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Governor Bullock Announces Funding to Grow Businesses, Create 310 New Jobs across Montana

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Helena, MT – Governor Steve Bullock today announced $266,800 in grants to help businesses in six Montana communities, supporting the creation of 310 new jobs for hard-working Montanans and help Main Street Montana businesses plan for future growth.

“Montana’s economy is poised for growth and we are seeing great opportunities for businesses to grow and expand all across the state,” said Governor Bullock. “Continued investment in our state’s economy helps businesses in communities all across Montana create more jobs, train new employees, and create economic prosperity under the Big Sky.”

The funds are being awarded through the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) program.

Full List of Grant Recipients:

Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) – Job Creation and Planning Grants

The BSTF program provides state funds to promote long-term stable economic growth in Montana. More information can be found at www.bstf.mt.gov.

· The City of Great Falls received $120,000 of BSTF Job Creation funds to assist First Call Resolution, LLC to expand to Montana and create 300 new jobs in Cascade County. The BSTF funds will be used for reimbursement of equipment, construction materials and furniture. First Call Resolution, LLC, which will be located in Great Falls, is a provider of outsourced live agent contact center and businesses process solutions to various sectors of the new economy, including high tech, startup, mobile commerce, wireless, telecom, finance and insurance.

· Lincoln County Port Authority received $75,000 of BSTF Job Creation funds to assist Invizon, LLC to expand to Montana and create 10 new jobs in Lincoln County. The BSTF funds will be used for reimbursement of equipment, software/broadband, lease rate reduction and wages. Invizon, LLC, which will be located in Libby, is a full-service professional provider of software development services and cost-effective web-based solutions.

· Southeastern Montana Development Corporation received $4,300 of BSTF Planning funds to assist Fox Lumber Sales, Inc. with an equipment assessment of two drying kilns. The determination will be made as to whether the kilns, currently owned by the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, are repairable. The kilns will allow the company to expand its market, thus creating additional jobs. Fox Lumber Sales, Inc., which has an office in Ashland, manufactures and sells lumber products.

· BitterRoot Economic Development District, Inc. received $27,000 of BSTF Planning funds to assist Tru-Home Montana, LLC with the creation of a strategic business development plan. Tru-Home Montana, LLC, which is proposing to be located in Bonner, is a business start-up that will construct pre-built housing using sustainable methods and locally sourced materials.

· Montana Business Assistance Connection received $27,000 of BSTF Planning funds to assist Townsend Health Systems, dba Broadwater Health Center, with a campus master plan. Broadwater Health Center, which is located in Townsend, is a nonprofit, rural hospital that provides full services, including a wellness clinic and assisted living center.

· Snowy Mountain Development Corporation received $13,500 of BSTF Planning Funds to assist Friends of the Historic Adams Hotel with an architectural report to determine the current conditions of the building and if restoration is feasible. The Adams Hotel, which is located in Lavina, was built in 1908 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

More funding opportunities are still available. The deadline for submitting an application for consideration at the next Grant/Loan Review Committee meeting is Dec. 28. For more information, contact Section Manager Annmarie Robinson by phone at 406.841.2250 or by visiting HTTP://www.bstf.mt.gov.

 

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Executive Director / Loan Officer Position in Miles City

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Miles City Area Economic Development Council (MCAEDC) and Southeastern Montana Development Corp. (SEMDC) are now accepting applications for an Executive Director / Loan Officer position based in Miles City, MT.  Position acts as the economic development officer for MCAEDC serving Miles City and Custer County and as loan officer for SEMDC serving eastern MT. This full time position offers a competitive salary, excellent benefits package and requires a college degree and minimum three (3) years experience in commercial lending, marketing, economic development or related areas.  A complete job description is available upon request or online at www.milescitybusiness.net or www.semdc.org.  Please send Letter of Interest, Resume and Reference List to: SEMDC, Attn: Jim Atchison, PO Box 1935, Colstrip, MT 59323.

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2016 Energy Open Scheduled for August 18th & 19th

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The 13th Annual Energy Open Tours and Golf Tournament will be held on August 18th and 19th, 2016 in Colstrip, the “Energy Capital of Montana.”

 

Southeastern Montana Development Corporation (SEMDC) and Colstrip UNITED cordially invite the public to participate in this unique opportunity which “showcases the economic benefits of responsible energy development.”

