CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF CHAMBER MOTIVATION
CONNECT WITH BILLINGS’ NEWSCOMERS
GET TO KNOW CHAMBER BOARD CHAIR
I S S U E 1 | M A R C H - M AY 2 0 14
THE BILLINGS COMMUNITY OF THE FUTURE
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Walk-in appointments welcome.
Now Open at Albertsons on Main in the Heights and Grand & Rehberg Our new retail clinics offer patients quick access in convenient locations to primary care for minor medical issues. Benefits of ExpressCare include: E-scheduling through your mobile device, online or at the location
Billings Heights 670 Main Street (inside Albertsons) Billings West End 3137 Grand Avenue (inside Albertsons)
Easy parking at convenient locations
Decreased wait time
Simple pricing â€“ service prices range from $7 to $70
Most medical insurances accepted
Hours (both locations): Monday-Friday: 8 am to 8 pm Saturday: 9 am to 6 pm Sunday: 10 am to 4 pm
Additional locations are planned to open in Spring and Summer of 2014.
Scan this code with your mobile device to schedule your appointment.
MARCH 2014 | LiNK an BUSINESS QUARTERLY |3 Go to www.billingsclinic.com/expresscare for more information or to schedule appointment online.
table of contents
3.14 CONTENTS Defining Tomorrow What will Billings look like five years from today? Local industry leaders weigh in.
Cape Air flights began in December, but their membership began months ahead of the first flight. Find out why the Chamber was an integral first step.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
The Chamberâ€™s longest running membership event celebrates fifty years this month. Explore the history and the reasons for bringing Archie Manning to Billings.
The regional economy impacts all of us, and the Chamber is proactive is working with our partners. Learn how eastern Montana bands together to educate and inform legislators.
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3.14 EVERY ISSUE
PRESIDENTS LETTER What is the spirit of Billings?
If time is money, flying saves both.
Membership Benefit Spotlight: Reach Newcomers. Get your business in front of new residents first.
Now there’s a fast, reliable way to get to and
Some of the latest statistics and economic data impacting businesses in Billings.
an easy, affordable flight and be there 3 times faster. Book online today.
The Main Street Montana Project is designed to help business prosper. How will it affect Billings?
from Billings for business or pleasure. Hop on
Wolf Point Sidney
The influence of 6,000+ visitors on our community and how we leave a positive lasting impression.
Get to Know Rene Beyl The Chamber’s Membership Development Assistant and Directory of First Impressions.
TRIPS ON A TANKFUL
Billings is Montana’s Trailhead to a treasure trove of experiences in southeast Montana. Explore Huntley and Pompeys Pillar in this issue.
each way, including all taxes and fees
Did we see you at recent Chamber events? Look for yourself and your friends in LiNKED!
GET TO KNOW KAREN FAGG
Current Chamber Board Chair Karen Fagg shares about the chamber, words to live by, and more.
Your wings to Billings.
capeair.com 800-CAPE-AIR *Fares are subject to availability and other significant conditions. Fares may change without notice, and are not guaranteed until ticketed.
FROM THE PRESiDENT/CEO
THE SPIRIT OF BILLINGS Charles Lindberg was a visionary with a goal: be the first person to cross the Atlantic in an airplane. What he didn’t have was a plane...or money to buy one. So he turned to the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, who gave him the money to buy the plane and encouraged him to name it “The Spirit of St. Louis.” For 415 years, chambers have led their communities. At times chambers connect visionaries such as Lindberg with monumental progress that place their towns on the map. But day-to-day, chambers work to connect you to opportunities, advocate for a stronger business climate and help grow your bottom line. All while looking at the horizon. In this first issue of LiNK, we visit with community leaders asking them to Define Tomorrow and the Chamber of the Future. So why a new magazine? To be successful supporting our community and your business, we need to “link” you to our organization and opportunities to engage. We partnered with
Billings Gazette Communications to launch this quarterly business magazine and share feature business stories and profiles, tools for growth, business trends, and more.
Big Sky level
Granite Peak level
CenturyLink Holiday Station Stores U.S. Bank
Crowne Plaza MSU Billings Billings Clinic
BeartootH LEVEL Big Sky Economic Development Airgas Intermountain
The Spirit of Billings is strong: new library, schools, recreational assets, healthy business climate, and more. Where do we go next?
Bay, LTD BNSF Century 21 Hometown Brokers Charter Business
I hope you enjoy our first edition of LiNK.
Computers Unlimited Costco Wholesale Crowley Fleck PLLP Keller Williams Premier Brokers Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. Montana Rail Link, Inc. PayneWest Insurance PPL Montana, LLC Rocky Mountain College Sam’s Club Stockman Bank, Billings Underriner Honda Vertex Consulting Group Western Security Bank, Downtown Holiday Inn Grand Montana ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Co. Phillips 66 Published by:
The Billings Gazette
Project Management: Dave Worstell, Allyn Hulteng Sales: Lynn Langeliers, Michelle Maki Design: Nadine Bittner, Bob Tambo Editor: Kelly McCandless Photo Contributors: Billings Gazette Staff Photographers, Billings Chamber/ CVB, Billings TBID, ThinkStock/ Jupiter Images Photography Cover Photo-Billings TBID www.billingschamber.com PO Box 31177 Billings MT 59107-1177 406-245-4111 • 800-711-2630
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MEMBERSHIP BENEFIT SPOTLIGHT: REACH NEWCOMERS BY JENNIFER REISER, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
BILLINGS RELOCATION One of the many high performance but under recognized benefits offered by the Billings Chamber/CVB is the Billings Membership and Relocation Guide. The guide, published each spring, provides current and prospective residents the resources needed to live and do business in Billings, Montana’s Trailhead. A ND MEMBERSHIP GUIDE
W H E R E YA H E A D I N ’ ?
