SMALL CHANGES MAKE BIG IMPACTS
CHAMBER BREAKFAST WITH TONY HAWK
GET TO KNOW BOARD MEMBER
IS S U E 2 4 | D E C E M B E R 2019 - F E B R U A RY 2 020
BECOMING A COLLEGE TOWN: HOW HIGHER EDUCATION IMPACTS BILLINGSâ€™ SUCCESS
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VisionNetMontana 2 |DECEMBER 2019 - FEBRUARY 2020 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
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table of contents
12.19 CONTENTS BECOMING A COLLEGE TOWN: How Higher Education Impacts Billings’ Success
ATTRACTING ATTENTION AND DETERRING CRIME How Small Changes Can Make a Big Impact In Public Safety
NEXTGEN’S ENGAGING EVENTS
CYBERSECURITY TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES .
p.24 INNER BELT LOOP AND MARATHON TRAIL LOOP NECESSARY FOR BILLINGS ENCORE
BILLINGS CHAMBER WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP NETWORK ENCORE ENCORE
TONY HAWK BRINGS HIS BILLION-DOLLAR BUSINESS EXPERIENCE TO THE CHAMBER BREAKFAST
p.25 SHOP BILLINGS, NOW AND ALL YEAR LONG
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PRESIDENT'S LETTER A look at Chamber priorities.
HORIZONS Some of the latest statistics and economic data impacting businesses in Billings.
GROW Traveling abroad with the Billings Chamber.
BUSINESS ADVOCACY New City Council members.
MONTANAâ€™S TRAILHEAD TBEX raises the destination profile of Billings.
TRIPS ON A TANKFUL Taste our place.
BILLINGS CHAMBER SAYS GOODBYE AND THANK YOU to Baylie Redman.
GET TO KNOW WAYNE NELSON
BUSINESS GROWTH Answering the call to those in need.
CONNECT New Chamber A.M. series offers networking and programming.
p.7 p.8 p.9 p.10 p.12
p.23 p.32 p.34
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FROM THE PRESiDENT/CEO
BIG SKY LEVEL
ON THE “5TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME…”
Three PUBLIC SAFETY Initiatives that will make Billings even more safe and inviting to visitors, residents and workforce. The Chamber recently launched the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) program; an information campaign creating awareness of the public safety issues and ways we as residents can help; and promotion around the need for a safety levy next fall.
Five WORKFORCE Programs led by your chamber including our soon-to be launched “Women’s Leadership Network.” Workforce continues to be the business community’s top concern (along with most of the nations’). Encouraging staff to participate in Chamber programs such as Leadership Billings, NextGEN Young Professionals, Trailhead Leadership Academy, and being active in BillingsWorks will help you to retain staff and grow your team professionally. Four new City Council members with a lift from our ELECTIONS MATTER Initiative. We begin the New Year with a new dynamic of leaders at the helm of our City thanks in part to our efforts to raise the profile of business-friendly candidates running for office.
Two (or more) new DIRECT FLIGHTS from BIL to new destinations. Over the next six weeks we will meet with United and Delta Airlines at their headquarters. Both airlines have indicated a desire to look at new destinations to and from Billings. ONE Big Sky District with an emphasis on developing the “unconventional convention center” dubbed Montana Station. We will work with Strategy Partners to secure a state funding bill that will grow our tax base with a small portion of that increase being re-invested into civic infrastructure such as new meeting space. Have a wonderful holiday season and a great New Year, Billings.
Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
2015 Chamber of the Year
GRANITE PEAK LEVEL DiA Events Holiday Station Stores Kinetic Marketing NorthWestern Energy & Creative The Ashley Delp Team U.S. Bank
Albertsons All Around Roofing and Exteriors Altana Federal Credit Union Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Floberg Real Estate Big Sky Economic Development Big Sky Steel & Salvage CentiMark Computers Unlimited Crowley Fleck PLLP Denny Menholt Chevrolet Diamond B Companies Dovetail Designs & Millwork Inc. EBMS Entre Technology Services ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Co. Gainan’s Flowers & Garden Center Kampgrounds of America Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. Northern Hotel Opportunity Bank of Montana PayneWest Insurance Phillips 66 Rocky Mountain Bank Sanctuary LLC Sibanye - Stillwater Spectrum Reach The Western Sugar Cooperative Vertex Consulting Group Walmart Walmart, Heights Western Security Bank
The Billings Gazette
Project Management Dave Worstell Project Editor:
Advertising Sales: Contact Kelly McCandless at 406-869-3732 Kelly@billingschamber.com Photo Contributors: Billings Gazette Staff Photographers, Billings Chamber, Visit Billings, Adobe Stock
PO Box 31177 Billings MT 59107-1177 406-245-4111 • 800-7112630
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KEY ECONOMIC INDICATORS Hotel Occupancy
80.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 70.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 60.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 50.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 40.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 30.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 20.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 10.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 0.0%____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2019
*2019 data reporting January through October 2019 only Billings Montana United States
Unemployment Rate Comparison
Yellowstone County Population
Percent change in county population 2010-2017
3.6% Unemployment Rate as of October 2019 Yellowstone County
Median Household Income
Airport Deboardings: City Comparison 900,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ 800,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________
Average Home Price
700,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ 600,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ 500,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________
Number of Employer Establishments
400,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ 300,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ 200,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________
School District #2 Enrollment (2019-2020 School Year):
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..
100,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ 0_________________________________________________________________________________________________ *2019 2018 2017 2016 Billings
*2019 Reporting January - October only
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FROM CAMELS TO A RIVER CRUISE –
TRAVELING ABROAD WITH THE BILLINGS CHAMBER BY JENNIFER REISER, IOM, CCE CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Egypt Group Photo
he Billings Chamber of Commerce’s International Awareness and Cultural Discovery Series recently wrapped up its 9th year of travel with a trip to Egypt in October 2019. Our group of 51 travelers cruised the Nile, visited both big cities and small villages, and explored the pyramids, ancient temples, and many other archeological sites. This trip was enhanced by the multi-modes of transportation: plane, bus, river boat, sail boat, motor boat, horse-drawn carriages and even camels all heightened our experience. The Egyptian people were extremely friendly and welcoming and our tour directors and drivers worked hard to ensure a very safe, educational and enjoyable experience. Continuing our annual opportunity to adventure abroad, we are pleased to offer our 2020 trip, a Rhine River Cruise, September 19 – 27, 2020. The iconic waterways of Europe are calling on this enchanting river cruise! Enjoy an exceptional voyage along the Rhine River, one of Europe’s most captivating waterways, from Amsterdam at the North Sea to Basel, gateway to the Swiss Alps. Join us as we travel through four of Europe’s most picturesque countries - The Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland. Explore their magnificent cities including Amsterdam, Cologne, Strasbourg, Basel and beyond where we will take in their diverse landscapes and impressive waterways aboard the Amadeus Silver III. The main tour program features include round trip air transportation from Billings, Montana, seven nights on board the deluxe M/S Amadeus
Camel & Pyramids
Sunset on the Nile
Silver III, superb cuisine, with all meals included during the cruise, welcome reception, daily entertainment, and sightseeing tours of Amsterdam, North Holland, Cologne, Cochem (includes wine tasting), Rudesheim (including Music Museum), excursions to Heidelberg and the city of Strausborg. We will also have the assistance of an experienced cruise director and professional tour guides. The base price of this trip is $4,299 and includes free airfare if booked by February 28, 2020. The tour also offers an optional three day/two night extension to Zurich, Switzerland at an additional cost.
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The Amadeus Silver III in Frankfurt
We hope you consider joining us for this European adventure. The opportunity is open to both Chamber and community members. Special accommodations and pricing are available for those wishing to join our group with a different departure city as well. For more information contact Jennifer Reiser at email@example.com or go to https:// www.billingschamber.com/rhineriver2020/.
NEW CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS PREPARE FOR LEADERSHIP BY DANIEL J. BROOKS, BUSINESS ADVOCACY DIRECTOR
illings City Council elections wrapped up last month with final results out on November 5th.
After the crowded primary election, the remaining 10 candidates raced to the November finish. Voters decided to return the lone incumbent, Roy Neese in Ward 2, to his seat. The remaining four seats were open as Councilman Cromley is term limited and Councilmen Friedel, Gibbs, and Clark chose not to seek re-election. Those four fresh faces in wards 1, 3, 4, and 5 are below. Since they may be unknown to our readers, we want to provide a little insight to who our new members are.
