A Business Plan for Montana by Montanans

For Montana by Montanans
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Sustainability in Montana Breweries - New Kind of Business

July 31, 2016 | Sidney Herald Leader

Self-styled as a business plan for Montanans by Montanans, Gov. Steve Bullock’s Main Street Montana Project presents a relationship shift between the public and private sectors.

 The ambitious project specifically re-envisions public sector entities, which often play regulatory or educational roles, as proactive facilitators and supporters of business development in the state.

A Bozeman-based Brewery Sustainability Pilot is helping Montana breweries implement sustainable, cost-saving behavioral and operational changes, and is seamlessly executing Main Street Montana Project’s vision: having government approach business with a spirit of customer service and assistance. 

The Bozeman-based Pilot program is a unique collaboration between public entities including Montana State University’s Montana Manufacturing Extension Center the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and sustainable business operations training program, UnCommon Sense, in Bozeman.

“The Main Street Montana project really serves to bolster efforts like the Brewery Sustainability Implementation program” said Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney. The Brewery Sustainability Implementation Pilot showcases the value of collaboration between industry networks, one of the key goals of the Main Street Montana project.

Meadowlark Brewing in Sidney, 406 Brewing Company in Bozeman, KettleHouse Brewing Company and Great Burn Brewing in Missoula, Phillipsburg Brewing Company in Phillipsburg, and Neptune’s Brewery in Livingston are the six initiates of the pilot.

The pilot began mid-December, 2015 with UnCommon Sense director, Heather Higinbotham and MMEC process engineer, Christopher Hergett, performing on-site audits at each brewery. Audits included a full review of the facilities and production processes and identified water and energy flows, areas of waste generation and employee roles.

Higinbotham and Hergett guided brewers through the development of customized work plans based on scale, process and complexity. Brewers also learned to use a Return-on-Investment calculation tool to prioritize cost-effectiveness of work plan action items.

“The training workshops are specifically designed to address each participant’s individual needs and unique challenges, so that they are implementing initiatives that are directly relevant and most impactful to their operations,” says Higinbotham. “The workshops are also an opportunity for participants to benefit from collaboration, which we’ve learned is invaluable for shared learning and gaining new perspectives on challenges.”

During the implementation period following the workshop, Higinbotham and Hergett are on-call technical resources, sounding boards and invested supporters. Higinbotham conducts one-on-one accountability checks with each brewer covering overall progress, needed resources or support, potential roadblocks and successes.

Pilot participants have quickly made headway on their implementation plans. Some breweries have replaced traditional lighting with long-lasting LEDs and others have undertaken a longer-term, sustainable investment by installing hot liquor tanks to capture and re-use city water used to cool products in the brew process — water which would otherwise be dumped as wastewater.

“We are excited every time we implement a change, and improve our performance,” says Nolan Smith, co-owner of Phillipsburg Brewing Co.

Nolan Smith was drawn to the sustainability project hoping to better access public sector financial support to equip Phillipsburg Brewing with more efficient machinery.

“We have been working closely with NorthWestern Energy in some of the retrofits we have been doing at both breweries. We have learned that for most projects there is help out there either in engineering or funding,” says Smith.

“This is a great opportunity for breweries in Montana to set precedence for creating sustainability programs in our industry and show the importance of embracing it into our bottom line,” says Eddie Wooldridge, Sustainability Director at KettleHouse Brewing.

“We are hoping to install big impact technology to save on water and electricity consumption,” says Travis Peterson, founder of Meadowlark Brewing, who currently seeks funding from the Montana DEQ and Montana Dakota Utilities.

“The craft brewing industry is not the only industry growing exponentially in Montana. Wineries and distilleries are cropping up in communities across the state, and they have enormous potential for increasing energy and water efficiencies,” says Higinbotham.

Today’s economic reality is small businesses employ more than 67 percent of Montana’s labor force and micro businesses consistently create jobs despite major economic downturns. Efforts like the Brewery Sustainability Pilot seem to be organic responses to a business climate that values small business development.

Whitefish to Received $506,000 for Critical Infrastructure Improvements

July 26, 2016 | Flathead Beacon

Gov. Steve Bullock announced July 25 that ratepayers in the city of Whitefish will save $170,470 thanks to changes in the State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan program made in 2014. The savings come as a result of a $506,000 SRF loan to Whitefish for improvements to its wastewater treatment system.

