the 7th Calvary during the days, weeks and months leading up to, and immediately following, the renowned Battle of Little Bighorn were filled with skirmishes, political maneuvering and emotional intensity – for both sides. Despite their resounding victory, the Plains Indians’ way of life was drastically, immediately and forever changed. Glendive MAKOSHIKA Stories of great heroism and reticent defeat continue to reverberate through STATE PARK 253 the generations. Yet the mystique remains today. We invite you to follow the Wibaux Trail to The Little Bighorn, to stand where the warriors and the soldiers stood, 94 34 Miles to feel the prairie sun on your face and to hear their stories in the wind.
HAVE MAP, WILL TRAVEL
BIGHORN CANYON NATIONAL RECREATIONAL AREA
ROSEBUD BATTLEFIELD TONGUE RIVER RESERVOIR 90
The mission of Visit Southeast Montana is to increase tourism to Southeast Montana by increasing awareness of our region, showcasing our cultural heritage, developing memorable experiences and educating our residents about the economic benefits of tourism. Visit Southeast Montana is managed by the Billings Chamber of Commerce.
Olive IOR TR AIL
CUSTER GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST
113 Miles to Mount Rushmore National Memorial
SOUTHEASTMONTANA.COM | 1.800.346.1876 | #OutHereMT | #SoutheastMontana Some roads are 14A gravel but not paved. Indian Reservations are private property outside of roadways. Printed in Montana for free distribution.
ummertime is vacation time. And, living in Montana means that we have incredible options right outside our back door. This season, take the opportunity to discover some places in Southeast Montana that you may have driven past many times—or those you have yet to discover.
CUSTER GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST
NORTHERN CHEYENNE INDIAN RESERVATION
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
26.4 Miles to Sheridan, WY
Lame Deer 212
20 Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
CROW INDIAN RESERVATION
CHIEF PLENTY COUPS
CUSTER GALLATIN NF
MEDICINE ROCKS STATE PARK
Reed Point 90
BY BRENDA MAAS,
OW E LL
15 RIV NE
Disclaimer: As required by common sense and courtesy, we strongly urge you to secure a designated driver before departing on a “tasting tour” of Southeast Montana. Big Timber
4 12 10 13 11 9 3 2
MON TAN A
TA NO RT H DA KO
SOU TH DAK OTA
to Theodore Roosevelt National Park
We’ve created several maps to help you navigate the highways, bi-ways and gravel roads of the region. Plus, the newlyredesigned www.southeastmontana.com offers inspiration for the area we call home. Always remember, the fun is in the journey.
Several years ago, retired educators Ellis Perry and Forsyth Mayor Kopitzke, were discussing tourism opportunities for the town. Their meeting sparked a grassroots effort to officially recognize and document events leading up to and immediately following the renowned Battle of Little
12 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
Bighorn. The battlefield itself, which is operated by the National Park Service, typically welcomes 300,000 visitors each year, making it the third-most visited site in the state. Inspired by the multitude of historical sites across the region, the newly-designed Trail to The Little Bighorn includes 19 roadside markers – with the potential for more across Southeast Montana. Spend a day traveling these roads, learning about the skirmishes, political maneuvering and emotional intensity of the Seventh Cavalry’s fatal march and the Plains’ Indians resounding victory. For a broader look at history, we suggest the History Map, which provides a collective look at the plethora of resources in Billings and across the region. Although our history is new – in the grand scheme of time – the challenges of Montana’s landscape, environment and lifestyle come alive at these museums and heritage centers.
Chasing the light—every photographer dreams of these moments, when a simple snapshot becomes transformative. Evelyn Cameron, a wealthy British woman turned Western pioneer, found that perfect light in Southeast Montana. She captured the rolling prairies dotted with buttes and the rivers that carved the land. Using primitive equipment and a mountain of grit, she preserved a snapshot of the region’s intriguing vistas, telling Montana’s story, which still rings true today. We urge you to look closer, to peer through Evelyn’s lens rather than judging the book by its proverbial cover. Take the time to peruse Southeast Montana, and you will see colors that shift and shadows that dance as the sun spends the day. The high plains provide endless skies that stretch beyond reach, always beckoning. And when the day turns to night—or night turns to day—we challenge you to find a more stunning transition. On this map, we’ve compiled 10 Picture-Perfect Places along with 10 Inspirational Spots to share with you, including the Evelyn Cameron Gallery at the Prairie County Museum. Some, like the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, are easy to find; its rich, revered history and high plains vista make it a “don’t miss.” Others, like the Snowy Mountain Road overlook, require more rugged exploration. Either way, we promise a big adventure under the big sky of Southeast Montana.
PICTURE-PERFECT PLACES Have your camera ready to capture Southeast Montana’s most scenic landscapes.
So, go ahead—open that book. Read the story. And, write your own chapter.
INSPIRATIONAL SPOTS Learn how Southeast Montana’s history and culture can encourage your inner artist.
34 Miles to Theodore Roosevelt National Park Terry Badlands Overlook*
Strawberry Hill Recreation Area
WaterWorks Art Museum
Medicine Rocks State Park
87 Pillar Pompeys National Monument
Prairie Rose Classics
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
TONGUE RIVER RESERVOIR
NORTHERN CHEYENNE INDIAN RESERVATION
Olive IOR TR AIL
CUSTER GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST
26.4 Miles to Sheridan, WY
SOU TH DAK OTA
CUSTER GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST
Ashland Lame Deer 212
BIGHORN CANYON NATIONAL RECREATIONAL AREA
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
Crow Agency 313
CROW INDIAN RESERVATION
Four Dances Natural Area
CHIEF PLENTY COUPS Pryor
CUSTER GALLATIN NF
The Rims in Custer Gallatin National Forest
Museum at St. Labre Indian School
Big Horn County Historical Museum
Yellowstone Art Museum
NOR TH DAK OTA
Miles City Roundup
Evelyn Cameron Gallery at Prairie County Museum and Evelyn Heritage, Inc.