This publication contains information on education, employment, economy, and transportation as well as healthcare and medical services, places of worship and an overview of the Billings community. In addition, it includes Billings Chamber member listings alphabetically and by industry. In short, it is a handbook for newcomers to our community, and it puts the names and contact information for Chamber members into their hands first.
level and above. These members can mail information to the person requesting our guide, such as a post card or brochure welcoming them to our city and showcasing their services or products. This works well based on feedback we receive from the group representing local banks, hotels, realtors, insurance agents and service companies. Several shared they had success in recruiting new business from individuals that moved to town due to this lead.
Over the last six months the Billings Chamber sent out 158 relocation guides, an average of 26.4 per month. These addresses are shared weekly with members at the Pioneer membership
Additionally, the Billings Chamber/CVB provides executive relocation services to assist businesses in recruiting prospective employees. These materials include a welcome letter from
our President/CEO, relocation guide, visitor’s guide, and Chamber membership materials. They can be customized to meet the needs of your business or industry. Billings connects you to warm, genuine, hardworking people who possess a perspective on life that is uniquely Montanan and inherently individual – people who look you in the eye and take time to welcome you. Your Chamber connects you to the newest people experiencing our community. If you’d like to receive this benefit, call 406-245-4111 to learn more. Look for the newest Relocation Guide to be available in late spring 2014.
CHAMBER STATISTICS As of February 14, 2014, the Billings Chamber represents 1,179 members with approximately 46,265 employees. Since the beginning of our fiscal year on July 1, 2013 through February 14, 2014: Number of Calls/Inquiries: .......... 6,150 (average of 820/month)
Number of Attendees booked by CVB/TBID: .................... 21,555
Visitors to the Visitor Information Center: ...................... 4,000+
Direct Spending from Tourism Bookings: ..................4.8 million
Visits to BillingsChamber.com: ......................................... 25,191 Relocation Packets Mailed: .................................................... 199 Visitor Information Packets Mailed: ................................... 2,674 Business Meeting Attendees at Chamber: ......................... 5,670 Chamber Event Attendance: ................................................4,885
Tens of thousands of people cross our path. Make sure we have the correct information on your business to share. Check your listing at BillingsChamber.com and let us know if changes are needed. MARCH 2014 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 7
KEY ECONOMIC INDICATORS Hotel Occupancy
70.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 68.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 66.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 64.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 62.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 60.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 58.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 56.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 54.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 52.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2012 2011 2013 Billings
Unemployment Rate Comparison County Population
Percent change in county population 2012-2013
Unemployment Rate as of December 2013 Yellowstone County
Median Household Income
Airport Deboardings: City Comparison 500,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ 450,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________
Average Home Price
350,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ 300,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Number of Business Licenses
250,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ 200,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ 150,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________
School District #2 Enrollment
Sources: Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Billings Association of Realtors速, City of Billings, School District #2, U.S. Census Bureau.
100,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ 50,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2012 2011 2013 0
*2013 Billings deboardings were impacted by runway maintenance in July/August
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MAIN STREET MONTANA PROJECT DESIGNED TO HELP BUSINESSES PROSPER BY BRUCE MACINTYRE, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS AND BUSINESS ADVOCACY In late January Governor Steve Bullock met in Billings with the community leaders on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The meeting allowed local leaders to learn more about the Governor’s projects, including the Main Street Montana Project.
Last spring, Governor Steve Bullock met with 70 Billings business leaders to discuss his proposed Main Street Montana Project. The Governor called on those present to begin the dialogue to “build on the strengths that have made Montana great, develop solutions to hurdles that have challenged business growth, develop Montana’s workforce development system, and identify sector-specific and locally relevant action steps to attract and retain businesses in local Montana communities.” Billings, as well as six other Montana communities, held in-depth comprehensive and collaborative listening sessions about how to approach economic issues and workforce development, which generated more than 3,000 recommendations. Because local economies differ throughout Montana, it was decided that the geographical area of the six Montana Job Service Regions would be used to create six unique sets of data. As Montana develops its economic development plan, Governor Bullock will incorporate the recommendations and action steps into his policy agenda. The project is envisioned to be ongoing and self-sustaining, so Montana businesses can continue to capitalize on Montana’s economic innovations, while competing in a global economy. For the Billings region, anticipated emphasis will be on reducing government regulation, facilitating growth of our current local businesses, attracting and training a workforce to meet the demands of the 21st century global
INCOMING CHAMBER BOARD CHAIR RON YATES INTRODUCES GOV. BULLOCK AT THE FEBRUARY CHAMBER BOARD MEETING. – PHOTO BY RHEA WOLPOE
economy, nurturing a close relationship between the education and business communities, and evaluating current training programs to assure that the needs of the business community are addressed in the training programs that are or will be offered. The ultimate result will be a workable plan that will be locally relevant, measurable and reevaluated on an ongoing basis as the business climate changes. The Billings Chamber will continue to be an integral player in this project and looks forward to bringing key recommendations to the implementation stage.
FOLLOW MORE OF BRUCE’S WORK IN LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL ISSUES. VISIT HIS WEBSITE: PUBLICPOLICY. BILLINGSCHAMBER.COM.
For more information, log on to mainstreetmontanaproject.com.
