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bill cole

I S S U E 8 | D E C E M B E R 2 0 15 - F E B R U A RY 2016

Growth and Progess:


Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives

2015 Chamber of the Year


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table of contents


12.15 CONTENTS p.16

growth and progress: billings air service



The Five Levels of Leadership by John C. Maxwell




p. 22

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PRESIDENTS LETTER 'Tis the season to say, “Thank you.”




Travel to Tuscany with the Billings Chamber in 2016.



Some of the latest statistics and economic data impacting businesses in Billings.



Supporting Eastern Montana legislatively.

MONTANA’S TRAILHEAD Inspiration to travel from Visit Billings.

p.10 p.13


The accountant for the Chamber, Visit Billings & Visit Southeast Montana.

TRIPS ON A TANKFUL Top 10 Restaurants in Southeast Montana.

Get to Know BILL COLE

p. 28




Annual Chamber Agriculture Appreciation Banquet.


p. 27

Did we see you at recent Chamber events? Look for yourself and your friends in LiNKED!

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Top Investors


Big Sky level

'TIS THe season to say “Thank you."

For all those who give to the greater good of our community and our economy: “thank you.”

It is a special time of year. The holidays! Although Thanksgiving has passed, showing appreciation to the people and organizations that continually provide Billings with limitless energy and support should be a year-round effort. For all those who give to the greater good of our community and our economy: “thank you.” To the small businesses and their owners who keep Billings unique; who took a risk; and now reinvest in their hometown, “thank you.” And thank them by shopping local.

Granite Peak level CenturyLink Holiday Station Stores U.S. Bank

Beartooth level Albertsons District Office Bay, LTD Big Sky Economic Development BNSF Century 21 Hometown Brokers Computers Unlimited Crowley Fleck PLLP Denny Menholt Chevrolet ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Co. Gainan’s Integra Kampgrounds Of America Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. Olsen Ortho Studio PayneWest Insurance Phillips 66 Rocky Mountain College Spectrum Business (Formerly Charter Business) Stockman Bank, Billings Underriner Honda Vertex Consulting Group Walmart, Heights Walmart, Westend Western Security Bank, Downtown

Site. “Thank you, Phillips 66!” Our trail network is growing and connecting our heritage for all to enjoy, including the Yellowstone Kelly site. Over 15 businesses generously contributed financially (nearly $600,000) to our pitch to secure American Airlines service to Dallas. “Thank you” Billings Gazette, Billing Clinic, PayneWest Insurance and so many others. Read more about their impact on air service in this issue.

In this issue of LiNK we once again look at some of the workforce challenges these businesses and large businesses are struggling with and how our 3.0% unemployment is being tackled.

Chamber staff: a big “THANK YOU!” Your work is helping Billings grow and improve while changing lives. You are making it happen. Alex, Jennifer, Bruce, Kelly, René, Megan, Nick, Andy, Kevin, Dan, Stefan, Alyssa, Jessica; you all are the best. Our members, volunteers and our board (especially Chair Jeff Walters): “Thank you.”

Last week Phillips 66 announced an $80,000 contribution to the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive

Happy Holidays to everyone, and for those who celebrate Christmas, have a merry one.

Crowne Plaza MSU Billings

LiNK is proudly distributed at these member businesses: • Atlas Chiropractic • Beartooth Vision • Brewer Dental • Montana Medical Aesthetics • Olsen Ortho Studio • Riverstone Health • St. Vincent Healthcare

• Barnett Opticians • BioLife Plasma • Grand Avenue Dental • Moulton Bellingham • Prill Dental • Starbucks

Published by:

The Billings Gazette

Project Management/ Editor:

Kelly McCandless


Nadine Bittner

Photo Contributors:

Advertising Sales:

Billings Gazette Staff Photographers, Billings Chamber, Visit Billings, Rhea Wolpoe, Shutterstock Kevin Cremer 406-245-4111

www.billingschamber.com PO Box 31177 Billings MT 59107-1177 406-245-4111 • 800-711-2630

Fax 406-245-7333

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Travel to Tuscany with the Billings Chamber BY JENNIFER REISER, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

In 2011 the Billings Chamber hosted its first international awareness opportunity. Since then, over 175 individuals have joined family and friends on international tours to learn about the economy, culture, people and history of foreign countries. The Billings Chamber connects travelers to affordable international travel while offering the chance to foster both personal and professional relationships through extended periods of quality networking. This year the Billings Chamber is pleased to offer a trip to Tuscany. Known for its beautiful landscapes, its rich artistic legacy and vast influence on high culture, Tuscany is widely regarded as the true birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, and has been home to some of

the most influential people in the history of art and science. Visitors come to Tuscany for many reasons: in search of fine art, to explore the extraordinary countryside and more.

to Pisa, Lucca, Siena, San Gimignano and Cinque Terre. Travelers also have the option of continuing their adventure for an additional two-day extension to Rome.

The tour package features round-trip air transportation from Billings, first-class hotel accommodations for 7 nights, baggage handling and transfers, superb cuisine, sightseeing including a local, English-speaking guide and all entrance fees for full day tours to Florence, Chianti Classico and Rome. Travelers will tour in private, deluxe, air-conditioned motor coaches and participate in daily international awareness discussions on the local region.

