By Evelyn Pyburn

The advisory board and officials who administer the TEDD in Lockwood are urging the county and city to come to an agreement soon about the terms under which to extend sewer to the TEDD (Targeted Economic Development District).

The most recent stumbling block is an unexpected proposal from the Billings City Administrator to the Yellowstone County Commissioners to “share” potential tax revenues from the TEDD. Administrator Chris Kukulski explained in a discussion session with county commissioners on Oct. 8, that property tax revenue sharing with the city is what he means with his frequent requests for better cooperation between the city and the county.

A commitment to be more “cooperative” in the future was one of the terms included in a tentative agreement between city council members and the county regarding the TEDD, discussed in a city council work session several months ago.

The City Council is scheduled to revisit the issue during their meeting on October 26.

It’s been a year-and –a- half of trying to resolve the issue of how the TEDD can become part of the Lockwood Water and Sewer District without the necessity of the property owners waiving their right to protest future annexation proposals, Woody Woods told Yellowstone County Commissioners. Woods heads the advisory board appointed by the commissioners who are the official authority of the TEDD.

“We are losing opportunities,” said Woods about the TEDD whose purpose is to attract new and growing industrial and manufacturing businesses to the community. Woods said there have been potential businesses that have come and gone because the TEDD was not ready.

Steve Arveschoug, Director of Big Sky EDA, expressed frustration that at one point they seemed to have reached an agreement among all parties, although not voted upon, which involved charging TEDD property owners a surcharge of 18 percent to have their sewage treated by the City of Billings, and that TEDD property owners would not in the future, should they need a new source for water, get it from the Heights Water District, and that the county commissioners would commit to being more cooperative with the city as new areas are developed at its borders.

In the agreement, the City abandoned its effort to require all TEDD property owners to waive any future rights to protest annexation, which the property owners unanimously refused to do. Having to be subject to such municipal costs defeats the purpose of an industrial park, which is hoped to attract manufacturing — capital –intense businesses that usually need to avoid high municipal taxes in order to be feasible.

County commissioners said they were puzzled about what was meant by being more cooperative, since they have no authority to require property owners to agree to annexation and they believed they were cooperative as much as possible.

That Kukulski was thinking of revenue sharing was a surprise to everyone. At no point during their discussions with city council members was there any mention of the county sharing tax revenue with the city, said Arveschoug.

Arveschoug said that if there is no resolve soon, he and his agency will start looking for another alternative for a turn-key ready industrial park.  He underscored that he did not mean to say that they would abandon the TEDD.

Commissioner John Ostlund asked Arveschoug what areas he was thinking about. Arveschoug said that while he didn’t know what may have changed in the interim, the study that EDA conducted of potential sites identified a promising site near Laurel.

Both Ostlund and Commissioner Don Jones voiced “major concerns” about the idea of sharing future tax revenues with the city. Commissioner Denis Pitman asked, “How would that work?”

It was noted that it could be as long as 20 or 30 years before there would be any tax revenues, and since the language proposed is so vague there would surely be problems in the future, dealing with such a stipulation. Pitman commented rather facetiously, “I guess we could say ‘yes’, and say it will be someone else’s problem.”

Also, there is a legal question about the ability of this board of county commissioners to make commitments on behalf of future boards.

Also, the unprecedented concept would have statewide ramifications, said Jones, and it “makes problems down the road.”

The agreement encountered another delay early last month when the draft document was reviewed by the board of the Lockwood Water and Sewer District (LWSD). LWSD Manager Mike Ariztia explained that they had anticipated seeing an addendum to the contract that the district has had for years with the city, but there were surprise changes in the contract. The board decided they needed to speak to legal counsel about it.  Ariztia said that the board did not want their support of the TEDD to impose any additional burdens on customers of the district.

Ariztia told commissioners on that those issues have been resolved, and the board will discuss accepting the agreement at their next meeting.

One of the surprise changes to the contract was a requirement that LWSD, too, would not be allowed to consider getting water through the Heights Water District should they need to find an additional water source. Kukulski defended his efforts saying, “I have to get six council members to say yes,” to the agreement.

Kukulski emphasized that the City of Billings requires that any entity getting water or sewer service must be annexed into the city. Since the Heights Water District gets its water from the city, that was the issue he was trying to address.

Arveschoug commented, “Kudos to Chris and his team. They were willing to take the waiver off the table.”