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TOURISM, ECONOMY, AND A LASTING IMPACT BY ALEX TYSON
• EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR BILLINGS CVB/TBID
I read recently that tourism is one of the most effective ways of redistributing wealth. By moving money into local economies from other parts of the country, tourism brings income into a community that would otherwise not be earned. This is something that the Visit Billings team is ultra-aware of as we continually look at ways to cultivate visitor growth at Montana’s Trailhead. Billings’ businesses benefit from tourism, a top industry for the state and locally. Two million people visit Billings every year with an economic impact of more than $250 million annually. That’s big money. Crucial to the health of the local economy. When a community has an opportunity to host even more guests than average, like in July 2015 with the BMW Motorcycles of America (MOA) International Rally, the economic impact will grow. In this case, by as much as $5 million in less than one week’s time. As such, we as residents have a responsibility to present the best Billings possible. We want guests to leave Billings with smiles on their faces and a true Montana experience they will go home and tell their friends about. BMW MOA chose Montana’s Trailhead for many of the same reasons residents choose to live here. Their group (6,000+ expected to visit Billings) could have gone to most any community in 2015, but they chose Billings. The city’s attractions, sites, views, lodging, air service, facilities, retailers and restaurants are why Billings is a place to choose. We should be proud of the community we live in, shout about it from the Rimrocks, look visitors in the eye and welcome them during their stay. We hope you’re as excited as we are about giving visitors a true experience when they stop in town. If you need resources for you or your staff, let us guide you. It’s what we do! And, we thank you for all you do to support local tourism. The mission of the Tourism Business Improvement District is to generate room nights for lodging facilities in the city of Billings by effectively marketing our region as a preferred travel destination.
We want guests to leave Billings with smiles on their faces and a true Montana experience they will go home and tell their friends about. 10 | MARCH 2014 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
The Billings Tourism Business Improvement District is managed by the Billings Chamber of Commerce/CVB.
TBID GRANT APPLICATIONS DUE JUNE 2ND Since 2008, the Billings TBID Board has assisted more than 20 organizations and events with more than $75,000 in funding. The Billings Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) Board of Directors awards grants biannually as part of the organization’s mission to grow tourism at Montana’s Trailhead. The purpose of this funding is to grow the local tourism economy through increased visitor spending at lodging establishments. When area hotels and motels are full, tourism partners such as retailers, restaurateurs, transportation entities, and local attractions also benefit.
Since 2008, the Billings TBID Board has assisted more than 20 organizations and events with more than $75,000 in funding. The grants are also part of a commitment to foster stronger links between the arts, culture, the tourism industry and local economic development. If your organization hosts an event that would bring more people to Billings for a night’s stay or longer, keeping with the TBID’s mission to
generate room nights for lodging facilities, take a closer look at the grant application available at VisitBillings.com. The Board awards up to $30,000 annually. Applications for the next funding cycle are due to the Billings Chamber/ CVB/TBID offices by the end of business, Monday, June 2, 2014. Below: Sample of advertisements in place for tourism recruitment.
ON THE BOOKS
Nearly 60 events have been booked or serviced by the Billings tourism team since July 2013. These events include: • NCAA REGIONAL CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR 2014 & 2016 • 2015 GNAC MEN’S & WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS • OUTDOOR WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA NATIONAL CONVENTION - 2016 • MONTANA STATE CUP SOCCER TOURNAMENT – 2014 • REGIONAL SOCCER TOURNAMENT – 2014 • NOT IN OUR TOWN ANNUAL MEETING – 2014 • MONTANA STATE HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIPS – 2014 • MONTANA MEAT PROCESSORS ASSOCIATION - 2015 • MONTANA BIKE/WALK SUMMIT – 2014 • BETH MOORE MINISTRIES – 2014 • AAU GRAND NATIONALS WRESTLING TOURNAMENT – 2014 & BEYOND • MONTANA HARLEY OWNERS GROUP STATE CONVENTION - 2014 • MSU BILLINGS TENNIS INVITATIONAL – 2014 • MONTANA AVIATION CONFERENCE – 2014
ON THE ROAD
Meeting and Convention Recruitment
COLLINSON DIVERSITY SUMMIT WESTERN MONTANA TRAVEL MEETING PLANNER CONVENTION EXPO IN MISSOULA IN WASHINGTON, D.C. FEBRUARY 2014 JANUARY 2014 U.S. TRAVEL ASSOCIATION’S MONTANA TOURISM ADVISORY IPW INTERNATIONAL MARKET COUNCIL MEETING IN IN CHICAGO MISSOULA APRIL 2014 FEBRUARY 2014 MARCH 2014 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 11
TRiPS on a TANKFUL
Huntley and Pompeys Pillar
By Nick Mann, Visit Southeast Montana Marketing Manager
With world class destinations like Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park being the go to tourism attractions in our state, it is easy to forget that there are plenty of amazing things to see and do just a short distance from Billings.
POMPEYS PILLAR VISITOR CENTER â€“ PHOTOS COURTESY OF: TIM MAZZATERRO
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ver the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to explore Montana as part of my job as Marketing Director for Visit Southeast Montana. With world class destinations like Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park being the go to tourism attractions in our state, it is easy to forget that there are plenty of amazing things to see and do just a short distance from Billings. One such hidden gem right in our back yard is the Huntley Project Museum of Irrigated Agriculture. The museum’s 10 acre property includes 18 homestead buildings and thousands of artifacts on display. Kids can learn about the Huntley Irrigation Project, which helped convert the dry, arid land around Billings into productive farmland, and helped the city to become as successful as it is today. Once you’ve learned a little bit about the history of agriculture in the Yellowstone Valley, you can end your day with a trip to Pompeys Pillar, just 14 miles from Huntley. Most people in Billings know the story of how William Clark carved his name into the sandstone of Pompeys Pillar in 1806. What you may not know is that Pompeys Pillar is a great place to experience the beauty of the Yellowstone River. Be sure to bring a picnic blanket so you can spread out on the grass
under the shade of the cottonwood trees. Aside from the famous signature, visitors to the Pillar can wander through the Interpretive Center and learn about the famous explorers Lewis & Clark. Of course, no trip to Pompeys Pillar is complete without a climb up the steps leading to the top of the monument. While you’re catching your breath, be sure to read the signage showing excerpts from William Clark’s journal explaining the view he had when he stood in that exact same place. The best way to take advantage of these hidden treasures would be to start bright and early and visit the Huntley Project Museum when it opens at 10am. Take your time browsing the museum and then head for Pompeys Pillar when you are ready for some lunch. Give yourself plenty of time at the pillar to explore, climb, and explore some more. You can do all this and still be back home in Billings in time to watch the sun set. 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/CVB
WHAT DO MONTANA AGATES, ELK ANTLER JEWELRY, AND REMOTE CONTROLLED AIRPLANES HAVE IN COMMON
For one thing, they can all be found at the Prairie Unique Gift Store in Terry, about 180 miles east of Billings. Prairie Unique, which is family owned and operated by Dale and Kathy Galland, has become something of a tradition for men and women who hunt deer and antelope in the area and visit the store to buy Montana souvenirs for their friends and family back home. Prairie Unique isn’t all about souvenirs and gifts, however. Dale is also the president of the Bush Pilots Remote Controlled Airplane Club based out of Glendive. He runs a hobby shop and builds his own planes in the back of the store. Dale recognizes the special relationship between Billings and the smaller towns in our region and makes frequent trips to our city to purchase supplies and inventory. He also comes to Billings to attend R/C Airplane events and to give demonstrations of his own airplanes, typically dragging along a few fellow enthusiasts from Terry so he can treat them to a night in the ‘big city.’
