EMMITT SMITH HEADLINES CHAMBER BREAKFAST 2017
NAIA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP IN BILLINGS
PUBLIC POLICY TEAM
PREPARES FOR LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Local Optio n Authority Support emp owering loca communities l to implem solutions that do not ent funding further burd property owners and en do not requ voters to rely ire address thei on Helena or DC to r and infrastr economic developm ent ucture nee ds. Support legis lation at the that auth state leve orizes l identify and Montana cities to vote on the developm economic ent projects they and quality-of-life need thro local sales ugh a limi tax. ted
IS S U E 12 | D E C E M B E R 2 0 16 - F E B R U A RY 2 0 17
SMALL BUSINESS â€“
BUILDING A TOOLKIT FOR
Advoca of bed t is curre the stat realloca regions, bureaus
Ensure largest i is preser appropr tourism organiza the mar of Mont and visi
Wishes for a happy, healthy, safe and secure holiday from HUB International PROPERTY & CASUALTY EMPLOYEE BENEFITS PERSONAL INSURANCE RISK MANAGEMENT LOSS CONTROL
It is a time of year to reflect on the things that matter most in life: > Family, friends and relationships
> Health and happiness
> Caring for those in need
> Safety and security to protect and provide for loved ones
On behalf of the many individuals, and their families, that are HUB International, we hope that the coming year offers everyone a safer and more peaceful world in which we can all live and prosper together.
HUB International www.hubinternational.com 3533 Gabel Rd • Billings, Montana 59102 • 406 652 9151 At your service across the United States and Canada.
table of contents
12.16 CONTENTS p.17
SMALL BUSINESSBUILDING A TOOLKIT FOR SUCCESS
2016 LEGACY AWARD HONOREES Meet Bill and Merilyn Ballard
BUSINESS GROWTH: AMERICAN WATER TECHNOLOGIES
MOVING FORWARD: PREPARING FOR THE 2017 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
p. 21 Tourism Fu
Local Optio n Authority Supp ort emp owering local communities to implemen solutions t funding that do not further burd property owners and en do not requ voters to rely ire address their on Helena or DC to economic and infra developm structure ent needs. Support legis lation at the that auth state level orize identify and s Montana cities to vote on the developm economic ent projects they and quality-of-life need thro local sales ugh a limit tax. ed
Advocate for of bed tax the 3% portion reve is currently nue, which deposited the state’s into general fund reallocate , be d to regions, and tourism, tourism specific tour bureaus. ism Ensure Mon tana’s seco largest indu nd stry, tourism, is preserve d by alloc ating appropria te funding to tourism infra structure organizat and ions the marketingresponsible for of Montana and promotion that brings and visitors tourists to our state .
Public Incapacit ation Enhance a city’s abili ties the issue of public incap to address authorizing acitation by municipa l ordinance to deal with s people who incapacita are ted. Explore new options for with publ ic incapacita dealing tion beyo citations and nd jail offering peop time, such as le the choi rehabilita tion program. ce to enter a
NEXT UP WITH NEXTGEN NextGEN membership is open to Billings’ area emerging leaders ages 21 to 39.
Cover Image: Rebel River Creative staff working at their office. PHOTO COURTESY OF: REBEL RIvER CREATIvE
4 | DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
12.16 EVERY ISSUE
PRESIDENT'S LETTER Connect, advocate and grow with the Chamber.
Mastering our membership.
Some of the latest statistics and economic data impacting businesses in Billings.
ADVOCATE It's time to ACT.
Billings hoping to score big with with NAIA.
GET TO KNOW STEFAN CATTARIN Visit Billings' Sales Manager.
GET TO KNOW RANDALL K. GIBB, MD
TRIPS ON A TANKFUL
Winter is not an excuse – hit the trail.
Emmitt Smith and agriculture.
DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 5
FROM THE PRESiDENT/CEO
CoNNECT, ADVoCATE AND GRoW WITH THE CHAMBER Starting and operating a business is a risk and a commitment not taken lightly. This issue of LiNK highlights a few local businesses and, more importantly, provides our readers with a few valuable resources for start-ups as well as for seasoned business leaders. A wealth of support can be found through the Chamber of Commerce and our partners at Big Sky Economic Development and the Downtown Billings Association.
uring the holiday season we tend to think about supporting our local businesses more than other times of the year. Black Friday and Small Business Saturday encourage “main street” spending. But local businesses need our patronage year ‘round. Money spent here stays here. Owners employ local residents. Employees invest in our community and volunteer to make our home a better place.
As the holidays come to a close we’ll jump right in to the 2017 Legislative Session – a time of great importance for businesses and community members. As always, your Chamber will be on the road representing you in Helena and fighting for pro-business legislation. Legislative priorities are highlighted in this issue as well as a reminder about one of our key initiatives: ACT. This edition of LiNK is a great reminder that the Chamber is here to help you connect with fellow businesses and potential clients, to advocate for your business and our community, and to help you grow your bottom line.
BIG SKY LEVEL
GRANITE PEAK LEVEL CenturyLink EBMS MSU Billings
DoubleTree by Hilton Holiday Station Stores U.S. Bank
BEARTOOTH LEVEL Albertsons District Office Big Sky Economic Development BNSF Century 21 Hometown Brokers Computers Unlimited Crowley Fleck PLLP Denny Menholt Chevrolet Devfuzion DiA Events Enterprise Holdings ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Co. Gainan’s Flowers & Garden Center Integra Kampgrounds of America Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. Olsen Ortho Studio PayneWest Insurance Phillips 66 Radisson Hotel RC Heating, Cooling and Refrigeration Rocky Mountain College Spectrum Business Stockman Bank, Billings The Western Sugar Cooperative Underriner Honda Vertex Consulting Group Walmart Walmart Heights Western Security Bank
LiNK is proudly distributed at these member businesses: • Atlas Chiropractic of Billings • Barnett Opticians • Beartooth Vision Center • BioLife Plasma Services • Brewer Dental Center • Commons 1882 • Crowley Fleck PLLP • Doc Harpers • Double Tree by Hilton & Starbucks • EBMS • Fringe Salon & Boutique • Grand Avenue Dental Care • Heights Eye Care • Jiffy Lube • KTVQ
Published by: Project Management/ Editor: Creative Designer: Photo Contributors
The Billings Gazette
Kevin Cremer 406-245-4111
Kelly McCandless Nadine Bittner Billings Gazette Staff Photographers, Billings Chamber, Visit Billings, Rhea Wolpoe, Adam Gross
www.billingschamber.com PO Box 31177 Billings MT 59107-1177 406-245-4111 • 800-711-2630
6 | DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
• LP Anderson Point S Tire – both locations • Masterlube - all locations • MorningStar • Moulton Bellingham • Olsen Ortho Studio • PayneWest • Picture Perfect Ultrasound • Practical Taxes • Prill Dental • RiverStone Health • Sanctuary Spa • St. Vincent Healthcare • Starbucks • Thomas Smile Designs • Western Heritage Center
MASTERING oUR MEMBERSHIP BY JENNIFER REISER, IOM — CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Although the bulk of the changes are only visible “behind-the-
The most outwardly visible feature will be changes to the online membership directory with new search features and enhanced listings, all meant to make your business more accessible to consumers. Enhanced listings are complimentary for Beartooth, Granite Peak and Big Sky level investors, but are available to all members as an upgrade. In addition, all member listings include social media links. Members will need to populate the links if they hadn’t been supplied to us previously.