Using the new loan and a $125,000 Renewable Resource Grant from DNRC, Whitefish will replace more than 5,000 linear feet of sewer main and rehab up to 35 manholes, seals and rings.

To finance the project, Whitefish has borrowed $506,000 from the SRF loan program for 20 years at 2.5 percent interest. The changes to the SRF interest rate were made in 2014 as part of Bullock’s Main Street Montana Project. He reduced long-term interest rates from three percent to 2.5 percent. In addition, he reduced the amount of financial reserves communities must hold in order to receive a loan, and reduced the debt-service coverage communities are required to have.

“Through strong fiscal management and a bit of common sense, we’re ensuring communities like Whitefish can keep more money in their pockets,” Bullock said. “This project will address water infiltration problems that reduce the efficiency of the city’s wastewater treatment and collection system. We’ll continue to work with local communities to find responsible ways to make critical infrastructure improvements and create jobs while saving money for Main Street Montana businesses and customers.”

The Main Street Montana Project is building and implementing a business plan for the state of Montana that helps businesses grow, supports job creation, and increases wages. One of the goals of the project is to ensure Montana businesses and communities have efficient and reliable infrastructure.

PEC, Inc., of Helena has been awarded the bid for the project, which is expected to be completed in December of 2016.


O'Leary Excited About Main Street Montana Project

March 1, 2016 | Great Falls Tribune

The Department of Commerce, and the Gov. (Steve) Bullock administration which I work for, are pretty excited about where we are. The steady economic growth for 2015 is, of course, the platform which we’ll build off going into 2016. We think that there’s going to be some really great opportunities to continue that growth, spike in some areas, grow steady in others and then those which need help, we want to give those attention and start seeing what we can do to help improve those different sectors. So, we’re very optimistic about 2016.

We all know the unemployment levels are nearly a full percentage point below the national average here in Montana, so we’ve got more of a workforce thriving than ever before, and we find that to be a really positive outlook for going forward.

What do you think are the biggest opportunities in 2016?

I think, from my perspective as the Department of Commerce head, it’s working with this administration on this attitude of “how we can get things done?” And I know that sounds like a cheerleader or a coach or a bunch of rah-rah, but in the three years that we’ve been in administration, we have proven we know how to get things done.

Every single sector that we’ve heard from is experiencing a challenge of getting more employees. And we’ve got this incredible network going between the private sector, the public sector and the university system to actually align with what the private sector needs and propping up the workforce in getting the training that they need. There’s a match going on that’s never been done before, and there’s funding that’s helping, so I think that’s one of our biggest opportunities.

And that workforce topic came out of the Main Street Montana Project that Gov. Bullock started when he first got into office.

Main Street Montana has been the most encouraging experience that I have been part of in government. The first year, we were in a process of gathering information. We heard from every single county by surveying. We went to about eight different listening sessions across the state and we said, “Okay what’s working, what’s not working?” That was super helpful, and then phase two was going, “All right, we’ve got to take a deeper dive, and we’ve got to identify industries and then let these people come to the table.” It truly is a private-sector-driven situation.

We’re in phase three of the Main Street Montana Project and that phase, to me, has been the most exciting because it is 13 key industry networks—the 13 different industries across the state that are driving our economy—and the platform has been to bring these private business owners and CEOs together and say, “Okay what is it that you need to improve or grow or enhance your industry?” We’ve found lots of commonalities between the industries. We’ve found there are areas for government to get out of the way. We’ve found that we can help prop up by just gathering the stakeholders.

So, biggest opportunity: Main Street Montana, private sector engagement and taking that partnership and furthering it.

What is your biggest concern in the coming year?

Again, the workforce situation, we’re hearing it a lot. It’s a resounding message coming out of the key industry networks: “I can’t find enough employees.” So, that’s a challenge. Montana’s aging. Young people are thinking, “Well, we’ve got to move away.” We have a big opportunity to inform and message to the younger workforce generation that this is a great place to do business.

We also have a responsibility to tell our expatriates out there across the country who have had to leave (Montana) over the years. We’re telling them, “It is ripe for you to come back to this state, the state that you love.” I can give you three or four different examples in the last 18 months of people who lived here that went to Wisconsin or somewhere else and said, “All right, that’s enough. I’ve got to get back to my state that I love so much.” So, we’re doing this recruitment of Montana alumni that have gone and are coming back.