On November 1, 2016 the group will depart for a nine day, seven night excursion that begins in the town of Pistoia, a well-preserved and charming medieval city inside the old walls. The tour price begins at just $3,299 per person for double occupancy if reserved by April 29, 2016. The full brochure, itinerary and registration forms are available at BillingsChamber.com.

Additional optional day tours are available

The tour is open to both Chamber members and non-members as well as to individuals and families outside the Billings area.

Chamber Statistics: What are we doing for you? As of November 16, 2015 the Billings Chamber represents 1,178 members with approximately 49,641 employees. Since the beginning of our fiscal year on July 1, 2015 through November 1, 2015: Number of Calls/Inquiries:........3,238 (average of 1,079/month) Visitors to the Visitor Information Center:.......................... 7,382 Visits to VisitBillings.com:.................................................. 87,085 Visits to BillingsChamber.com:.......................................... 12,424 Relocation Packets Mailed:....................................................... 63

Connect for Lunch:...................67 lunches served so far this FY. At an average cost of $12/lunch that is an impact of $804 to member restaurants.

Convention and Meeting Tourism Bookings:.................... 16,750 hotel room nights booked for $3,768,750 total economic impact on the city of Billings.

Conventions and Meetings Serviced by Visit Billings:....... 7,382 convention delegate packets provided.

Visitor Information Packets Mailed:.................................... 4,776 Business Meeting Attendees at Chamber:.......................... 2,774 Chamber Event Attendance:................................................. 1,221

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.

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Community Statistics


80.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 70.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 60.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 50.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 40.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 30.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 20.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 10.0%___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 0.0%____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2014



2013 Montana


United States

Unemployment Rate Comparison

Yellowstone County Population

City Population

154,200 106,954







Percent change in county population 2010-2013




Unemployment Rate as of November 2015 Yellowstone County

Median Household Income



United States

Airport Deboardings: City Comparison 600,000_______________________________________________________________________________________


Average Home Price



300,000_________________________________________________________________________________________________ Number of Business Licenses




School District #2 Enrollment


Sources: Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Billings Association of Realtors®, City of Billings, School District #2, U.S. Census Bureau and the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research.

0 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________


2014 Billings


2013* Missoula


*2013 Billings deboardings were impacted by runway maintenance in July/August. **2015 deboardings reported for January – September only.

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Supporting Eastern Montana BY BRUCE MACINTYRE, Director of Government Affairs and Business Advocacy

Our goal is to heighten awareness among the legislators and the Governor’s office. It’s a big job, but it has to be done. AT WORK ON AN OIL RIG – Photo COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

Each fall for the past five years, the Billings Chamber and Big Sky Economic Development Authority reach out to our partners in eastern Montana and talk about what issues are most important to them and how we might be able to help. The issue that is always at the top of the list is the impact energy development has on the roads, bridges, schools, communities and counties throughout eastern Montana. Sadly, the impact is great, the needs diverse and help from outside the area is n`on-existent. Western North Dakota received millions of dollars from their state to mitigate the wear and tear, growth and burden that comes with the Bakken. Eastern Montana is an area of vast resources and small population in the towns and cities in the region. The number of legislators representing eastern Montana in the Montana legislature is few and the infrastructure upgrades needed are significant. In the past two legislative sessions, the state of Montana has not approved funding for eastern Montana impacted areas. In 2013, a bill to help mitigate the

impacts passed the legislature and was vetoed by the Governor. In 2015 it missed approval in the legislature by one vote. At our meeting last year, our group agreed to send a letter to the Governor and all legislators outlining the needs and asking for $90 million to help mitigate a part of the $500 million plus needs in eastern Montana counties. At our meeting this fall, we unanimously agreed to go back to the legislature a third time in 2017 with another proposal and a new plan to accomplish it. Eastern Montana sends significant extractive resource dollars to the state and receives little in return to help offset the burden. How do you paint a picture of crumbling roads and bridges, overburdened water and sewer systems and community infrastructure exceeding its capacity to serve the community? We have to show legislators the region, preferably in person. Our goal is to heighten awareness among the legislators and the Governor’s office. It’s a big job, but it has to be done.

Follow more CHAMBER work on local, state and federal Issues. Visit OUR POLICY website:





What inspires you as a traveler? Thoughts or images of a relaxing trip to the coast of Oregon? The warmth of a southern town in February? Perhaps a historic point you’ve always wanted to visit or a natural space you have on your bucket list to tackle? But to get there, how do you know where you’ll stop along the way? Which cities you’ll travel through and explore aside from your ultimate destination? Isn’t part of the fun getting there? As a Destination Management Organization, or DMO, Visit Billings is accustomed to working hard to market the Billings brand to help place the city on the itineraries of potential visitors from all over. We are the trailhead to some of the most phenomenal natural wonders and richest historic places in the world. We are ‘genetically fortunate’ as Visit Billings consultant Judy Randall would say. Every day millions of people are dreaming of or planning their