WARD 1: KENDRA SHAW Kendra grew up in Billings and returned six years ago, after she and her husband decided to raise their children in Billings. Kendra wants to address our public safety needs and foster revitalization of our downtown core with affordable housing, new commercial development and amenities to attract more families downtown. Her small business experience will be an asset to our business community.
WARD 3: DANNY CHORIKI Danny was raised in Montana before pursuing an education and career that taught him the importance of systems and process, and consequently the value of working with others to get things done. Danny’s campaign tagline is “Be the Light,” and he says it’s meant to inspire us to be problem solvers and solutions driven. We can’t agree more.
WARD 4: PAM PURINTON Pam has lived in Billings the past 32 years and recently got involved in city council issues with the goal of bringing transparency to the process. Pam’s number one priority is attracting new business and industry to Billings. We hope that we can find success in this area by partnering on the initiatives certain to bring more business to Billings: ONE Big Sky District, the Inner Belt Loop, and improving public safety through passage of a Safety Levy.
WARD 5: MIKE BOYETT Mike has many years of experience living in Billings. Whether he was employed in law enforcement or working in the banking industry, Mike knows the challenges Billings faces and isn’t afraid to support big ideas like developing our river, building a convention center, and adjusting our tax system to allow voters to decide on the local option. He’s served on the City Zoning Commission and the
Re-Code project, looking for ways to update City Code and make it friendlier to growth. Councilmembers elect will be officially sworn in at the first business meeting of January 2020 before they begin their duties of serving Billings constituents. We are thankful to all of our members and the community who joined us for our Coffee with Candidates and Candidate Forum to get to know the candidates a little better. We hope you’ll be able to attend our upcoming Coffee with Councilpersons and take advantage of the opportunity to meet our newest local elected officials—keep an eye out for those invitations. Whether they won their election or not, we thank every candidate for running in the recent city council election. Campaigning informs voters of the issues we face and engages the community in the conversations we need to have to move our city forward. For that service, we thank you and look forward to your continued service to make Billings better.
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More than 50 members of the Billings Chamber of Commerce were directly impacted by TBEX business. From lunches to tours, parties to hotels, the dollars spent and the experiences created were key to the success of the event.
TBEX RAISES THE DESTINATION
Billings B Y A LY M U R N I O N , M S P R
LEISURE SALES, MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER; VISIT BILLINGS
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hat a success! Thank you, Billings.
As we’ve noted in previous issues, 2019 was a wild ride of planning for Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX). Visit Billings, Visit Southeast Montana, the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development (MOTBD), Chamber of Commerce, and dozens of other tourism partners came together to host some of the travel industry’s top influencers late last summer. A reminder that in August of 2018, it came to the attention of the Visit Billings team that TBEX organizers were looking to host their North America event in Montana. The Tourism Business Improvement District Board and Visit Billings staff rose to the occasion. After a site visit to inspect the community, the decision was made for Billings to be the host destination of TBEX North America 2019. After a year of planning, negotiations, itinerary building, and meetings, attendees successfully converged on the city September 10th – 13th. TBEX is the largest conference and networking event for travel bloggers, online travel journalists, new media content creators, travel brands, and industry professionals. The Billings event saw 494 attendees from all over the world. While the conference was the main purpose of their trip to Billings, attendees also had the opportunity to choose from 37 tours in and around Billings the two days prior to the conference kick-off. The week also included four night parties at varying venues in town, and wrapped up with application based familiarization tours around the state of Montana. The Visit Billings team and TBID Board knew this would have an impact on not only the city of
Billings, but the region and state as a whole. The opportunities to showcase the destination were endless, as were the opportunities to strengthen partnerships with Visit Billings’ tourism partners. MOTBD was a key partner in the efforts of TBEX. As one of the first sponsors to come to the table to host the opening night party and coordinate nearly 20 post familiarization tours around the state, their example led many more partners to join in Visit Billings’ efforts to host the attendees, saving on cost and time. The strength of Billings as a destination is boosted by the regional draws that lie within an hour of the city, which is why partnerships with Montana State Parks and the National Park Service were crucial to the event’s success as well. The partnerships in Billings were perhaps some of the most impressive. More than 50 members of the Billings Chamber of Commerce were directly impacted by TBEX business. From lunches to tours, parties to hotels, the dollars spent and the experiences created were key to the success of the event. The Billings Cultural Partners, Downtown Billings Alliance, restaurants, Austin Adventures, Montana Fun Adventures, Cape Air, and ZooMontana, are just a few of the amazing organizations and businesses that came to the table and hosted tours or events in order to ensure amazing experiences at Montana’s Trailhead. The Depot, Pub Station, Camelot Ranch, and Yellowstone Art Museum offered amazing venues for influencers to network and build content by night. At that same time the lodging community, including Erck Hotels, made sure the convention was a success as well. This convention would not have been successful without area hotels and motels assisting with Tourism Business Improvement District assessments and the State Lodging Facility Use Tax.
So, the big question is, what does all this mean? The impact of an event of this nature on a destination is notable. As a Destination Marketing Organization, having influencers on the ground for a conference, meant publicity that Visit Billings would normally have to pay for in some marketing capacity, whether that be creative fees, cost of travel, cost of experiences, etc. Over one-hundred blogs were written and published on the area within a month of the event, and that number is expected to grow. The hashtag VisitBillings was mentioned nearly 4,000 times on social channels resulting in around 7 million impressions. The Visit Billings team is fortunate to see the community from the eyes of visitors every day. You can, too! Follow #VisitBillings on Instagram and Twitter. It’s a great opportunity to see what makes us special as a destination. The economic impact of this convention on Billings and the ripple impact of the social media exposure will be realized for years to come. We appreciate every business, partner, community leader, and resident who helped make TBEX guests feel at home.
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
Social media posts showed a multitude of ways to explore and enjoy Billings and the region.
TRiPS on a TANKFUL
Last Chance Pub & Cider Mill offers flights of local ciders. PHOTO CREDIT: MONTANA OFFICE OF TOURISM & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
BY BRENDA MAAS MARKETING MANAGER
PHOTO CREDIT: MONTANA OFFICE OF TOURISM & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
ut here in Southeast Montana, we thrive on our sense of place. The wide-open land, where the mountains roll out to meet the prairies is the epitome of home for many of us. Yet, when it comes to travel – whether it is day trips or overnights – we all have to eat. And, we like to eat well. While the “eat local” movement is not new, we’ve taken that adage a step farther. Launched in late 2018, the Montana Department of Commerce’s Taste our Place program focuses on matching Montana growers and producers with the restaurants, bars, cafes and coffee shops that will prepare and serve up scrumptious Montana goods.
The Philly at 3 Brothers Bistro in Hardin.
And, we have it on good authority that this is something the locals love, as much as the travelers. For example, 3 Brothers Bistro in Hardin serves an amazing Philly using sirloin steak from Ranch House Meats on Wheat Montana buns. Pair that with a Montana brew (they carry several) and top it all with some Wilcoxson’s ice cream and you have a mostly-Montana meal. Really, where can you go wrong? Farther up the road in Fallon, the BD Bar offers burgers and finger-steaks from beef raised on a nearby ranch, the Harding Land & Cattle Company. Yes, you heard that correctly: locallyraised Montana beef that doesn’t get shipped to Kansas City or similar parts unknown only to return on a freezer truck.
Steak tips at BD Bar in Fallon.
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Look for the Taste our Place brand across the state for a plethora of locally-grown and -prepared meal options.
3 Brothers Bistro in Hardin.
Chef Nick Steen at Walker’s Grill in Billings.
Delite Dukart, owner of BD Bar, and Rick Harding, co-owner of Harding Land & Cattle Co.
Bob Thaden, co-owner of the multigenerational Tongue River Winery near Miles City.
MEET AN SEMT BOARD MEMBER
Swanky Roots, located between Billings and Laurel.
Stop at the vintage pinball-themed Tilt Würks Brewhouse in Miles City for a snack of locallyproduced pretzels (from Main Street Grind) with Tilt Würks High Score Hefeweizen beer cheese sauce and a Montana craft beer. If wine is more your style, be sure to visit Tongue River Winery where you can not only taste-test and purchase your favorite, but it is likely that you’ll get a personal tour with the owners and learn their story of a life-long quest to make the best wine with the hardiest grapes in a place they love. You may even be invited to taste a grape off the vine or help pull weeds – and we all know how well an adult beverage tastes when consumed outside. How about right where it grows? Susan Joy, Made in Montana Program Director, noted that the Taste our Place program has been especially embraced in the rural areas but Billings, too, has a strong foundation of locallygrown, locally-produced products. Swanky Roots owners, Ronna Klamert and Veronnaka Evenson are a mother-daughter duo who married a tradition of family farming with new-century aquaponics gardening. The result – a year-round supply of lettuce and other greens for individual consumers and local chefs. If you eat at Taste our Place facilities in Billings, such as Last Chance Cider Mill or Local Kitchen & Bar, it’s a pretty good chance that your salad started its day at Swanky Roots just west of town.
