By Katy Spence
Fast-growing Montana tech firms expect to add more 1,200 new jobs in 2018, but some firms in the state already employ hundreds of people. In 2017, the Alliance published our inaugural list of Montana tech companies to watch, many of which are top employers, such as Montana Precision Products, onX, Spika Design and Manufacturing, Foundant, Elixiter, and PFL.
In the final installment of our 2018 Companies to Watch series, the Montana High Tech Business Alliance has named the top tech and manufacturing employers in the state for this year.
Companies fit two or more of the following criteria:
- 20 employees or more
- plans to grow workforce in Montana
- established in the state for more than 10 years
- consistently hiring
- involved in the community
Here are the Alliance’s picks, in alphabetical order, of the top tech and manufacturing employers in the state.
2. Allied Steel, Lewistown
3. Applied Materials, Kalispell
4. AT&T, Missoula
5. ATG, Missoula
6. ATR, Hamilton
7. Blackfoot, Missoula
8. Blackmore Sensors and Analytics, Bozeman
10. CTA, Bozeman
11. Edulog, Missoula
12. FICO, Bozeman
13. Helix Business Solutions, Dillon
14. KOA, Billings
15. Loenbro, Great Falls
16. Montana Instruments, Bozeman
18. Oracle, Bozeman
19. PROOF Research, Columbia Falls
20. Schedulicity, Bozeman
21. SoFi, Helena
22. Synesis 7, Butte
23. WGM Group, Missoula
24. Workiva, Bozeman
25. Zoot Enterprises, Bozeman
Advanced Electronic Designs, Bozeman
Montana Leadership: Bryan Robertus, P.E., Founder and President
Year founded: 1994
Montana employees: 22
Why they’re great to work for: Advanced Electronic Designs (AED) is an electronics product development company and professional engineering firm that solves complex technology problems for clients. Their motto is “Serious Fun, Serious Engineering,” and both hold equal importance in the culture. Working amidst tongue-in-cheek demotivational posters, Dilbert calendars, and Legos, AED’s engineers have developed various technologies from military communication and life safety equipment to a controller used by George Lucas to edit the Star Wars Trilogy. Trailblazers in the LED display industry, their designs can be found from Times Square in New York City to their own backyard in Bozeman and Yellowstone National Park. CEO Bryan Robertus said employees of AED enjoy a variety of project challenges, as well as the light-hearted atmosphere. Robertus added that AED exists to allow its employees to pursue their professional passions and that the day someone walks into the office hating their job is the day the company is doing something terribly wrong.
Search jobs: http://aed.pro/careers.htm
Allied Steel, Lewistown
Montana Leadership: Jeff Southworth, President
Year founded: 1980
Montana employees: 100+ (nationally 190)
Why they’re great to work for: Allied Steel manufactures structural steel for buildings all over the United States from Lewistown, Montana. Projects built with Allied Steel include malls, schools, hospitals, sports arenas, and power plants in places as far away as Alaska and Hawaii. President Jeff Southworth said the company is dedicated to finding employees who want the rural Montana lifestyle Lewistown offers, whether that comes from recruiting within the town or finding people who want to move to the area. Central Montana is a mecca for fly fishing, hunting, mountain biking and hiking. Far from being a disadvantage, Allied Steel’s remote location has proven to be an essential part of growing their business and attracting employees dedicated to the company. Employee turnover is low and loyalty is high: more than 75 employees have worked for Allied Steel for more than 15 years.
Read more: Allied Steel: From Steel to Sports Arenas
Applied Materials, Kalispell
Montana Leadership: Rick Plavidal, General Manager
Scott Osterman, Senior Director of Business Unit Operations
Year founded: 1967
Montana employees: 500 (18,000+ globally)
Why they’re great to work for: Applied Materials supplies manufacturing equipment, services, and software to the semiconductor, flat panel display, and related industries. Applied’s tools are used to make virtually every new chip and advanced display in the world, such as the ones in your smartphones, computer screens, and TVs. Even as part of a global company, Applied Materials’ Kalispell division maintains its uniquely independent Montana spirit, which leaders say helps the division be more agile. Kalispell offers employees professional development and the chance to work in a true high tech job while remaining close to recreational opportunities like world-class skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. In addition, employees are encouraged to participate in the company’s many acts of volunteerism and community activities, including the annual food drive. Last year, the Kalispell division raised $136,000 for Flathead food bank, nearly doubling their 2016 number.
Search jobs: http://www.appliedmaterials.com/company/careers
Advanced Technology Group (ATG), Missoula
Montana Leadership: Tom Stergios, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Corporate Development
Year founded: 2011
Montana employees: 138+ (nationally 260)
Why they’re great to work for: Advanced Technology Group is a professional management and consulting firm, offering niche services in customer care, billing, and CRM expertise to support their clients. ATG’s consultants work with Fortune 1000 companies all over the globe, including Subaru, Centurylink, Concur, Atlassian, Constant Contact, 24-hour Fitness, and many others. ATG invests a lot of time training new employees to help them succeed and grow so they can become leaders in the rapidly-growing company. Full-time ATG consultants can expect to make start in the low $40,000s plus bonuses for entry-level positions. Aggressive raises put the average consultant salary at more than $78,000. Employees work hard, but they also have fun together, playing on the ATG hockey team, cleaning up the Clark Fork River, and tapping the kegerator on Fridays where team members celebrate each other’s successes. The atgSHE program – where SHE stands for Successful, Happy, and Equal – helps the company recruit and promote high potential women.