Makoshika State Park
Snowy Mountain Road*
12 Visitor Information Center
Montana State Park
FRAMING THE BIG SKY PANORAMAS THAT INSPIRE IN SOUTHEAST MONTANA
113 Miles to Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Visit Southeast Montana Board member, Christine Whitlatch, spent her formative years in the Wibaux-St. Phillip area. After a graduating from Montana State University Billings, she spent a few decades working in the hospitality, newspaper and building industries in western Montana. But Christine missed the open skies.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
SOUTHEASTMONTANA.COM | 1.800.346.1876 | #OutHereMT | #SoutheastMontana *High-clearance, all-wheel-drive vehicles are a must and roads are minimum grade. Do not attempt when roads are wet. **Indian Reservations are private property outside of roadways. Printed in Montana for free distribution.
MORE THAN MOUNTAINS
In this land where the mountains meet the prairies, scenic vistas are varied and diverse. We’ve compiled a map of 10 Picture-Perfect Places along with 10 Inspirational Spots – including some of our personal favorites. Inspired by landscape artists and photographers like Evelyn Cameron, we invite you to see Southeast Montana with a creative eye. For example, from the Terry Badlands Overlook you can see more than eight miles of relatively untouched wilderness – and it is all yours to explore. We urge you to look closer, to peer through Evelyn’s lens rather than judging the book by its proverbial cover. Take the time to peruse Southeast Montana, and you will see colors that shift and shadows that dance as the sun spends the day. The high plains
provide endless skies that stretch beyond reach, always beckoning. And, when the day turns to night – or night turns to day – we challenge you to find a more stunning transition out here.
ALL IN ONE SPOT
To help you along the road to discovery, we have redesigned the Visit Southeast Montana website. With new images and fresh pieces, like these maps, you will find new sights and meet regional friends using www.southeastmontana.com. Along your journey, be sure to tag us on Facebook or Instagram using #OutHereMT or #OnlyInSEMT as you write your own story Out Here in Southeast Montana. All maps are available on the website and at the Billings Chamber of Commerce/Visitor Information Center at 815 S. 27th Street.
“I literally missed the sky,” she said, “the sunrises and the sunsets. The mountains are beautiful, but I can breathe here.” When the opportunity presented itself, Christine and her husband Bob moved to Glendive. A few years later, armed with a newly-earned Masters of Public Relations from MSUB, she accepted a position as Executive Director of the Glendive Chamber of Commerce in spring of 2016. Last summer, the Chamber became managing partner for Visit Glendive. She sees Glendive and the entire region as being on the cusp of opportunity. “Glendive is just starting to explore what it could mean to be a tourist destination,” she noted. “It’s always been an ag, oil and railroad town, but we are starting to realize what great resources we have with the Yellowstone River and Makoshika State Park. We need to reinvest in our downtown – which we have started with the Recently adopted Downtown Master Plan.” While her passion is her home place, Christine loves to travel locally and internationally. When not working, she enjoys simple things like time with her husband and three sons or volunteering as clock-keeper at college basketball games. “Glendive is such a welcoming community,” she added. “We need to get the word out that Glendive is open for visits.”
13 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
GET TO KNOW CHAMBER STAFF:
If you could make one change in Billings today, what would it be?
Love your neighbor as yourself. With so much divisiveness and disagreement happening in our social media world, I would love to see us move toward having a civil discord with one another. Whether it’s politics, religion or the best restaurant in town, remembering that attacking a person who disagrees with us only widens the gap. Respecting people with opposing views does not mean we have to agree. We can disagree and still be kind and respectful.
MCGINNIS PHOTO COURTESY RHEA WOLPOE
What book is on your nightstand?
Business Development Manager
Pilgrim Theology – Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples by Michael Horton – It’s an exploration of the reformed Christian faith, traditions and historical foundations.
Time on Staff: 5 months
If you could have lunch with one famous person, who would it be and why?
The dish you’re known for cooking?
They are not famous but I would choose both of my grandfathers. One was a smelterman in Anaconda and the other was a dairy farmer in Oregon but both passed before I was old enough to truly appreciate the impact they had on my parents. I would love the opportunity to speak to them now that I have a family of my own.
“Big Breakfast” – I love to cook, but really enjoy Saturday mornings making eggs, hash browns, sausage and gluten free pancakes for my wife and girls.
Describe your position in 5 words: Engaging, Fun, Fulfilling, Supportive and Humbling
Favorite Chamber/Visit Billings event or program?
What movie can you watch over and over:
The Chamber Breakfast in March was phenomenal! Many attendees told me it was the best one yet and I look forward to how next year’s will be even better.
The Princess Bride – “No more rhymes now I mean it…”
Words you live by: “Some of it’s magic and some of it’s tragic but I had a good life all the way.” – Jimmy Buffett
14 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
Tell us about your photo: Both my girls go to Poly Drive Elementary and we love to take summer walks and go play at their school.
ISN’T IT TIME your business gets up to speed?
ACCESS CONTROL & SURVEILLANCE
If you want to compete, you have to be fast. Whether it’s responding to a new business inquiry, sending requested files, or reviewing videos online, you need connectivity that keeps your business on the leading edge.
Experience the future with BluePrint’s innovative solutions. CALL 1.800.800.7806 TO LEARN MORE SMART. INNOVATIVE. LOCAL | Powered by
15 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
| 800.354.2911 | blueprintbytct.com
BY KELLY MCCANDLESS
2018 Aspirational City Visit to Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania 16 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
We have to remember we are leaders. It is up to us to make change. We can’t just be practical – we should strive for amazing. Thank you to Allentown and Bethlehem leadership for providing photos, as well as to Billings travelers Toni Schneider (CTA) and Jennifer Reiser (Chamber) for their photography.