As an example of the county’s lack of cooperation, Kukulski cited that the county commissioners have been “resistant” to changes in an area where the city was proposing assessing service costs based on property values, “…and we have been struggling about how to pay for it.”

Ostlund asked if he was talking about the BUFSA (Billings Urban Fire Service Area), about which proposed fee increases are currently in negotiations. While the agreement for the city to provide fire service to areas just outside its borders has been mutually beneficial, Ostlund said the city’s proposed changes results in a 35 percent increase in what will be paid to the city, which would wipe out BUFSA’s reserves.

“It seems as though the city is trying to make a profit on county residents,” said Ostlund, referring to other dramatic fee increases recently being requested by the city, such as landfill fees.

Kukulski said, “We want to continue to figure out how to work through this. Neither one needs to lift our fist to get our way.”

Ostlund reminded that no matter whether an agreement is reached with the city, the TEDD will still develop, only it will develop in a less desirable manner. With a sewer system it “will be a different kind of development.”

Having a sewer system is important to assuring development happens in an environmentally sound manner. It was in fact the point made by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, years ago, when they came to the city to implore that they iron out some kind of agreement with Lockwood, reminded Jones, who was on the city council at the time. “Septic systems are not good for the whole Yellowstone community.”

“An industrial park has enormous benefit for both the city and county,” Ostlund pointed out, “… and in fact the city will get more benefit….it’s like the refineries.” Ostlund explained that the kinds of enterprises they hope to attract could well employ “400 or 500 people” – people who will buy homes and pay taxes in Billings.

Felton Calls on Businesses to Step-up Safety Efforts

For the time being most businesses in Yellowstone County can breath a sigh of relief –  at least until November 9. In a press conference on Oct. 12, County Health Officer John Felton did not shut down business activity as he said he would, if the number of COVID-19 cases in the county hit 565 or 50 cases per 100,000.

When the number of COVID -19 cases reached 598 on Oct. 9, the business community worried that Felton would put the brakes on all business, reducing capacities to a point that many would have to close and maybe end business permanently. However, Felton focused primarily on reducing the size of gatherings that will be allowed and called for a renewed emphasis on wearing face masks, physical distancing and hand washing, with the goal of “slowing the spread of the virus by the end of October.”

He said that in four weeks he would re-evaluate the situation.

Only a week before Felton threatened to reduce capacity limits and re- impose other restrictions that would essentially put businesses back into the closure mode they endured at the beginning of the COVID crisis – a disruption that some did not survive and that many are still trying to overcome.

Felton explained that county health officials wanted to give time for the public to respond to the earlier plea to heighten safety compliance, and for the effort to take effect, so they set “what seemed a very high bar of 565 cases.”

“It seemed very high, yet we eclipsed it the very week we set it,” said Felton.

As of Friday, the number of new positive cases of COVID not only reached 50 of 100,000 but exceeded it by 20 percent.

“It tells the story of how dramatically our situation has worsened,” said Felton. In fact, Yellowstone County ranks second highest in the nation in the rate of infection. “It is growing at an alarming rate.”

The greatest concern is that hospitals may not have the capacity to treat all the patients that need hospitalization. “The impact on hospitals is tremendous,” said Felton, adding that the number of hospitalizations has hovered between 81 and 96 for several weeks. Over half of the patients are from outside Yellowstone County, reflecting the fact that Billings is a regional health care center. It was stated during the press conference that local hospitals have been getting patients from North Dakota where hospitalizations are also at full capacity.

Felton said, “I applaud the many people in the community who are wearing masks, physically  distancing, and washing hands. We need more people doing that.”

“It is up to all of us to do what we know is right to stop the spread and death,” said Felton.

He also said that he was impressed with the commitment that business people expressed to him to escalate their efforts, during a special meeting hosted by the Billings Chamber of Commerce. It seemed that it was largely that determination and other focused efforts by the Chamber and Big Sky Economic Development to urge the business community to step up efforts to make a difference, that influenced Felton.

The Billings Chamber issued a statement thanking Felton “for listening to the business community and adjusting the restrictions to responsibly address the pandemic and support our businesses.”

Besides adhering to the mandates that Felton issued, the Chamber added one of their own – asking businesses and workers to, as much as possible, work at home.

To go into effect as of Oct. 14, Felton ordered that all restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffee houses, bars, brew pubs, taverns, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, pubs and casinos shall be required to close for inside business no later than 12:30 am as issued under the Governor’s  directives. All such business shall continue to maintain all social distancing, masking requirements, and commitments made under approved Yellowstone County reopening plans for dine-in services.