Big Sky Coffee Roasters in Billings.
Chalet Market, a staple on 24th Avenue West, remains a long-time member of the Made in Montana and Taste our Place programs – it’s a business built on that premise (plus, one of the best places in town to buy Martinson’s Candy, made in nearby Huntley). Finish it all with a cup of joe at Big Sky Coffee Roasters, where the beans are locally roasted and you can find Montana Tea & Spice as an alternative, pastries from Red Rooster in Laurel or bagels from Great American Bagel in Billings. Locals and visitors alike prefer quality food that is produced near its source. During your next trip out here, be sure to look for Taste Our Place members. 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 southeastmontana.com managed by the Billings Chamber of Commerce.
Beth Epley, executive director of the Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation (EPEDC), has been supporting business and entrepreneurs across Carter, Fallon, Wibaux, Dawson and Prairie counties since 2016. With an eye on infrastructure, natural resources and energy, agriculture, tourism and new commerce, Epley advocates for business across a vast region. Under her tutelage, Prairie County enhanced its section of the Old Yellowstone Trail; O’Fallon Museum is focusing on more marketing and the City of Baker has new wayfinding and interpretive signs for Baker Lake. Epley and EPEDC were the primary authors of the business plan for Makoshika State Park’s waterline request that was presented to and approved by the Montana Legislature. She brings a depth of regional knowledge and experience to the Visit Southeast Montana Board, which she joined in 2018. Epley also serves on the City of Baker Planning Board; Board of Adjustment for Fallon County/City of Baker; and the Assembly of God women’s ministries. Epley is also a licensed minister. When she’s not working, she “hangs out” with her husband and young daughter around Baker Lake or ropes family members and friends into being photo models for tourism projects. “I think Eastern Montana is the best place in the world and is incredibly under-rated,” she said. “We are truly our own treasure out here.”
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ACCESS TO QUALITY, AFFORDABLE CHILDCARE IMPACTS WORKFORCE BY KELLY MCCANDLESS
ontana’s unemployment rate combined with both the rate of retirements and the low rate of in-migration of workforce in its prime working years yields a pretty compelling, and concerning, issue for today’s businesses. As employers scramble to fill positions and struggle to recruit talent, “workforce development” has become a buzz word most businesses are focused on. As businesses turn over every stone searching for a solution to recruitment, innovation takes place. How can businesses work with educators/ education systems to ensure the curriculum being taught aligns with real workforce needs? Are there sectors of people struggling to find work because employers either aren’t looking for them or aren’t sure how to recruit? Are businesses offering the right benefits to recruit and retain the quality talent they need? All of these are areas with active committees making strides through BillingsWorks (Yellowstone County’s workforce development organization
managed by Big Sky Economic Development and supported by businesses throughout the area, including your Billings Chamber of Commerce). As more potential solutions emerge, and as Chamber member businesses continue to voice recruitment as their number 1 issue, the Billings Chamber has increased its focus on a variety of workforce development projects. One of these is an examination of early childhood development and childcare and their impact on both the current and future workforces. According to data from the Department for Health and Human Services in Montana, there are 45,000 children in our state under the age of 5. With a capacity of just 20,000 spots in licensed childcare facilities, Montana has just 41% of its demand for childcare met by licensed facilities. Yellowstone County specifically sits at 38% of its demand for childcare being met – and we’re better off here in Billings than many of our counties across the state, a few of whom sit below 5% of need being met.
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Cost of care is a major contributing factor as well. The average cost for infant childcare is over $9,000 annually – per child. And wages for childcare workers are dismally low, coming in at just over $20,000 annually for a full time employee on average. This data illustrates how childcare shortages are a contributing factor to workforce issues. Childcare facilities can’t expand to meet demand in part because they are unable to find qualified workforce to fill positions. Other businesses can’t expand for the same reason. And, a significant number of Montana’s eligible workforce is not part of the labor force because they can’t find quality, affordable childcare. According to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, 11% of Montana’s labor force cite family responsibilities as their reason for not seeking work, and 2,700 Montanan’s are not seeking work specifically due to a lack of childcare.
Adding another angle to this workforce concern is the quality of childcare available and its impact on child development. Eighty percent of brain development occurs before the age of 3, meaning these early experiences matter - a lot. It also means gaps emerge early and future upward mobility is impacted when quality lacks. When children are not exposed to quality childcare, their development is directly impacted and is likely to cause residual impact when they become adults. Thus, the future workforce suffers from the lack of quality childcare available today. During our first Chamber A.M. event in October we hosted Ben Horowitz with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and Julia Barfield with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Center for Education and Workforce. Both of these experts presented data and conclusions from their work researching early childhood development and childcare as they impact the economy and workforce. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, some key takeaways are easily drawn from the data: • Early years are a sensitive period for brain development. • Early education investments can yield high public returns when reaching disadvantaged children. • High-quality early care and education supports child development and parental employment. Barfield’s presentation encourages workforce strategists to envision how families, business, and communities will thrive with access to childcare. They submit that high quality, affordable, accessible early childhood education ensures a strong workforce, strong businesses and a strong economy. Why? Consider some of these facts: • By 2020, there will be 6 million unfilled jobs, and today 40% of businesses can’t take on more work because they can’t fill the jobs they have. • 8 out of every 10 births are to millennials who make up 1/3 of the workforce. • Almost 13 million Americans in their prime working years have children under the age of 6. • Nationally, breakdowns in childcare cost businesses more than $3 billion annually. • 74% of working parents say their jobs have been impacted by childcare issues. • When employers provide childcare supports, employee absences decrease by 30% and job turnover can decline by as much as 60%. What does this mean for the Billings Chamber? We’re shining a spotlight on this issue and ready to learn from you, our member businesses, about how childcare impacts your business today. We’re learning all we can about the issue, determining how we can support needs at the legislative level ahead of the 2021 Session, and identifying ways we as a chamber of commerce may be able to create some solutions. We’re just getting started and are eager to begin working with businesses to help alleviate this one particular issue impacting workforce shortages. We won’t solve the issue, but we can work together to uncover solutions. If you’re interested in learning more or getting involved with the Billings Chamber’s work around early childhood development and child-care, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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BECOMING A COLLEGE TOWN:
How Higher Education Impacts Billingsâ€™ BY KELLY MCCANDLESS
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Successful higher education institutions are an indicator of a thriving community, and vice versa. Students seek universities and colleges that not only offer the degree program and educational experience they’re interested in, but also those that are embedded in dynamic, supportive and exciting communities. Communities that support their colleges and universities in turn see an ongoing pipeline of trained talent eager to begin their career. And this trained talent is in extremely high demand, in Billings and across the country. Workforce concerns continue to top the list of things keeping employers up at night, and as a result, the economy continues to face limited growth. Businesses can’t hire to fill open positions, let alone to fill new positions to meet demand. Additionally, employees must adapt to the everchanging work environment and job demands. Employability skills are a must for businesses hiring, and even in a tight labor market, those looking for work must possess critical thinking, customer service, punctuality, and other key skills required across industries.
the result is a well-rounded student with creative expression, ethical decisionmaking, informed citizenship, and professional excellence.”
With issues likes these facing both employees and employers, the education system, at all levels, is being forced to adjust the way it moves students through its system. Educational experiences, from birth to adult, must be adapted, relevant, and relatable in order for someone to become or remain a desirable hire. The complexity, size and functionality of an education system makes drastic changes like these incredibly difficult to achieve, but nonetheless necessary. As the workforce demands a new array of skills, the value proposition of higher education is changing. Attending a two or four year institution for a degree is no longer the expectation it was just a few years ago. Students are weighing the cost and potential debt that a degree will saddle them with alongside the value of the degree for their future. This means higher education is adapting to both serve the value proposition of the student and to provide graduates who are desirable and in demand.
Chancellor Edelman notes that, “Higher education needs to be more sensitive to workforce demands.” How does MSU Billings achieve that? By working diligently with community partners to identify the skills they require in employees. Edelman explains, “Opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning and internships creates stronger connections between higher education institutions and the workforce. In this way, MSUB keeps current with work trends, desires, and expectations of employers, while providing employers with skilled employees ready to hit the ground running.”