Our Choose Montana effort is a social media platform to inform Montanans out there that we’ve got seven thousand jobs available, and this is a portal at which you should come see what your opportunities are. The governor’s Office of Economic Development is marketing that and getting out and doing road shows.

So, I think that’s a really big challenge that we see as an opportunity that we can accomplish one stride at a time, because this is one of those efforts that’s got a long-term vision to it, a long-term payoff to it, and we just have to stay in it. It’s kind of like marketing, you can’t just message once and leave it, you have to keep the thrusters on this one, and that’s something that we’re going to do.


Business Ideas Found at Innovate Montana Symposium

July 14, 2016 | KPAX TV BILLINGS -

Passion and perseverance are two important factors that help make a business successful. That's some of what entrepreneurs shared at the Innovate Montana Symposium at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and The Northern Hotel on Wednesday.

The meeting is part of the Main Street Montana Project, run by Gov. Steve Bullock. Keynote speaker Debbie Sterling, founded San Francisco-based Goldieblox, which inspires girls to learn STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Sterling said the four-year old company's success can be seen by its products at Toys 'R Us, a Super Bowl commercial and a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade.

"I've persevered and hustled and really moved mountains because it's something that I believe in," Sterling said. "It's bigger than myself. It's important. So I'm happy to be here in Montana with this great group, this great entrepreneurial community to share my story with the hopes that it may inspire others to stick with their dreams and passions and know that anything's possible."

"What we have is 400 job creators from all around the state here really to learn from one another both about some of the things happening in our state and how to build on those platforms and create things for entrepreneurs," Bullock said. "So we have small businesses here learning from other small businesses on how to take it to the next level."

The scheduled keynote speaker on Thursday is Chris Weasler, the head of Spectrum Policy and Connectivity Planning at Facebook.

Governor Bullock Announces Proposals to Spur Business Growth

Governor Steve Bullock walked between yellow safety lines painted on the floor at the Anderson Steel Company in Great Falls Tuesday. Bullock choose the steel fabrication plant to announce new proposals aimed at spurring economic growth through legislative action.

"Today we are here to talk about several new proposals that will help small business in impactful ways with a new form of incentivizing  business owners to invest in their businesses through tax rebates, and two new rewards for hiring and proving workers and on-the-job training."

The governor’s plan hinges on three proposals his office will submit during the 2017 legislative session, although Bullock will have to first win his bid for reelection.

Bullock says one of his proposals will cut the taxes for new and expanding businesses.

"So what this can provide is a 75 percent reduction in the business equipment tax for the first five years. The saving achieved through that proposal if you’re an on-the-ground business will allow businesses to create more jobs, ultimately create higher wages, put more Montanans to work all across the state."

Tuesday’s announcement also called for incentives for businesses that hire veterans. Under the governor's proposal the state will provide businesses a $2,000 tax credit if they hire a veteran and provide on-the-job training.

The proposals also outline a $1,000 tax credit to businesses that hire and give job training to any new worker.

Susan Humble, the CEO of Anderson Steel, says there is a shortage of skilled workers. She has 53 employees right now and she wants to add 15 more by the end of the year. She says incentives to bring in and train new workers could really help her business grow.

"They’re basically on-the-job learning. And it is kind of a slow process for us. Our business is to get product in and out of the door and we have to produce it efficiently to be competitive and make a margin."

Bob Reiman, VP of operations at Anderson Steel, led a tour through the fabrication plant, which makes steel beams for construction.

He says all of the governor's proposed incentives can help the company grow, especially the equipment tax break.

"That’s huge for us. 'Cause the equipment you just saw down there is $1.2 million. Susan leveraged her life, she’s 70 years old, and she leveraged her life to make it happen. So I want to see a return on investment for her as well as to keep the company running."

Although the governor’s office hasn’t done an official cost buildout for their plan, they say they expect the three proposals announced Tuesday to cost around a $1 million a year.

The health of Montana’s economy and the foundation the state provides for new and growing businesses is a top issue in this year’s gubernatorial race.

Anderson Steel’s Bob Reiman says the current administration has always been working with the small business community and job entry programs, but the volume of that support has turned up during the election year.

"Although it is a political season and we see more of it, it has been an ongoing process and they’ve been working really well with us to up our wages to keep our students here." ...


Bullock says investments in Montana agriculture paying off

November 10, 2015 | Rob Chaney, Missoulian

About the only thing missing from the success of Montana’s agriculture industry is farmers and ranchers, Gov. Steve Bullock told the Montana Farm Bureau Federation.