With new Member Intelligence Reporting, Chamber staff can gain insight into your engagement, and better match your reason for joining to member benefits. The Chamber staff anticipate a smooth transition while we continue to learn and implement the features of the new software to provide high quality service to our members. New member log in information will be emailed to each designated member representative with detailed instructions and links to begin using the new system. For more information or assistance in accessing your account, please contact Business Engagement Specialist, René Beyl, rene@ billingschamber.com.
“ With new Member Intelligence Reporting, Chamber staff can gain insight into your engagement, and better match your reason for joining to member benefits. “
he Billings Chamber recently completed a major change affecting each of our members, despite the fact that few of you will be aware the change happened. We’ve recently adopted a new membership database management software, offering a new, streamlined system that is more efficient for both staff and members for managing member activity, event registration, billing and contact information.
scenes,” you will see significant upgrades as well. Each member can create a login to pay bills online, update their business directory listing and contact information, submit deals or coupons, Member-to-Member Discounts, and Job Postings.
CHAMBER STATISTICS: What are we doing for you? As of November 15, 2016, the Billings Chamber represents 1,261 members with approximately 58,582 employees. Since the beginning of our fiscal year on July 1, 2016 through November 15, 2016: Number of Calls/Inquiries: ......5,140 (average of 1,028//month) visitors to the visitor Information Center: ......................... 1,963 visits to visitBillings.com:................................................. 75,712
Connect for Lunch:..................79 lunches served so far this FY. At an average cost of $12/lunch that is an impact of $948 to member restaurants.
Convention and Meeting Tourism Bookings: ...................14,880
visits to BillingsChamber.com: ......................................... 14,204
hotel room nights booked for $ 3,348,000 total economic impact on the city of Billings.
Relocation Packets Mailed: ..................................................... 44
Conventions and Meetings Serviced by visit Billings: ...... 3,416 convention delegate packets provided.
visitor Information Packets Mailed: ...................................... 477 Business Meeting Attendees at Chamber: ......................... 3,913 Chamber Event Attendance: ................................................ 1,942
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.
DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 7
KEY ECoNoMIC INDICAToRS Hotel Occupancy
80.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 70.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 60.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 50.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 40.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 30.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 20.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 10.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 0.0% ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2015
Unemployment Rate Comparison
Yellowstone County Population
Percent change in county population 2010-2013
Unemployment Rate as of October 2016 Yellowstone County
Median Household Income
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.
*2013 Billings deboardings were impacted by runway maintenance in July/August. **2016 data for January–September 2016 only.
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IT’S TIME To ACT!
BY DANIEL J. BROOKS, GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS MANAGER
uthorize community transformation (ACT): this is the charge the community leadership priorities group, Billings NOW, gave to its subcommittee focused on local option. Organized by the Billings Chamber, the ACT Committee is composed of small business owners, NextGEN members, nonprofit leaders, education advocates, and many more. With the goal of passing legislation authorizing cities to enact a local option, the committee set to work formulating a strategy of statewide participation and a focus on community involvement.
Leading up to the Chamber’s Annual Meeting in September, the ACT Committee traveled to numerous communities around Montana to engage in discussions on local option and specifically what each city needed, wanted, and how they planned to pay for their economic development. Over the course of these visits across the state, ACT crafted a local option authority structure that works for eastern Montana, all the way across to the far west of our great state. When ACT’s local option structure received high praise from prominent Democratic and Republican legislators as “the best Local Option they’d seen,” credit belongs to communities throughout the state that engaged in our discussions and helped craft a solution that works across Montana. With an ideal Local Option structure the ACT Committee embarked on an education campaign, working with partner organizations in other communities to inform and educate about the necessity and opportunity of utilizing local option for economic development. You can
learn more about this effort online at ACTmt. org, where you’ll find a short, impactful video explaining the local option concept along with an informative FAQs page and the latest Local Option news in the media. Please check out the website and sign up for our newsletter at ACTmt. org/contact/.
We are far from the finish line but momentum is building. ACT continues to get in front of more audiences and support for Local Option continually grows. If you want to show your support for ACT, please contact me and I’ll add you to our growing list of supporters (Daniel@ BillingsChamber.com). And if you are just interested in learning more, we are happy to help educate. The more we help people understand the Local Option, the closer we are to, ultimately, authorizing community transformation. It’s time to ACT! Please contact Dan at the Billings Chamber to let me know you are ready to join other statewide supporters on Local Option.