Drive-through and delivery for food service only can continue past 12:30 am.

Except as otherwise indicated, all group physical gatherings, including but not limited to all businesses, organizations, and private gatherings shall be limited to no more than 25 individuals, regardless of the ability to physically distance. This restriction applies to both indoor and outdoor events.

Felton said churches are being asked to hold attendance at 50 percent of capacity, primarily because, their membership “tends to be an older population and more at risk.”

Media asked about why they haven’t called on the National Guard to set up their mobile station for medical care, as was set up in a training exercise at Metra Park this summer.

Dr. Michael Bush, St. Vincent Health Care, said that they had looked at it, and “we appreciate what they did, but there are a lot of parts to that, such as how to supply and staff it. There are steps we can still take without that facility which would bring its own challenges with it.”

Site preparation work is commencing for the new Billings Clinic Bozeman campus along I-90 near the 19th Street interchange.  The first phase features a 125,000 square foot destination ambulatory center. The initial work includes grading and installing the structural pier system needed for foundation work. 

 “We are so excited this work is underway on our 58-acre site for this important project to serve residents of Gallatin Valley,” said Dr. Sam Sillitti, Billings Clinic Bozeman OB/GYN. “Having lived and practiced with Billings Clinic in Bozeman for many years, I’ve seen the need for health care services grow exponentially.”

 Billings Clinic has been working closely with the City of Bozeman during the planning phases of the project and held listening sessions with Bozeman community members to inspire the planning process. 

  The first phase includes a three-story multispecialty clinic and urgent care with an adjacent one-story surgery center that can accommodate brief overnight stays. The design features a modern, mountain aesthetic that will be filled with natural light and views of the Bridger Mountains. The clinic will house OB/GYN and pediatric practices that have been in the Bozeman community for many years in addition to a compliment of additional specialty and primary care services. Radiology, laboratory, and pharmacy services are included. This new medical destination center will employee 260.  Roughly 25% of the new physician specialists have already been recruited to eventually provide enhanced services for the Bozeman community.

 Bozeman-based Martel Construction has been chosen as general contractor for the project. The site work will be done by Duneman Construction.

Martel Construction will  deconstruct the large red barn on the property. The barn’s steel structure is being donated to Heroes and Horses, a 41-day reintegration program and local non-profit that works with combat veterans.


Eggart Enterprises Llc/Infinity Roofing & Siding Inc, 1711 6th Ave N, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $92,862

Red Fox Apartments Lllp/All Seasons Roofing, 332 Sioux Ln, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $67,500.00

Mt Heights Senior 4% Lllp/Wegner Homes, 230 Starner Ln, Com Fence/Roof/Siding,   $107,800.00

Church Of The Open Bible Of Bi /Donahue Roofing Llc, 302 19th St W, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $41,570.00

Hope United Methodist Church /Sprague Construction Roofing Division, 244 Wicks Ln,   Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $50,400.00

Mountrail Properties Llc/Wyomont Exterior Design, 124 N 24th St, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $60,000   Side

Stock Investment Group Iii Llc, 149 Shiloh Rd, Com Remodel, $50,000.00

Fagg Family Properties Llc, 235 N 32nd St, Com Remodel, $8,000.00

Safetech, Inc/ CTA Building Llp, 312 N 22nd St, Demolition Permit Commercial, $4,000.00

Sisters Of Charity Of Lvnwrth/Sprague Construction Roofing Division, 1230 N 30th St, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $47,615

Steel Properties Inc/Lennick Bros. Roofing & Sheetm, 3210 Henesta Dr, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $18,000

Billings Properties Llc/Kirkness Roofing Inc, 3042 King Ave W, Com Fence/Roof/Siding  $22,248

Briar Rock Group Llc/Perfect 10 Roofing & Construction, 2208 Central Ave, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $60,000

Berst, David/Sprague Construction Roofing Division, 1211 1st Ave N, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $4,800

Leo C Schwehr Bypass Trust & /Billings Pavement Services Llc, 4 32nd St W, Com New Parking Lot/Non-Building Structure, $35,000

Jpk3m1 Llc/Jares Fence Company, Inc, 5364 Midland Rd, Com Remodel, $21,000

STV Building Partnership, 1139 N 27th St, Com Remodel – Change In Use, $23,650

Rimrock Owner LP/Neumann Construction, 300 S 24th St W, Com Remodel – Change In Use,  $38,600


