In December 2014, the Alliance Board met for an extended strategy session to set our mission and goals for 2015. Our mission for Montana’s High Tech and Manufacturing companies is summed up in three verbs:
Connect. Promote. Accelerate.
Here are some of the ways the Montana High Tech Business Alliance is delivering on that mission so far this year.
Connect: 130 Attend Bozeman Reception
The Montana High Tech Business Alliance’s third member reception in Bozeman on February 17th drew a crowd of 130 leaders from Montana’s high tech and manufacturing community, setting a new attendance record for these popular events.
Hosted by Silver Affiliate Rocky Mountain Bank, guests enjoyed delicious appetizers, wine, beer and a flood of natural light under the vaulted ceilings of the Bozeman branch on West Main Street.
Bob Gieseke, Bozeman Market President, and Mallory Walters, Branch Operations Manager, and their stellar team from Rocky Mountain Bank served guests, handed out wine baskets as door prizes, and coordinated technology for 3-minute “Lightning Talks” by CEOs of four fast-growing Montana technology companies:
- Luke Mauritsen, Montana Instruments (Bozeman)
- Joel Henry, Agile Data Solutions (Missoula)
- Michael Monaghan, Beartooth Radio (Bozeman)
- Doug Warner, DropTrip (Bozeman)
Thomas Kurdy and Rachel Strasshofer captured the evening on film. View Reception Photo Album on Facebook.
Prior to the reception we launched a CEO Roundtable – a new networking opportunity for members at the Bronze level and above- facilitated by board chair Greg Gianforte. Members TechLink, MMEC, and the MSU College of Engineering graciously allowed us to use their conference room for the meeting of nearly 30 participants.
The day’s events won enthusiastic praise from attendees:
“Congratulations on a very successful event. Great networking activities and overall positive energy for the alliance and high tech community. Well done!” – Bozeman member
“We loved the social in Bozeman. We’re very excited about the energy we saw and how we can help a number of the member organizations” – Missoula member
“It was very interesting just soaking in the ideas at the Roundtable, followed by a great time of networking afterward. I am looking forward to following up with several alliance members.” – Affiliate member
Promote: Report on Montana’s Technology Boom Sparks 20+ Media Stories from California to Washington D.C.
On February 17, the MHTBA released the results of a member survey by UM BBER showing Montana’s high tech and manufacturing sector are growing eight times the state economy and paying an average wage double the state median. The story was picked up by more than 20 media channels, including Associated Press coverage that reached Washington D.C., California, and Spokane.
- Bozeman Daily Chronicle
- Flathead Beacon (Kalispell/Northwest MT)
- Helena Independent Record
- Hungry Horse News (Columbia Falls, Glacier National Park, Flathead Valley)
- KBZK, KTVQ (CBS, Bozeman/Billings)
- KECI (NBC, Statewide via Missoula)
- KFBB, KTMF (ABC/FOX, Great Falls/Bozeman)
- KVGO/Zoo 107.5 FM (Missoula)
- KXLO/KLCM radio (Lewistown/Central MT)
- KXLY (Spokane/North Idaho)
- Montana Public Radio (Statewide)
- Montana Standard (Butte/Southwest MT)
- Northern Broadcasting/Voices of Montana (Statewide, via Billings)
- The Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell/Northwest MT)
- The San Luis Obispo Tribune (CA/Central Coast)
- The Washington Times (Washington D.C.)
Several member companies were featured in news stories, including Montana Instruments, Helix Business Solutions, Hoplite Industries, Treasure State Internet, Anvil Studios, DropTrip, Agile Data Solutions, Beartooth Radio, and MSU Blackstone LaunchPad. See the media page on the Alliance website for links to all the news stories.
The report and related media coverage prompted positive feedback from both members and partner organizations across the state:
“I want to say thank you. The exposure we have received as a result of the survey has been awesome.” – Tech Startup
“We will make good use of the report that you shared! That has great information! I love what you all are doing.” – Higher education leader
Accelerate: Jobs Portal Reaches 15,000+ Views
The number one barrier to growth cited by our member companies is their inability to hire enough workers with the right technical skills and experience. And yet every day there are countless talented job seekers looking for the right opportunity in Montana.
Launched in August of 2014, the Alliance’s high tech and manufacturing jobs portal was created to help match great talent with great Montana companies.
The Alliance has placed ads in the university alumni magazines, attended career fairs, and visited classrooms to expand awareness of the site and member companies who are hiring. As a result, the jobs portal is steadily gaining traction as a resource for our members and job seekers.
The jobs portal is by far the most popular page of our website, with 15,000+ page views in the last six months and nearly 3,000 views in February alone. The number of subscribers to weekly jobs portal email updates doubles every month.
There are typically more than 65 positions posted at any given time with 35 of our member companies. 33 candidates have submitted resumes through the site from across Montana and states like Utah, Arizona, and Texas. Multiple other job seekers have contacted companies directly as requested in job postings.
Here is some of the positive feedback we’ve heard:
“It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance at the event this week. And I would like to thank you again for having your website there as a valuable resource, it is very easy to use – thank you.” – Alum/Job seeker from UM
“I was reviewing the site yesterday and found a job posting that could be the perfect fit for a contact of mine. I forwarded it on to her. There is power in collaboration across our business sector for all of Montana.” – Tech company executive
The board and I are encouraged by the significant progress made so far in 2015 to Connect, Promote, and Accelerate the growth of Montana’s high tech and manufacturing companies. But we’re also gearing up to tackle the tough barriers to growth faced by our members – especially access to talent and capital.
Christina Henderson, Executive Director