 

The Energy Open starts at 10:00 am on Thursday August 18th at the Colstrip High School Auditorium with registration and networking opportunities.  Lunch will be served prior to the attendees departing on two different Tours.  The two Tours which run concurrently, will feature the Colstrip Power Plant, formally PPL MT (coal fired power generation), the Boilermakers Training Center (workforce training), Castle Rock Lake (environmental and quality of life benefits) and the Western Energy Rosebud Coal Mine (mining, safety and award winning reclamation efforts).  The first day will conclude with a dinner at the Moose Lodge featuring Keynote Speaker, City of Colstrip Mayor John Williams.

On Friday August 19th, the Ponderosa Butte Golf Course in Colstrip will host the Energy Open 18-Hole Golf Tournament with lots of prizes, a shot at the “Coal Cup” Corporate Trophy and the $20,000 Hole-In-One prize.  The golf teams will be treated to a breakfast prior to the tee time of 10:00 am.   The day will conclude with a scholarship raffle and the tournament awards presentations.  This is a great opportunity to network with energy leaders, decision makers, legislators and golf one of Montana’s most challenging public courses.

 

The Energy Open is free to the public but prior registration is required.  For more general information, please contact SEMDC at (406) 748-2990 or email jatchison@semdc.org or prhill@semdc.org. Additional information is available at www.semdc.org.

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Lt. Governor Mike Cooney Presents Grant Funds for MCC Armory Project

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Lt. Governor Mike Cooney presented two grants for the MCC Armory purchase – a CDBG grant for $650,000 and a Coal Board grant for $50,000.

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Miles Community College to Purchase Former Armory Building

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Dr. Stacy Klippenstein, President of Miles Community College (MCC), announced recently that the final funding pieces were in-place to allow MCC to purchase the former Armory site in Miles City.

MCC teamed up with the regional economic development group, Southeastern Montana Development Corporation (SEMDC), to identify, structure and secure funding for the purchase. SEMDC provided grant research, structuring assistance, and the submission of three (3) of the grants needed to secure the nearly $1.49 million dollar project. Other funding came from private sources and MCC.

Armory

“We are honored to receive the funding to secure the purchase of the former Armory,” states MCC President Klippenstein. “The Armory will enable us to strengthen our CDL and Heavy Equipment Programs to further meet the regional workforce demands. The partnerships formed between Custer County, the City of Miles City, SEMDC, as well as many other agencies and people were vital to this project. We are grateful to everyone involved in helping secure funding for the Armory purchase.”

The new site and building will provide much needed space for the expansion of MCC’s Heavy Equipment and CDL programs. These popular programs are intended to train students and help bridge the employment gap with regional heavy equipment, transportation, and construction operations.

Special thanks go out to not only SEMDC but also Custer County and the City of Miles City for teaming up to apply for a Montana Department of Commerce Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) of $650,000. The Montana Coal Board also granted $50,000 to the cause. The Eastern Montana Brownfield Coalition contributed $21,000 for environmental assessments and the federal Economic Development Agency (EDA) rounded out the grants package with over a $529,000 award.

Other support and assistance came from the Miles City Area Economic Development Council (MCAEDC), Great West Engineering, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Montana Military Affairs and the Montana Job Service – Miles City Office. Also included in this list are Montana elected officials: Rep. Ken Holmlund, Rep. Geri Custer and Senator Duane Ankney. All three of the Montana Congressional Staffs also contributed.

“It was our pleasure to partner with MCC on this success story,” noted SEMDC Executive Director Jim Atchison. “Our Grant Administrator, Julie Emmons, deserves special credit as she did most of the heavy lifting on this very challenging funding structure. She found a way to make it happen and MCC, including the entire region, will benefit for years to come,” added Atchison.

For more information, contact Jessie Dufner at MCC, 874-6226 or visit their website at www.milescc.edu.

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Invest In Success Small Business Seminar March 15-16, 2016

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The Montana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network invites you to our 7th annual Invest in Success (IIS) small business conference March 15 & 16, 2016 in Havre at MSU-Northern! The IIS conference provides hundreds of Montana entrepreneurs essential business workshops on leadership, marketing, financial management, operations and technical training for specific industries. This year we are expecting over 200 attendees and 25 vendors. The 2016 conference will help you “Solve Problems by Creating Opportunities,” and learn how to meet business challenges with strategic solutions. Our goal is for you to come away with new ideas to set higher standards for performance outcomes. For more information on breakout sessions, our Shark Tank live pitch business plan competition, and our Keynote Speaker, visit sbdc.mt.gov/investinsuccess.

What’s happening this year?