LOCALIZED SUPPORT While the state rivalry has its place, both of the Billings campuses voice the importance of supporting the Battlin’ Bears and the Yellowjackets. But supporting our local schools doesn’t mean you have to shed your blue and gold or your maroon and white. “Support Rocky and MSUB by providing meaningful internships and hiring our graduates. Attend our events and athletic competitions. An engaged community
ADJUSTING OUTCOMES IN BILLINGS
Chancellor Dan Edelman Montana State University Billings
These workforce issues are certainly no surprise to Chancellor Dan Edelman from Montana State University Billings and Dr. Bob Wilmouth, President of Rocky Mountain College. Discussions around these issues are ongoing in both of their facilities. “Students demand value and outcomes,” explains Wilmouth. “We’ve built our strategic plan around those items.” He explains that Rocky, like most colleges and universities, competes to offer graduates relevant for employers. “We educate our students, not just train, ensuring
Dr. Bob Wilmouth, President of Rocky Mountain College
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DONATING TO BOTH MSUB AND ROCKY IS EASY. SIMPLY CONTACT THEM TO DISCUSS YOUR GIFT TODAY: MSU Billings Foundation: https://msubfoundation.com/ Rocky Mountain College: https://www.rocky.edu/giving
elevates the education experience for our students,” Wilmouth explains. They both also note the importance of supporting the projects and programs that will transform these campuses into the future. “Get involved and pay attention to what is happening in the higher education landscape. Work with us to create career pathways and offer quality internship opportunities to our students so they can get hands-on, practical experience,” says Edelman. Both leaders remark on the importance of support and involvement. Business advocates help to set students up for success, and financial support is crucial. Donations to both colleges provide integral funding that can allow advanced offerings for student programs, more affordable education through scholarships, and much more. Support our universities and encourage fellow businesses to support them and get involved.
INNOVATION IN MOTION An example of that key funding at work? The new science buildings on (or soon to be on) both campuses. The new Yellowstone Science & Allied Health Building coming to the MSUB campus is for Billings and eastern Montana, according to Edelman. “We will be able to better serve the workforce demands and offer our students the education and training needed to fill vacant
jobs and the potential to earn a good living. This building will have state-of-the-art labs and technology, which will attract more students to MSUB, grow our enrollment, and build the workforce in Billings and beyond.”
required partnerships with the Billings community and leads to a better, more prepared university.
Wilmouth echoes the sentiment. “Our science building helps provide first class laboratory experiences for our students, giving them the skills necessary to solve problems and make discoveries in many of the most important industries in our community, like healthcare, oil and gas, and technology. They also help us attract top students, and since we know 50% of our students will stay and work in Billings, this science building helps lead to an elite local workforce.”
Both leaders have an important common theme: their students are a top priority. MSUB prides itself on being a student-first university with decisions centered on the success of their students. Rocky provides high quality, elite education at the lowest possible cost. “We both want to see Billings become a college town,” says Wilmouth.
Has it helped with enrollment? Wilmouth says yes, but also notes that it adds tremendous value and a higher quality experience through practical knowledge application since every Rocky student experiences the top notch education offerings in the building. Not only are our colleges and universities expected to remain cutting edge, they have new expectations to address safety. “Since I’ve been Chancellor, we have conducted multiagency trainings to ensure we are providing a safer campus and community environment,” notes Edelman. He explains that things like active shooter drills and a measles outbreak exercise
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STUDENTS FIRST, ALWAYS
And they’re right. The saying “a rising tide floats all boats” could not be more relevant. The more the Billings community rallies behind MSUB and Rocky, the better the experiences their students will have and the more both institutions will grow. Growth will continue to heighten their already impressive profiles and attract even more talented, bright minds. And, business follows. Active students help yield active communities. So, support students with quality internship offerings. Seek out graduates for your entry level positions. And, the next time you have the chance, attend a game and cheer on the Yellowjackets and the Bears.
GET TO KNOW THE BOARD:
As a board member, you have the inside scoop. What would you share about the Chamber that other members may not know?
Some boards are passive and often don’t accomplish much other then making sure they have meetings. I was pleased to quickly learn that our Chamber board members are not shy. They are passionate about Billings and work extremely hard to make a difference in our community. They get involved, hold each other accountable, and execute meaningful tasks.
PHOTO COURTESY RHEA WOLPOE
President; Stockman Bank Billings
If you had a super power, what would it be?
One adjective that descibes you: Driven
It would be cool to have the ability to heal.
What was your first job? Working for my dad at a full service Phillips 66 gas station.
Words you live by: “Whatever you are, be a good one.” Abe Lincoln.
You get to make one change for the Billings community today – what would you do? Favorite book and why: A recent read and excellent book is Shoe Dog: A Memoir by Phil Knight. I like it because I like nonfiction and especially stories about perseverance.
Tell us about your photo: This is my community. Though I hail from Missoula, my family moved to Billings in 1983. I consider myself a native of Billings. We have been committed to making Billings better everyday.
Create a vibrant downtown starting with significant downtown apartments, condos and residences. Healthy communities are defined by vibrant downtowns.
Why did you initially choose to get involved with the Chamber? I am a business banker through and through. I work for a very active, business-minded community bank. This combination made it inevitable that I join the Chamber Team to work hard for our business community.
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HOW SMALL CHANGES CAN MAKE A BIG IMPACT IN
Thank you to our Community Public Safety Initiative sponsors:
Pub Station; Best Western PLUS ClockTower Inn; Mike Schaer; PayneWest Insurance; Opportunity Bank; Holiday Station Stores; Big Sky Economic Development; Buchanan Capital; Kinetic Marketing & Creative; Blueprint Managed Business Solutions by TCT
BY DAN BROOKS
BACK TO SCHOOL I recently attended the National Institute for Crime Prevention’s (NICP) crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) courses. The training was exceptional and I’m fortunate to have been able to attend and bring that training back to empower our businesses and help address public safety issues in Billings. Because the truth is, our public safety
officers can’t do this alone. If we want to create a safer Billings for generations of residents and businesses to come, we all have to take responsibility and work toward that end. How do we do that? Well, beyond supporting a safety levy when it comes up for a vote, our businesses can implement a crime prevention strategy utilizing the guidance of CPTED.
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Businesses across the country have already adopted the CPTED model, eliminating real and perceived opportunities for crime on their properties and providing a safer environment for clients, shoppers, and community. Disney, MGM Casinos, Glock, Starbucks, Walmart, and McDonalds are just a few of the businesses to send employees to CPTED training.
MODIFYING HUMAN BEHAVIOR Just like our businesses, CPTED seeks to modify human—namely, criminal—behavior by evaluating and adjusting environmental conditions. Take colors, for instance. We know that nearly every fast food restaurant logo is red or yellow because those colors evoke a sense of hunger and stimulate the appetite. Have you ever compared prices at the grocery store? Well, maybe not since college, but you may recall that cheaper items are on the bottom shelf. The shelves at eye level are reserved for items with the highest markup. Not because they are a better value to you, but because grocers know people are more likely to choose from those shelves simply because of the direct eye-level placement. And I can’t be the only one to leave a Vegas casino penniless because their floor layout ensures you find another opportunity to gamble before you can locate an exit. There is no question that environmental factors, whether intentional or unintentional, can affect behavior. Color provokes feelings, placement influences choices, and environmental surroundings can encourage people to make poor choices. That’s where CPTED comes in, building from the same principles businesses use to influence people to act in a certain way.
FOUR CPTED CONCEPTS Let’s take a quick look at each of the four overlapping CPTED concepts: (1) natural surveillance; (2) natural access control; (3) territorial reinforcement; and (4) maintenance.
NATURAL SURVEILLANCE You can improve safety by putting more eyes on the streets, improving visibility with lighting, and generally increasing the perception that
people can be seen. Architecture itself plays a large role in impacting safety. Poor design can allow for undesirable activity in unseen places. Orienting offices to overlook an employee parking lot or shared open space is an easy way to add safety to a property. Construction materials can greatly affect real and perceived safety issues. Would you feel more comfortable walking up an enclosed concrete parking garage stairwell, or one with a glass façade that allows pedestrians on the street to see inside? One of the easiest ways to think about this CPTED principle is: are we maximizing “eyes on the street” to discourage undesirable activity?
NATURAL ACCESS CONTROL Clearly defining entryways, incorporating design elements, and landscaping placement can all guide people to an appropriate building entrance. Have you ever had a hard time finding the entrance to SCHEELS? Of course not—no one has. The company logo on the front placed where everyone in the parking lot can see it, the sidewalks and landscaping funneling people to the doorway, the sports sculptures that draw you in, and the see-through glass on the front of the building that shows people where the other shoppers are located ensure people can easily get to the correct entrance without accidentally finding themselves where they shouldn’t. In that instance, people acting in abnormal or undesirable ways quickly contrast with normal use and can be identified as seeking mischief.
