Throngs of people gathered at MetraPark in Billings, last week, for Coal Appreciation Day, sponsored by Count on Coal Montana.
Local officials and political candidates, both Democrats and Republicans, were on hand to voice their support of coal, in this election year. Speakers included U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, State Auditor Monica Lindeen, Republican candidate for governor Rick Hill, Yellowstone County Commissioners John Ostlund and Bill Kennedy.
Billings Mayor Tom Hanel welcomed everyone and underscored the potential for coal in Montana saying the state has more reserves than any other state in the US, and the US has more coal reserves than any other nation.
Gregg Kamas, a national leader in employer-based wellness and clinical management programs, has joined EBMS as chief health officer, a new executive committee position with oversight over all care coordination, health management, pharmacy benefit management, and onsite clinic programs.
His responsibilities will include: CareLink, EBMS' comprehensive care coordination program, which forms an inter-connective link between members, providers and their health plans; EBMS Rx and miRx mail order prescriptions, EBMS' proprietary pharmacy benefit management programs; and, miCare, which administers employer-sponsored medical clinics.
The family of Dexter and Karla Buck of Chinook were preoccupied on Family Business Day welcoming a new grandchild – it was also "sale day." Every Friday is "sale day" for this vertically integrated livestock business, Bear Paw Livestock, which was heralded for its achievements with a Family Business award in the "very small category" (fewer than 10 employees).
Not only have the Bucks developed a "tremendously successful business that has retained the family values that are at its core," said Webb Brown, President of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, who presented their award at the Family Business Day luncheon in Bozeman, but they are doing so in an industry that has concerns about retaining younger generations.
Montana ranks among the top ten states for having the strongest housing markets, according to 24/7 Wall St.
The report said that "Montana shares characteristics with several of the Plains States. It never suffered from high unemployment during the recession; as a matter of fact, the jobless rate has been extraordinarily low. The agriculture and oil industries did well, and commodity prices were high. The cost of living was, and still is, relatively low compared to the national average, and so are home prices. The benefits of being a homeowner in Montana should continue. Corelogic predicts that the appreciation in home prices in the state will be the 14th best among all states from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014, and the 12th best among all states from the first quarter of this year through the first quarter of 2017.
Air Controls of Billings was recognized as a Family Business of the Year in the Medium Category (30-50 employees.
Owned by the Schaff Family the company was founded in 1972 by Al Schaff, collateralized by his mother, who, 40 years later, is still receiving weekly dividends on her investment. In addition she has the joy of witnessing the company advance to the involvement of a third generation of the Schaff family. "Grandma" Schaff worked in the business until the 1980s, when she retired.
The company's success stems from a strong focus on pleasing its customers, to the extent that they keep coming back. According to Al's son Chris, who now manages Air Controls, 95 percent of their business is repeat customers.
After almost 50 years at the corner of 3rd Avenue North and 11th Street, in Billings, Montana Peterbilt is moving to a new facility now under construction in Lockwood at the corner of I-90 and I-94, 3255 N. Frontage Rd. An official ground breaking was held last Wednesday with a number of local dignitaries in attendance. Pictured here is one of those dignitaries, US Congressman Denny Rehberg, talking with Montana Peterbilt owners, brothers Kevin and John Gustaionis. The new $2-3 million facility will include a 54,000 sq. ft, 26-bay full service dealership, It is expected to be operational by May 2013.
Payne Financial Group and Western States Insurance, announced a historic agreement to form one, new employee-owned company to serve the greater Rocky Mountain and Pacific Northwest regions. The joining of the two companies marks one of the biggest brokerage combinations of private firms in the history of the insurance industry.
“This is a watershed moment for our clients, our employees and the insurance industry as a whole,” said Brian Donahue, President & CEO of Payne Financial Group.
Almost every economic projection has a downward trend, reported Webb Brown, Director of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, about a recent survey his organization conducted of small businesses in the state. He presented the results to the attendees of the Mid-year Update of the Economic Outlook for the state.
The respondents seemed to be “jittery” about the coming elections, said Brown, “they seemed to be waiting for the outcome of the elections.”Hence the naming of his presentation, “Waiting for Elections.” Making them jittery are the unknowns about what Congress will do, although there was some general improvement in confidence levels about business locally.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103