Employers invest in professional development for their employees, in part, to grow a sense of enthusiasm and effort. The opportunity to learn generally sends people back to their desks filled with inspiration and eagerness to be better and do more. Building off of that concept, the Billings Chamber of Commerce created its Aspirational City Visit program – a strategic gathering of leadership brought together in a specific place in order to learn and build momentum toward improving Billings. In early May, the third such visit took a group of fifty Billings leaders to the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. This experience is created to be
WHY ALLENTOWN? Each city was selected for a reason, and Allentown was a clear opportunity this time, as Brewer explained: “Allentown was a city in a downward spiral a few short years ago. Through the combined passion of some driven civic leaders, it’s a thriving, growing community.” Hammes Company, the developers leading the One Big Sky District Development in Billings, played an integral part of moving Allentown forward. The opportunity to see their work in motion and talk to people who have worked
different; leaders are invited to attend, they must pay their own expenses, and the group is directed toward an open-minded devotion to learning about another community and considering how what is learned can be applied in Billings. The three trips the Chamber has executed to date have carried travelers more than 7,700 miles across the United States. First to Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2014, then to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 2016, and finally to the Lehigh Valley last month. Change happens with action – and these leaders
alongside them was a perfect recipe for Billings leaders to learn as our community begins its own journey with the company. During the Billings groups’ time in Allentown and nearby Bethlehem (undergoing its own renaissance – see sidebar on page 21) they met with over 40 area leaders who impacted the major changes. “Each of them told us the same thing: Billings is way ahead of where they were when they started,” continued Brewer. “With 50 leaders and the Hammes Company willing to invest in a trip like this, we’ve got momentum today that we can put to work.”
17 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
are brought together for this visit because they are willing to shake things up and push for transformational impact to the Billings community. “Community leaders are the first responders to economic challenges in their cities,” explains Chamber President and CEO John Brewer. “They respond to the crisis’s and the wake-up calls and determine the path forward. In each of these cities, leaders had to address issues that made them uncomfortable and that others weren’t addressing yet. They recognized the gap in leadership and overcame it. In each city, we learned from their experiences.”
Rob Brooks, master lease holder in the PPL Center and one of the initial investors looking to develop Allentown, told us, “Originally, Bob Dunn (Hammes Company) walked through downtown Allentown and told us we were crazy. He’ll tell you himself he’s never seen a downtown core as blighted as Allentown was then. Our response to him was simple: we didn’t hire you tell us what we can’t do. We hired you to tell us what we can do.” So, they did. “Allentown has come a long way,” remarks
Chamber board chair, Kris Carpenter. “The PPL Center is an impressive catalyst project with a ton of surrounding development in progress. It’s hard to believe where they started such a short time ago.” Though it happened faster than anticipated, it certainly didn’t happen overnight. Or without challenges. But today Allentown can proudly celebrate $1.5 billion in core development over the last five years – a target they planned to meet over the course of 15 years. Sara Hailstone, who at the time was the Director of Community Development for the City of Allentown and today runs Hailstone Economics, told us that “no one believed Allentown could be more than the devastated city is was. Not only have we proven everyone wrong, but we’re doing it faster and better than we anticipated.”
TAKING IT ALL IN It takes three flights to get from Billings to Allentown, meaning all the travelers endured a full day of travel on either end of their visit. Add to that the two full, fourteen-plus hour days they spent taking in everything both Allentown and Bethlehem had to offer, and the group certainly had to go into this trip committed. “Not only were we willing to take the time of out of our lives and away from our businesses to do this, we all paid our own expenses,” explains Carpenter. “This opportunity was simply that important.” What did the group do over those long days? “We toured, we listened to panels of the community leaders discuss their progress, we asked questions, and we toured and listened and asked questions some more,” notes attendee Mike Nelson, owner and operator of the Northern Hotel and a Chamber board member. He explains that the group spoke with economic development professionals, investors, city and county government, tourism entities, elected officials, sports team owners, small business owners, and others. “We learned about how the development began, the funding mechanisms they had to create to move forward, the challenges and obstacles they faced along the way, and what might’ve been done differently as they look back.”
PREPARING FOR ACTION What did the group come home with? “Even more momentum,” says attendee Jeremy Vannatta with PayneWest Insurance. “This group is poised to shake things up and make things happen.”
SARA HAILSTONE, WHO AT THE TIME WAS THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FOR THE CITY OF ALLENTOWN AND TODAY RUNS HAILSTONE ECONOMICS, TOLD US THAT
“no one believed Allentown could be more than the devastated city is was. Not only have we proven everyone wrong, but we’re doing it faster and better than we anticipated.” Alex Tyson, Executive Director of Visit Billings, echoes that thought. “We have to remember we are leaders. It is up to us to make change. We can’t just be practical – we should strive for amazing.”
be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.” This quote, from Daniel Burnham, an American architect who specialized in urban design, became the mantra of the group early on their first day.
Appropriately, then, many high scale Billings projects bubbled to the top as the group took in the work they saw around them: Coulson Park and the Corette Plant site, the need for a major community pride initiative, opportunities large and small throughout downtown Billings, and the need for a convention center, to name a few. The bottom line for most was that Billings cannot wait until it faces the economic hardships Allentown was forced to address. The time to act is now.
“I am more convinced than ever that we need to deliver the promised comprehensive development plan, beginning with our downtown core,” stated Steve Arveschoug, Executive Director of Big Sky Economic Development.
Jim Duncan, president of the Billings Clinic Foundation asked the group, “What’s the turning point for Billings? How do we convince our community that a little bit of investment will reap big rewards? And that without investment, we continue to fail.” When the group met to download all of the information they took in, one key takeaway rose above the others: the need to develop a long-term vision and stick to it, and to keep that vision above the obstacles and inconveniences that will undoubtedly arise. “We’re in this thing with you,” said Bob Dunn with Landmark Development Group (also known as the Hammes Group). “Billings needs to expect everyone is a non-believer in the One Big Sky Districts. We should accept that the vote margins, especially early on, will likely be slim. But we also don’t plan to accept failure. I’ll be taking the blows right alongside each of you.” Senator Pat Browne, the key legislative backer for Allentown’s economic development funding, echoed Dunn’s sentiments, “Don’t stop at no. Get creative. Push harder. And remember, it’s more about heart than money.”
“MAKE NO LITTLE PLANS…” “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not
18 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
That plan, he says, should be communitydevelopment centric to provide the platform to attract private investment and economic growth. “We must build for future generations, push for intentional, multi-use development, and ultimately, respect our obligation to lead.” “Transformation begins with large, catalytic projects,” Brewer said, summarizing some of his takeaways from the trip. “But big plans take time. We have to be in it for the long haul, we have to talk about why we’re in it and bring people along with us.” The group also talked about the need to recognize that detractors exist in every town. “We have to embrace the visionaries,” remarked Carpenter. “We can’t let anyone stand in the way of our vision, and we have to be prepared to move forward with those who are ready to come along with us.” “You’ll find very few people in Allentown today who will admit to being against the project when it started,” Sara Hailstone said. “But I assure you, most people were against it, in the beginning. They’re extremely proud of it today.”