PUBLIC ART Though it’s not specifically one of the four main CPTED concepts, public art fits into both the maintenance and territorial reinforcement aspects. Implemented alongside other CPTED improvements, public art signals ownership of private space and serves as a deterrent to unwanted behavior. Murals around town have added vibrancy to our community and promoted pubic safety at the same time. We should promote the good work of organizations like Downtown Billings Alliance, Rotor Action, Master Lube, Pub Station, and Big Sky Economic Development among others, who are engaging in public art campaigns and build on them to promote public safety as well.
TERRITORIAL REINFORCEMENT Territorial reinforcement can be simple modifications to property that send a signal of ownership, deterring abnormal activity and still allowing for appropriate use. For instance, defining the threshold between public and private space by installing a small decorative fence can provide territorial reinforcement. “But a criminal could just jump the fence,” you point out. Sure, but the intent may not be to restrict access (you could install 6 foot tall fencing for that), but to subconsciously signal the space is private and not public. It also signals to other eyes on the street someone is behaving abnormally. The fence jumper isn’t just cutting across the lawn, they’re actively entering a space they probably don’t belong.
SCHEELS uses sculptures, landscaping and lighting to direct foot traffic into and out of its storefront.”
proper maintenance will impact both real and perceived safety risks. Cleaning up graffiti before more appears, replacing inoperable lighting, and trimming hedges and trees to improve natural surveillance are all key elements to maintaining safety. An architect can plan the perfect CPTED building, but if nobody cleans up the graffiti, if it’s dark as night in the parking lot because lights weren’t replaced, and nobody can view through their windows because of overgrowth, the property is no more safe than if CPTED concepts hadn’t been observed in the planning.
The fourth CPTED concept is maintenance, overlapping benefits with territorial reinforcement. Following the Broken Windows Theory, which suggests the existence of a broken window will increase the chances someone breaks another window, exercising
MasterLube’s use of public art is well-known and garners interest and respect in its buildings.
CAMERAS, ALARMS, AND SECURITY GUARDS I haven’t mentioned the use of cameras, alarm systems, or security guards up to this point because these should all come secondary to the CPTED concepts mentioned above. For security and liability purposes your property may need to utilize mechanical (cameras and alarms) and organizational (security guards) security strategies. But if the four CPTED concepts are implemented correctly, reducing undesirable
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activity through good design, mechanical and organizational security may not be as necessary.
BRING IT TO BILLINGS Attending the NICP’s CPTED certification courses I quickly realized that, compared to other communities, we are behind the curve in implementing these strategies. My colleagues in the course largely came from government departments across the U.S. that have utilized CPTED strategies for many years, some over decades. Most will head back to their jobs and return to communities already bought into these principles. In Billings we start at square one. Considering our fresh start, there are a few key points to keep in mind:
WE CAN’T DO THIS ALONE As far as I’m aware there are only three CPTED Certified Professionals in Billings: myself, Joe Stout with Downtown Billings Alliance (DBA), and Officer Tom Keightley with the Billings Police Department (BPD). We already have a roster with over a dozen requests to do a CPTED evaluation on business properties. And I assume more will come our way as we raise awareness and people start to see the value. However, two problems arise: (1) our limited capacity to handle the growth in interest; and (2) a propertyby-property evaluation approach will be far less effective than a city-wide approach. To address the first, we need more people to take the CPTED training. City planners, zoning commission members, large employers, TIF administrators, economic development professionals, architects, and retired law enforcement looking to give back to the community, would all play a vital role. Without a uniformly applied strategy, positive impact and benefit will remain limited. A good
start could be at the city planning level. After speaking with a couple councilpersons, the City might consider requiring a CPTED evaluation for new construction or major renovations requiring city approval.
NO FREE LUNCH Just a friendly reminder that everything has a cost. Surprise! The CPTED concepts discussed above, while inexpensive, are no less an expense. Extra time with an architect to get the design right costs extra. Two more LED fixtures in the parking lot to ensure even distribution of light at night costs extra. Expanding the contract with your landscaper to come by two more times throughout the year to trim the hedges and improve natural surveillance costs extra. But keep in mind the well designed, more expensive building that engenders a feeling of safety and security for employees is likely to have more productive employees. The newly installed LED fixture in the doorway can keep unwanted vagrants from finding respite in a business entryway, where before there may have been issues and lost business. In the worst-case scenario of a client or patron injured on your property in an act that was made possible by neglecting safety concerns, wouldn’t it have been less expensive to invest in safety up front?
BUT WHEN POSSIBLE, GET THE FREE LUNCH The concepts of CPTED don’t all mandate you pay for them. Volunteer civic organizations are constantly looking for ways to give back to the community. Enlist their services to paint a mural, build a community garden, or install playground equipment to activate an appropriate space. These are easy ways to clean up an area, and activate it (maximizing “eyes on
the street” to discourage undesirable behavior) to reduce real and perceived crime.
CHAMBER AS CHAMPION AND PARTNER The Billings Chamber is committed to addressing public safety by implementing a two-part approach. First, we are offering CPTED evaluations to our members free of charge. Working with the DBA and BPD, we hope to complete as many as possible starting at the beginning of 2020. If you are interested in getting your property on our roster, please let me know: email@example.com. Second, the Chamber has been supportive of the safety mill levy process, offering input to councilpersons, raising awareness during the city council campaign, and advocating for the funding that will hopefully shed our shameful title as “least safe city in Montana.” If we want to help our businesses find the workforce needed to grow and prosper, we cannot be seen as the least safe city in Montana. We cannot do any of this without you, our membership. Below are five ways you can help to make a difference. (1) Sign up for a CPTED evaluation of your business and invest in recommended upgrades. (2) Share this CPTED information with others to raise awareness. (3) Send an employee to the NICP CPTED training and partner with our evaluation team (Chamber, DBA, and BPD). (4) Support the upcoming safety levy to help improve our status as the least safe city in Montana. (5) V olunteer with a civic organization working to brighten up our community.
Raffle tickets ARE AVAILABLE NOW FOR PURCHASE TO WIN A GRAND PRIZE TRIP TO PHOENIX, AZ INCLUDING: • two roundtrip Allegiant Air tickets, • four tickets to an Arizona Diamondbacks regular season game at Chase Field, • two nights stay at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort. As in previous years, additional prizes will be given as well. The drawing will be held at the Chamber Breakfast, but new this year, you can purchase your tickets early by calling the Billings Chamber of Commerce at 406.245.4111. All proceeds benefit Billings Chamber strategic priorities.
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THANK YOU, BAYLIE!
ince June of 2019, the Billings Chamber has had the privilege of working with Baylie Redman, a Media Studies student at Montana State University Billings. Baylie’s first ten weeks with the Chamber were spent as an intern with the Communications Department. After the completion of her internship, the Billings Chamber was thrilled to be able to offer her a part time position to continue working through her fall semester. Baylie’s position allowed her to work on a variety of communication mediums including digital and social media, blog writing, video editing and other content creation. She was a participant in the Chamber’s and BillingsWork’s pilot Intern Leadership Institute Cohort and connected with NextGEN where she participated in mentorship programs to help her continue to grow in her professional skillset and gain exposure to other fields. Not only did Baylie’s internship and continued work with the Chamber provide tremendous value, it helped the organization to further shape our internship offerings. Intern programs can be easy to execute and manage, resulting in a mutually beneficial relationship between the student and the organization. The Billings Chamber appreciates Baylie’s dedication and is excited to see what the future holds for her! Best wishes, Baylie; and thank you!
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CYBERSECURITY TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
BY KYMBERLEE BLACK, WELLS FARGO COMMUNITY BANKING DISTRICT MANAGER, BILLINGS
rom digital payments, to social media, to mobile ordering, technology has radically transformed how small business owners operate. At the same time, the speed of technology innovations has created an increasingly difficult challenge: how to protect a business from cyber threats. Many initially think about large companies when discussing cybersecurity breaches, but small businesses are just as vulnerable to threats. In fact, a single business can spend more than $1 million recovering from damage or theft of IT assets. This can cripple a small business. The best defense is to be prepared, so here are some strategies you can take to make your business more resilient to cyber threats.