Aldrich, Richard K & Katherine/Freyenhagen Construction, Inc.743 Park Ln, Res Addition Single/Duplex/Garage, $1,000

Dunn, Matthew T & Chris A/Braaton Construction & Home Repair Inc, 2173 Pheasant Pl, Res Addition Single/Duplex/Garage, $0.00

Koprek, Reed A & Cynthia D/Big Sky Custom Builders, 2919 38th St W, Res New Accessory Structure, $60,000

Montplaisir, Michael & Marjori, 1236 Harvard Ave, Res New Accessory Structure, $48,000

Zweegman, Brian , 1119 Pepper Ln, Res New Accessory Structure,     $5,000

Diverse Construction Llc,2133 Gleneagles Blvd,   Res New Single Family, $263,284

Buscher Construction Ltd, 3110 Falcon Cir, Res New Single Family,    $237,000

Lorenz Construction, 3364 Pipestone Dr, Res New Single Family,    $233,117

Formation Inc, 2521 Mountain Range Ct, Res New Single Family,   $299,752

Formation Inc, 2514 Mountain Range Ct, Res New Single Family,     $208,092

Oakland Built Homes Inc, 1448 Las Palmas Ave, Res New Single Family    $205,020

Green Jeans Llc, 1306 Jean Ave, Res New Single Family, $254,686

High Sierra II Inc, 2412 Bonito Loop, Res New Single Family, $207,088

Mark  Allen/Trailhead Builders Of Montana Llc, 1512 Columbine Dr, Res New Two Family, $0.00

Handlos, Ronald K & Sylvia Bar/Environmental Contractors Llc, 525 Clark Ave,   Demolition Permit Residential, $3,800

Farrier Curt J & Donna M, 2045 Constellation Trl, Res New Accessory Structure, $40,000

Donald L Harr Survivor Trust/Mike Mjelstad Construction, 3010 Wendimere Ln, Res New Accessory Structure, $6,900

Sterup, Robert L & Carolyn I, 4406 Laredo Pl, Res New Accessory Structure, $12,000

Infinity Home Llc, 3107 70th St W, Res New Single Family, $0.00

Blanding, Nathan & Kristen, 537 Clark Ave, Res New Single Family, $189,302

Manley, Gerald B & Jane R/Steadfast Builders, 2722 Cornell Cir, Res New Single Family, $300,000

Trails West Homes Llc, 920 Bitterbrush St, Res New Single Family, $247,732.00

Billings Airport will be receiving more grant funding and anticipates new business expansion.

Kevin Ploehn, Director of Aviation & Transit announced that the Alpine Aviation is interested in building a 20,000 square foot hangar and office space to complement the operations that currently exist at the Airport’s Business Park, during the September meeting of the Billings Aviation and Transit Commission.

Alpine is based in Provo, Utah and operates over 100 cargo routes in the U.S. —with hub operations in Billings, Denver, Sioux Falls and Salt Lake. Alpine primarily hauls freight for UPS and mail for the Postal Service, and operates around 400 flights per month out of Billings, and business continues to grow for them, said Ploehn.

Ploehn said this could be the first of a number of Alpine buildings and he wants to set the stage for any future development by getting the water, sewer, electrical, and road infrastructure planned out now.

Ploehn also reported that Northwestern Energy is interested in a 40-year lease of about 15 acers of airport land at the east end of the airport along the highway next to the existing substation property.

Billings Airport will also be receiving an additional grant from the construction of the Terminal Building. The grant consists of $4,026,476 of Discretionary AIP (Airport Improvement Program) funding, $261,849 of Entitlement AIP funding, and $476,480 of CARES Act local matching funds for a total grant of $4,764,805.

The Airport had received an earlier grant for the Terminal Construction of $2,352,628.

The Airport has applied for a grant with the State Department of Environmental Quality for $25,500 to offset the cost of installing three dual headed electrical vehicle chargers. This grant is part of the Volkswagen Settlement that the State of Montana received for offsetting combustion engine pollution with green sustainable energy. The project would allow six electric vehicles to be charged at the same time.

In earlier reports, Ploehn said that the recovery of Billings Airport and other airports in Montana is better than most other airports in the country. They have gone from doing about only 7 percent of their passenger numbers in the spring to about 50 percent now … while the average for the rest of the nation is about 30 percent. The reason was attributed to traffic to the national parks which drew a lot of people this summer. 