WHAT’S NEXT? With all of the work, the learning, and the momentum, what should we expect to see in the coming months? “Communication,” says Brewer. “We need to build understanding throughout our region for what we’re trying to do and why. Not only will this help build excitement locally, but it will help us identify our opportunities for support at the state level as well.”
According to Arveschoug, Billings’ economic development funding toolkit is limited, and legislative options to create others are few. “Our creative leadership needs to put our heads together to find a funding model that will serve Billings,” he continued. “And, to better our odds of passing it, we need to figure out an option that will serve other Montana communities as well.”
One thing seems certain: the group will not be deterred. “We’ve convened the leaders, we’re championing the cause, and we’re all working together to catalyze our community,” summarized Brewer. “Billings is poised for significant growth – with this group helping to lead the way, that growth will mean we’re a cutting-edge community attracting and
retaining the best and brightest talent for our workforce.” With a positive outlook like that, Billings is sure to see the kind of intentional development these leaders envision.
THANK YOU TO THE ASPIRATIONAL CITY VISIT SPONSORS:
BIG SKY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CTA ARCHITECTS ENGINEERS PAYNEWEST INSURANCE EDWARD JONES–LEE HUMPHREY CFP BOOTHILL INN & SUITES
“I am more convinced than ever that we need to deliver the promised comprehensive development plan, beginning with our downtown core,”
STATED STEVE ARVESCHOUG,
Executive Director of Big Sky Economic Development.
1. The pedestrian only Artswalk stretches through alleys in downtown Allentown offering a lively environment with housing, parks,artwork, shops and restaurants. 2-3. The mixed-use PPL Center is shown here. Until 12AM it rocked a Bon Jovi concert 2 and by 8AM hockey teams practiced in the same spot 3.
4. Strata Downtown Living is a company building luxury housing in downtown Allentown–and they can’t build fast enough to meet the demand. 5. Lehigh Valley Health Network is the largest leasee in the PPL Center offering office space to 500+ employees, a community fitness center, physical therapy and more. 6. Two City Center is a fully-leased mixed-use mid-rise 11-story Class A office/retail building including restaurants, retail and BB&T’s regional headquarters.
19 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
TAKEAWAYS: 1. Billings cannot wait. Allentown and Bethlehem faced significant challenges and Billings is well-positioned to act today and reduce the risk of facing major issues. 2. Billings must create a vision, commit to it, and prepare for the non-believers. 3. Over-communication is key. Tell the compelling story, generate community pride, include public awareness meetings, and bring ambassadors and visionaries along. 4. Civic facilities can operate at a profit as the group observed with the PPL Center in Allentown.
5. The trend toward re-urbanization is a new trend, yes, but not a new phenomenon. We’ve done this before when the trend was suburbanization. The reversal should not come as a surprise – and cannot be ignored. Cities must recognize the trend and develop for their citizens who are and will continue to demand it. 6. Billings’ economic development funding toolkit is extremely limited. This group must seek out new and creative means for funding investment options for improving the community. If this group can propose a tool that serves many communities across Montana, the odds of success significantly increase.
7. C onfirmation (again) that Hammes Company has a great reputation for producing and is an experienced partner in the One Big Sky District Development Plan project. 8. B illings must identify a legislative champion to help the group move planning work immediately into action; and that political will needs to be encouraged by private-sector partners. 9. Billings is not Allentown or Bethlehem. It is not facing the same challenges, nor will its solutions and progress look the same.
UPDATE ON ONE BIG SKY DISTRICT: • The project currently involves master planning of two districts: Health and Wellness and Lifestyle. • One potential anchor, supported by the Chamber, in the Lifestyle District is a 150,000 sq foot convention center as the catalytic project.
Poly Dr. a ni
• This spring the City Council is expected to approve a development agreement outlining responsibilities of the Hammes Company and local Strategy Partners that define deliverables.
CE LU EN
21 - Northern Hotel 22 - Crowne Plaza Hotel
17 - Yellowstone Art Museum 18 - Alberta Bair Theater
23 - St. Patrick’s Cathedral 24 - Billings Gazette 25 - Sky Point (Center of Downtown) 26 - Minor League Baseball LIFESTYLE DISTRICT
e. N th Av
ve. N 3rd A
th . St
th . St
. St th
ve. na A
ve. N 1st A
19 - Billings Clinic 20 - St. Vincent’s Healthcare
ve. N 6th A
15 - Local Market 16 - Local Grocery Store
ve. N 7th A
HEALTH & WELLNESS DISTRICT
ve. N 9th A ve. N 8th A
ONE BIG SKY DISTRICT
11 - Billings Catholic School 12 - Western Heritage Center 13 - MSU Billings 14 - McKinley Elementary
7 - Police Department 8 - Federal Courthouse 9 - Lincoln Center 10 - Billings Public Library
- First Interstate Bank - Rocky Mountain Bank - Stockman Bank - US Bank - Wells Fargo - Western Security Bank
• The community has raised $675,000 to support this planning process and Hammes Company will invest over $1 million in Billings planning efforts.
Ave. N e. N th Av
• Strategy Partners include the City of Billings, Big Sky Economic Development, Billings Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Billings and Visit Billings. • In 7 months we will have possession of a game plan on how to move forward that will identify: catalytic elements; infill opportunities; and funding options.