UNDERSTAND YOUR UNIQUE NEEDS FOR SECURITY Business owners must understand that having a one-size-fits-all approach to cybersecurity can leave substantial gaps making their businesses vulnerable. The first step is to think about exposure: this includes the hardware and software you are using as well as operations conducted via web or cloud-based systems. You should also consider what unique threats there are to a particular system. An important note: it isn’t enough to think about your own business. What about the third-party vendors you’ve hired? Any of their vulnerabilities will affect you, too.
PREVENT AGAINST THE VULNERABILITY OF CONNECTED SYSTEMS Connectivity of systems both internally and externally has been a major driver of technological progress, and the advent of things like cloud-based storage and mobile payment options have made doing business easier. But while interconnected systems may make things run more efficiently, it also can increase risk – a vulnerability in one system can affect the connected ones as well. Keeping critical systems like payroll, business email, and point-of-sale (POS) separate can decrease the inherent risks of connectivity and help ensure one cyber threat doesn’t compromise a business’ entire operation. Another solid strategy is to have a wellintegrated backup system for both internal and customer information. Regularly backing up all files and having separate POS solutions can help you prevent a business from being potentially crippled in the event of an attack.
HANDLE EMPLOYEE ACCESS CAREFULLY Employees can also be a major threat to a company’s cybersecurity infrastructure. Ensuring proper training and clearly defining access to systems based on your employee’s roles helps to cut down the risk that they will introduce a cyber threat, intentionally or not.
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Managing the access of employees also includes regularly updating any security credentials like usernames and passwords, and immediately removing an employee’s access following termination. These are elements that easily can be forgotten and yet can cause serious issues if left unchecked.
DON’T FORGET MOBILE SECURITY The security of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets is also a key consideration in guarding against cyber threats. Regularly updating passcodes, only downloading applications and files from trusted sources, and avoiding any suspicious links or texts are all important to protecting your business from the risks of mobile technology. In addition, using anti-virus software for mobile devices helps protect them in places with public networks like airports, convention centers, and coffee shops. Cyber-attacks can cost your businesses money, customers, and hard-earned reputation, so protecting against them should be a priority. Addressing potential threats can decreases your chances of facing cyber issues during a busy time of year. Download Wells Fargo’s small business cybersecurity guide at https://media. wellsfargoworks.com/management/premiumguide/keeping-your-business-safe.pdf.
BILLINGS CHAMBER WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP NETWORK: ENCORE BY JENNIFER REISER, IOM, CCE CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
he Billings Chamber is seeking diverse female leaders to form a core group of influencers inspiring women through ENCORE: Encouragement. Networking. Consulting. Opportunities. Resources. Empowerment.
Portions of the programming will be designed specifically around our class members’ interests and needs.
The definition of ENCORE is “a demand for repetition or reappearance made by an audience.” In this case the audience is your peers and the demand is for female leaders to repeatedly come together and commit to selfreflection, development and mentoring. As we work together to share wisdom, solve problems and discuss complicated issues, we can reappear as better, stronger versions of ourselves.
The ideal candidates are willing to take the risk of leaving their comfort zone with the intended reward of learning and tackling challenges. Our interactive yet personal sessions promise to be enjoyable, offer learning opportunities, and meet you where you are. We ask you to bring your authentic self, a willingness to learn and contribute, as well as an open mind. Explore topics like work-life integration, personal health, leveraging your strengths as a female leader, uplifting yourself and others, accountability, gender bias, and even some topics that others hesitate to discuss.
Through our unique programming, we focus on both personal and professional growth and explore current issues facing female leaders. At the same time, participants enhance their own leadership skills through a combination of structured workshops, small group discussion and opportunities for free-flowing conversation.
We will meet for eight learning sessions and two special events over 11 months, January – November 2020, each offering four hours of
high value interaction. Learning sessions are typically held the fourth Thursday of each month from 2-6PM. If selected, tuition is $500. Limited scholarships are available based on need. Full participation in a minimum of eight program days is expected. The application deadline is 5:00 p.m. December 20, 2019. Participants will be notified by January 3, 2020. Class size is limited to maximum 35 participants. The ENCORE Women’s Leadership Network is sponsored by Wells Fargo. Application and more information available at BillingsChamber.com.
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SHOP BILLINGS, NOW AND ALL YEAR LONG BY KELLY MCCANDLESS
ccording to American Express and their Small Business Saturday data, “every time you pick up a coffee at your local café, grab lunch at the mom-and-pop shop, or buy a new bag from a local store, you're making an impact in your community. In fact, for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately 67 cents stays in the local community.” Shopping local is truly in line with the chamber of commerce mentality. Year ‘round, we seek ways to support our member businesses: referrals, promotion, building connections between members, and spending our own dollars (business and personal) on goods and services offered by our members. While Small Business Saturday offered one day of focusing on these businesses, the Billings Chamber proudly encourages you to Shop Billings, today, during the holiday season, and all year long.
DECK THE WALLS: Rimrock Art & Frame Adam Gross Photography Terakedis Fine Art Tracy Moore Photographers Clark Marten Photography Vande Studios Oluanai NEED A BEAUTY DAY? Mary Kay Ind. Beauty Consultant – Polly Taggert Sanctuary Spa and Salon Rebels & Razors Barber Club The Rustic Bone-afide Beauty Studio 406 Salon The Massage Company HOBBY-RELATED RETAIL: Wild Birds Unlimited Al’s Bootery This House of Books Pryor Creek Bait Company Butts Gun Sales Magic City Granite Real Deals on Home Décor Leslie’s Hallmark Rec Room Billiard & Recreational Supply Almost Famous Piercing Cameron Records Main Street Menswear Montana HotSpring Spas Leisure in Montana
The economic benefits of shopping with our local businesses is simply the starting point. The experience furthers the benefit. Personal attention, interaction with passionate humans and the ability to touch and feel the items you’re buying all add up to an experience bigger than a transaction. Spending those dollars with your friends and neighbors is a gift that keeps on giving. Local business owners spend their dollars with fellow businesses in Billings, they sponsor sports teams, attend events, and eat in restaurants. The cycle of spending leads to a healthy economy, and transactions we all feel proud of. The Billings Chamber is based on small businesses; in fact, more than 80% of our membership base is comprised of small businesses. The Billings Chamber supports
Stonefly Studio SCHEELS All Sport The Basecamp BSN Sports Potager’s Canyon Creek Nursery Swanky Roots
all businesses through a combination of advocacy, facilitated business connections, and opportunities for growth. In particular, our advocacy efforts aim to be a voice for small businesses in general, speaking out in favor of the legislation, policies, and movements that are pro-business, and advocating against those that will do harm to small businesses. Small Business Saturday and our Shop Billings movement are a perfect example of these efforts. Before going online this holiday season, support your friends and neighbors. Shop Billings! You can explore our member businesses by going to BillingsChamber.com and clicking “Membership Directory.” Below, we’ve also included an extensive list of our member businesses you may want to shop with both before the holidays and after.
Automated Maintenance Services Buffalo Bill Center of the West Comet Air Duct Cleaning Billings Studio Theater Oxi Fresh Carpet Alberta Bair Theater Craft Local KEEP IT FUN… Steep World Lukas Seely Presents
Candy Town USA SHARE SOME SPARKLE: The Grand Escape Room ELICHAI Fine Jewelry FEED THE WANDERLUST… Billings Symphony Orchestra Riddle’s Jewelry KOA Campgrounds & Chorale Goldsmith Gallery Jewelry AAA Travel Oasis Water Park OUT OF THE BOX: Travel Café Photo Booth Billings Dovetail Designs & Millwork Stillwater Anglers Billings Escape Room Toad N Willow East Rosebud Fly & Tackle Par 3 Golf Course Ranch House Meat Co. Bittercreek Outfitters The Briarwood Project Meats Montana Whitewater Rafting Hilands Golf Club Paws & Reflect and Zipline Yegen Golf Club Dee-O-Gee Adventure SCUBA Eagle Rock Golf Course SEE IT CLEARLY: Pryor Creek Bait Red Lodge Mountain Beartooth Vision Center Billings Best Yogurt KEEP IT CLEAN: Heights Eyecare Baskin Robbins Don’s Automatic Car Wash Barnett Opticians U Do Yogurt Mint Smartwash Bauer & Clausen Optometry Art House Cinema & Pub Wetzel’s Quality Cleaners Billings Vision Center ZooMontana Americlean Corp Wise Wonders Science & ON THE LIST: Premier Enterprises The Joy of Living Newman Restoration & Cleaning Discovery Museum Heart Mountain Interpretive Center Liberty & Vine Country Story Skyline Services Huntley Project Museum of Aspinwall Fish Window Cleaning Irrigated Agriculture Cricket Clothing Co. Billings Commercial Cleaning Yellowstone Art Museum Sagebrush Trading Post Executive Cleaning Co. Moss Mansion Historic House The banyan Tree Elite Home Services Museum SOMETHINGchic Sunny Day Cleaning Services Yellowstone County Museum JCPenney COVERT Cleaning Western Heritage Center Red Wing Shoes aMAIDzing Maids
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CALL 1.800.800.7806 TO LEARN MORE SMART. INNOVATIVE. LOCAL. | Powered by | 800.800.7806 | blueprintbytct.com DECEMBER 2019 - FEBRUARY 2020 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 27
NEXT UP WITH NEXTGEN IS SPONSORED BY
BY MARYA PENNINGTON
illings NextGEN has hit the ground running with engaging events to help participants grow professionally and personally while networking. Young professionals (YPs) from so many different careers are recognizing the need to connect, learn, and grow; and to inspire others to do the same!