Tuesday, March 15:

  • Tours of “Havre Beneath the Streets” and “Wahkpa Chu’gn Buffalo Jump” – Starts at 2:00 PM
  • Evening networking reception featuring the Triple Dog Brewing Company – Starts at 6:00 PM
  • Opening Reception featuring Triple Dog Brewing Co., Vendor Tradeshow, Silent Auction for Montana Job Service Employer Committee (JSEC), and Networking with Montana business owners

 Wednesday, March 16:

  • Registration opens at 7:30 AM; Breakout Sessions Begin at 8:30 AM
  • Luncheon and Keynote Speaker Paul Leach of Loenbro 12:15 PM
  • “Shark Tank” Live Business Plan Competition Starts at 3:00 PM
  • Door Prize Winners Announced at 4:30 PM (Grand Prize: New Laptop for your Business!)

FAQs

Where can I find more information about the conference?
Visit sbdc.mt.gov/investinsuccess for more information on breakout sessions, the Keynote Speaker, Shark Tank and more.

How do I register for Shark Tank?
Registration for Shark Tank is live through Submittable. You cannot register for Shark Tank here. If you participate in Shark Tank, you will receive free admission. Do not register on this site if you are a Shark Tank participant! Please go to sbdc.submittable.com/submit to register. Applications close Feburary 19.

Where can I find out more about the presentations?
Download the PDF here.

Can I change my mind about the breakout sessions later?
Yes. If you select a breakout session you no longer wish to attend, please feel free to change the day of.

Where are the conference accomodations?
The BestWestern Plus Great Northern Inn (406) 265-4200(406) 265-4200 has a conference rate of $89/night for one or $99/night for two. The room block closes on February 23, 2016.

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2015 Energy Open Scheduled for August 20th and 21st

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The 12th Annual Energy Open Tours and Golf Tournament will be held on August 20th and 21st, 2015 in Colstrip, the “Energy Capital of Montana.”

 

Southeastern Montana Development Corporation (SEMDC) and Montanans for Responsible Energy Development (MRED) cordially invite the public to participate in this unique opportunity which “showcases the economic benefits of responsible energy development.”

The Energy Open starts at 10:00 am on Thursday August 20th at the Colstrip High School Auditorium with registration and networking opportunities. Lunch will be served prior to the attendees departing on two different Tours. The two Tours which run concurrently, will feature the Colstrip Power Plant, formally PPL MT (coal fired power generation), the Boilermakers Training Center (workforce training), Castle Rock Lake (environmental and quality of life benefits) and the Western Energy Rosebud Coal Mine (mining, safety and award winning reclamation efforts). The first day will conclude with a dinner at the Moose Lodge featuring Keynote Speaker, State Senator Duane Ankney.

On Friday August 21st, the Ponderosa Butte Golf Course in Colstrip will host the Energy Open 18-Hole Golf Tournament with lots of prizes, a shot at the “Coal Cup” Corporate Trophy and the $20,000 Hole-In-One prize. The golf teams will be treated to a breakfast prior to the tee time of 10:00 am.   The day will conclude with a scholarship raffle and the tournament awards presentations. This is a great opportunity to network with energy leaders, decision makers, legislators and golf one of Montana’s most challenging public courses.

The Energy Open is free to the public but prior registration is required. For more general information, please contact SEMDC at (406) 748-2990 or email jatchison@semdc.org or prhill@semdc.org. Additional information is available at www.semdc.org.

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Numerous Coal Board Grants Awarded in Southeastern Montana

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(Hardin) The Montana Coal Board met last week in Hardin and awarded numerous grants into Southeastern Montana.   “We are very appreciative and certainly excited to have been awarded these funds which will bring additional assistance to communities that have been impacted by coal,” stated Jim Atchison, Executive Director of Southeastern Montana Development (SEMDC).

Four (4) Applications that SEMDC was involved with were awarded $880,068.  “SEMDC directly assisted three of the four and supported the fourth application,” noted Atchison.

“This is an excellent state program for returning limited dollars back to coal impacted communities to improve the quality of life,” he added.  Applicants awarded funds were:

* City of Colstrip: $500,000 for a portion of a major waste water rehabilitation project,

* City of Miles City: $166,118 to assist with an airport runway paving project,

* Treasure County: $73,950 to help purchase a new ambulance and

* Town of Hysham: $140,000 to assist in paying for replacement of the town’s water tower.

Atchison also gave credit to the area state legislators in securing these addition Coal Board funds during the session.  “Senator Ankney and Representatives Berry and Custer were key drivers and supporters during the legislative session in which HB-228 was passed,” Atchison noted.  “These funds give the Coal Board additional leverage to assist these communities.”