Prairie Unique Gift Shop - PHOTO COURTESY DALE GALLAND POMPEYS PILLAR VISITOR CENTER – PHOTOS COURTESY OF: TIM MAZZAFERRO
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GET TO KNOW:
BEYL p h o t o C O U R T E S Y R H E A W O L PO E Position: Membership Development Assistant
Years on Staff: 6.5 Years
What is one thing about the Chamber you think most people don’t know? Describe your position in 5 words. Whirlwind of details, service and reservations.
One adjective that describes you: Industrious.
Words you live by:
Find something to do that makes you happy and incorporate it into your life.
The dish you’re known for cooking?
People don’t necessarily share that the Chamber/ CVB is the reason they came in the door of your business. They may have called the office looking for information, found you in a Relocation and Membership Guide or on our website.
Birthday meals. My family gets what they like best on their special day.
Favorite Chamber event?
That is like picking your favorite child! Salespersons’ Breakfast leaves me feeling motivated and uplifted. Newsmakers are so informative and I always learn something new.
If you could have lunch with one famous person, who would it be and why?
Instead of lunch I would go picking with Mike and Frank from “American Pickers.” Travel, junking and meeting new people would be right up my alley.
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EDUCATION CORNER BUSINESS RELATED TRAINING & WEBINAR OPPORTUNITIES OFFERED BY FELLOW MEMBERS
175 N 27th Street, Suite 1303 Billings, MT 59101 Phone: 406-294-8484 Fax: 406-294-8480 kdhlawfirm.com
Swords Rimrock Park
4/8 and 4/10: Developing Time Management Skills Live Webinar through Avitus Group. Increase productivity, procrastinate less, and decrease stress and anxiety. Learn more: 406-255-7470. 4/23-25: Develop proficiency in Microsoft Excel with Entré Technology Services. Levels 1, 2 and 3 offered (select one or take all three). Learn more 406-256-5700. 4/24: Employment Law Seminar through Associated Employers. Obtain a more thorough understanding of the responsibilities of Human Resource Managers. Learn more: 406-248-6178. 5/20 and 5/22: Interviewing and Hiring Properly Live Webinar through Avitus Group. Empower your management team to conduct interviews effectively. Learn more: 406-255-7470.
Thank you to everyone who helped make
this a destination. Special Thank You to Billings Chamber of Commerce/Convention and Visitors Bureau BikeNet • YRPA • Downtown Billings Rotary Yellowstone RimRunners • Billings Parks Foundation
Does your business offer webinars, trainings or workshops that may be beneficial for other Chamber members? Let us know:
email@example.com. You may be included in the next issue!
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book nook Billings Chamber staff read “Who Moved My Cheese” As the Chamber looks toward the future and how to adapt, it seems appropriate that the staff would kick off 2014 with “Who Moved my Cheese” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. The book shares the story of four mice in a maze and how they each adapt to change, with the moral that change is inevitable and should be embraced. Favorite staff tidbits include, “If you do not change, you become extinct,” “What would you do if you were not afraid?” and “Move with change and enjoy it.” The book is a short, easy read; however, keep it simple with the children’s book, which is what the Chamber staff enjoyed together when discussing it as a group.
Your educational partner for a lifetime!
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MSU Billings has been an integral part of Billings and Eastern Montana since 1927. As Billings continues to grow, we stand ready to educate and develop the next generation of leaders.
attempts are unwelcome. Are you competing to be a welcome visitor in your consumer’s experience, or adding to the ignorable noise? Remember to evaluate web metrics like bounce rate and engagement insights, not just click-through’s. 800.565.MSUB • msubillings.edu
MARCH 2014 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 17
defining tomorr by JULIE GREEN
Where do you see our community 5 years from today?
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As the old saying goes, the only thing that never changes is change itself. Certainly, that’s been true of Billings, which has gone through countless reformations over the last 132 years. Could anyone have imagined 50 years ago where our city would be today? Not likely.
Producer and owner of Trailhead Spirits, has also seen new businesses starting and growing in Billings—including his own.
Even five years ago, when the national economy was in a tailspin, people questioned how well the city would weather the economic storm. Not only did we emerge strong, our local economy became an enviable benchmark and Billings an in-demand market.
“I think that small businesses are growing in our community and there’s a movement across the nation to support local,” he said. “I support it because the majority of money stays in our community, and I do encourage others to get out and get back to getting local. There are plenty of opportunities and I think [growth] is going to be more amplified. We’re on the tip of the iceberg in Billings.”
Much has happened in just five years, which begs the question: Where will Billings be in the next five years?
At the same time local businesses are growing, McGowan noted, larger businesses are also being attracted to the community.
We asked five business executives and Chamber members to share their vision of the future: Dr. Nicholas Wolter, CEO Billings Clinic; Bruce Glennie, Wells Fargo Business Banking Manager for Eastern Montana; Mike Nelson, co-owner and general manager of the Northern Hotel, Karen Sanford Gall, executive director of Big Sky State Games; and Casey McGowan, Payne West Commercial Lines Producer and owner of Trailhead Spirits. Here’s what they had to share.