“The average age of a Montana farmer is 60,” Bullock told the roughly 400 federation members on Monday morning in Missoula. “We all know that there needs to be a new generation that takes over the family farm, and there are more jobs in agriculture every year.”

But with the state's unemployment rate at an otherwise healthy 4.1 percent, that puts even more pressure on the agriculture industry to find enough workers to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.

Bullock just returned from a trade promotion trip to Taiwan and South Korea, where he reported strong interest in expanding Montana’s exports of wheat and beef.

“We always want to figure how to better expand those markets,” he said. “Our land mass and agricultural opportunities are certainly of interest to them.”

That sometimes includes fast diplomacy.

State Agriculture Director Ron DeYong said an import challenge with India just got diffused in Montana’s favor. A widespread failure of Indian pulse crops had prompted some distributors to try manipulating prices by hoarding their supplies.

The Indian government attempted to thwart that, but in the process unintentionally blocked shiploads of Montana peas and lentils from unloading at Indian ports.

“The last I heard, the U.S. Department of Agriculture got together in India and we’ve resolved the issue,” DeYong said. “The ships are unloading again.

In his remarks, Bullock said the state is investing $15 million in research, including one project using laser optics to improve crop yields and irrigation use and another testing how pulse crops could improve soil health in wheat fields.

The state also infused more than $20 million into regional agricultural experiment stations, $60,000 to the Wool Lab and $125,000 to the Montana State Seed Lab. It also funded a statewide weed coordinator in the Department of Agriculture. And it supported four Food and Agriculture Development Centers that nurture new agriculture businesses in Montana.

“There are also challenges ahead – sustainability, climate change and water resources,” Bullock told the Farm Bureau audience. “I think agriculture can play an important role as stewards of the land to lead in these areas.”

The public-private Main Street Montana Project has focused on five things the state can do to advance the agricultural sector, Bullock said. They include attracting a mid-sized meat processing facility, more agriculture product marketing, more funding for agriculture research and food safety, fixing agricultural water issues and working on transportation issues.

“I have directed state agencies to develop a plan to implement and assist with these recommendations,” Bullock said.

Farm Bureau president Bob Hanson told the audience that recent developments in ship exporting could have major impacts in Montana.

In particular, he said efforts to create a deep-water port in Oregon might add competition to the current port in New Orleans. While the Pacific port has been mainly focused on potential coal exports, Hanson said its presence would also improve farmers’ ability to get their crops to international markets.

Bullock said when it comes to the Oregon port, he was concerned the decision might be made before all the details are gathered.

“There’s real demand for our ag products around the world, and we need to take a position where that demand can be met,” Bullock said. “We’ve talked to the (U.S.) Bureau of Reclamation on that. But we have only so much ability to influence what happens within the governmental entities in Oregon and Washington. I’ve had conversations with both governors about making sure a process is followed that really looks at international commerce.”

Tourism, trade issues on tap at regional conference in Big Sky
July 13, 2015 | Troy Carter, Bozeman Daily Chronicle

BIG SKY — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock touted the state’s record on a range of issues like tourism and bipartisanship during a speech at an economics conference here on Monday.

Bullock spoke to more than 500 government officials and industry representatives from the U.S. and Canada during the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region’s annual summit. It is the organization’s 25th annual meeting but the first hosted by Montana.

“It’s about time that you did come to my state,” Bullock said, earning a chuckle from the crowd.

Bullock took a jab at partisanship in Washington, D.C., saying that it has caused lawmakers to lose sight of the economic and social well-being of the public. But back in Montana, Bullock said, things are different; bipartisanship resulted in the expansion of Medicaid, campaign finance reform, a major water compact, and a plan to protect sage grouse.

After describing the Montana economy as complex, and influenced by factors beyond the state’s border, Bullock told the crowd about his administration’s business plan titled the “Main Street Montana Project.”

As evidence of its success, Bullock said Montana was ranked as the No. 1 state for entrepreneurs; best in the nation for keeping higher education affordable; recognized as a leader in transparency in government spending; experiencing high personal income growth, with low unemployment rates; and near record job growth in the last year.

After Bullock’s 27-minute speech, Republican state Rep. Mike Cuffe of Eureka said he didn’t have much to critique.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t be critical of what he said. He covered a lot of ground,” said Cuffe, who lives just a few miles south of Montana’s border with Canada.