1 2 3 4 5 6
STEELSTACKS AT ARTSQUEST: A COULSON PARK MODEL? What happens when the region’s largest employer pulls out of the market, cannibalizing 20% of your tax base, resulting in 30,000 people without jobs, and leaving 1,800 acres of brownfields behind? “Well, you don’t celebrate it,” laughs Kassie Hilgert, President and CEO of ArtsQuest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “Really, the community found itself in a dire situation when Bethlehem Steel plant closed in 1995. We could standby and hope things got better, or we could take action. We took action.” Bethlehem Steel produced nearly three-fourths of the steel needed during World War II. Thanks to motivated leadership, this heavy industrial area transformed into a cultural and tourism destination attracting over two million visitors each year. For the Billings leaders who spent time in Bethlehem, clear similarities exist between their work following Bethlehem Steel’s closing and the opportunity presenting itself with the area along the Yellowstone River recently occupied by the Corette Plant and progress toward master planning Coulson Park. The community of Bethlehem rallied, bringing
key partners to the table, establishing a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district, and bringing in the Sands Casino Resort. “We saw an opportunity,” explains Hilgert, “We could address the blight, offer programming to attract the creative class, spur economic development, highlight local/national businesses, increase access to the arts, and support tourism development, all while embracing our authentic history.” How did they do that? ArtsQuest, a nonprofit started in 1984, for its part drew on its experience in providing art, culture and educational programs for the diverse residents of the Lehigh Valley and others who seek access to their community. They were one of a number of public/private partners who pulled together to revitalize the nation’s largest brownfield by utilizing arts and culture to create foot traffic and the public sector established tax incentives to lure a major casino to the area. “ArtsQuest attracts over two million people annually because we’re a thriving, cultural hub,” continued Hilgert. “We offer major events attracting tens of thousands throughout the year, we hold tours of the SteelStacks, we include our community and we seek to make the community of Bethlehem better.”
Better it they did. To the tune of nearly $60 million in economic impact to ArtsQuest campus alone in 2017. Cast that calculation out to the region and the impact rises to $145 million. “This area of town – the one that drug us down further than we thought possible in 1995, is now the heart of the community,” Hilgert says. And the data certainly supports that: the programming coming out of ArtsQuest and the SteelStacks is generating job and tax revenue through tourism, attracting and retaining talent, supporting real estate values to attract residents, and spurring urban revitalization and economic development throughout the region. And instead of blight, the SteelStacks are affectionately referred to as the “largest public art installation in the northeast.” It’s pretty easy to visualize the improvement some thoughtful, progressive development along one of Billings’ most visible gateways would make. And after viewing the creative solutions at work in Bethlehem, Billings should be prioritizing this area of town. Coulson Park, the Yellowstone River – it’s all ripe with unrealized potential. Bethlehem’s SteelStacks is proof that, with the momentum fueling the 50 leaders on this city visit, Billings can, and will, do better.
The SteelStacks at ArtsQuest shown here at night during a festival drawing tens of thousands of people. The vibrant district is a cultural venue attracting live music events, a variety of festivals and supporting the arts and culture community throughout the region.
21 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
THE CASE FOR A
Montana Regional CONVENTION
A Summary of the HVS Convention Center
22 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
he value of your network can’t be understated. Even in this age of technology, 1.9 million meetings were held in cities across the nation in 2016. This impacted more than 250 million participants which equated to 10% growth compared to the meetings industry in 2012. Also, in 2016, there was $330 billion in direct spending nationwide produced by meetings and conventions, up from $280 billion in 2012. (Source: U.S. Travel and Tourism Association) Companies, corporations, associations, and meeting planners in general are interested in Billings as a place to meet and conduct business. Billings is the headquarters for business in Montana and the region. From energy and financial offices to education and healthcare offerings, Billings leads business and industry in the state and the region. Tourism plays right into this. We want to help them get work done in state of the art, progressive, entertaining, and meaningful ways. In many cases, planners simply need more to make the move to Billings.
WHY BILLINGS? When meetings come to town, everybody benefits. The impacts of conventions, events, exhibitions, and trade shows ripple beyond the walls of meeting space and overflow into restaurants, retailers, and attractions. The face-to-face industry creates jobs, generates commerce, and creates a far-reaching regional impact. In Billings, meetings offer huge opportunities for economic growth. Planners want to come to Billings. It’s Montana: Big Sky Country. The land of Lewis and Clark and access to Yellowstone National Park. While we do a good bit of business in meetings and conventions recruitment today, Billings is missing out not being able to host more events and play host to more business. Our community, our region, must think bigger. We must begin asking “Why not Billings?” This is an important conversation.
Feasibility Study Findings
23 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
One Big Sky District offers our community a multitude of opportunities affecting Montana. Yes, Montana. Not just Billings or southeast Montana. Our opportunities in partnership with the Hammes Company are far reaching and significant. As leaders in the community, the region, and the state, the proposed catalyst of a Montana Regional Convention Center aims to offer an economic contribution the state hasn’t realized as of yet. A Montana Regional Convention Center must be able to host people so they can move around, so they can meet other people, share ideas, and create an experience that impacts their lives and businesses. Meantime, it’s also what’s outside that matters. When attendees leave their meeting and find no entertainment options nearby, boom, momentum stops. Sure, Uber, Lyft, and taxis help soften the blow, but it’s important to foster the experience. Every. Single. Moment. We know Billings is well-suited for this type of catalytic, regional development; several previous studies have proven that point. However, with One Big Sky on the horizon, the Chamber hired HVS Convention, Sports & Entertainment to update work previously done for Billings. HVS has a team of more than 300 people located in over 50 offices throughout the world who specialize in all types of hospitality assets, including hotels, restaurants, casinos, shared ownership lodging, mixed-use developments, and golf courses, as well as conventions, sports, and entertainment facilities. HVS updated the Convention Center Feasibility Study done for Billings in 2015 and ultimately, we learned that things are happening exactly as HVS predicted they would without the addition of new, larger convention space. The 2015 Study said Billings would lose 25% of our meeting and convention business. Today’s study shows we’ve lost 24% of that business, and we’re on track to lose an additional 33% more business in the next five years. We’re losing market share and our competitors are
booking business Billings used to compete for.
Convention Center Feasibility Study it lists comparable venues. On that list: • Bozeman is currently evaluating the development of a conference center with 15,000 to 20,000 square feet of function space and an adjoining hotel.
Late this spring, HVS released their updated study. Details show the strength of the regional economy and how the market benefits from a diversified employment base and low unemployment. It also mentions that Billings’ population and income are growing at or near national levels, and that wealth and spending trends indicate moderate economic growth for the region. That’s good news.
• Missoula recently announced plans for a mixed-use development, including a 10-story hotel building and 60,000 gross square foot conference center. Developers hope to break ground by late 2019.
At the same time, other notes from HVS offer insight on genuine opportunities waiting for us to take advantage of and lead the way. Opportunities like: • Since the sudden decline of Billings’ air service in 2013, the level of service has remained relatively flat. Bozeman has increased air service, surpassing Billings’ annual passenger volumes. • Billings’ inventory of meeting space is limited. The condition of larger properties outside of downtown make them unsuitable for most events and downtown hotel properties have small amounts of function space. • The market lacks a convention venue with substantial exhibit, ballroom, and meeting space under one roof.