Business & Finance
“Billings has a great economy that is fairly diversified,” said Bruce Glennie, Wells Fargo Business Banking Manager for Eastern Montana. “Our medical community, agriculture, natural resources are all a part of that. They are providing us opportunities.” When the rest of the country was in a slump, Glennie noted that Billings remained largely stable. Companies opted not to expand during that time not because of what was happening here, but because of what was being reported elsewhere. Now, he says, that expansion is taking place. “We’re seeing increased demand, and banks are willing and ready to lend,” he says. “Companies that were taking a wait-and-see approach are now moving. Small businesses are also looking to expand, and we anticipate more large businesses coming into our market based on regional influence. I wouldn’t say it’s exploding, but we’re seeing steady growth. I believe that growth will continue over the next 5 years.” Casey McGowan, Payne West Commercial Lines
“Billings is positioned geographically to bring in the big players, with our proximity to energy and agriculture. That’s a good thing because of employment opportunities. I think it will grow the economy and population of Billings.” Ironically, one of the challenges facing businesses of all sizes is Billings’ low unemployment rate.
“It’s harder for every business to find the right person for the right job,” says Mike Nelson, co-owner and general manager of the Northern Hotel. “All of us have to elevate our game.” Glennie agrees. “There are challenges in hiring enough people. A better economy produces a tighter workforce. Businesses have to figure out how to make that work for their business, not just for new employees but in order to retain as much talented staff as they can,” he said. Glennie and Nelson agree that the workforce today – or five years from now – might look different than in the past. Some firms may embrace people working at home, or be open to other nontraditional arrangements. Both demographics and technology will have a big influence on the workforce of the future.
According to Billings Clinic CEO Dr. Nicholas Wolter, Billings will retain its position as a thriving city known for its medical services, but the health care community is likely to continue undergoing rapid change. “As Baby Boomers reach age 65 and older, their health care needs will grow significantly,”
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Bruce Glennie - Wells Fargo Business Banking Manager for Eastern Montana – PHOTO BY
A group meets at Trailhead Spirits - PHOTO BY RHEA WOLPOE
BILLINGS GAZETTE STAFF
Dr. Wolter said. “We’ll see more chronic diseases needing attention. With technology advances, more medical care and therapies will be tailored to individual needs. We will also continue to address the many changes happening in health care with the Affordable Care Act, and new Medicaid payment forms try to incent providers to create more value and keep costs from escalating.” Recruiting physicians, including general internists who care for adults with hypertension, diabetes and other illnesses, may pose a level of challenge, Dr. Wolter said. Fortunately, Billings has many of the attributes professionals are looking for as they consider relocation. “What physicians or other providers are looking for is a place where their family can stay healthy and enjoy recreational opportunities,” he says. “They’re also looking for strong schools. Billings has been doing a good job of emphasizing things that are attractive to families, such as good health care, recreation and a commitment to excellence in education.” Calling Billings a great place to
live and work, Dr. Wolter added, “Here the emphasis on health and prevention can be very successful. The movement to having more bike paths, areas where people can walk and incentives being created by employers to be members of health clubs or to ride bikes to work are important steps.” Karen Sanford Gall, executive director of Big Sky State Games referred to the city’s trail system as a ‘health club out there for us all.’ “Just get on the system and it will benefit you physically and mentally,” she said.
Travel & Tourism
“I think we’re at the beginning of five years of change for Billings,” said Nelson. “We have a vibrant transportation hub here; it’s relatively easy to get to Billings with the airport and interstate. The best part is our location—we’re in the middle of the 500-mile trade area where great business is done.” He says the Bakken oil play has brought significant benefits to Billings in terms of both business and tourism, and that has led to a boom of its own in the number of hotels being built and planned in and around the city. He has also
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seen an increase in the number of events coming to town. “The Billings CVB is doing a great job in attracting things like that,” he says. “We’re excited about bringing in more business meetings and conferences as well. Ideally, we’ll see a regional conference center come to Billings to induce them to come in even larger numbers.” Sports tourism is an important part of that effort. “I’m also excited about the direction the CVB has taken as far as sports tourism,” said Sanford Gall. “That segment of tourism involves travel for both participants in events as well as spectators. It’s a fast-growing part of our industry, and the CVB has a person focused on bringing those types of events to our community.” Sanford Gall noted that Billings is gaining top-of-mind awareness as a destination city for hosting sports events because of the increasing number of rooms available as well as restaurants and other amenities that are essential. Regional event sizes such as the Women’s Run and Heart & Sole Run are increasing in size and drawing
more regional participants. “It’s important that we concentrate on our community assets, maintain good venues and replace them as needed,” she said. “I want to be the community where people go ‘Wow! Did you see that!’ I want to be the community that sets the bar. We’ve done that in so many areas—our medical community, the colleges, K-12, a great business climate. We just need to continue to improve it.”
Quality of Life
“When I first came back to town, Forbes listed Billings as the best city to start a new business. We were also named as one of the best places to raise a small family in another publication. We have what it takes,” said Nelson. That ‘what it takes,’ he noted, includes the friendliness of the people, the strong economy and the beauty of the outdoors. It’s a sentiment McGowan echoes. “Billings has a lot to offer,” he said. “The school bond passing, the trail system, the parks, the outdoor recreation—we are very well situated. When businesses look for places to set up headquarters, we have what they’re looking for.”
celebrating 50 years Motivating Business Members For Fifty Years And Counting
b y K E L LY M C C A N D L E S S
As with any long-standing business, the Chamber’s history is dynamic; dotted with colorful stories and unbelievable facts. Growth and change occur alongside culturally significant milestones and the purpose and mission of the Chamber evolved. The Salespersons’ Breakfast is a wonderful example of this: Its fifty year history is lively and varied. As we celebrate the 50th year of this event, it’s the perfect time to look back at how it began and how it’s changed.