LiNK_December-January_2015.indd 10

bucket list adventures to our part of the world. Yellowstone National Park, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, the top-rated Beartooth Scenic Byway, the only known physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition at Pompeys Pillar, or simple Montana outdoor adventures like fly-fishing or hiking. Montana has it all and Billings is a great place to start a trip or plan a stop. We are a remarkable destination alone, true, but our proximity to the aforementioned sites sets us apart. So, Visit Billings works to inspire people to think Billings. We inspire people to find their way here so they can explore cultural attractions, the Rimrocks and the Yellowstone River, breweries, top-rated dining options, events and our sheer love and appreciation of the West. Tourism is the third most influential industry on the local economy. Therefore, it’s important for Visit Billings’ strategic efforts to be executed effectively for the future

of the industry and the businesses, like hotels, restaurants and retailers, which rely on it. In 2014, nonresident guests (not from Montana) spent $374 million in Yellowstone County. This doesn’t include someone coming to Billings from Miles City or Missoula, for instance. That’s quite an impact. Montana is a bucket-list destination, indeed, but people still aren’t always sure where it sits in the country, let alone where Billings is in the state. This is where the Visit Billings team strategies to inspire and orient prospective visitors come into play. “Montana? Yes! Wait, how do I get there and which cities can accommodate me along my travels?” Well, we say, ‘Billings is a must stop!’ We use images of breathtaking scenery, strategic calls to action and unique events and attractions to get attention and orient potential visitors. Careful placements inspire people to think Billings: from Chicago

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transit and Minneapolis/ St. Paul Airport Concourse G takeovers to print and digital placements in/on publications and websites ranging from small town newsletters and newspapers to National Geographic and Sunset magazines. Visit Billings works diligently to keep visitors flowing in to the community and filling hotels. Here are a few examples of our most recent inspiration.




hether you seek adrenaline pumping adventure or easy paced experiences, Billings, Montana’s Trailhead is the perfect place to start your

History is right out your front door. Walk back in time at Pompeys Pillar

r al

journey. Billings offers exceptional air service and is the ideal home base for

and Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monuments - each within an hour of


venturing off to enjoy surrounding areas.

Billings. Take in the stunning views of scenic Beartooth Highway to Yellow-


stone National Park and experience truly local flavor on the back roads and in


As the largest community between Calgary and Denver, Spokane and Min-

the open spaces of Big Sky Country.

neapolis, Billings boasts big city amenities with a truly small town feel. The people possess a perspective on life that is uniquely Montanan and inher-

Billings allows you to travel throughout history, through majesty and within

ently individual; they actually look you in the eye and take time to make you

legend — use it as your trailhead to Yellowstone and so much more!

feel welcome. S TART PL ANNING YOUR TRIP TODAY! Stroll historic Montana Avenue in downtown Billings, busy with retail and culture

VisitBillings.com | Facebook.com/billingsmt

by day, and a hot spot at night with award-winning cuisine and Montana’s only

@MTsTrailhead (Twitter) | @montanastrailhead (Instagram)

walkable brewery district, boasting six breweries and two distilleries.

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. VisitBillings.com Visit Billings is managed by the Billings Chamber of Commerce.

Leisure advertisement published in the WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Horizon Travel Magazine. A video snippet was also viewed 120 times in Times Square IN early fall. – Photo COURTESY OF VISIT BILLINGS


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Soar through winter.




* each way

Why brave icy roads when you can hop on



an easy Cape Air flight? Save time, save

Wolf Point Sidney

money, and get there a whole lot faster.



Enjoy the ride.

capeair.com 800-CAPE-AIR *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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Favorite Chamber/Visit Billings event or program?

Growing up in a small rural town in northeast Montana, farming and agriculture has always been a part of my life. I love how the community and our members come together to recognize the industry with our annual Ag Appreciation Banquet.


Years on Staff: 2.5 Years

Describe your position in 5 words. Challenging, Complex, Rewarding, Excel Spreadsheets

If you could make one change in Billings today, what would it be? Getting some form of public safety initiative passed. As Billings continues to grow and prosper public safety needs to be one of our top concerns.

Tell us about your photo: One of Billings’ many beauties – the Yellowstone River during Fall.

The dish you’re known for cooking? Enchiladas

One adjective that describes you: Determined


What is one thing about the organization you think most people don’t know?

I don’t think people realize how far-reaching the organization is. With the combination of the three entities (Chamber, Visit Billings, Visit Southeast Montana), the work we do here goes beyond just Billings and touches the lives of everyone in our region, and, in some cases, the entire state.


What book is on your nightstand?

Words you live by: Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible”! - Audrey Hepburn

#GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso





inter in Montana often brings out the recreationalists and snow enthusiasts. But, for those of us who prefer warmth and being indoors this time of year, check out our top 10 list of restaurants in Southeast Montana. The eateries found here offer something for casual diners and foodies alike, so plan a day trip during these cold months to indulge in something new!

3. 3 Brothers Bistro

1. Gust Hauf

There’s only one place in Southeast Montana where you can have dinner, get some Montana-made ice cream, and watch the latest new releases on the big screen, all under one roof: 3 Brothers Bistro in Hardin. With a wide variety of homemade meals and selection of Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream, there’s no better way to fill up before a movie.

SoutheastMontana.com 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.

4. Montana Bar When in Glendive one only needs to watch for the giant beer stein to find one of the best places in town to get pizza and a local brew. The Gust Hauf stocks several brews from nearby Beaver Creek Brewery in Wibaux, and boasts unique pizza offerings including Reuben, Philly Cheesesteak and Chicken Alfredo.