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BILLINGS HoPING To
WITH THE BY ALEX TYSON EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, VISIT BILLINGS
ehind the scenes efforts are underway to ensure a successful National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Women’s Basketball National Championship tournament in Billings next March. The Billings tournament committee, made up of community, Rocky Mountain College, Frontier Conference and Visit Billings/Billings Chamber of Commerce representation, is building foundations for every aspect of this major event for Billings. The committee is relying on volunteers to help lead the charge for the 21 subcommittees necessary to execute the event to Billings’ and NAIA standards. The NAIA Women’s National Basketball Championship tournament matches 32 teams against each other in a single elimination tournament for the conference title and was a big win in sports tourism efforts by Visit Billings and the Chamber of Commerce. The tournament was officially awarded to Billings in September and with teams beginning to arrive March 12th, Billings is planning rapidly
with almost 12 months less lead time than other destinations that previously hosted. Beyond the tournament games themselves, events like the NAIA’s Champions of Character program will engage local youth with the goal of empowering them and encouraging kids to work hard, make good decisions, dream big and be the best version of themselves. The tournament festivities also include the Student Athlete Experience Dinner which celebrates the journey to the championship tournament with peers and families. Games begin the morning of Wednesday, March 15th at MetraPark with the conference title being played for during the championship game Tuesday, March 21st. With the caliber of basketball action this tournament will offer, fans and supporters will be able to witness an entertaining level of competition. However, none of the NAIA’s requirements will be met without the support of the business community and local/regional residents. As 2017 emerges, opportunities will arise for volunteers to assist in everything from hospitality and welcoming efforts to score table operations and athlete experience events. Many
thanks to the businesses already committed including OrthoMontana, Red Lion Hotel and Convention Center Billings, Rocky Mountain College and Visit Billings. This is going to be a tremendous event. And, this is going to be an incredible spring for basketball in general. The late February, early-March line-up at MetraPark includes A and B Divisional tournaments, the Montana High School Association’s State Basketball events followed by the NAIA tournament. This influx of late-winter tournaments helps grow sports tourism to Montana’s Trailhead by filling restaurants, retailers, tourism attractions and hotel guest rooms. Out of state visitors spent nearly $400 million in Yellowstone County last year, affirming tourism as a top industry for Billings. A tournament like the NAIA’s Championship is an economic driver for the city, particularly during a relatively quiet time of year for many businesses. Families travel in support of their young athletes, and many turn the trip into a mini-vacation - another reason why Billings and southeast Montana
TO GET INVOLVED:
(Rocky Mountain College) ...............firstname.lastname@example.org
(Rocky Mountain College) ....................jeﬀ.email@example.com
(Visit Billings/Billings Chamber).....Alex@VisitBillings.com
TOURNAMENT CO-DIRECTORS are strong competitors in the sports tourism market.
Dick Zier..................................... firstname.lastname@example.org Austin Tait.....................email@example.com www.VisitBillings.com/naia-toolkit
So whether you’re a business wanting to play a large role or a family who just can’t wait to grab a seat on the hardwood to watch the action, we thank you for your support. Please reach out to the tournament committee to get engaged. We need to hear from you so we can ensure 2017 and 2018 are successful events. And, who knows? Perhaps the NAIA might just make Billings the indefinite home to this tournament. 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.
New basketball courts in
hips serve the NAIA Champions place at MetraPark will in Billings. nts eve g rtin spo r othe as well as many RAPARK PHOTO COURTESY OF: MET
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2465 Grant Road
ALWAYS GOT EACH OTHER’S BACKS. Adam was about to lift a stack of heavy boxes, when Diane called an audible — providing Adam a hand truck to move the load. The job safely completed, an epic celebration of back-saving safety ensued. Be a champion for safety. Get tips, tools and assistance at safemt.com. 12 | DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
GET TO KNOW CHAMBER STAFF:
Tell us about your photo:
Photo Courtesy rhea WolPoe
A life yielded to faith in God requires a lot of quiet reflection and conversation in prayer. I often find both here on top of the sandstone Rimrocks where views of the mountains and the valley offer up inspiration and the cityscape keeps my heart fixed on loving the people who live in it. I regularly find myself right here, either in prayer or dreaming for my families future. Either way, this place helps me center on what really matters the most in life!
Visit Billings Sales Manager
Years on Staff: 1.5 Years
The TV show you can’t miss: A Seahawks game. Go Hawks!
If you could have lunch with one famous person, who would it be and why?
Judah Smith; I respect how his faith in Jesus is lived out, the way he manages his public platform, and the culture of his church.
One adjective that describes you: Vivacious
If you could make one change in Billings today, what would it be?
I would develop the entire riverfront through Billings. We should be living life daily along one of our crown jewels.
The dish you’re known for cooking? What is one thing about the organization you think most people don’t know?
I’ve dabbled in the culinary world for many years and would take on any recipe.
Tourism is one of the largest economic industries in our county. Visit Billings spends a lot of time and effort all around the globe positioning Billings as a premier destination to visit.
What book is on your nightstand? Good or God by John Bevere & Wild at Heart by John Eldridge
Words you live by:
I need words that speak to every situation in every season of life, and for me that ‘word’ is God’s Word.
DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 13
TRiPS on a TANKFUL
Winter is Not an Excuse – Hit the Trail
By BRENDA MAAS, MARKETING MANAGER
POMPEYS PILLAR; The climb to the top of Pompeys Pillar National Monument, 202 steps total, is worth the 360-degree view. The gate is closed but simply hike in one mile; the site is open year-round. – PHOTO COURTESY OF: visit southeast montana
here are 202 steps from the base of Pompeys Pillar to the very top.
Spending time outdoors, in nature – either moving or calm – is undeniably an inexpensive and easy mood enhancer.
Honest. Count them. Add that to a one-mile hike to-and-from the entrance gate, and the site’s winter workout potential is surpassed only by the scenery.
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. Visit Southeast Montana is managed by the Billings Chamber of Commerce.
Traditionally, Southeast Montana and cold-season tourism are not typically discussed in the same sentence. But therein lies its beauty. Similar to the land itself, exploring Southeast Montana can be a peaceful, introspective and satisfying experience. Fewer crowds, days of bright winter sunshine and comforting solitude in natural environs are good for the body – and the soul. A study summarized in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in 2015 noted that people who walked for 90 minutes in a natural area (rather than in an urban setting with high traffic) exhibited decreased activity in the brain’s region that is responsible for depression. The publication, Mind, notes one study in which 95 percent of those interviewed said that after spending time outside, their mood improved and changed from depressed, stressed and anxious to more calm and balanced.
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So, load up your hiking boots, snowshoes or crosscountry skis, pack a lunch and grab your camera – a short, but powerful day exploring southeast Montana awaits. To help initiate your next adventure in southeast Montana, try one of these:
Pompeys Pillar National Monument Just a short 35-minute drive from Billings, the national monument is open year-round, although the interpretive center is not staffed during the winter months (the hike from seasonally-closed gate to monument is about one mile). You can meander the 51-acre property, enhanced by the slowly flowing Yellowstone River. Envision what it looked like when the Corps of Discovery rested there more than 200 years ago. Imagine the tension Custer’s troops felt when they were ambushed while bathing in the river. Or, feel the wind in your face and imagine soaring like a bird of prey while standing atop the Pillar.