Asked about the governor’s record on marketing Montana’s tourism, a major economic driver for southwest Montana, Cuffe singled out Meg O’Leary, the director of Montana Department of Commerce, for praise.

“One of the best things that the governor has done is surrounded himself with good people,” he said.

Guest Column: Renewable Energy a Challenge, Opportunity for Montana
May 2, 2015 | Jeff L. Fox

In 2013 the competition among resources to supply the world with electric energy may have tipped inexorably toward clean energy. That was the year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), when more new clean energy capacity was constructed to serve electric demand than all new fossil fuels resources combined, worldwide.

Going forward, “clean energy resources” (wind, solar, hydro and nuclear, according to BNEF’s definition) are expected to continue to accelerate their growth making up progressively more and more of new energy constructed each year.

Wind and solar energy combined were the largest segments of the “clean energy resources” added in 2013, and are expected to be the largest and fastest growing segments of clean energy resources going forward. That’s a huge accomplishment for an industry that wasn’t even on the world map 20 years ago. Smart policy, paired with technological improvements, new purchasing options for customers that reduce up-front costs, and experience with managing variable energy generation, has helped to drive down the cost of renewable energy and deploy renewables more confidently and effectively into power grids. Just this week, California set a new state solar peak, generating nearly 30 percent of its power from the sun at midday.

This shift in the world dynamics of energy is one Montana should internalize. As a net electricity exporter, it’s important for Montana to recognize and respond to fundamental shifts in the energy sector to maintain our position selling energy resources to the region, and supporting jobs and economic development at home.

Global statistics can tell us the story of the shift to renewables, and so can the actions underway in our own region.

For instance, the governor of California, leading the world’s eighth largest economy, just signed an executive action to cut California’s carbon emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, on it’s way to achieving 80 percent reductions by 2050. To achieve this goal there’s no doubt California will need to rely more heavily on renewable energy in it’s electric mix, as well as make advancements in the heating and transportation sectors. Montana wind energy already serves some of California’s renewable energy demand, but more must be done if we hope to capture more of the market California’s carbon emissions goals are putting up for grabs.

While California is the leading the way, other states are not far behind. Oregon legislators considered a bill this session to require the phase out of the coal electricity it consumes over the next decade, and replace it with energy that is at least 90 percent cleaner as measured by carbon emissions. And Washington State is sending the most pointed message of all, as it’s Legislature considers a proposal that could result in the shut down of Colstrip 1 and 2 currently serving Puget Sound Energy’s customers. The public’s concern over the growing costs and risks of coal are signaling the transition to cleaner fuels.

Whether it’s through watching big global trends, or watching the Washington Legislature debate a bill with big implications for Colstrip, the message should be clear, we need to respond if we hope to maintain our electric energy exports.

Protectionist responses to shield Montana’s coal industry from the shifts underway in the our energy economy are understandable, but it’s not likely to position us for future success. We’re not just fighting a neighboring legislature, we are swimming up stream against a global shift in energy generation.

Admittedly the solutions to these problems are not easy, they likely involve vital infrastructure planning and renewed focus on modernizing our electric grid. But the messages should be clear enough, and the consequences large enough, that we should expect our policymakers to heed the signs and get to work on finding solutions. One forum where these issues are already being discussed is in the energy and utilities key industry network, convened through Gov. Bullock’s Main Street Montana Project. Policymakers and industry experts should be expected to do more to gain greater clarity on Montana’s energy challenges, and get to work enacting solutions that can benefit our local economy and environment.

MT Two-Year Colleges Get $15M in Health Care Education Grants
September 29, 2014 | Sanjay Talwani, MTN News

Fifteen Montana colleges are receiving $15 million in federal grants to improve training for careers in health care. The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the money to two-year, tribal and community colleges. More than half of the money - almost $8 million - will go to Missoula College University of Montana. Gov. Steve Bullock said the state will have an estimated 1,300 new health care jobs annually through 2022.

"We know that there are going to be tremendous needs in the health care industry," he said.

Bullock said the grant will be a critical component of the first "pillar" (training the workforce of the future) of the Main Street Montana Project, Bullock's central economic development initiative.

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Main Street Montana: Lieutenant Governor Stops in Glendive for Tour
August 23, 2014 | Eric Killelea, Sidney Herald

HELENA - Lt. Gov. Angela McLean received a warm welcome from elected officials, business leaders and educators on the last stop of the Main Street Montana Project tour on Wednesday at Dawson Community College in Glendive.  McLean and Gov. Steve Bullock have traveled the state to promote the project's goal of developing a private-public partnership to build and implement a business plan.