2. Dirty Oscars Annex Dirty Oscars is one of the newest restaurants to open in the Roundup area. Using the same recipe of quality food and plentiful drinks, the Roundup restaurant is following the formula which made it successful first in Tacoma, WA.

The Montana Bar is a Miles City institution. Its walls have housed sheep herders, ranchers, and the occasional brawler since the 1890s. Today it still offers up cold brews and stiff drinks much as it did back then, and has been called Montana’s best preserved old time saloon.

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5. The Shamrock

8. 600 Cafe

The Shamrock Club is the kind of bar where the burgers are always bigger than expected. Be sure to check out the collection of antique bits and spurs displayed throughout the restaurant.

Family owned and operated, the 600 Cafe in Miles City has been serving up quality comfort food since 1946. It’s a perfect place to stop for some diner style dinner or a hearty breakfast. The Chicken Fried Steak is particularly famous.

6. Beaver Creek Brewery The only microbrewery in our region east of Billings, Beaver Creek Brewery is a hot bed for live music and good brews in eastern Montana. Head over to Wibaux to check it out!

7. Custer Battlefield Trading Post

10. Jersey Lilly

9. Busy Bee Cafe The Busy Bee has been serving hearty food and delicious pies to the people of Roundup for decades. The restaurant, with its famous horse statue, is one of the most recognizable icons in town.

If Indian tacos the size of dinner plates sound tempting, then Custer Battlefield Trading Post is your place. Located in Crow Agency just across the highway from the entrance to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, this restaurant/ gift store is a must see in Southeast Montana.

The Jersey Lilly is certainly one of the more unique restaurants in Montana. The restrooms are nothing more than outhouses. It’s the only restaurant and one of the few remaining businesses open in the tiny ranching town of Ingomar. Yet it has also been featured on the Food Network for its unique cowboy fare.

roundup, Montana By Nick ManN

The town of Roundup, just 50 miles north of Billings, is a gem of a destination which for too long has been mostly unknown by vacationers in Billings. Most hunters in the Billings area recognize Roundup as a hub for some of the best deer and elk hunting in the state, but what most don’t realize is that the city is reinventing itself. There are cultural opportunities in Roundup that rival any other town in Montana of similar size, as exemplified by the Coila Evans Art

& Gift Gallery. The Gallery is dedicated to showcasing contemporary art with traditional subjects. It proudly shows original, collectible works by established and emerging artists. Many of the artists and artisans whose works are shown in this gallery are local to Roundup, and the majority of the art originates from the state of Montana. The city of Roundup is increasingly recognizing that there is potential for a positive relationship between the town and its much larger neighbor,

Billings. In the past Roundup citizens often saw the proximity between the two communities as a negative, but the advantage of being so near to a large customer base of people looking for opportunities to take easy day trips is becoming more apparent. With the days growing colder and trips to the mountains becoming more difficult, Roundup provides an excellent opportunity to get out of town and experience all that makes rural Montana unique. SOUTHEAST MONTANA – Photo COURTESY OF THE BILLINGS GAZETTE

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Growth and Progess:


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Airplanes move more than just people. They can move an economy by encouraging business and family relocation and delivering customers to our door through business relationships and non-resident travel. Part of advancing Billings as the dynamic center of our multi-state region is to provide increased air service and improve the airport experience. A strong economy, and a progressive community, is dependent on mobility and access. Billings currently has direct air service to nine national destinations—but just four of those destinations can be reached with daily service as opposed to seasonal or weekly. Those nine cities are the most traveled to daily destinations by Billings’ passengers. The 10th and 11th most traveled to cities daily by Billings residents are Houston and Dallas (at a virtual tie). In addition Logan International Airport serves as a hub for Cape Air’s direct flights from five Montana communities.

Last year, according to Billings Airport, 857,291 passengers came through our airport. The compounded increase from 10 years ago is just 0.5% when there were 819,700 passengers. That growth has not even kept pace with our population growth of 5.0% in just the past five years. The Billings Chamber in partnership with Big Sky Economic Development, Visit Billings, Billings Logan Airport and a number of private business partners has developed a three-part plan designed to increase and improve air service in Billings. The plan is to: • Increase direct destination service while maintaining our existing service; • Improve the airport facility experience; • Increase passengers through awareness efforts. The Chamber’s Air Service Committee Chair Ron Yates says, “Air service provides a vital link to business and economic growth, trade and tourism, family and opportunity. By proactively

Ron Yates Air Service Committee Chair

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focusing on improving service and physical airport facilities, we are seeking to move the needle toward the attainment of great, rather than just good – in terms of competitive pricing, increased options, improved functionality, and an outstanding overall experience.”