Looking back The very first Salespersons’ Breakfast was held by the Chamber in 1964. It was a Saturday morning event filled with Screwdrivers, Blood Mary’s and motivation for the traveling salesmen who attended. Bruce MacIntyre, today the Chamber’s Director of Government Affairs and Business Advocacy, attended the premier event. “It was a day-long party. Everyone drank, swapped sales stories and went home to sleep it off before we all had to hit the road again on Monday,” he reminisced. “It was that way for a long time.” Fast forward to 1980, and the event was still going strong. Nearly 1,000 people attended that year, and it was still a very male dominant
event. By 1982 women were invited to what was still known as the “Salesman’s Breakfast,” and by 1985 the first woman was invited to keynote the event. Jean Yancy, a successful businesswoman and business advocate was the featured speaker at what was yet still designated as a men’s event. Finally, in 1990, the name was changed and both men and women were invited and welcomed to the Billings Chamber’s “Salespersons’ Breakfast.” By that time, however, the event’s popularity was waning. Attendance dropped to between 200-300 people and interest was weak. Not to be deterred, the event carried on as a constant in the Billings business community
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and eventually gained traction with the Chamber membership once again. For the last five years the event has been the Chamber’s biggest and best event held annually. Nearly 1,000 people attend each year, with the record attendance for the event set in 2010 with Karl Mecklenburg. This year promises to be even bigger and even better. The announcement of Archie Manning as the 2014 Salespersons’ Breakfast keynote speaker resulted in several shattered records: over 1,000 tickets and all of the tables for the event were sold in less than a week, and tickets continue to sell daily as the Billings business community works to generate a major crowd for the landmark anniversary.
Celebrating 50 Years with Archie Manning This month we celebrate fifty years of motivation, networking and successful business partnerships with Archie Manning presenting at the biggest and best Salespersons’ Breakfast to date. As business and employees evolve and culture shifts, one major things remains the same: success relies on leadership. A wide base of strong leadership will continue to propel Billings into the future. In a year about selfexamination at the Chamber, the timing for Mr. Manning is perfect. Manning will present his leadership lessons from football, family and life by encouraging the audience to ask proactive questions such as “What can I do? What is my part in this?” His goal is to inspire the audience to take the lead not by overstepping a boundary, but by motivating others. But what makes him qualified to take on this role? When people think of Archie Manning, football is almost always the first thing to come to mind. However, his athletic achievements do not define
him as a leader. Despite being a number two draft pick in 1971, Manning found himself on a losing team. His 15-year career with the New Orleans Saints was record breaking, but the teams’ record was dismal. In the face of an incredible, though disappointing, football career, Manning stayed at the top. His humanitarian work is award winning, he and his family work with children and on a variety of levels, and he and his wife, Olivia, continue to lead civic causes to serve widespread need. Look forward to walking away from this event with fresh eyes on what leadership really means to your career, your family and your imprint on your community. Tickets are still available for purchase. Call the Chamber at 406-245-4111 or stop by Rimrock Mall Customer Service to purchase yours before the March 20th event. More information is available at BillingsChamber.com.
Tips from industry experts: HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN SALES.
CEO, First Interstate Bank
“Hire the right people, empower them to make decisions, then get out of their way and let them do their job. Your employees are the individuals that create customer satisfaction and they provide the service experience that generates and maintains customer relationships. Focus on quality and execution. When you take care of your customers and exceed expectations, growth and opportunity will follow. Small improvements bring significant outcomes over time. The ability to adapt is paramount. The most concrete business plans rarely survive contact with reality. Learn to be open to whatever comes your way, and nothing will faze you. ”No” can often mean “not yet.” Hit the ground running, because there will be expensive days
and sales will not generate themselves. You can have an outstanding marketing plan and business strategy, but it will mean nothing without the ability to make a sale.”
Owner, Denny Menholt
“Your employees are your most important asset. Create an environment where all of your employees enjoy their work. Make sure your employees are taken care of both in compensation and in benefits. It is this simple; happy employees equal happy customers and unhappy employee’s equal’s unhappy customers.”
Dave Worstell Sales and Marketing Director, Billings Gazette Communications
of almost every sale process. Even in this day of rapidly changing technology, the salesperson who develops a personal relationship with their customer based on trust, professionalism and excellent followthrough is the one who will succeed.”
Michael Sanderson President/CEO, Sanderson Stewart
“There’s no magic formula for good sales performance. At the end of the day, you just have to really genuinely care about your clients and their success.”
“I’m convinced that relationships with customers continue to be a critical component
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Billings Chamber of Commerce/CVB
CLASSIC Golf Tournament
The Trailhead Classic is presented by the Billings Chamber of Commerce and Vertex Consulting Group.
Get ready for a day of fun with the Trailhead Classic at The Briarwood! Dust off those clubs, dig out some classic golf garb and get ready to network in a whole new environment! Played as a scramble, the tournament is an excellent occasion to network with clients, co-workers and hole sponsors.
As a casual golfer, the Trailhead Classic is a fun, lowpressure tournament to enjoy. While the course at The Briarwood is challenging for any skill level, there’s also a ton of flag prizes and something for everyone. I’ve met some really great people by playing in the Trailhead Classic. It is an awesome member and community event that we’re proud to be a part of. Several years ago, I met someone playing in the tournament who later ended up joining our staff, and became an awesome part of our Vertex family. And it all started on the golf course during the Trailhead Classic. You never know who you’re going to meet! –Jeff Walters, CFO, Vertex Consulting Group, Chamber/CVB Board Member The Billings Chamber/CVB Trailhead Classic
Friday, May 9th
at The Briarwood • $500/team of 4
includes green fees, cart fees, BBQ lunch, snacks and refreshments.