Also on the list is actual convention space in Bismarck, Rapid City, Boise, Sioux Falls, Casper, Laramie, Cheyenne, Jackson and several Washington state communities. Some of these offer similar sized convention centers to what Billings offers now. Some are much larger. But most are either new, renovated, larger, or simply better and more attractive to meeting planners. And several are planning or already working toward significant growth.
LET’S LEAD: THE TIME IS NOW
The above points aren’t surprising to us. All were trends reported in the initial study released by HVS in 2015, which offered similar notes to the Randall Travel Research released in 2010. Despite that it’s now 2018, little has changed in Billings. Meantime, our competitors are forging ahead. In the newly released HVS
Without major improvements to Billings’ convention infrastructure, HVS states the above developments will erode Billings’ share of meetings, to the tune of 33% decline. This figure doesn’t
include how attractive we are to meetings that are too large to be hosted in Billings’ current meeting space offerings. HVS talks current customers choosing to meet elsewhere. Their suggested path forward recommends Billings build a 150,000 square foot convention center, offering 66,000 square feet of rentable space including a ballroom, a junior ballroom and breakout space. The remaining 84,000 square feet includes the lobby and pre-function areas, support space, general circulation and more. What does this mean for Billings? HVS notes immediate economic impact of $13.2 million in direct spending as well as 136 new jobs. The study also shows the potential of an annual operating loss on a facility like this totaling around half a million dollars. However, as we learned in Allentown, civic event facilities such as arenas and convention centers can be profitable. According to HVS, under a “do nothing” scenario, Billings’ ability to attract major convention and meeting events will diminish. That will impact our economy; local businesses. The ‘let’s do this’ scenario means, with responsible development, we complement existing hotels, entertainment venues like MetraPark, and lead the way for the region. Let’s lead. It’s important that we get excited and that we, as a community and region, plan to evolve, grow, progress, and develop – now.
BILLIN FEASI GS CON V E BILITY N STUDTYION CENT PROGR ER HVS Co f AM nventio eaturing n, S ports & Enterta 7:30 a.m J inment . Break une 19th : fas t • 8:00
9:30 a.m The Pu . Progra m b Station NO CO ST
RSVP t TO AT o miche TEN D le@billi ngscha mber.co m
GET TO KNOW THE BOARD:
Lenette KOSOVICH PHOTO COURTESY RHEA WOLPOE
Why did you initially choose to get involved with the Chamber?
In 2015, when the Billings Chamber of Commerce was named Chamber of the Year by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, I started doing my own research of what our Chamber was all about. It was exciting to see the direction the Chamber was heading to help Billings become the “world class city” it’s meant to be. I wanted to be involved in that movement.
Member and Finance Committee member
Words you live by: Get out and do what people are just sitting around thinking about doing.
What is the number one thing in Billings you’d take a visiting friend to see/do? I would insist that my friend visit in each of the four seasons. We would stand on the Rims, in the same spot, and marvel over the beautiful and stark difference our city displays when the seasons are in their uniquely diverse glory.
Favorite movie and why. The movie Out of Africa with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. To me it resonated that despite the overwhelming challenges Isak Dinesen encountered, she overcame so many of them with grace and dignity. She was a strong and elegant woman.
You get to make one change for the Billings community today – what would you do?
If you had a super power, what would it be?
Water is Life. We are water “rich” in Billings with the Yellowstone River and the Billings Bench Water Association Canal. I would suggest bringing the “Life” to our city by diverting either of these bodies of life water to Downtown to create a Riverwalk. This could be a key element to ignite both business and residential growth and act as the physical connector between the distinct components of the One Big Sky District.
A touch that would heal anything.
One adjective that describes you: What was your first job? Lifeguard at a city pool.
25 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
Tell us about your photo: There is nothing like replenishing my soul by sinking my hands into the soil each spring. Turning the soil, smelling its earthiness and feeling the warmth of the sun in the dirt fills me with hope and happiness.
BILLINGS’ By Jennifer Reiser, IOM; Chief Operating Officer
S E T A R B E CEL A
s NextGEN wraps its fourth year, we’re eager to celebrate our successes and launch into our future. Special thanks to Emily Petroff (Evolve) and Kyle Schlichenmayer (New York Life) for serving as co-chairs since 2016. With an emphasis on visibility, engagement and expectations Emily and Kyle successfully lead NextGEN to new heights, with synchronized effort, consistent communication, increased community presence, the launch of a monthly e-letter, and a collective vitality second to none. “NextGEN has pushed me to grow both personally and professionally. I’ve always struggled with public speaking, but NextGEN has given me the opportunity to improve in a comfortable way.” -Kyle Schlichenmayer, Co-Chair
“The benefits I have received from being a member of NextGEN are growth in my business, I’ve expanded my network, and increased leadership skills. I can contribute to my business and my life in a greater capacity.” -Emily Petroff, Co-Chair
With new leadership taking the helm, we are pleased to introduce
2018-2019 CO-CHAIRS Karen Baumgart (BillingsWorks):
With a BA in History, a Master’s Degree in Public Relations, and a certification in Brain-Based Coaching, Karen Baumgart brings a multifaceted perspective to her work. Born, raised and educated in Montana, Karen is committed to the advancement of the Big Sky state. Karen currently serves as the Director of BillingsWorks, the workforce development branch with Big Sky Economic Development. Karen has the perspective and insights that elicit enthusiasm for innovation and excitement for action.
David Mitchell (Coldwell Banker Commercial): As a Principal at Coldwell Banker Commercial, David works with clients on purchasing, selling, and leasing commercial real estate. David holds a B.S. from the University of Utah and is a CCIM designee. His experience and success in commercial real estate involves local, regional, and national Fortune 500 companies. Outside of real estate, David sits on the City Board of Adjustments, the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce, NextGEN Leadership Team and volunteers at Explorer’s Academy, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and is Troop 8 Scoutmaster. His success doesn’t come from what he gets, but from what he gives. He and Ali have 3 children (Kinsley, Griffin, and Aveyn). They enjoy traveling, laughter, and food.