Increase Direct Destination Service

Billings is a stable, year-round business community in need of connectivity to the southeast United States. Early last month representatives from Billings met with route planners from American Airlines to propose direct service from Billings to Dallas. Currently American is not in Montana and offers only seasonal service in Wyoming to Jackson Hole. American Airlines is the largest carrier in the world and Dallas/Fort Worth is the fourth busiest airport in America (behind Atlanta, Los Angeles and Chicago). Dallas is the city visited most frequently on a daily basis by Billings residents without a current direct flight. Attracting American to Billings with Dallas/ Fort Worth will not only improve service to the Dallas area but increase Billings’ connectivity to the southeast United States, Mexico and South America overall. Dallas, as the hub for American, would open 44 additional one-stop destinations from Billings (26 domestic and 18 international destinations). American Airlines planners were very impressed by the presentation and the prospect of doing business in our region. American is looking at several options across the country and Billings is now on their radar. Their decision, which could take several months or over a year, will be made based on financial projections and available resources (pilots and aircraft).

Airline Guarantees

Although research and forecasting through a professional airline consultant shows American would be profitable if they offered twice daily Billings-Dallas service, communities the size of Billings typically must share in the financial risk, especially in a startup market. For that reason the private business sector in Billings offered American $750,000 as a revenue guarantee. That means if American falls short of projections in their first year, private local supporters (not government entities or taxpayer dollars) would pay the difference up to $750,000. The business community (more than a dozen partners thus far), led by a contribution from the Billings Tourism Business Improvement District as well as the Billings Clinic, and the Billings Gazette, committed most of the

Air Service

Billings Daily Passenger Destinations RANK




Las vegas, nv........................................78.2

2 Seattle, wa...........................................74.8


DENVER, CO.............................................74.1


PHOENIX, AZ (AZA).................................. 47.8


PORTLAND, OR....................................... 45.7


LOS ANGELES, CA................................... 34.5


MINNEAPOLIS, MN..................................30.5


PHOENIX, AZ (PHX)..................................28.2

9 SALT LAKE CITY, UT................................19.1


HOUSTON, TX (IAH).................................. 17.8


DALLAS, TX (DFW).................................. 17.4

12 SAN FRANCISCO, CA............................... 17.2 13 ATLANTA, GA...........................................16.9 14

ORANGE COUNTY, CA..............................15.9


ORLANDO, FL (MCO)................................15.9


CHICAGO, IL (ORD)...................................14.9


anchorage, ak......................................13.6


san diego, ca.........................................13.4


new york, ny (lga)..............................12.3

20 oakland, ca.......................................... 11.1 domestic total/average




example, we’ve had physicians relocate from Billings to larger cities with better air service to make it more convenient to care for aging parents,” Duncan continued. “Providing quality air service to the region is paramount to maintaining our competitive advantage as a vibrant regional hub,” said Billings Gazette Publisher Mike Gulledge. “We are a growing city and our population growth is outpacing enplanements. The Gazette has been vocal about improving opportunities for air travel and feels strongly about how this can help improve business, recreation, tourism and overall quality of life.”


required funds for the benefit of the entire community. “Billings is thriving in so many ways and to continue on our positive trajectory, we must invest in key areas like air service,” said Billings Clinic Foundation President Jim Duncan. “Even though our geographic isolation is one of the things we like best about living in Montana, expanded air service helps retain talent in our community knowing they can more easily stay connected with family across the nation. As an

In addition to our meeting with American, the Billings Chamber Air Service Committee will be meeting with Delta, United and Horizon to discuss their growth plans in our marketplace.

Improve the Airport facility experience

First impressions are important. There is arguably no better view from outside the airport overlooking the Yellowstone River Valley. However, the facility itself is dated. The airport is the entryway and part of our brand identity for those arriving by air. The original terminal was built in 1958 and concourses were added in 1971. The last remodel, which moved the front of the building further south to add the baggage claim area, was in 1991. Kevin Ploehn, Interim Director of Aviation and Transit says that a proposed $45 million

remodel and expansion is focusing on enhancing the traveling public’s experience, upgrading technology, check-in, the car rental process, baggage claim area and possibly adding another aircraft gate to accommodate more airlines. “The plan will be to enlarge hold room areas, provide larger rest rooms, expanded concession areas and offer concessions post-screening. The expansion would significantly enlarge the screening area, making it large enough for six screening lanes utilizing the type of equipment currently required by the Transportation Safety Administration. City Council will be asked to approve the design contract in spring of 2016. The construction contract approval would likely be in the fall of 2017.”

Increase passengers

To effectively grow our air service Visit Billings launched a seasonal campaign called “Fly Billings.” Print and electronic marketing messages are currently running throughout our region to encourage travel through hotel discounts, park and fly packages and more. These type of campaigns, along with marketing in destinations currently served such as Minneapolis and Chicago, will boost travel. At the same time, Billings residents need to “Fly Local.” At times, sure, Bozeman will offer better connectivity, cheaper airfare and better departure times. However, more often than not, Billings is the better deal. The more we utilize our airport, the more passengers our current carriers serve, the more they will invest in our growth.

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Air Service Myth Busters • Myth: Only tourists use the airport. Reality: Billings is a businesscentric economy with about 70% of airport traffic coming from our business community and our residents. Only about 30% of air traffic originates out of our marketplace.

• Myth: Billings’ travelers use

Bozeman’s Airport in great numbers.

Reality: Of all the passengers that fly out of Bozeman, just 3.9% come from Billings and the 250,000 population surrounding Billings. Conversely, of all the passengers flying out of Billings, 2.9% originate from Bozeman.

•M  yth: It costs significantly more to fly out of Billings than Bozeman.