Register your team or learn about sponsorship opportunities: 406-245-4111 or BillingsChamber. com.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF: TIM MAZZAFURO
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• Same-day credit on deposits • View deposit reports and perform research quickly • No deposit slips required
Easy to use scanner and softw software that allows you to make your bank deposits right at your desk. HARDIN 835 N. Center Avenue Hardin, Montana (406) 665-2332
BILLINGS 2900 Central Avenue Billings, Montana (406) 656-5148
Your brand of bank... big enough to help, small enough to care.
MIND CAPTURE: CUSTOMER SERVICE FEATURING TONY RUBLESKI BY KAMA HUMPHREY, EVENTS MANAGER
“In today’s world, everyone is in the customer service industry. It is all about relationship building. I teach my clients how to get more referrals, more repeat business and explain to them why follow-up is so critical in customer service” says Tony. The Chamber is delighted to present best-selling author, Tony Rubleski for the 2014 customer service seminar. Tony Rubleski, President of Mind Capture Group, helps businesses, sales professionals and entrepreneurs move beyond ordinary marketing to a much higher level of bonding with clients. He has over 10 years experience in the direct selling and advertising fields and has worked with a diverse client list. “In today’s world, everyone is in the customer service industry. It is all about relationship building. I teach my clients how to get more referrals, more repeat business and explain to them why follow-up is so critical in customer service” says Tony. I couldn’t agree more. Follow up is vital to a successful business relationship. I’ve been in contact with Tony Rubleski for nearly 4 years working to set a date to bring him to Billings as a featured Chamber event, and this event is an example of his message. I was first introduced to Tony in 2010 as someone who would be a perfect fit for a
keynote event with the Billings Chamber. Immediately, I knew I wanted to work with Tony; it was just a matter of timing and budgeting. However, had Tony not been consistent in contacting me, I might have just brushed him off. Instead, we built a relationship over the last few years. Tony contacts me via email, mail and phone and sends me articles and tips useful to our organization. He remains relevant and will be a perfect fit for our membership.” Tony Rubleski’s MIND CAPTURE Customer Service Seminar is Tuesday, April 8th at the Hampton Inn & Suites. This engaging and inspiring seminar will educate attendees on the key characteristics of today’s customer and effective ways to improve your own customer service. He will also teach proven ways to stay in touch with your best clients, earn trust and talk about what things to avoid in your marketing that directly impacts the customer experience. Register at BillingsChamber. com or by calling 406-245-4111. Tony’s second book in the Mind Capture series, titled Mind Capture: How You Can Stand
out in the Age of Advertising Deficit Disorder, went #1 in three different business categories with Amazon.com and received stunning reviews from a wide range of leaders in marketing, sales, psychology to academia and multiple New York Times bestselling authors. His work has been featured in various media outlets ranging from the FOX TV network, ABC, and CNN Radio, to NPR and Entrepreneur Magazine Radio. Learn more at www. mindcapturegroup.com
Billings Chamber/CVB EVENT CALENDAR THURSDAY, MARCH 20TH: Salespersons’ Breakfast presented by First Interstate Bank, 6-9am, Rimrock Auto Arena, $35 general admission. TUESDAY, APRIL 8TH: Exceptional MIND CAPTURE Customer Service featuring Tony Rubleski, 8:30 – 10:30am, Hampton Inn & Suites. $89/ per person. (See article for additional information) WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9TH: Business After Hours featuring Elichai Fine Jewelry at the Hilton Garden Inn, 5-7pm, $5 at the door. FRIDAY, MAY 9TH: Trailhead Classic Golf Tournament Presented by Vertex Consulting Group, 7:30am and 1:30pm Shotgun Starts available. $500 team of 4 includes lunch, snacks, refreshments and prizes. WEDNESDAY, MAY 14TH: Business After Hours at Rimrock GMC Cadillac, 840 S. Shiloh Road, 5-7pm, $5 at the door. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 11TH: Business After Hours at Best Western PLUS Clocktower Inn, 5-7pm, $5 at the door. FRIDAY, JUNE 20TH: Chamber/CVB Ag Tour, 8am-5pm, $55/person.
TONY RUBLESKI – PHOTO COURTESY OF TONY RUBLESKI
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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 mext meeting or event you attend and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Vicki Olson-Johnson and Scott Johnson at the Ag Appreciation Banquet.
Dan Mortensen, Taylor Brown, Waded Cruzado, Dave Dougherty and Dave Kelsey pose after Dr. Cruzado receives special recognition from the Chamber Ag Committee at the Ag Banquet.
Monday’s Connections Group meets in February to swap leads and network.
Mayor and Robin Hanel at the Ag Appreciation Banquet.
Jenny and Mitch Auer enjoy Baxter Black’s performance at the Ag Appreciation Banquet. Amy Grosulak and Carly Gibbs at Business After Hours in January at The Red Door.
Mike Hines and Stephanie and Rob Romsa at Business After Hours in January at The Red Door.
Roger Gravgaard and Damian Forrester at January Business After Hours at The Red Door.
Brittany Lane and Emily Petroff at January Business After Hours at The Red Door.
Livin’ Large Larry and Kendall Kavlie celebrate Sandra Hawke’s retirement from MetraPark.
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Shirleen Feller, Jason Hanson, Susan Schloss and Peter Gesuale at Business After Hours in January at The Red Door.
GET TO KNOW:
BARCLAY FAGG PHOTO COURTESY RHEA WOLPOE Business: HB Properties LLC
Board Position: 2013-2014 Chair
Years as a Chamber Member: At least 19 years including DOWL HKM and HKM Engineering.
Why did you initially choose to get involved with the Chamber?
I believe in the mission of the Chamber, and therefore the responsibility of individual business leaders to get involved to serve the community and improve the business climate and quality of life. I am energized by the diversity of businesses represented by the Chamber, and consequently having robust discussions and educational opportunities to achieve the Chamber goals.
Words you live by:
My 16 year old twins say I live by EAT, PRAY, LOVE. I try to live by Mark 12:31 “You should love your neighbor as yourself.”