"The private sector understand better than the governorment the opportunities and challenges facing businesses and workers," McLean said. "Montanans like you believe in Montana. We believe in eastern Montana."

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Great Falls Execs Tell Bullock Training Program Works
August 20, 2014 | Peter Johnson, Great Falls Tribune

HELENA - Gov. Steve Bullock received favorable comments about the state's workforce training efforts from business leaders and educators at a Tuesday stop at Anderson Steel, the Great Falls company that employs 54 people who fabricate structural steel, rebar and commercial doors for contractors throughout the West.

The Governor is touring the state to promote the five key areas of his Main Street Montana program developed by business leaders.  He called it "a bottoms-up program to train workers to fill high-skills, high-demand jobs."

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Bullock Gets Update on Main Street Montana Program
August 20, 2014 | Joe Huisinga - MTN News

HELENA - Governor Steve Bullock stopped by Great Falls on Tuesday to tour a local business and check in on how it's cooperating with local educators.  Bullock toured Anderson Steel and got updated on how Main Street Montana is building a better work force in the treasure state.  The Main Street Montana Project is an economic growth plan that was first unveiled in April.

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Gov. Bullock to Highlight Economic Development Plan
August 18, 2014 | The Associated Press

HELENA - Gov. Steve Bullock and Lt. Gov. Angela McLean are traveling the state this week to promote the work being done on an economic development plan the Democratic governor released this year.  Bullock and McLean will visit colleges, businesses and cities to discuss workforce training, one of five key areas identified in the Main Street Montana Project.  The other four areas include improving the business climate, marketing the state, nurturing emerging industries and building on Montana's economic foundation.

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Lt. Gov. brings Main Street Montana Project to Polson
July 23, 2014 | Dax van Fossen, KAJ News

POLSON - Montana Governor Steve Bullock launched the Main Street Montana Project - which hopes to support businesses and create jobs - in April.  Montana Lieutenant Governor Angela McLean traveled to Polson on Wednesday for the next phase of the plan.  She talked with community and business leaders, and discussed what they can do moving forward to improve the economy.

"The Bullock McLean Administration moves forward with the beliefs that businesses should have the support to thrive in Montana and workers should know that they are getting paid a fair day's wage for a fair day's work," Lt. Gov. McLean said.

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Main Street Montana Project - More Jobs, People
July 17, 2014 | Katie Chen, KULR8 News

BILLINGS - The economy is doing well in Montana and Governor Steve Bullock is implementing a plan to make it even better.  The focus of the Main Street Montana Project is to create and bring jobs into Montana.  But with more jobs come more people, and it begs the question, can our city handle the expansion? 

Governor Bullock held a meeting to bring together business and government leaders to discuss improving economic opportunities with the Main Street Montana Project.

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Main Street Project Hits Fort Balknap, Rocky Boy
July 10, 2014 | Tim Leeds, Havre Daily News

The Montana governor's project to build a blueprint for job creation and economic development returned to north-central Montana Indian country this week.

Lt. Gov. Angela McLean held a Main Street Montana discussion Wednesday at Aaniiih Nakoda College at Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, and was scheduled to meet Chippewa Cree Tribe leaders at 11 this morning at Stone Child College on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.

The purpose of the meetings was to discuss priorities in economic development in the relationship between the tribes and the state government.

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Public and Private Sectors Collaborate to Grow Montana Business
July 5, 2014 | Charles S. Johnson, IR State Bureau

Gov. Steve Bullock's Main Street Montana Project, a public-private partnership to develop and implement a state business plan, is moving ahead with his appointment of some top business leaders to serve as co-chairs of a dozen industry sectors.

'There are CEOs from banks to manufacturing to construction to hospitals that are engaged and want to start taking parts of the plan and say how can we be part of it,' Bullock said.

Bullock, consulting with the project co-chairs, Bill Johnstone, president and CEO of D.A. Davidson Cos. and Larry Simkins, CEO of Washington Cos., recently appointed co-chairs from across the state to head a dozen of what they call Key Industry Networks, or KINS.