Reality: The average roundtrip ticket costs $2.25 more out of Billings on average. At times it will be significantly cheaper to fly out of Billings. Other times a ticket may be less expensive departing from Bozeman. Airlines and their third party vendors use dynamic pricing that fluctuates seasonally and even daily depending on capacity.


Outbound planes:................................10,085 Outbound Seats:.................................532,089 Outbound paid passengers:.............411,819 Total 2014 passengers (including frequent flier and gratuity tickets):......................................857,291



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12/8/2015 11:46:48 AM

seeks solutions to industry-wide workforce shortages in Billings B y S h e l l e y Va n At ta In the September issue of LiNK, we introduced you to BillingsWorks, a focused initiative, begun two years ago, led by the Big Sky Economic Development Authority and Coproration and the Billings Chamber of Commerce, comprising key leaders and stakeholders from broad sectors of business, industry and education, with ambitious goals of enhancing the growth of existing businesses, recruiting new businesses, and developing a robust, sustainable economy as it strides toward its 2023 end-goal of making Billings the premier hub for workforce development. A call-to-action that served as an impetus for BillingsWorks was a comprehensive State of the Workforce report that boasted a nearly 70% labor-force participation rate in Yellowstone County (compared to 64%, nationwide). The report disclosed that Yellowstone County employers have a future need of 1,000 new employees, but the report also disturbingly

revealed that nearly seven-in-10 employers are not confident there will be prospective employees available with the skill-sets required to fill their employment needs. This skill-gap could put the skids on potential economic growth. Leading the BillingsWorks initiative is Steve Arveschoug, executive director of Big Sky Economic Development, who is well aware of the complexities and challenges that arise from the wide disparity of employer needs, which run the gamut from administrative positions to highlevel executive talent; from technical expertise to service-provider jobs, and a kaleidoscope of employment needs in between.

While reaching out to business and industry, through an inclusive survey which led to the development of the State of the Workforce Report, Arveschoug said that the Workforce Roundtable Council realized, “There is no one simple solution, no magic bullet that is going to fix the problem for everybody.” Service-sector workers, he added, “are really needed,” as is “meeting the needs of our hospitals, our manufacturers and others. How do we identify the needs and the gaps, and what can our community do to attract a diverse workforce?”


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These are the issues that members of the Roundtable Council grapple with as they identify trends in workforce supply and demand, and focus their efforts not only on attracting new talent, but on retaining existing employees as well, something Roundtable member and hotelier Steve Wahrlich experienced firsthand. In 2011, Wahrlich did not experience much employee turnover. He issued 51 W-2s, well above his typical workforce of about 40, eight of whom were H-2B temporary non-agricultural workers. Then, in 2012, many H-2B workers did not get processed into the U.S.; as a result of this and other circumstances, he said he “witnessed a huge leap in turn-overs,” adding that he issued 124 W-2s that year, more than double the amount of the year before. “That was what I saw as the beginning of a labor problem in Billings. It probably was exacerbated because the Bakken caused a black-gold-rush mentality and people were leaving Billings to go to the oil fields” for higher-paying jobs, leaving him scrambling to fill employment slots and to devise strategies to retain the employees he had. “With unemployment at only 2% in Billings, we’re lacking bodies. Even though Billings enjoys a larger population compared to the rest of the state, we don’t have enough people doing service work.” His membership on the Roundtable Council has shown him, “We have a huge need to attract talent to the city in order to grow, whether it’s doctors or welders. Conversely—and it was one of those ‘Ah-ha!’ moments for us on the Council— every doctor who comes here also brings

kids; those kids go to Taco Bell, Burger King, and other places where service people are needed. I don’t think there’s a ratio to determine, for every professional who comes to Billings, a certain number of service-sector jobs are needed; still, we know it to be true. Who’s going to be getting the doctor’s laundry done? Who’s going to be running the valet today? There’s a void and we need to provide training, skills and job opportunities for those who want to stay here, especially our youth.” Wahrlich is one of Billings’ strongest supporters, and his enthusiasm for Montana’s Trailhead is evident: “Billings is a neat place to live, it really is. After living in San Francisco, Denver and New York, people say, ‘Why Billings?’ If someone told me tomorrow I could live anywhere I wanted, I would tell them I’m staying here. It’s a great community, a great size, there’s enough diversity, there’s a lot of things to do. What makes it tough is that we don’t have enough bodies coming in to support the demands of a growing economy, a growing community; so, the BillingsWorks initiative’s mission is to figure how to get bodies. That also incorporates other factors, such as: how are we going to house these people? Then, you have this whole issue of the professional workers: what are we offering them? Do we continue to have good city government, schools, library system, things that people would be proud to say, ‘Hey, come visit me in Billings?’ That’s why I got involved in BillingsWorks, because this problem probably isn’t going to get better in the near future unless we do something.”