We are also eager to announce the
ACTION TEAMS AND LEADS for 2018-19
NextGEN Learn is focused on identifying opportunities for professional development and facilitates NextGEN Exchange, the mentorship program for NextGEN members. (Leads) Shannon Christensen (CTA Architects Engineers) and Kayla Volkral (AAA MountainWest)
The Ambassadors of NextGEN work to connect and engage new members. Ambassadors are selected from NextGEN members who have exhibited a desire to serve, coupled with a past history of supporting the organization through committee activity or other means. They are highly motivated individuals and community leaders committed to advancing the focus and goals of NextGEN. Our Ambassadors are:
NextGEN Connect is the Social & Community Engagement Committee working to provide opportunities for relationship building within NextGEN and the community. (Leads) Jason Leininger (Metro Realtors) and Brooke Levander (Rimrock)
NextGEN Inspire coordinates the mentorship programs to provide mentorship to college students residing in Billings, Montana to help students build a professional network, offer resources for career development and retain incoming young professionals. (Leads) Marcell Bruski (Billings Chamber) and McCall Linke (NILE)
First Interstate Bank
NextGEN Grow is focused on growing NextGEN as a thriving organization within the community of Billings. Emerging leaders and professionals from all industries are encouraged to join. A sub group of the Grow Team is the NextGEN Ambassadors. (Leads) Cathy Grider (Billings Federal Credit Union) and Brian Hafner (Universal Lending) CATHY GRIDER
27 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
41 Realty Group
BUSINESS AFTER HOURS
Business After Hours is the premiere networking event for business professionals in the Billings area. It is held on the second Wednesday of each month from 5 – 7 p.m and the cost to attend is just $8.
JULY 11TH • 2350 KING AVE. W, STE 200
THE SPRINGS AT GRAND PARK
AUGUST 8TH • 1221 28TH ST. W.
CHAMBER STATISTICS: What are we doing for you? As of May 15, 2018, the Billings Chamber represents 1,279 members with approximately 46,892 employees.
Since the beginning of our fiscal year on July 1, 2017 through May 15, 2018: Number of Calls/Inquiries:........................ 14,931 calls (avg. 1,422/month)
Visitors to the Visitor Information Center:......... 2,234 Visits to VisitBillings.com:...............................186,463 Visits to BillingsChamber.com:......................... 36,838
Chamber Event Attendance:................................ 7,311 Convention and Meeting Tourism Bookings:....24,678 hotel room nights booked for $5,552,550 total economic impact on the city of Billings.
Conventions and Meetings Serviced by Visit Billings:.................................... 2,640
Relocation Packets Mailed:.....................................155
convention delegate packets provided.
Visitor Information Packets Mailed:..................20,577
Is your info current? Make sure we’re sharing the correct information with potential clients! Check your listing at BillingsChamber.com and let us know if changes are needed
Business Meeting Attendees at Chamber:........10,243
DEEPLY INVESTED We have an experienced team of local bankers and leadership that provides direct connections with community-minded experts. Contact a commercial banker today to discuss customized solutions that make sense for your business.
Billings l Bigfork l Bozeman l Kalispell l Plains Plentywood l Stevensville l Whitehall
28 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
www.eaglerockgolfcourse.com (406) 655-4445
Let SCORE Let SCORE Help Youforfor Help You the Life Let SCORE the LifeofofYour Your Business Help You for Business the Life of Your
Call us to set up your class for
On-Site CPR and First Aid Training
Free & Confidential Free & Business Confiden Mentoring
Online Expert Resources
Free & Mentori Confidential Online Business Local Expert Mentoring Workshops Resources
Online Serving Eastern MontanaExpert and Northern Wyoming Resources
SCORE.org | 1-800-634-0245.
LocalWorksho Serving Eastern Montana Workshops Serving Eastern Montana Or Volunteer Your Expertise: and Northern Wyoming and Northern Wyoming Join SCORE to help small businesses succeed!
CPR & First Aid
SCORE.org | 1-800-634-0245. SCORE.org 1-800-634-0245. This material is based on work|supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) under cooperative agreement number SBAHQ-07-S-0001. Any opinions, ﬁndings and
Suzie Eades - AHA Instructor • email@example.com
29 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
Q360_qtr page_June 2018.indd 1
conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.
Or Volunteer Your Expertise:
JoinVolunteer SCORE to help small businesses succeed! Or Your Expertise: Join SCORE to help small succeed! This material is based on work supported by the U.S. Small businesses Business Administration (SBA)
under cooperative agreement number SBAHQ-07-S-0001. Any opinions, ﬁndings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do material not necessarily reflect the the SBA. This is based onviews workof supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration
(SBA under cooperative agreement number SBAHQ-07-S-0001. Any opinions, ﬁndings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.
6/4/2018 10:34:09 AM
WELCOME 2018-2019 BOARD OF DIRECTORS CHAMBER BOARD OFFICERS
Patrice Elliott EBMS CHAIR
FIRST INTERSTATE BANK CHAIR ELECT
NORTHERN HOTEL TREASURER
SANCTUARY/JOY OF LIVING/ JOY OF KIDS /BLACK DOG COFFEE HOUSE PAST CHAIR
WELCOME NEW BOARD MEMBERS
Dr. Randy Gibb
ST. VINCENT HEALTHCARE
COLDWELL BANKER COMMERCIAL CBS
RESIDENCE INN BY MARRIOTT
BIG SKY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Dan Edelman MSU BILLINGS
Doug Miles KULR
Thank you to our outgoing board members. We appreciate your dedication and service to our organization
YELLOWSTONE COUNTY COMMISSION
30 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
BILLINGS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
COLE LAW FIRM
Partnering to Build Better Communities CIVIL ENGINEERING • SURVEYING • LAND USE CONSULTING
406/248.9000 | 3333 2nd Ave North, Suite 230, Billings
BILLINGS | MISSOULA | KALISPELL | HELENA
Enjoy all that you enjoy in life. Protect your thumb, feet, arms, head and the rest of you by working safely. Learn how by visiting safemt.com. 31 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
BUSINESS GROWTH: GETTING TO KNOW
ART HOUSE CINEMA & PUB BY RENÉ BEYL
BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT SPECIALIST Art House Cinema & Pub exists to benefit and grow arts and culture in the city we love. They also aid in the growth and aim to see our city thrive and foster a sense of community and connection. I caught up to their Marketing Director, Brittany Stevens. She brings her big city experiences to our Montana way of life.