SEMDC is a regional non-profit economic development group that was established in 1997 to stimulate and encourage economic activity in the four (4) Counties of Custer, Powder River, Rosebud, and Treasure.  Today, SEMDC continues to work with the private, public, and non-profit sectors to help create and retain jobs in these four counties.  Their track record has documented over 986 jobs created or retained and over $35 million dollars in project assistance since 1997.  Since 2005, SEMDC has been designated by the State of Montana as a Certified Regional Development Corporation (CRDC) and the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) as an Economic Development District.

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County Receives Tentative Approval For Federal Funding For Ranch Creek Road Improvements

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(Broadus) Powder River County recently applied for and received approval for programming through the 2014 Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) in the amount of $7.2 million. With support from Bureau of Land Management and Montana Department of Transportation personnel, Powder River County Road Supervisor, Ty Gee and SEMDC Grant Administrator, Julie E. Korkow, teamed up to submit an application to pave a portion of Ranch Creek Rd near Biddle, MT.  The Montana Department of Transportation also pledged matching funds of over $1 Million to the project.  The portion of Ranch Creek Road that will be improved would start at Highway 59 and travel east for 4.5 miles.  The majority of work will include minor culvert and drainage work, over excavation of soft spots, shoulder work, stabilization of subgrade, new base coarse and paving meeting specifications of a standard secondary state highway.

 

The legislation Congress passed that implements the Federal Lands Access Program only authorizes the program for the fiscal years 2013 and 2014.  Therefore, funds from the Access Program for this project are not guaranteed.  Funding is dependent on the availability of appropriations from Congress.

 

The next step in the process is for the Western Federal Lands Highway Division (WFLHD) to develop funding agreements with the state and local agency partners.  The funding agreement will indicate the year that funds may be available for the project.

 

According to the grant application submitted Ranch Creek Road (Route 544) needs to be reconstructed and paved due to the heavy amount of oil field traffic deteriorating the current road conditions.   Powder River County is responsible for maintenance but does not have the budget to fix this road because gravel and other materials are not readily available in this area.  Paving this route would make it an all-weather road and make it safe for all to use.  During inclement weather the surface turns to muddy slurry that is almost impossible to navigate and at dry times dust clouds the entire valley.

 

Ranch Creek Road (Route 544) serves the oil field at Belle Creek, local ranchers, recreationalists accessing BLM land, and traffic traveling from Biddle to Boyes, Mt. The Belle Creek oil field employs hundreds of workers and subcontractors that use this route for access.

 

Present road conditions restrict the ability of Denbury Resources, Inc. getting equipment, materials, and personnel to the site in wet conditions.   The dust created from the road in dry conditions creates concerns for the health and safety of local residents and area ranchers trying to prevent dust pneumonia in livestock.  Dust treatments have been applied to this area in the past with little benefit since the current quality of the road topping material does not accept the treatment to prevent dust and stabilize the road.

 

The past four (4) years of heavy oil field traffic has substantially increase the County’s maintenance requirements on Ranch Creek Road extracting equipment and resources from other parts of the county.

 

For additional information, please contact the Powder River Commissioners at 406-436-2657.

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RID 1A Sewer Replacement Project Completed in Miles City

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DSC01130The RID Sewer was first constructed in 1900.  It was a series of clay tiles that traveled a direct route from the Pine Hills State School to the slough in Miles City.  It had been in serious decay for some time and needed replacement.  Custer County had limited funding to afford such a project.  Efforts began as early as 1992 to address the problem.  The Custer County Commissioners had at one time secured a Congressional appropriation for the project but were unable to provide the matching funds needed to complete the project.  At that time, an assessment was instituted to build a reserve fund up to have matching money to pursue grant funds with.  Gary Matthews picked the project back up in  2009 when that fund reached approximately $100,000 and together with Southeastern Montana Development Corporations’ grant administrator, Julie Korkow, the two submitted a CDBG application and TSEP application in 2010.  The grant applications were successful and notification that funding was received came in 2011.  Applications for additional funding were then submitted to USDA, Rural Development.  These too were successful.  In late fall of 2013, the project was advertised for bid and all of the bids received exceeded the budget.  Custer County did not have additional funding to put into the project.  It was feared that the project would be lost again, but USDA, Rural Development stepped up to the plate and provided more grant funding to help the project come to fruition.  The total project cost was $2.463 million.  RID residents provided $123,000 through their reserve fund and incurred a loan for $288,000.  $2.052 million was received in grant funds.  The project is now complete, the moratorium on hookups has been lifted, and ownership of the area is being transferred from Custer County to Custer County Water and Sewer District.  Residents of this area now have a safe and reliable sewer system and the project has opened up vacant lots that can be used for development.

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