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument Located just 55 miles from Billings, the Battlefield is the third-most visited location in Montana behind Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Winter hours, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. allow visitors plenty of
VISIT SoUTHEAST MoNTANA WELCoMES NEW SoCIAL MEDIA/ PUBLIC RELATIoNS MANAGER
time and space to reflect on the events that led up to and followed the unprecedented battle. While the Battlefield’s layout may be more conducive to vehicle travel (it is 4.5 miles from the monument to Reno’s Battlefield), getting out to read the interpretive kiosks along the route is certainly beneficial as is taking side paths, like the Deep Ravine Trail just below Last Stand Hill. Be sure to soak up the incredible views while respectfully revisiting this crucial, pivotal site.
Pictograph Cave. They left their “calling cards” on the walls of the caves more than 2,000 years ago. Located less than eight miles from downtown Billings, this site is easily accessed via car or, for the more adventurous, bicycle. During the off-season, the park is open Wednesdays – Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The short .25-mile trail takes visitors past all three caves in a rolling fashion. Other hiking trails across the 23-acre park give visitors several options for stretching their legs – and their minds.
PiCtograPh CaVe state ParK
Please share your Southeast Montana experience with us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We would love to hear from you.
When Queen Cleopatra was on the throne in Egypt, native peoples were meeting, trading and communicating at the site that is now known as
Rangers like Marvin Dawes are available for questions and eager to share indepth details at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. The site is open year-round. – PHOTO COURTESY OF: vISIT SOUTHEAST MONTANA
Alyson Murnion, a native of Jordan, Mont., is an Eastern Montana gal through and through. She grew up playing sports across the region, often traveling more than two hours for a game. After graduating from Garfield County District High School, Murnion played volleyball at Dawson Community College in Glendive. She eventually transferred to MSU Billings, earning a Bachelor of Art degree in Public Relations in 2013. After college Murnion organized and promoted events for the American Cancer Society across southeast Montana as ACS’s community manager. Most recently Murnion initiated and managed marketing and social media campaigns for Central Wellness, a local small business. She simultaneously attended graduate school and earned a Master’s degree in Public Relations in December. As a native of the region, Murnion is excited to be a part of promoting the beauty of Southeast Montana. Her passion lies in the history. As a teen, Murnion met Peyton “Bud” Clark, a direct descendant of William Clark, during a reenactment of the Expedition. Her in-depth knowledge impressed Bud Clark so much that he presented her with a Peace Medal. In her position with Visit Southeast Montana, Murnion will meld her love of history, regional familiarity and marketing expertise into social media and traditional media campaigns for increased tourism.
PICTOGRAPH CAvES: The images depicted on the cave walls at Pictograph Cave State Park indicated that many people traveled and traded in this region over the past 2,000 years. – PHOTO COURTESY OF:
The great outdoors plays a role in Murnion’s life as well; she spends free time with her yellow lab enjoying the natural beauty Montana has to offer.
vISIT SOUTHEAST MONTANA
DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 15
Rebel River’s reception area features illuminated signage thanks in part to a TIF grant. – PHOTO COURTESY OF: REBEL RIvER CREATIvE
BUILDING A BUSINESS
SUPPORT AND ESTABLISH A TOOLKIT FOR
BY ROB ROGERS
16 | DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
arly this year Allyn Hulteng took the leap of her life.
She had been director of marketing and niche publications at the Billings Gazette for over a decade when she decided it was time to walk away and do her own thing. She grabbed colleague Bob Tambo and the two drew up plans for Rebel River Creative, a brand development, marketing and web design business to be set in the heart of downtown Billings. Starting a business downtown adds a degree of difficulty to a process that’s already plenty complicated. “When you’re in an urban area, you really need a lot of tools,” said Lisa Harmon, executive director of the Downtown Billings Alliance. Luckily for Hulteng – and every other small business– there’s a whole shed’s worth of tools available, many of them offered free of charge by the Downtown Billings Alliance and the Small Business Development Center or with membership at the Billings Chamber of Commerce. The trick is knowing they’re out there. “I had heard of the Small Business Development Center,” Hulteng said. “But I didn’t make that connection initially that it was a resource I could use.” She and Tambo were a ways down the road before they connected the dots. The pair had already crafted their business plan and secured much of their capital. They were at the bank meeting once more with their banker when he suggested they take a look at the resources offered by the Small Business Development Center. He volunteered at the center, working with and advising new small business owners. Suddenly, Hulteng and Tambo felt like they were no longer alone.
“We came in the door excited to take advantage of them,” Hulteng said. The SBDC is part of a national organization and operates locally under Big Sky Economic Development. The center offers training for marketing and business planning, financial consulting, access to U.S. Small Business Administration loans and whole host of other financial resources, all free of charge. They offer free weekly workshops that teach the basics of running a small business. “These businesses need help,” said Dena Johnson, director of the SBDC’s Billings office, which serves Yellowstone and eight other counties in eastern Montana. “We offer those services.” Chad Green, who created Lasting Legacy Assisted Living in the Heights, had the idea to start his business after being inspired by a caretaker who was looking after Green’s grandmother. Together, they wanted to create an assisted living center that catered specifically to families looking to make sure residents still had a high quality of life, even if they needed help day to day. He had the idea, he just needed help getting it off the ground. So he contacted the SBDC. “The consultation through the SBDC was beneficial from start to finish,” he said. Working with the resources provided by Johnson and her team, Green was able to take his idea and craft it into a viable business plan that he could then take to a lender and get the capital he needed to launch his business. “The biggest part I value would be just the overall support,” Green said. “Anything I needed, any questions I had, they were there and pointed me in the right direction.”
Allyn Hulteng – PHOTO COURTESY OF: REBEL RIvER CREATIvE
Hulteng’s experience was much the same. “I was blown away with Dena,” Hulteng said. “She is a phenomenally brilliant person.” One of Hulteng’s early concerns was hiring. She wanted to know how to recruit and hire employees that would fit the vision for her company, thus keeping her turnover rate low. Johnson helped Hulteng get connected with Big Sky Economic Development’s BillingsWorks program, which specializes in workforce development. She met with Brittney Souza, the BillingsWorks program director and learned best practices for recruiting and hiring.
“She was invaluable,” Hulteng said. Two blocks up the street from Rebel River Creative is This House of Books, the state’s only co-op bookstore which just opened in September. Gary Robson runs the store and is no stranger to running small, independent bookstores. He was lured in to take the reins of This House of Books from Red Lodge, where he owned and operated Red Lodge Books and Tea. “Joining the Chamber was our first move and the Downtown Billings Alliance was our second,” he said. Both organizations have been vital, he said.
DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 17
That’s where the DBA’s grant came in. Much of downtown sits in a tax increment financing district, or TIF district. TIF districts divert property tax revenue generated toward economic development and public improvement projects in a specific area. The revenue generated in a TIF district can be doled out in various ways, including grants. The Downtown Billings Alliance is one of the organizations authorized to award those TIF grants. When This House of Books needed capital to turn MSUB office space into an inviting book nook, it applied with the DBA for a TIF grant. “It’s been so helpful,” Robson said. Lisa Harmon, DBA’s executive director, said TIF grants are one of the most powerful tools available to business owners in downtown Billings.
Gary Robson owner of This House of Books. – PHOTO COURTESY OF: BILLINGS GAZETTE
he would need the Chamber and the support from the Downtown Billings Alliance if the business was to be successful.
The Billings Chamber of Commerce takes businesses under its umbrella and champions them. “We’re in this together,” said Rene Beyl, the chamber’s business Rene Beyl engagement specialist. “We’re building that relationship, allowing members to benefit from each other.” Membership with the Chamber is not one size fits all. Every business has a different need and a different budget, Beyl said. As such, the Chamber offers different levels of membership at different prices. Regardless of what level an organization enters the Chamber, it will have access to support in areas aligning with professional growth, advertising and networking. They’ll have help connecting to other businesses and business leaders, and they’ll have a cheerleader promoting their business and working to help them thrive. Robson, as the boss of a co-op bookstore, knew
Usually co-ops are associated with farmers’ markets and natural grocers so starting up a co-op bookstore took some explaining, Robson said. He’s a published author and had run his own bookstore for 15 years, experience banks and insurers found attractive as he approached them for services. But once the bank or the insurance company learned about the co-op business plan, they balked and backed out, Robson said. “Rough surprises” he called them. “The banks didn’t know what to do with us,” he said with a laugh. “Insurance, too.” Eventually they were able to get off the ground and part of that was due to the Downtown Billings Alliance. “We got a very nice grant from the DBA,” Robson said. This House of Books sits at the corner of 3rd Avenue North and North Broadway, right across the street from the Alberta Bair Theater. For years, the space had been an office annex for Montana State University Billings. To create the atmosphere of a cozy, independent bookstore, the interior of the building needed major remodeling.
18 | DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
The grant money can be used for everything from fire suppression systems to new signage to renovating and restoring historical downtown buildings, she said. And the amounts range from the small $500 single-project types to the massive $2 million renovation types. “The Northern was a TIF grant project,” Harmon said, referring to the recently renovated historic Northern Hotel. Hulteng at Rebel River Creative was just awarded a TIF grant to help her update the appearance and signage for her storefront. Rebel River Creative is headquartered in a single-story, low-slung building at the corner of 2nd Avenue North and North 30th Street. Hulteng was able to use her TIF grant to update the exterior of the building and purchase some chic planters to place along the sidewalk. It also paid for new signage, which helps to vitalize her corner of the street. “It just makes the exterior more attractive,” she said. It’s exciting to Harmon. She sees a vibrancy and vitality in downtown Billings that wasn’t there even 10 year ago. “We’re clipping along,” she said. Downtown Billings Alliance, like the Billings Chamber of Commerce, is an organization that requires membership.
Robson, who was able to use advertising services through the Chamber to generate buzz for the bookstore, doesn’t know how businesses survive downtown without membership to the two groups. He sees it as vital. Beyl doesn’t argue. “We help you gain visibility,” Beyl said. “Our goal is to make business strong.” Harmon agrees. “Our job is to lift the profile of downtown Billings. We try to answer that call,” she said. “We look to be that organization that problem solves for our members.”
At every session the DBA has had to go to Helena to defend TIF districts and ensure that protection continues for the programs and services that allow small businesses to thrive in urban areas. These businesses are the lifeblood of downtown, Harmon said. Without a vibrant commercial district downtown the city would eventually wither and die.
One of the biggest components of that is fighting for small business at the state legislature, which starts up again in January.
Robson is excited to be downtown. He looks at the other businesses downtown, particularly stores like Barjon’s, and sees collaborators rather than competitors.
“We fight for our very existence,” Harmon said. “It’s something we take very seriously.”
“I want to work with everyone in town,” he said. “I don’t want to compete with everyone in town.”
Professionals networking during a Chamber event. – PHOTO COURTESY OF: ADAM GROSS
He believes the Chamber, the DBA and SBDC have done real work in fostering that kind of attitude downtown. Hulteng agrees. She sees a community that is thriving. “It’s a great time to have a business in downtown Billings,” she said. “It’s lively. It’s vibrant. People are excited.”
ARE YoU STARTING A
LOOKING TO GROW OR EXPAND?
WANT TO BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO YOUR CURRENT OPERATION? Consider these tools available to you through the Billings Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Billings Association and Big Sky Economic Development/Small Business Development Corporation. Some services are available free of charge; others require a membership investment to secure benefits. All promise to serve the needs presented by a variety of business challenges.
BilliNgs ChamBer of CommerCe – WWW.BilliNgsChamBer.Com: Membership begins at just $375 and can be paid in installments. Benefits to add to your toolkit include: Advertising/Marketing services including online promotion, brochure distribution, leads access, and a free advertising package. Services include business referrals, access to meeting space, affinity programs, communication subscriptions, and more. Members will enjoy networking through Chamber meetings and events as well as community influence through participation on committees along with legislative and community advocacy.
doWNtoWN BilliNgs alliaNCe – WWW.doWNtoWNBilliNgs.Com:
Belonging to Downtown Billings connects businesses to a host of resources including: Online and print promotion, access to DBA meetings and events, advertising discounts, and a voice on city initiatives. Additionally, access to TIF grants and more may allow you to enhance your business.
Big sKy eCoNomiC deVeloPmeNt/small BusiNess deVeloPmeNt CorPoratioN – WWW.BigsKyeCoNomiCdeVeloPmeNt.org:
Many resources are available to businesses through these organizations, many at no cost, including: Business expansion services and incentives, finance and lending guidance, confidential one-on-one consulting, management training, grant training, involvement in establishing economic policy for the community, and access to the Montana Procurement Technical Assistance Center which provides a guidance on securing government contracts.
DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 19
Preparing for the
2017 Legislative Session B Y DA N I E L J. B R O O K S
Tourism Fu Local Opt ion Authority Supp ort em powering loc communit ies to imple al ment fun solutions ding that do no t further property burde owners an d do not req n voters to rely uire address the on Helena or DC to ir and infras economic developm tructure ne ent eds. Support leg islation at the state lev that autho rizes Monta el na cities to identify an d vote on the econo developm mic ent projects the and quality-of-life y need thr ough a lim local sales ited tax.
Time to shake off the dust from this year’s election cycle and set our sights on the upcoming 2017 Legislature. The Chamber is working hard to ensure we are set for success when it comes to advocating for our business community needs. Accordingly, we want to keep you updated on our efforts, considering you, our business community, helped to shape these priorities. We also want to give you a few resources as a toolkit to help you find any information you may be looking for.
PuBliC iNCaPaCitatioN One of the priorities identified by the business community deals with public incapacitation. Presently, Montana cities are unable to pass ordinances addressing the problem of incapacitated persons. This leaves city law enforcement limited options to deal with this problem. Although citations or jail time may be issued, those punishments are usually insufficient to deal with the serially incapacitated individuals who usually suffer from addiction. In order to address this problem, the Chamber has worked with city officials, law enforcement, and legislators to submit a bill draft request authorizing cities to enact ordinances pertaining to incapacitation. If passed, cities could pursue additional options for handling incapacitated persons such as getting them into treatment, which has been shown to work in other municipalities. The Chamber continues to engage in discussions on developing the content outline for the draft bill, along with holding ongoing meetings with supporters. Vocal opponents perceive this public incapacitation initiative as a pursuit to lock up people drinking in public. Contrary to this erroneous assumption, the objective with public incapacitation is to decrease the burden to law enforcement and cities by allowing for the creation
Advocate for of bed tax the 3% portion rev is currently enue, which deposited the state’s into gen reallocated eral fund, be to regions, an tourism, tourism d specific tourism bureaus. Ensure Mo ntana’s sec largest ind ond ust is preserve ry, tourism, d by alloca ting appropria te fundin g to tourism inf ras organizatio tructure and ns responsi the marke ble for tin of Montana g and promotion that bring and visito s rs to our sta tourists te.
of new ordinances that reduce the number of serial incapacitated persons through treatment options. Cities can already issue fines and impose jail time, punish-ments that are clearly ineffective at deterring those repeatedly incapacitated. It’s time to move toward results-oriented solutions to help those in need and address a problem shared by our cities.
tourism fuNdiNg Preserving our tourism funding is another priority for the Chamber. Montana’s second largest industry, tourism, generates a sizable revenue stream through the 7 percent bed tax. With the slowing of the energy sector, and decreasing estimates for the ending fund balance, it is likely that legislators will pursue funds in other coffers to find the revenue needed for their priorities. We aim to ensure the portion of bed tax monies returned to the region of origin is not siphoned off for other legislative projects. The bed tax money Billings receives allows organizations like Visit Billings to market our city to the region and helps bring in additional tourist dollars.
taX iNCremeNt fiNaNCiNg There is another revenue source we will need to defend during the 2017 session. Several bills aimed at altering tax increment finance districts (TIFD), a useful tool Montana’s cities utilize to fund infrastructure and revitalize neighborhoods, could decrease the amount of revenue obtained through TIFDs. For example, funds available via TIFDs helped pay for the Northern parking garage downtown, which is viewed by many as an economic development success for Billings. Without TIFDs, and the revenue they generate, it would be unlikely Billings could even engage in bigger conversations with developers such as the One Big Sky Center proposal. It is imperative we preserve this essential economic development tool.
Public Incapacita tion Enhance a city’s abi lities to add the issue ress of pu authorizing blic incapacitation by municipa l ordinanc to deal wi es th people wh incapacitate o are d. Explore ne w options for dealin with publi g c incapacit ation bey citations an ond d jail time, suc offering pe ople the cho h as rehabilita tion progra ice to enter a m.
resourCe toolKit If you’re looking for more information on policies important to you, the business community, please read our Public Policy Guide. Recently updated, the new guide features all of the Chamber’s public policy positions, broken down into federal, state, and local level positions. The guide also lists some key dates in the next legislative cycle that you will want to know. You can access the Public Policy Guide online at billingschamber.com/public-policy/ or stop by the Chamber and obtain a hard copy. Throughout the legislative session, the Chamber will organize teleconference calls to facilitate the flow of information back to Billings from the Capital. Through a partnership with MSU-B and other local organizations, Chamber members and the general public are welcome to attend and receive updates from our Billings area legislators. Another useful online tool is the Montana Legislature website, found at leg.mt.gov. You can look up information on legislators, information on past sessions, find key dates, read agendas, and watch the session via live feed. One of the most important tools you can access on the MT Legislature website is the legislative automated workflow system (LAWS) database. LAWS allows users to search and track legislation through the process from draft bill to the governor’s desk, if it makes it that far. If you would rather talk to someone at the Chamber about what is happening, please give us a call or stop in—we would be happy to help. We are here as a resource to use as we all try to move Billings forward together. The Chamber is excited about the possibilities ahead as we work to make positive changes for Billings. We invite you to work with us as we continue to improve our community!
DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 21
Meet your Team Meet your Team
Get Engaged Connect With Us
Daniel J. Brooks
Daniel J. Government Brooks Affairs Manager
Stay informed with what is happening with your Chamber. Sign up for our e-communications at www.billingschamber.com/public-policy. Whether you are looking for legislative updates, tourism information, or business news, the Chamber will keep you connected with the regional business community.
Government Affairs Manager email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org 406. 869. 3733
406. 869. 3733
Bruce MacIntyre Senior Public Policy Advisor
Senior Public Policy Advisor email@example.com
and perity c
firstname.lastname@example.org 406. 869. 3723
Join us for Billings Chamber events where the business community engages in discussions related to local option, tourism, workforce, and the Billings economy. We can also present to your staff or service clubs. We encourage you to attend and offer your thoughts and ideas!
406. 869. 3723 Brian Brown
Brian Brown First Interstate Bank First Interstate Bank Affairs Committee Chair Government Government Affairs Committee Chair
Ed Bartlett Lobbyist, Billings Chamber Lobbyist,email@example.com Billings Chamber firstname.lastname@example.org
Your voice is powerful and we encourage you to use it. You can support your Billings business community by contacting your legislators, writing letters to the editor, and engaging in community dialogue in person and online.