Lastly, our upcoming Professional Development Series will be held from January to May and is entitled, “Next Level: Identifying What’s Next and How to Get There.” The series will feature five workshops, one each month, that will help attendees evaluate where they are in their own career, where they want to go next, and how they are going to get there. The sessions will enable young professionals to identify their goals and then take action to achieve them.
NextGENers understand the need to spend time with seasoned professionals, and that’s why over 25 of our YPs signed up to be paired with a mentor in our community. The kickoff night allowed mentors and mentees to meet up, break the ice, and make a plan for how they will pursue professional development together. It is so exciting to see these NextGEN mentorship kick-off held at CTA in October. professional relationships mature and grow over the course of the year! Furthering the mentorship offering, NextGENers connected with both college and high school students during our second annual Mocktail Party. This event, held in the fall at Rocky Mountain College and in the spring at MSU Billings, brings students in to practice networking with our NextGEN members and to seek job shadow or internship opportunities. It’s an excellent opportunity to connect our current workforce and emerging leaders with students eager to find their path. Our newest event for NextGEN members is our monthly CoffeeHOUR meeting on the second Wednesday of every month from 7:30 to 9:00am. CoffeeHOUR brings in a local business professional who gives a short presentation and then facilitates a discussion about the topic for the entire group. This event is for those NextGENers preferring those early morning meetings over after work gatherings. Our first two meetings have been a huge success with 30+ members in attendance!
Each session will include a book recommendation to extend the learning around the particular topic, however the book will not be required in order to achieve results from the session. Our presenters for this series will be: • J anuary will highlight Karen Grosz, of Canvas Creek Team Building and also an author, who will present on how to identify what’s next for you in your career, with the book recommendation: What’s Next by Karen Grosz • In February, Susan Shald with Gallup will focus on management with the book recommendation: The Manager by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter • March will showcase Shelby Jo Long-Hammond of Business Dynamics and Rocky Mountain College, who will present on communication and culture when building the next steps in your career. Book TBD. • In April, Karen (Baumgart) Miller of BillingsWorks will share how to thoughtfully build your team both personally and professionally. The book recommendation for this segment is Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect by Matt Leiberman. • The series will conclude in May with William Henry of Be Better World, on how to build habits and take what was learned in previous sessions and put that learning into action to achieve your goals. Book TBD. Registration for the series is $25 per session or $100 if you register for all five. NextGEN is thrilled to offer so many opportunities for young professionals to grow professionally. Find the right fit and get out there! You can learn more at BillingsNextGEN.com.
NextGEN Mocktail event helps students practice networking with YP’s.
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INNER BELT LOOP AND MARATHON TRAIL LOOP NECESSARY FOR BILLINGS BY DANIEL BROOKS
n October a delegation of Billings partner organizations made a trip to Washington D.C. to advocate on behalf of a Billings infrastructure project many years in the making. The partnership met with the Department of Transportation to discuss the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant application that had been submitted by the City of Billings requesting federal grant monies to assist with the project. The partnership, consisting of the City of Billings, Billings Chamber of Commerce, Big Sky Economic Development, and Billings TrailNet, also met with Montana’s congressional delegation: Senators Tester and Daines, and Congressman Gianforte, who offered any assistance they could provide to help Billings realize the project. The project itself consisted of two elements: the Northwest Billings Connector, which is the final piece of the Inner Belt Loop; and completion of the remaining segments of the Marathon Loop Trail System around Billings. The Northwest Billings Connector is an approximately 6-mile stretch of road that will connect the Billings Heights at Skyway Drive to the West End at Zimmerman Trail. This infrastructure is critical to connect a city naturally divided by the Rimrocks. Completion means easier access between Heights and West End for shorter commute times, more commerce activity, and improved safety. The second element of the BUILD grant project is completion of the Marathon Trail Loop that runs around Billings. Completing four final trail segments would allow uninterrupted trail use of approximately 26 miles around Billings: the Skyline Trail overlooking Billings from atop the Rims; Stagecoach Trail to provide safe passage alongside Zimmerman; Riverfront Park to Mystic Park Trail which winds along the Yellowstone River; and the connector between ZooMontana and the Yellowstone River. Not only does completion of the Marathon Loop mean additional recreation and tourism benefits, it would allow more residents to bike to work, reducing traffic congestion and resulting in fewer accidents.
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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Wishing you a
We are grateful for our Clients & associates in the Billings community & look forward to our continued partnerships in the new year.
In total, the BUILD grant application requested $25 million of federal funds with a $7 million local match, far more local dollars than required to apply. Our commitment to such a significant local match demonstrates the certainty of project completion. In fact, even without the BUILD grant monies, portions of the project will be completed. Federal assistance would have helped to speed up the process, but we are not reliant on the federal government to get our projects done. We are grateful for the support from Senators Tester and Daines, as well as Congressman Gianforte. Although we were unsuccessful in securing the grant funding this year, we will make the necessary adjustments and refinements to be more prepared next year. Rest assured the Billings Chamber, along with the other partners, will continue to work toward completion of these projects because it is critical we connect our community, increase safety, and create a more attractive Billings to help address our workforce needs.
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TONY HAWK BRINGS HIS BILLION-DOLLAR BUSINESS EXPERIENCE TO THE CHAMBER BREAKFAST BY JESSICA HART
oin us April 8th for the 56th Annual Chamber Breakfast presented by KULR8. Each year we work to find a dynamic keynote with broad appeal, and this year we have again done just that! Whether you know him from a skateboard poster in your brother’s bedroom, or if you spent hours trying to master his video games, Tony Hawk is a name most know. Whether you were a skateboarder, a gamer, or are new to the Tony Hawk brand, we’re sure you’ll be surprised by his extensive and varied business experience. Ahead of the event, get to know a bit more about our speaker and why you won’t want to miss the 2020 Chamber Breakfast:
SKATEBOARDER Tony Hawk started skating at nine years old, by 14 he turned pro, and by 16 he was widely considered the best skateboarder on Earth. World Champion for 12 years in a row, Hawk continues to skate demos and exhibitions internationally. In 1999, he teamed up with Activision to create the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game. At the X Games that same year,
Tony became the first skateboarder to ever land a 900, the Holy Grail of vert skateboarding.
BUSINESSMAN Today, his business skills have helped create the Tony Hawk brand including a billion-dollar video game franchise, and other successful businesses such as Birdhouse Skateboards, Hawk Clothing, and the Tony Hawk Signature Series sporting goods and toys.
INTUITIVE MARKETER Tony’s fan base numbers are in the millions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. His video game series surpassed $1.4 billion in sales, and his first mobile game, Tony Hawk’s Skate Jam, launched in December 2018. Also in late 2018, Tony partnered with brand marketing veterans to cofound D/CAL, a brand consultancy and creative ad agency based in Detroit and San Diego.
HAWK—Occupation: Skateboarder, was a New York Times bestseller, and his book How
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Did I Get Here? The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO, covers the business side of his career. In 2012, in partnership with Google, Inc., Tony’s film production company, 900 Films, launched the RIDE Channel which has since grown into the biggest skateboard destination on YouTube.
PHILANTHROPIST The Tony Hawk Foundation has given away more than $7.9 million to over 600 skatepark projects throughout the world, including our own skatepark right here in downtown Billings! Tony’s foundation helps finance public skateparks in low-income areas in all 50 states and other parts of the world through their partnership with Skateistan, providing a safe place to skate. Tony Hawk’s expansive business experience is sure to draw a large crowd and send attendees back to work feeling motivated and encouraged. Tables sell out quickly – if you’d like to reserve a table, log on to BillingsChamber.com. General Admission tickets are also available and all tickets include breakfast.