Ploehn noted that in April the Billings Airport only had 2,334 enplanements, which was down 93%. That improved to 7,535 enplanements in May (down 81%) and 13,675 enplanements in June (down 70%). In August enplanements was 24,612, almost exactly 50 percent of last August.

He noted that it appeared that July and possibly August would be closer to being down 50%. Ploehn thinks it may be possible for the year to end at about 70 or 80 percent of last year’s total numbers and that will become the “new normal.”

Year-to-date figures at the end of August was near 160,000 compared to 315,000 YTD last year.

Wise Wonders Science and Discovery Museum, a children’s museum in Billings,3024 2nd Avenue N., has received a gift from the AJ Blain Foundation for the Vision Campaign the Museum launched earlier this summer.

The AJ Blain Foundation has agreed to make a $50,000 gift to pose as a matching challenge for the campaign. Any gift made in the next two months will be matched 100% by the Foundation, up to a total of $50,000.

“We are extremely excited about this investment in the museum,” said Executive Director Pete Bolenbaugh. “We have a strong vision for the future of Wise Wonders and our place in the Billings community. Having support of this kind not only helps make that vision a reality, but affirms our path forward. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but we are energized for the challenges ahead.”

Included in future plans for the Museum are exhibits and programming content that will focus on science, inquiry-based education, and interactive play, as well as a fully functioning maker space and workshop. For more info, please visit at,, and instgram. com/ wisewonders/

By Evelyn Pyburn

Shortly after the break-up of the Soviet Union, I read about how the US was sending advisors to Russia to tell them how to do it – how to build an economy. One was left to assume that meant a free market economy, but when one saw who all was involved, it was puzzling what the US government was really up to.

There was no doubt that none of the advisors being sent to advise had anything to do with free markets, entrepreneurship or business enterprise… they were all bureaucrats and politicians of one sort or another. They were undoubtedly experts on top-down, control and command economies. What they thought they could teach the communists about that is unfathomable.

It wouldn’t have been surprising to learn that the expert advisers involved believed their regulations, taxes and edicts were the reason the US had a strong economy. It is scary how few people understand what makes for a strong economy or what it takes to run business.

It is truly sad to realize how few people recognize the beauty of free markets and Capitalism.

Nowhere in the reports did it mention the basic element that Russia or any nation has to have in order to have a vital, vibrant economy – freedom.  There was no mention of advising Russia about the need to establish a foundation of individual freedom that would allow citizens to pursue dreams.

That is the secret that was discovered with the establishment of the world’s strongest and most successful economy in all history.

As we celebrate the entrepreneurship of Montana business people in this issue, we are fundamentally celebrating freedom. To encourage entrepreneurship and nurture businesses to great heights requires the freedom to make choices and decisions. Individuals have to be free to try, to succeed and to fail and to start all over again, if they choose. None of that requires government intervention – in fact, quite the contrary.

Successful businesses need an environment in which the law of supply and demand rules rather than rules and regulations and skewed tax laws, through which government picks winners and losers. Entrepreneurs need a society in which citizens are free to act and to conduct voluntary exchanges of value for value.

A system that results in a strong, rich economy is one in which government is restrained to a very few basic roles, the most important of which is shoring up and protecting private property rights. Without private property rights there is no chance for the country or its citizens.

Part of the protection of private property rights includes protecting all citizens against criminal acts and fraud and the use of force one against another, except in cases of self-defense.

And a vibrant economy needs government to recognize and enforce private contractual agreements.

Only when government performs its legitimate roles in those regards, only then do citizens have the predictability, security and confidence to take risks, to explore, to create and to labor in ways which result in new products and services and efficiencies that raise the standard of living for all, including surpluses so large that they overwhelm private and institutional benevolence.

When we celebrate those among us who take it upon themselves to start and manage a business, to produce and to employ, it is all those things that we celebrate, in addition to their creativity, hard work, courage and achievements.

So to all of you, thank you. Thank you for all that you do and most especially for having the audacity to pursue your dreams and to affirm the freedom to do so.

A new program called Montana Working Capital program has been put into place by state officials, which builds off the Montana Loan Deferment program by allowing Montana businesses to take out a new loan to support economic recovery. 