Key Dates & Deadlines* Monday, January 2, 2017
Monday, March 20, 2017
First day of 2017 Session
Last day to request General Bills & Resolutions
Last day to request Bills Proposing Referendums or for Committee to request Revenue Bills Last day to introduce Appropriation Bills, Revenue Bills & Bills Proposing Referenda
Monday, January 23, 2017
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Last day to request Revenue Bills
Last day to request committee bills to implement HB 2 Transmittal of Appropriation Bills, Revenue Bills, & Proposing Referenda
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 Last day for Committee to request General Bills & Resolutions
Saturday, February 18, 2017 Last day to introduce General Bills
Friday, February 24, 2017 Last day to request Appropriation Bills Transmittal of General Bills to other chamber
Friday, March 17, 2017 Last day to request Study Resolutions Transmittal of Revenue-Estimating Joint Resolution
Saturday, April 1, 2017 Transmittal of amendments to General Bills
Monday, April 10, 2017 Transmittal of amendments to Appropriation Bills, Revenue Bills, & Bills Proposing Referendums
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 Transmittal of amendments to Revenue Estimating Joint Resolution
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 Transmittal of Interim Study Resolutions * Dates are subject to change
• Kids’ Project Nights • Weekly Painting Classes • Melted Glass Art • Mosaics Kids’ Theme Party Destination and of course Ceramics!
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3839 Grand Ave Suite 5 • 406-894-2337 DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 23
Order Your Holiday Goodie Trays NOW 2401 2nd Avenue North Billings MT 59101 406-245-0389 Mon-Fri 6am-11:30am Sat 7:30am-11:30am
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24 | DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
404 N. 30th St.
EMMITT SMITH AND AGRICULTURE – 2017 EVENTS KICK oFF WITH A BANG! BY JESSICA HART, EVENTS MANAGER
hen you start the year celebrating our #1 industry and make our way right in to an event with Emmitt Smith, you know 2017 is going to be a pretty remarkable year!
CeleBratiNg agriCulture Every year the Billings Chamber kicks off the event season by showing our appreciation for Montana’s number one industry: Agriculture. This year we will do just that on Friday, January 20th at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. With nearly 1,000 people expected to attend, this event, presented by Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative, showcases just how important agriculture is not only to the businesses in our region, but to the livelihoods of our friends and neighbors. The evening includes a prime rib dinner, an industry update, the presentation of the Ag Excellence Award and entertainment by Chancy Williams and the Younger Brothers. Tables of 10 are available through the MetraPark Box office for $500 each. Learn more at BillingsChamber. com.
Vision, Rimrock Auto Arena will be the place to be on March 30th where we’ll also celebrate our Business Excellence Award Winners. The Chamber Breakfast will focus on the importance of leadership; including what it takes and how to become a great leader. With Emmitt’s Championship Vision on and off of the field, you’ll head back to work eager to be a better version of yourself.
begins at 7:00 a.m. Tickets can be purchased through the MetraPark Box Office. Options Include: • $40 - Single General Admission Ticket includes a hot bagged breakfast. • $500 - Premier General Admission includes 10 tickets in preferred seating sections in the lower bowl of the arena, a hot bagged breakfast, and an event souvenir. • $550 - Floor Table of 10 includes buffet breakfast and networking on the arena floor. Both of these upcoming Chamber events are open to the public. For more information please call (406) 245-4111 or go to http://www.billingschamber. com/events
Join us March 30th at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. Doors open at 6:00 a.m. and the program
emmitt smith’s ChamPioNshiP VisioN Not to be outdone, the 2017 Chamber Breakfast, presented by KULR-8, promises to be one for the record books as we bring Pro Football Hall Of Fame Running Back Emmitt Smith to Billings to keynote the event. Presenting his Championship
WISE WONDERS CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
JANUARY 11TH • 110 N 29TH ST
HILTON GARDEN INN FEBRUARY 8TH • 2465 GRANT RD
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.
BEARTOOTH BANK MARCH 8TH • 4130 KING AVE W
DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 25
CoNNECTING YELLoWSToNE KELLY To THE TRAIL SYSTEM. DoNATE ToDAY! By KRISTI DRAKE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TRAILNET
Help make the connection! Billings TrailNet is proud to announce a goal to raise at least $11,500 toward building a developed trail connection from the existing Swords Rimrock Park trail to the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site. To make the connection, the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site committee needs to raise
at least $22,000 and we are challenging you to make your end-of-year gift to this valuable trail connection. You can donate easily and securely from your mobile phone by texting the words “Give yktrail” to the dedicated number, 406-204-2719. When
you are prompted to give to the trail projects, select “Yellowstone Kelly Trail Connection.” Follow the prompts and our secure Text2Give app will ask for your credit card information to complete the donation. Thank you for making this tax-deductible gift!
2016 LEGACY AWARD HoNoREES By KELLy MCCANDLESS
ill and Merilyn Ballard are the Chamber’s 2016 Legacy Award honorees. The Ballard’s long history in Billings showcases their philanthropy, business support and dedication to the community. “Bill and Merilyn’s visionary leadership and nearly boundless philanthropy have been an inspiration to all of us,” shares Chamber Board Chair Bill Cole. “They have strengthened the economic, medical, and cultural fabric of our community and left a legacy that will last for generations.” The Ballard’s have devoted their livelihood to the community of Billings. Merilyn, a Montana native, convinced Bill, an Arkansas native, to move to Billings in 1956. Montana had much to offer in raising a family and in the state’s vast energy reserves. In partnership with Bill Cronoble, Bill formed Balcron Oil Company in 1963. After selling Balcron, Bill created Ballard Petroleum in 1992 and is the chairman and CEO. For more than 25 years he has worked
with sons Dave and Jeff, in their oil and gas exploration company which employs 30 in Billings and another 17 in Gillette, Wyoming. As their three children grew and the company flourished, Bill and Merilyn devoted more time to strengthening our community. Bill has served as director on the Billings Clinic and Rocky Mountain College boards for decades. In addition to providing leadership within healthcare and higher education, Bill has served on Rotary Club’s board as well as the Montana Petroleum Association board. Merilyn and Bill have invested in growth initiatives in healthcare, higher education,
26 | DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
service and their faith community, First Presbyterian Church. They believe in helping people and organizations working to achieve positive outcomes. They are true heroes to many people within our community and have lived such generosity to mark a lifetime of achievement. The Ballard’s received the Legacy Award during the Billings Chamber Annual Meeting Luncheon on September 27th.