Can you share the structure of Art House Cinema & Pub?
We are an independent, non-profit movie theater in the old Center Lanes Bowling Alley building in downtown Billings. Currently, we offer one screen with room for 85 guests. We show hand selected films to stimulate great thought, conversations and debate. These are some of the best independent, documentary and foreign films. Our venue lets you stay and discuss the movie afterwards with your date or other attendees. Currently, we showcase two different films each week. We are family friendly, offering a variety of beverages and movie treats.
How can we support you to continue your mission?
Come join us for a movie, volunteer or sign up with a membership, there is one for all budgets. Each level offers a package of benefits from a discounted ticket price to free VIP Red Carpet events. These memberships can be corporate or individual. We also offer private parties. Book the space for your birthday party, anniversaries or any type of gathering. At this time, you can bring in your favorite food and view your favorite movie. Corporate events can be hosted or opt to use us for a fundraising venue.
What is on the horizon for Art House?
We have launched our Phase 2 capital campaign to leverage every square foot and grow to three screens. We want to bring in inspired artisan food and a larger variety of films. Another goal is to be open seven days a week. There are many opportunities to support Art House, from purchasing a ten dollar sticker to naming rights to the new theater. As a unique venue, we have showcased incredible live music, donated to fundraisers, and brought awareness to local, national and global causes. Can you picture how all of this would grow with more room?
Why are you members of the Billings Chamber?
The Chamber offers us opportunities to network and share our story. This is vital if we wish to continue to grow. We appreciate opportunities to present to groups like Collaborate. We were excited to host Leadership Billings and NextGEN. Rendering of Art Hourse upon Phase 2 completion. PHOTO COURTESY OF ART HOUSE CINEMA & PUB
Ribbon Cuttings The following Chamber member businesses recently celebrated grand openings, anniversaries, rebranding, relocation, and ground breakings. Congratulations to each of them!
(13th & Grand) and (6th & Central) celebrated the new look of the stores and gave out donations to community nonprofits on March 14th.
Realtor, held a ribbon cutting on March 21st to commemorate joining 41 Realty Group.
BIG SKY SPAS
opened recently and on April 6th hosted a ribbon cutting to celebrate a colossal sale.
On Tax Day, April 17th, Kona Ice held a ribbon cutting before giving away free shaved ice for Chill Out Day, a day designed to give relief to those who send in a check.
CHEERS TO CARTER’S BREWING! On April 20th they celebrated their expansion with a ribbon cutting. PHOTO COURTESY OF BILLINGS GAZETTE
PHOTO COURTESY OF ART HOUSE CINEMA & PUB
May 4th was the launch of this year’s, Western Heritage Center Hoof It With a Historian series, which they kicked off with a ribbon cutting.
We want to bring in inspired artisan food and a larger variety of films.
33 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
PHOTO COURTESY OF ART HOUSE CINEMA & PUB
HOOF IT WITH A HISTORIAN
SCRAP’S CREATIVE ANNEX
held a grand opening during the First Friday Makers Fair on May 4th.
celebrated 20 years of business success on May 9th at the Business After Hours event they hosted.
HISTORICAL WALKING TOUR
Signs are up! We held a ribbon cutting with the Billings Depot Staff to celebrate on May 11th.
MARIPOSA SALON & SPA
Congratulations to the new Mariposa Salon & Spa, they held a ribbon cutting on May 11th to celebrate their opening.
Opened a new location in the heights. They formally opened the branch on May 15th with a ribbon cutting. Does your business have a momentous change in the future? Schedule a ribbon cutting celebration! This complimentary member benefit is available to all members – simply contact us to schedule yours by calling 406.245.4111.
Your Trusted, Local Lenders!
Whether your clients are buying their first home, moving across town or refinancing their current mortgage, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation is here to help. At Fairway, customer service is a way of life. Not only are we dedicated to finding great rates for our customers, but we also offer some of the fastest turn times in the industry. Our main priority is ensuring that the trust we are given is backed by accurate, on-time paperwork delivered with the best technology available. We strive to streamline the mortgage process for our clients and make it stress-free for all parties involved.
Contact us today for more information! Yvonne Kelly Branch Manager • NMLS # 523512 2212 Broadwater Avenue, Suite B Billings, MT 59102 Direct: 406-272-8841 firstname.lastname@example.org
Doug Lovely Branch Manager • NMLS # 220142 404 N. 31st St., Suites 128 & 129 Billings, MT 59101 Cell: 406-670-6968 email@example.com
Audrey S. Kimmet Loan Officer • NMLS # 473277 404 N. 31st St., Suites 128 & 129 Billings, MT 59101 Office: 406-794-1057 firstname.lastname@example.org
W W W . F A I R W A Y M T . C O M Copyright©2018 Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. NMLS#2289. 4750 S. Biltmore Lane, Madison, WI 53718, 1-877-699-0353. Distribution to general public is prohibited. This is not considered an advertisement as defined by 12 CFR 226.2(a)(2). All rights reserved.
Advance Your Career Moving Up: New Manager Training Program — Starts September 6th
Survival Skills for the Nonprofit Leader Program — Starts September 12th
Prepare yourself for a career in one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. Classes are designed to help individuals develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be an effective nonprofit manager. Topics • Nonprofit Management and Leadership • Human Resources Basics • Financial Management and Budgeting • Communications in Nonprofit Settings • Fundraising and Advocacy The total cost for the program is just $400 for individuals who enroll by 34 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 is| limited LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY September 7, 2018. Space to 15 participants.
Presented in partnership with the Billings Chamber of Commerce a convenient and affordable program to help individuals develop the knowledge and skill necessary to be an effective manager. Topics • The Power of Connections • Communications • Conflict Resolution • Human Resources Basics • Building Collaborative and Supportive Work Environments $400 for Chamber Members, $500 for non-members. Space is limited to 15 participants.
To find out more about this and other training programs, please visit
msubillings.edu/extendedcampus or call
35 | JUNE-AUGUST 2018 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
Billings Chamber of Commerce 815 S. 27th St. Billings, MT 59101
The Billings Chamber of Commerce Business Quarterly