Soar through winter. Why brave icy roads when you can hop on an easy Cape Air flight? Save time, save money, and get there a whole lot faster.
Enjoy the ride.
*Including all taxes and fees. Fares are subject to availability and other conditions. Fares may change without notice, and are not guaranteed until ticketed.
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ANSWERING THE CALL: MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING THOSE IN NEED BY MARYA PENNINGTON
f you can think of a problem in Billings, chances are it is being addressed in some way by an organization or group of people who are committed to making our community a better place. This issue, we’re shining a spotlight on two organizations who are members of the Billings Chamber and are doing important work for some of Billings’ most vulnerable population.
Jane McCracken, Senior Director of Development for Family Service, said, “It is an honor to bless people with what they need.” People help others because they want to give back and give someone else a hand up. You can help support Family Service by donating gently used clothing and household goods, or non-perishable food items at the donation drive through. You can also volunteer at the facility by contacting Jane McCracken at jmccracken@ famserv.com or visiting their website at www. billingsfamilyservice.org.
FAMILY SERVICE Family Service is an organization who helps people move forward when they are in need of the basic dignities life has to offer: food, shelter, clothing, care, employment and purpose. They offer a wealth of services to those in need with the ultimate goal of bringing stability to that person or family. Family Service offers food for families in need by inviting them to come to their warehouse and shop for items they need from the “client choice room.” They also deliver around 400 boxes of food to the elderly who cannot get to a store nor have the support to do so, and are desperately in need of assistance. Family Service is unique in that they do not just provide food, but offer a variety of other services including clothing and household items at a reduced price, emergency rent and utilities aid, education for better employment, and legal aid.
COR Enterprises provides services for adults with developmental, physical and mental disabilities in Billings and the surrounding area. These services are community, facility, vocational, and residentially based. Community services for clients include recreation and socialization opportunities, community activities, and classes on art, cooking, exercise, health and music. COR offers vocational services such as job readiness training and assessments to teach employability skills to individuals desiring a job in the community. They provide facility based employment for people so they can work in the COR woodshop producing construction materials such as stakes, laths, and wedges, or as part of janitorial crews that are employed by local businesses. COR also operates a coffee kiosk open to the public and run by COR staff and clients, teaching key life and employability skills. Many businesses seek out COR clients as employees because they recognize the skills they have to offer and their desire to work. Some examples of Chamber member businesses that hire COR clients are Walmart, Albertsons,
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Goodwill, Pizza Hut, Dovetail Designs & Millwork, and Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Finally, COR supports individuals in their own home by providing assistance with medical appointments, transportation, shopping, meal planning and preparation, and budgeting. The mission of COR is stellar: to promote the dignity, independence, and success of persons with disabilities. These are core values that all people should have access to, and COR Enterprises does it with humility and respect, kindness and grace. CEO Tony Cline said, “We do this work because we value being a part of people’s lives, watching them grow, learn, have friends and become valued members of our community.” COR is always in need of businesses willing to hire clients as employees, as well as hire COR as their janitorial service or wood shop product supplier. You can also help out by volunteering for some of their larger events throughout the year. If you are interested in giving back to COR, please contact Tony Cline at tcline@ corenterprises.com or visit their website at www.corenterprises.com. Many other Chamber member organizations provide supporting services for our region’s at-risk populations. You may also consider supporting: ADULT RESOURCE ALLIANCE http://www.AllianceYC.org Big Brothers Big Sisters Yellowstone County http://www.bbbsyc.org/ BILLINGS FOOD BANK http://www.billingsfoodbank.com BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF YELLOWSTONE COUNTY http://www.begreatyellowstone.org CITIZENS 4 OUR VETERANS http://www.facebook@citizens4ourvets DOG TAG BUDDIES http://www.dogtagbuddies.org DRESS FOR SUCCESS BILLINGS http://billings.dressforsuccess.org EASTERSEALS - GOODWILL http://www.esgw.org FAMILY PROMISE http://www.familypromisewv.org HABITAT FOR HUMANITY http://www.billingshabitat.org HRDC COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY http://www.hrdc7.org/ MONTANA COMMUNITY SERVICES, INC. http://www.mtcsinc.com/ MONTANA RESCUE MISSION http://www.montanarescuemission.org NATIVE AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT CORP. http://www.nadc-nabn.org/ OPTIMIST CLUBS OF YELLOWSTONE COUNTY http://www.BillingsOptimist.org TUMBLEWEED RUNAWAY PROGRAM http://www.tumbleweedprogram.org UNITED WAY OF YELLOWSTONE COUNTY http://www.UnitedWayYellowstone.org
No matter what kind of work you do in Montana, safety works. From tending the herd to growing the future, safety is what keeps us going and gets us home. Montana State Fund has been at the job of promoting safety for decades, and we’re proud to say that it’s working, all over the state. Watch stories of real Montana businesses starting every day with safety at safemt.com.
sit back... relax... stay a while...
The following Chamber member businesses recently celebrated grand openings, anniversaries, rebranding, relocation, and ground breakings. Congratulations to each of them!
COLDWELL BANKER celebrated a
milestone of 30 years in Billings on August 21st.
MAGIC CITY REAL ESTATE showed off the new location on August 22nd.
opened a second location on Shiloh on August 28th.
September 4th marked a full year in business.
• Free Hot Breakfast • Heated Salt Water Pool • Fitness Center • Close to Restaurants
THRYV kicked off the new business name on September 30th.
All of our rooms are suites with fully equipped kitchens.
DENT SOURCE opened a branch in
Billings with a celebration on October 1st.
ADULT RESOURCE ALLIANCE
October 22nd was the day they showed off their second location.
OPPORTUNITY BANK The new building
on 27th Street was revealed to all on October 23rd.
JERSEY MIKE’S was welcomed to Billings BATH PLANET held a grand opening at at the grand opening on September 11th.
FIT 406 BOOT CAMP launched their business September 12th.
CENTURY 21 opened a second location in downtown to better serve clients on September 18th.
BAUER & CLAUSEN held a celebration for the new optometrist on September 20th.
ground breaking was held on September 23rd for the renovation and expansion.
their location in Rimrock Mall on November 1st.
THE MASSAGE COMPANY Cheers on
November 8th to their 5th year of business.
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.
2480 Grant Road | Billings 406-652-7106 www.marriott.com/bilts
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NEW CHAMBER A.M. SERIES OFFERS NETWORKING AND PROGRAMMING BEFORE WORK
BY JESSICA HART
hamber A.M., presented by Entre Technology Services and hosted by the Northern Hotel, is our newest event series for you, our members, to stay up to date on the Chamber’s priority projects. These quarterly morning meetings are a hybrid of networking time and information download – think Business After Hours with more structure and held before work. During our next event on January 21st, we will immerse attendees in what it really means for businesses
to hold themselves accountable for public safety through the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) program. The Chamber will share how you and your business can benefit from a CPTED evaluation. Yes, you’ve heard about public safety from us and others before. So, what’s new? The Chamber’s Business Advocacy Director, Daniel Brooks, is now trained in the evaluation process and will share his plan of action on how to assist Chamber Members to be their best
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.
defense in crime prevention. (See his article on page 20 to learn more ahead of the event in January!) This Chamber A.M. is about empowerment, accountability and action. Join us from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. to learn more.
UPCOMING CHAMBER A.M. EVENTS:
APRIL 28TH Topic to be determined JUNE 26TH State of the City and County Cost to attend is $25 for Members, $30 for Non Members and includes breakfast, coffee, incredible content and quality networking. The doors open at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast and 30 minutes of networking. The program runs from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Register at BillingsChamber.com.
JANUARY 21ST Accountability and Action in Public Safety
STEWART TITLE AT SHILOH COMMONS JANUARY 8
BLUEPRINT MANAGED BUSINESS SOLUCTIONS BY TCT LOCATION TBD • FEBRUARY 12 BAUER CLAUSEN MARCH 11 RESIDENCE INN APRIL 8
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AG CELEBRATION JANUARY 31ST MONTANA PAVILION AT METRAPARK Presented by Yellowstone Valley Electric Co-Op
TRIM 8.375” w x 8.3475”
WE ARE PROUD TO HOST THE 2020 NAIA DIVISION I WOMEN’S BASKETBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
MARCH 18-24, 2020 First Interstate Arena at MetraPark BILLINGS, MONTANA
A SPORTS AN C NT
TRIM 8.375” w x 8.3475”
815 S. 27th St. Billings, MT 59101
Information about the city of Billings. New legislation. Upcoming Events. Political issues and more.