If you had a super power, what would it be?
I suppose time travel, to learn from the past and see the future.
One adjective that describes you: Favorite book or movie or television show and why:
Impatient. I like to make a decision, or make a plan, and move on to the next challenge.
I have very eclectic tastes; historical fiction such as Exodus, Henry the 8th, and Into Thin Air, as well as mysteries by Tom Clancy and futuristic fiction such as Lord of the Rings and Enders Game. One of the best novels I read was Cutting for Stone.
As a board member, you have the inside scoop. What would you share about the Chamber that other members may not know?
You get to make one change for the Billings community today – what would you do? I support a local option tax as a way to assist our community to pay for improvements in infrastructure (water, sewer, roads), fire and police protection, and amenities such as parks, trails, the Zoo, library etc.
The Chamber staff is an incredible resource for members to call on for improving their business.
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CAPE AIR BY JENNIFER REISER
Cape Air’s service in Eastern Montana began December 10, 2013, but their Billings Chamber membership began two months before their first flight. “Cape Air didn’t just choose to come to Billings,” says Trish Lorino, Vice President of Marketing, “Billings kind of chose us.”Cape Air has been providing Essential Air Service for 25 years. The program guarantees smaller communities have access to the national air transportation system – a valuable program in a state like Montana. Lorino says, “Cape Air was pleased to be awarded the service contract and eager to expand into this market primarily due to the tremendous growth in eastern Montana. Rural communities now have a connection to Billings and from there can access larger airline hubs.” From its hub in Billings, Cape Air operates daily, year-round flights to the five regional communities of Sidney, Glendive, Glasgow, Wolf Point, and Havre. They’ve seen a healthy start in Billings and Lorino is optimistic that growing relationships will extend the time Cape Air serves this area. According to Erin Hatzell, Montana Marketing Manager, “We are grateful for the amount of support we have been shown in each of the six cities. A large part of that is due to the communication and networking through the Chambers as well as the support from the local airport managers.” Cape Air is a member of the Chamber of Commerce in each of the communities they serve which allows them to connect with community members and network with other businesses. Being new to Billings and Montana, they collaborated with Chamber staff to plan their openhouse and ribbon cutting. “The Billings Chamber/CVB and the Trailblazers were instrumental in providing an impressive welcome, and with linking us to other businesses,” Hatzell said. She went on to explain that she finds networking to be the most beneficial member benefit so far. Hatzell summarized her Billings Chamber/CVB experience by saying “Becoming a Chamber member has many benefits, especially while introducing a new company to a community. As a member, the Chamber has networking and marketing resources at your disposal that would otherwise be nearly impossible to obtain.”
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From its hub in Billings, Cape Air operates daily, year-round flights to the five regional communities of Sidney, Glendive, Glasgow, Wolf Point, and Havre.
Congratulations to these Chamber member businesses who recently celebrated grand openings, anniversaries, rebranding, relocation, and ground breakings.
Engraveables Custom Laser: Celebrating their rebranding on October 16th. BNSF: Celebrating the new Billings location on October 22nd. Brewer Dental Orthodontic and Pediatric Center: Ground Breaking celebration October 24th. Energy Corporation of America: Grand Opening celebration on October 24th. Motion & Flow Control Products: Celebrating their grand opening October 28th. 9 Round: Celebrating their grand opening on November 1st. Inner Belt Loop: Ground Breaking Ceremony on November 7th. Dress for Success: Grand opening of Career Center inside Dept. of Family Services on November 7th.
CAPE AIR CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING – PHOTOS COURTESY OF CAPE AIR
KLJ Engineering: Celebrated the rebranding & 75th Anniversary November 15th. Territorial Landworks, Inc.: Grand opening celebration on November 21st. Steak n’ Shake: Celebrating their grand opening on December 5th. Cape Air: Celebrating their grand opening on December 11th. (See full story this section) Woods Accounting: Celebrating their new location January 10th. DeeLynn Designs- Floral Art: Celebrating their grand opening on February 7th. 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 Kama Humphrey to schedule yours by calling 406-245-4111.
Cape Air on Logan International Airport runway – PHOTOS COURTESY OF: CAPE AIR
Trailblazers – PHOTOS COURTESY OF: BILLINGS CHAMBER
THE EASTERN MONTANA COALITION BY BRUCE MACINTYRE 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. Prior to the 2013 session of the legislature, the Billings Chamber reached out to communities in eastern Montana that are impacted either directly or indirectly by the Bakken oil boom. We held meetings with community leaders in Miles City, and Glendive and visited other communities including Sidney and Colstrip and Forsyth counties. The common theme was “the impacts are overwhelming our infrastructure.” The existing needs lead the communities and organizations to develop a unified strategy and voice, thus the Eastern Montana Coalition was formed. We developed a legislative strategy for the 2013 session, helping our region meets its challenges, and expressing a unified voice. During the session we supported legislation which would benefit eastern Montana; however the Governor vetoed two bills that would alleviate some of the infrastructure
deficiencies throughout the region. Supporting eastern Montana is not a one-time event. The issues and needs have grown and the current legislators are better educated on what the particular needs are, both presently and in the near future. We will start our regional meetings in the impacted cities and towns in the mid to late spring of 2014 and gather critical data to build our collective case for appropriate pieces of legislation. As is the case every two years, a significant portion of the legislators will be new so education will be key to generate awareness of eastern Montana’s critical needs. Prior to the 2015 legislative session, the Coalition will collectively determine a priority list and look for sponsors of potential bills. After the session begins, we continue to track appropriate bill drafts, testify when they reach committees, work to get consensus from the Montana House and Senate during floor discussions and, if bills reach the Governor’s desk, urge passage. You can stay connected to our legislative work. Sign up for our e-newsletter at billingschamber.com
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Bakken Oil Rig – PHOTOS COURTESY OF: BILLINGS GAZETTE STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
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Published on Mar 20, 2014