LiNK_December-January_2015.indd 23

BillingsWorks’ State of the Workforce Report is a compilation of results from an extensive survey, which provided valuable data that the Workforce Roundtable Council is using to create the Workforce Council Action Plan, a long-term strategy to meet the myriad challenges of Billings’ workforce demands head-on. The most difficulty, the report reflected, is in finding candidates with sufficient critical-thinking proficiencies, initiative, and problem-solving abilities. The report also showed that skilled trade and technical positions have the lowest workforce availability and the longest recruitment times. Hardest-to-Fill Positions, according to the State of the Workforce Report, are: • Manufacturing, Engineering, Energy: Technical and/or skilled trade positions; professionals with 5-10 years of experience. • IT and Professional Services: Midlevel professionals with 5-10 years of experience; entry-level workers with necessary technical skills. • Healthcare: All levels affected, from physicians and psychiatrists, to RNs and therapists, to support positions. • Retail and Hospitality: Entry-level and midlevel management.

12/8/2015 11:46:56 AM



Annually the Chamber holds its Agriculture Appreciation Banquet.

Awareness and appreciation: That’s why the Chamber Ag Appreciation Banquet is hosted every winter. Agriculture is the region’s number one industry. Whether it’s crops, beef cattle, dairy cows, sheep, swine, llamas, horses or honey bees, the efforts and contributions of our farmers and ranchers are something to celebrate. Annually the Chamber holds its Agriculture Appreciation Banquet. This year the event is presented by Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative and will be held the evening of January 15th. We are pleased to announce the

event has moved to MetraPark in the Rimrock Auto Arena. The evening includes a prime rib dinner, industry update, presentation of the Ag Excellence Award, and entertainment from Seth Turner and the High Desert Drifters. Sponsor a table for $600 which includes preferential seating and sponsor recognition at the event, or purchase a table for the discounted member rate of $450/reserved table of ten. Nonmembers may also purchase a table for $550, which has seating for ten. Tickets can be gifted to members of the Ag community for $45/ticket.

This banquet offers an evening of fabulous food, entertainment and camaraderie for people in and out of the Ag industry. It’s about education, admiration and gratitude for the area’s farmers, ranchers and consumers as well as agri-business and agri-business research representatives. On average, 900 attend this three-hour event. For more information or to reserve your tickets call (406) 245-4111 or go to http://www. billingschamber.com/events/ag-appreciationbanquet/

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12/8/2015 11:47:05 AM


Events 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.

Charter Spectrum @ Umi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar, January 13th • 1603 Grand Avenue Suite 105


SAME PEOPLE, SAME SERVICE AND STILL AT THE CORNER OF 32ND AND KING Free pickup and delivery for Billings businesses Locally owned and operated 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed We Carry NEW and Refilled printer cartridges Over 10 years of ink and toner experience

February 10 • 2620 Overland Avenue

Center for Children & Families @ Elation March 9 • 2804 3rd Avenue North

3210 Henesta Drive Suite I (Next to Dairy Queen)


DECEMBER 2015 - FEBRUARY 2016 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 25 LiNK_December-January_2015.indd 25

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As a board member, you have the inside scoop. What would you share about the Chamber that other members may not know?


The Chamber staff, volunteers, and board work really hard to make our community a better place for business and residents.

p h o t o C O U R T E S Y R H E A W O L PO E

Business: Cole Law Firm

Board Position: Chairperson-Elect

Years as a Chamber Member: 12

Tell us about your photo: The history of Montana and Yellowstone Kelly are fascinating. I collect antique maps of Montana and am helping the Chamber develop the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site in Swords Rimrock Park. Kelly’s portrait is in the background along with a poster from the 1959 movie, “Yellowstone Kelly.”

One adjective that describes you: Community-minded.

Words you live by:

Why did you initially choose to get involved with the Chamber?

To whom much is given, much is required.

I joined Leadership Billings in 1994. It was a great way to learn about Billings and meet many fantastic people.

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Chronoprohiberis, the power to control time. I would catch up on my long to-do list or journey back in time to buy Apple stock 10 years ago.

Favorite book and why.

What was your first job?

Illegally but unwittingly selling tickets to a sham concert for my boss, a con artist.

“Yellowstone Kelly”: The Memoirs of Luther S. Kelly (1926). Kelly’s memoirs make his Montana adventures come alive.

You get to make one change for the Billings community today – what would you do?

Change state law so Billings’ voters could decide if they want a local sales tax to reduce property taxes and fund major capital improvements.

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Did we see you out and about at Chamber events? Look for yourself and your friends here! If we missed you, snap a picture at the next meeting or event you attend and send it to kelly@billingschamber.com!

Board member Kris Carpenter and staff members Megan Stevenson and Alex Tyson warm by the campfire during a retreat in October.

Board members work with ACCE’s Mick Fleming during the retreat in October.

Carly Gibbs with the Hilton Garden Inn celebrates winning a prize at Business After Hours.

Chancellor and Mrs. Nook warming up during the retreat in October.

John Earley poses with Dr. Mark and Janine Olsen after he won a prize during Business After Hours in November.

Members enjoy Cocktails and Connections after the Annual Meeting in September.

Staff members René and Andy welcome the Hot Bike Tour to Billings in September.

Members of NextGen’s Cahoots group on a walking tour of downtown with historian Kevin Kooistra in November.

Members of NextGen’s Cahoots group enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the NILE.