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Main Street Montana Project Co-Chairs Named
July 5, 2014 | Missoulian State Bureau

HELENA - Gov. Steve Bullock, in conjunction with the co-chairs of his Main Street Montana Project, Bill Johnstone and Larry Simkins, has appointed a number of Montana business leaders to be co-chairs of Key Industry Networks to implement the business plan.

Johnsone, who lives in Bozeman, is president and CEO of Davidson Cos., while Simkins, who is from Missoula, is president and CEO of the Washington Cos.  The co-chairs, working with Bullock, Johnstone and Simkins, in turn, will appoint members of each of the Key Industry Networks.  Each network will have between 10 and 12 members, although some may be larger.

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What is the Main Street Project?
July 5, 2014 | Missoulian State Bureau

HELENA - So what is the Main Street Montana Project?

Gov. Steve Bullock launched it in early spring 2013 when he enlisted two top Montana business leaders, Larry Simkins, CEO of Washington Cos., and Bill Johnstone, CEO of Davidson Cos.  

The goal was to create a prviate-public partnership to build and implement a business plan for Montana that was written by Montanans.  Its aim is to achieve expanded business opportunities, increased wages and greater prosperity throughout Montana.

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Main Street Montana Project Kicks Off On Flathead Reservation
June 26, 2014 | Lailani Upham, Char-Koosta News

PABLO - A project commissioned by Governor Steve Bullock that aims to gather information and ideas around the State of Montana and each Indian Reservation to make a blueprint for creating and keeping jobs was launched last year with roundtable discussions in several towns and now the tour is beginning throughout Indian Country this summer - Flathead Reservation being the kickoff.

The plan is the Main Street Montana Project.

Last Wednesday, Lt. Governor Angela McLean traveled on behalf of Gov. Bullock to meet with Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal council and to co-host a conversation with tribal community members, particularly those who work in the areas of education and economic development.

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Main Street Montana Rolls Out On Reservation
June 24, 2014 | Berl Tiskus, Valley Journal

PABLO - Collaboration and communication seemed to be common themes stressed by the participants at the Main Street Montana Project community meeting at the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal council chambers on June 18.  An example would be dual enrollment for high school students at Salish Kootenai College.  Some Valley schools have already implemented the program and can share with others.

The Main Street Montana Project is a farily new idea, since Governor Steve Bullock initiated it in early 2013.  The goal of the project is to create a dynamic private-public partnership to build and implement a business plan for Montana by Montanans, according to the project information.

Lieutenant Governor Angela McLean kicked off the Main Street Montana Project Meeting.

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Governor Bullock Looking for Industry Leaders for Main Street Montana Project Key Industry Networks
April 28, 2014 | Governor's Office

HELENA - Governor Steve Bullock is looking for private-sector leaders to be part of the Main Street Montana Project's Key Industry Networks.  Members of these networks will help to implement the steps laid out in the Main Street Montana Project plan.

"Through the Main Street Montana Project, we've relied on the expertise of private-sector leaders to help develop a business plan for the state.  I want to continue to rely on their expertise as we begin the tough work of completing the tasks laid out in the Plan," Bullock said. "I'm constantly impressed with the talent and innovation of Montanans, and I look forward to utilizing these skills to improve Montana's economy and increase wages."

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New Online Service Simplifies the Process of Obtaining and Renewing Business Licenses

April 21, 2014 | Montana Department of Revenue

HELENA - Montana businesses now have a convenient, efficient and secure method for obtaining and renewing one or more licenses they may need from various state agencies to operate in Montana. eStop Business Licenses, formerly known as One-Stop Business Licensing, allows businesses to take care of most, if not all, of their licensing in one location.

"eStop is part of the effort, spearheaded by the Main Street Montana Project, to foster a friendlier and more prosperous business climate in Montana by making government more effective and efficient," says Mike Kadas, Director of the Montana Department of Revenue, which administeres eStop.

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Bullock's Business Plan for Montana Features 5 Pillars
April 3, 2014 | Charles S. Johnson, Gazette State Bureau

HELENA - Gov. Steve Bullock released a business plan for Montana that emphasizes the need for a trained workforce to meet the needs of a changing economy.  The plan also calls for the responsible development of natural resources, the nurturing of innovative businesses, creating a climate that attracts and retains businesses and marketing Montana.

The plan was developed as part of the Main Street Montana Project, announced by Bullock in May 2013.  Bullock appointed two prominent Montana businessmen, Larry Simkins, president of Washington Cos., and Bill Johnstone, CEO of Davidson Cos., to lead the effort.

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