Taking advantage of the $1.25 billion the state received from the federal government to deal with COVID-19 impacts on the state’s economy the Montana Loan Deferment program, launched in June, defers payments on existing loans for six to twelve months. Over $36 million has been awarded to over 1,000 Montana businesses to defer $115 million in payments by businesses. For every dollar awarded, Montana businesses receive $3 in direct benefit.

“Bankers in Montana are doing everything they can to assist businesses impacted by the economic crisis, and both the loan deferment and the new working capital program give them vital new tools in their toolboxes to help businesses regain profitability. We have worked closely with the Board of Investments for months in crafting programs that are truly beneficial for business owners and are easily implemented by banks,” said Cary Hegreberg, President/CEO, Montana Bankers Association

The Montana Working Capital program will allow Montana businesses to take out a new loan to be used for payroll, employee benefits, lease or rent, inventory, utilities, and insurance. Utilizing the unused portion of the $125 million allocated to the Montana Loan Deferment program, new borrowers can work through an approved lender to take out a loan with 35 percent of it granted through Coronavirus Relief Funds. The borrower would be responsible for making payments on the remaining 65 percent of the loan. The maximum loan size is $500,000 with a grant of $175,000. The borrower would then be responsible for making payments on the remaining $325,000.

To be eligible, borrowers must have experienced a 15 percent reduction in gross revenue attributed to the direct or indirect impacts of COVID-19. The rates and terms will be determined by the lender and borrower. Like the Montana Loan Deferment program, the new Montana Working Capital program will be run by the Board of Investments, in partnership with Montana banks and credit unions.

An additional $4.2 million have been awarded through the Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant (MMPIG) program to aid small and medium-sized meat processors in responding to the COVID-19 crisis through the adaptation and advancement of meat processing infrastructure and capacity in Montana.

The grant program previously awarded $7.5 million to 62 different processors across the state in early August, making the total awards for meat processing nearly $12 million from a federal grant of $1.25 billion to Montana to deal with COVID-virus issues.

The first round of “meat processing infrastructure” funding received an incredible amount of interest, said Gov. Steve Bullock, in announcing the addition awards.

Funding for the MMPIG program is derived from the state’s allocation of federal relief dollars made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, with a maximum award of $150,000. The 40 businesses awarded had already submitted applications to the MMPIG program. As with all coronavirus relief programs, funds must be utilized before December 31, 2020. Due to this confined timeframe, the application process for meat processing will not be reopened.

The Montana Department of Agriculture and Department of Livestock oversees the grant process and rules and regulations is available on their website.

Jim Davison has been recognized for his life time achievements with the SBA’s Montana Legacy Award. Davison has served Anaconda, MEDA and the entire state of Montana well over his very distinguished career in economic development. He recently retired as Executive Director of Anaconda Local Development Corporation after 37 years of service. During his tenure, he seized every opportunity to diversify the economy of Anaconda-Deer Lodge County, create good-paying jobs and assist in developing a quality of life for Anaconda that has become second-to-none.

Jim’s work in Montana’s economic development arena began during a perilous time for Anaconda. Just two years before he took the reins at ALDC, Anaconda lost nearly 1,000 good paying jobs when Atlantic Richfield’s copper smelter closed in September of 1980. He was faced with the daunting task of reviving the Anaconda economy, whose success had been tied to the fortunes of the Anaconda Company for nearly a century.  Jim accepted the challenge and worked tirelessly over nearly four decades to diversify and strengthen the economy of Anaconda-Deer Lodge County.

Jim is a true collaborator and believes strongly in the power of partnerships to get things done. He is the only three-time President of the Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA) and has served in various leadership positions for MEDA since the organization was established 26 years ago. Jim has continually volunteered his expertise when it was needed most, including his long-time involvement with MEDA’s Legislative and Public Policy Committee. Jim has also served as a Montana Ambassador, as Chair and long-time member of the Montana Board of Research and Commercialization and as a member of Anaconda’s Tax Increment Finance Board.

Finally, Jim’s significant contributions to the community of Anaconda extend beyond his professional responsibilities.  He is a founding board member of the Anaconda Community Foundation, served as a member of the Anaconda School Board, volunteers with his church and is active with the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

The legacy award honors an individual who epitomizes leadership, mentorship and philanthropy.  Jim Davidson exemplifies these characteristics and the SBA is honored to present him with this prestigious award.

Jim Davison was nominated by Paul Tuss, Bear Paw Development and Adam Vauthier, Anaconda Local Development.