GET TO KNOW THE BOARD:
Randall K. GIBB, MD
What is the number one thing in Billings you’d take a visiting friend to see/do? I absolutely would take them on the walking brew tour around the city. Not only is this a great way to see the many breweries downtown and talk to the owners who make each location a unique tasting experience, but also a chance to interact with a great cross section of our community.
Business: Billings Clinic
Favorite television show and why.
My favorite television show is the NFL “Red Zone” on Sunday morning. I am a total football junkie.
One adjective that describes you: Loyal
You get to make one change for the Billings community today – what would you do?
As a board member, you have the inside scoop. What would you share about the Chamber that other members may not know? The Chamber Board is diverse and each individual’s unique characteristics help make the Chamber one of the most successful in the country. Not only do we as members of the Chamber recognize this diversity, it is respected and encouraged. This will serve well the ongoing growth and development of our business community and our city.
I would develop a large sports complex that would be state of the art and include an indoor, all-season complex for baseball, basketball, swimming, tennis, and a general exercise facility. Accompanying this would be an outdoor complex with multi-use ball fields that could attract outside tournaments during the summer. This would expand the offerings to the community and continue to develop youth sports offerings within our city.
Tell us about your photo:
I love to the travel the world with my family, explore new cultures and cuisine and meet fascinating people along the way.
The snack always found in your desk/office: Peanut M&Ms and Mini-Snickers
Words you live by:
The “Golden Rule” of course: “Treat others as you would want to be treated.”
If you had a super power, what would it be?
The power of healing. Being a physician, this goes without saying.
DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 27
BUSINESS GROWTH: GETTING To KNoW
AMERICAN WATER TECHNoLoGIES By RENÉ BEyL
BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT SPECIALIST
I met with Chad Hilario, General Manager at American Water, to find out more about the products and services they offer. With pride, Chad shared the story of the company’s history that led them to the current location at 134 Regal Street in 1993.
Share with our readers how you can impact water quality at their businesses or homes.
We can improve your drinking water by providing bottled products for coolers up to installing a whole house reverse osmosis system. These systems can remove contaminants without adding salt or chemicals to your water. Working water, needed for cleaning dishes or laundry plus other household water, can be improved with water softeners or filtering products. We offer to test your office or home’s water at no cost with no pressure to purchase.
Your services expand well beyond the city of Billings. What areas of southeast Montana do you serve?
Yellowstone, Carbon and Musselshell counties are serviced by our equipment. We deliver to Billings, Shepherd, Huntley and Laurel.
You have amazing longevity in Billings. What do you believe has been the key to this success?
As a family owned business for 75 years, we have had great success due to our focus on getting better at what we do best. Over time we evaluated our scope of work making sure to do what is best for our customers. They have rewarded us with word of mouth advertising that has kept us growing.
Why are you a member of the Billings Chamber of Commerce?
We believe in what the Chamber of Commerce stands for, the involvement they have with business growth and their vision for our community.
Ribbon Cuttings The following Chamber member businesses recently celebrated grand openings, anniversaries, rebranding, relocation, and ground breakings. Congratulations to each of them!
ChamBer/Visit BilliNgs’ Visitor iNformatioN CeNter revealed the colorful new look after a remodel on September 9th.
aCe hardWare iN loCKWood
held a grand opening for their new location on September 23rd.
the eeC PaVilioN at ZoomoNtaNa
celebrated the completion of this project on October 4th.
showed off their new restaurant in downtown on October 5th.
msuB College of BusiNess
hosted an open house for the new TEIL room on October 5th.
is at a new location at 2646 Grand Ave and held an open house on October 11th.
expanded into a second building next door at 970 S. 29th St. W. and held an open house on October 12th.
a PerfeCt fit 4u
showed off their new business and unique clothing on October 13th.
sCout & molly’s
is Opened October 21st in Shiloh Crossing and will bring out the fashionista in you.
As a family owned business for 75 years, we have had great success due to our focus on getting better at what we do best.
first federal BaNK & trust
celebrated their newly opened Home Loan Center on October 22nd.
restaurant in downtown celebrated opening with a ribbon cutting on October 26th.
an independent and assisted living development in the heights, hosted an open house on October 27th. 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.
406 Kitchen & Tap Room Ribbon Cutting.
PHOTO COURTESY OF: BILLINGS CHAMBER
NExT UP WITH NExTGEN By JENNIFER REISER
n the midst of our third year, NextGEN proudly boasts over 220 members from area businesses. The 2016-17 Leadership Team consists of CoChairs Emily Petroff (Evolve Real Estate Group) and Kyle Schlichenmayer (New York Life), as well as Zack McKittrick (Stockman Bank), Tyler Crennen (First Interstate Bank), Sylvia Noble (EBMS), Drew LeVeaux (HUB International), and Jeremy Cherer (AAA MountainWest). For those unfamiliar, the NextGEN network exists to foster relationships among young professionals, develop business opportunities, support civic involvement, and promote an overall investment in the future of our community. NextGEN membership is open to Billings’ area emerging leaders ages 21 to 39. Petroff explains the value NextGEN offers for her: “Over the course of my professional life I participated and invested in a number of organizations. NextGEN is, by far, one of my favorites. When I contribute my time and invest in the future of our community through NextGEN, I always feel like I get WAY more than I give! Developing as a leader and developing leaders in our community is a progressive way to ensure that Billings continues to be a place that people want to work, live, and play.” Want to get involved? Next up with NextGEN are some exciting events and activities. January – May 2017 will see the Leadership Professional Development series and our premier quarterly educational and networking event, Quarters, will be held February 16, 2017. Every Friday Cahoots! comes together to help build the networks of each participant. “I love to be able to say I’m a part of NextGEN!” Schlichenmayer shared. “While working together with other young professionals who have a passion for making Billings a better place, I’ve developed a number friendships and business relationships that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. I’ve also been given the opportunity to learn and grow as a leader which has directly impacted the success I’ve had in my career.”
IINNTERESTED JoINING NExTGEN?
anyone aged 21-39 who lives and/or works in Billings is eligible to become a member. 1/2 OFF DUES THROUGH JUNE 30TH! Just $37.50 for Chamber members. Information is available at BillingsNextGen.com, or call
From January –June 2017, NextGEN offers a half year membership for only $37.50 (Chamber Member Rate). For more information go to www.BillingsNextGEN.com or email email@example.com
30 | DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
Service with a smile. Or a wave. Or maybe a little fist bump.
WISHING YOU A
New Year Thank you to our clients and business partners in the Billings community who have helped make this a successful year!
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Open: Mon - Sat, 4pm - Midnight DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 31
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