DECEMBER 2015 - FEBRUARY 2016 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 27 LiNK_December-January_2015.indd 27

12/8/2015 11:47:15 AM


Phillips 66 Supports Community By RENÉ BEYL


1. Phillips 66 just announced their major $80,000 donation to the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site initiative. Why did you select this project to generously support? Phillips 66 chose to support the Yellowstone Kelly project because we see value in both preserving the history and improving the landscape of the communities in which we operate. The concept for the Yellowstone Kelly interpretive site not only allows the people of Billings to learn more about one of our most fascinating historical figures, but it provides a great improvement to an area of town that has great potential.

2. In what other ways does PhillipS 66 lend community support? We provide community support through a variety of channels including volunteerism, financial contributions, and employee donations/volunteer matching programs. Our local funding program lends financial support to well over 100 non-profit organizations in Yellowstone County on an annual basis. Over the last couple of years we’ve been a major contributor to Project Lead the Way here in Billings, which is a robust STEM education curriculum that has been rolled out here in many elementary and middle school facilities with great success.

3. What about your business would you like to share with the general public and our membership? At the Billings Refinery we don’t take it for granted that we operate right in the middle of town, in fact, we view it as a privilege. We go to great lengths to ensure the safety of those within our facilities as well as other stakeholders in the community. It’s important to us that the people of Yellowstone County understand what goes on in the refinery and are aware of any forthcoming community impacts we may have.

4. Why is your company a Billings Chamber Member? Phillips 66 is a member of the Billings Chamber because it allows us to interface with members of the community and address important topics such as workforce and economic development. We value our relationship with the Chamber and feel that it enhances our ability to have a positive impact on the community.

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12/8/2015 1:58:14 PM

Ribbon Cuttings

The following Chamber member businesses recently celebrated grand openings, anniversaries, rebranding, relocation, and ground breakings. Congratulations to each of them!


completed a remodel at 1226 Main St. on Aug. 5.

N2 Cryotherapy

celebrated their Grand Opening at 805 24th Street West #4 on Aug. 7.

Cartridge World

celebrated their new ownership at 2455 Central Ave. on Aug. 12.

Komposition/Tint Factory/ Transitional Marketing

celebrated an open house for all three companies at 536 S. 18th St. W. on Aug. 14.

Billings Ink & Toner

celebrated an open house at 3210 Henesta Ste. I on Aug. 21.

Olsen Ortho Studio

held an open house to showcase their new building at 1241 N. Transtech Way on Aug. 21.

Affinity At Billings

celebrated their Grand Opening at 4215 Montana Sapphire Dr. on Aug. 25.

TownePlace Suites By Marriott

celebrated their Grand Opening at 2480 Grant Rd. on Aug. 26.

Karst Stage

@ Billings West High School celebrated their first football game transportation on Aug. 26.

Oktoberfest German Restaurant

celebrated their Grand Opening at 2201 St. Johns Ave. on Sept. 1.

The Crossings B&B

celebrated new signage at 1807 Lost Creek Rd. on Sept. 3.

JP Kitchen Asian Bistro

promoted their new restaurant at 805 24th St. W., Ste. 2 on Sept. 4.



celebrated the Grand Opening of their new building at 3289 Gabel Rd. on Sept. 9.

Pierce Flooring

celebrated the remodel of their store at 2950 King Ave W. on Sept. 11.

Our local funding program lends financial support to well over 100 non-profit organizations in Yellowstone County on an annual basis. LiNK_December-January_2015.indd 29


celebrated their new location at 1001 Shiloh Crossing #7 on Sept. 11.


celebrated the completion of the Arrowhead Pathway on Sept. 24.

Big Sky Economic Development

celebrated the opening of the Veteran’s Business Outreach Center at 222 N. 32nd St. on Sept. 25.


celebrated the new playground amenity at 2100 S. Shiloh Rd. on Oct. 7.

Northern Rockies Marketing

held their Grand Opening at 110 Grand Ave. on Oct. 12.

Sam’s Club

promoted a free weekend for anyone in Billings to shop at 4420 King Avenue East on Oct. 23.

Jiffy Lube

held the Grand Opening of their first Billings location at 1023 Main on Oct. 27.

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.

12/8/2015 11:47:23 AM

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30 | DECEMBER 2015 - FEBRUARY 2016 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY LiNK_December-January_2015.indd 30

12/8/2015 11:47:28 AM

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The Five Levels of Leadership by John C. Maxwell

Reviewed by Alyssa Hall John C. Maxwell’s The 5 Levels of Leadership is a challenging book for anyone who may or may not be in a leadership position. He expressed that in order to be a true leader you have to possess much more than just the job title. Simply having the position is level one of what leadership is all about, but once you learn and even master the ability to inspire, invest, and instill value into people, they will begin to follow you because they want to. As you begin to achieve results and build a dynamic team, you begin to advance in the levels of leadership. When you develop the skill and dedication to assist people in becoming leaders, you reach Maxwell’s pinnacle of leadership. The author said it best when he stated, “Leadership is much less about what you do, and much more about who you are. If you view leadership as a bag

of manipulative tricks or charismatic behaviors to advance your own personal interest, then people have every right to be cynical. But if your leadership flows first and foremost from inner character and integrity of ambition, then you can justly ask people to lend themselves to your organization and its mission.” I would recommend this book to anyone seeking growth and to be challenged in their way of thinking about becoming a leader. It’s realizing that you get there by who you are, not what you do.


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Profile for Billings Gazette

LiNK - December 2015  

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