• The very nature of the oil and gas industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation. It has become a manufacturing process – no longer one of exploration, according to one entrepreneur and manufacturing expert. For that reason the subject of oil production played a feature role in the recent Compete Smart Conference in Billings, produced by the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC)
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  • An area near the convergence of interstate highways, I-90 and I-94, east of Lockwood has the greatest potential for a future industrial park in Yellowstone County. But that doesn't rule out the prospects for two other potential sites, one in Billings, the BN Industrial Subdivision, and another, Spurling Siding west of Laurel. The prospective sites were unveiled during a meeting,
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  • Since going into full production, in July, with the new addition to their plant, business has been booming for Aspen Air. In fact, said Joe Hickey, manager of the Lockwood plant, "we have been selling more than we can produce." Sales have been beyond their greatest expectations, Hickey told a group of Lockwood business leaders during the group's regular monthly
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  • One of the most dynamic businesses in Lockwood hosted the Lockwood Business Group meeting in September. Vu Pham, General Counsel and director of operations for Weave Management Group, explained to some two dozen Lockwood business people who attended the luncheon, that the company is actually six companies which have spun-off from Warren Transport, which has been located in Lockwood since
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  • When asked to describe the state of American manufacturing, many say it has been "hollowed out." When asked why, they point to the decline in manufacturing jobs, note the few "Made in America" products on retail store shelves, and identify importing and offshoring as the culprits. Although many of these reasons appear persuasive, they're not accurate. U.S. manufacturing employment, no
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  • Montana's wholesale electricity prices are projected to increase 26 percent as a result of the EPA's proposed regulations requiring states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, according to an analysis conducted by Energy Ventures Analysis for the National Mining Association. The report warns that those prices increases will be passed on to Montana consumers and businesses. "This new report sheds light
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  • As Williston Basin operators accelerate the use of sand for hydraulic fracturing – as much as six million pounds per well in some cases – there is an even bigger ramp up in new sand mines in Wisconsin and unloading terminals in North Dakota. EDG Resources, for example, uses 1000 pounds of sand per lateral foot – about 2.5 to 5 times higher
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  • Most Montana manufacturers have plans to continue to grow their enterprises following three consecutive years of improvement, in terms of both earnings and output. Montana manufacturers have outpaced prior years of 2011, 2012 and 2013, according to the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER), which recently reported on a survey conducted of Montana manufacturers regarding the state of their
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  • Entrepreneurship and self-employment endeavors – the nucleus of new business and future business growth — are at record lows, according to many analysts. The decline has long term consequences, which has Ray Keating alarmed. Keating is the Chief Economist for the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. The SBE Council has been reporting on the weak state of entrepreneurship in the US for
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  • The American shale gas boom has the potential to revitalize domestic manufacturing, and a new report from a University of Michigan-led panel recommends steps to make that happen in a responsible manner. Those steps include increasing public trust of hydraulic fracturing; monitoring and reducing methane emissions; and using shale gas profits to advance renewable energy technologies, among other efforts. The
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  • Manufacturers and suppliers will gather to celebrate the magic in manufacturing and the many ways it enriches lives during the biennial Compete Smart Manufacturing Conference to be held Oct. 9 and 10 at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana in Billings. The event, co-hosted by the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) and NorthWestern Energy, will feature speakers, local plant tours and
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  • Wood's Powr-Grip is celebrating 50 years in business. Theirs is the quintessential entrepreneurship success story – all the more amazing given their worldwide presence and yet, so low-key, locally, that many people in Yellowstone County don't even know they exist. The organization is a third generation, family-owned manufacturing company whose name is most readily recognized in the glass industry. They manufacture
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This issue of the Big Sky Business Journal features the 2012 award winners of the US Small Business Administration's (SBA) annual recognition of outstanding businesses and champions of small business in Montana. The awards are presented in coordination with the National Small Business Week each year.

Montana's slate of stars includes an especially bright star this year, with Sarah Calhoun, founder and owner of Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs, capturing the Regional and National award for Women in Business Champion, in addition to that of Montana.

Tyler Jarosz, Bozeman, owner of Twenty6 Products, Inc. was not only the Montana winner of the Young Entrepreneur award for Montana, but also for Region VIII. 

Also, Montana's winner of the Veteran Small Business Champion award, Brian Hoornbeek of Stevensville, also captured the title for Region VIII.

All of the award recipients will be recognized for their achievements at the Small Business Week awards ceremony in Bozeman on June 7.

 

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