Search jobs: https://atginfo.com/careers/
Montana Leadership: Grace M. Lander, President and CEO
Elliott P. Lander, Founder, COO, Chief Innovation Officer
Year founded: 1990
Montana employees: 6 (nationally 35)
Why they’re great to work for: ATR provides mission critical procedure, work guidance, and knowledge management solutions to high-risk industries focused on worker safety and operational excellence. Named one of the Top 50 Places to Work in Houston where it is headquartered, ATR is dedicated to growing a similarly excellent team in Hamilton, Montana, where they plan to double their workforce by the end of 2018. COO Elliott Lander said the Hamilton office is dynamic and interactive, and comes with great office pets. An open door policy encourages employee input, and employees undergo ongoing training to help them stay up-to-date with the latest technology demands. The quality of life in the small town convinced two members of the Houston ATR team to relocate and ATR just sponsored a two-day conference with 20 clients from across North America in Hamilton. ATR also has a number of community initiatives, including an annual art contest for Bitterroot Valley high school students which awards $4,000 in prizes.
Read more: New Hamilton technology firm hosting art contest for students
Search jobs: http://www.atrco.com/about-careers.asp
Montana Leadership: Tara Thue, Director of External & Legislative Affairs at AT&T
Year founded: 1983
Montana employees: 750+ (Globally, 268,000+)
Why they’re great to work for: AT&T delivers mobile services, TV, high-speed internet, and smart solutions for residences and businesses. The telecommunications giant is a Fortune 500 company that spent more than $46.5 million on goods and services purchased from Montana-based suppliers in 2014. AT&T employs nearly 800 people in Montana, most of which work in the Missoula call center. AT&T offers employee training to develop individual strengths and helps student employees pay tuition for approved programs. Employees can get discounts on AT&T products and services, as well as access to other items, such as tickets to live events.
Read more: AT&T Company Profile
Montana Leadership: Jason Williams, CEO
Year founded: 1954
Montana employees: 177 (190 nationally)
Why they’re great to work for: Blackfoot delivers state-of-the-art telecommunications to businesses, schools and communities across Montana and Idaho. In recent months, Blackfoot has partnered with T-Mobile to increase broadband access across Montana and introduced C2M beta, an open innovation lab providing entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn about business and operations while bringing their products to market. In 2018, Blackfoot won the Missoula Job Service Employer’s Council Employer of Choice award in the Large Business category, specifically receiving recognition for its robust benefit program for active and retired employees. CEO Jason Williams – who started his career at Blackfoot as an intern – said he is excited to be in a position to to create a positive workplace for Blackfoot employees, especially as the company continues its growth.
Search jobs: http://www.blackfoot.com/about-blackfoot/employment/
Blackmore Sensors and Analytics, Bozeman
Montana Leadership: Randy Reibel, Founder and CEO
Trenton Berg, Co-Founder and VP Production
Stephen Crouch, Co-Founder and CTO
Jim Curry, Co-Founder and VP Product
Year founded: 2016
Montana employees: 65
Why they’re great to work for: Blackmore produces 3D imaging lidar systems and analytics for automotive and geospatial applications. In 2018, the company raised an $18 million Series B round from BMW iVentures, Toyota AI Ventures, Millennium, and Next Frontier Capital. CTO Stephen Crouch said Blackmore is dedicated to a work hard, play hard attitude with flexible work schedules and a variety of projects, including the chance to work outside year-round field-testing products. The company also has a robust dedication to hiring interns, with almost 30 since their founding in 2016. Crouch said interns bring youth, energy, and fresh perspective to an already-diverse team based in Bozeman.
Search jobs: https://blackmoreinc.com/careers/
Century Companies, Lewistown
Montana Leadership: Tim Robertson, President and CEO
Year founded: 1975
Montana employees: 175
Why they’re great to work for: Century Companies serves Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas, providing high-quality commercial road construction services. The company has worked with many different organizations, including the Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration, on projects like a new weigh station facility in Wibaux County to a Wyoming airport reconstruction that needed to be completed in separate, eight-hour windows due to airport restrictions. Century Companies was named Big Sky Employer of Choice for offering insurance benefits to all employees and their families, contribution to retirement, incentives for adhering to the safety program, and a flexible spending account. Employees also have the opportunity to choose “Century Choice” credits, which provide rewards for employees and their families. Century Companies is invested in Lewistown but offers employees opportunities to work seasonally across the region.
Read more: Century Companies: From Asphalt to Airstrips
CTA Architects Engineers, Bozeman
Montana Leadership: Jimmy Talarico, Associate Owner, Project Designer/Business Development
Year founded: 1938
Employees: 450 (half in Montana, half out of state)
Why they’re great to work for: Celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, CTA Architects Engineers designs award-winning facilities for high-tech clients including Google, Facebook, and Dell. With a diverse range of expertise in 14 locations around the country (including seven offices in Montana) and clients spanning the globe, CTA team members can customize their career development to their professional aspirations, personal passions, and family needs. Jimmy Talarico, Project Designer/Business Development, said CTA helps train and license its employees, providing up-to-date study resources and paying half of professional testing fees. Talarico added that CTA’s culture of creativity and collaboration for inspires brainstorming-and-sketching-while-drinking-beer sessions around the ping-pong table most Thursday afternoons.
Search jobs: http://www.ctagroup.com/joinus/
Education Logistics (EDULOG) and Logysis, Missoula
Montana Leadership: Jason Corbally, President
Year founded: 1977
Montana employees: 50+
Why they’re great to work for: Education Logistics, Inc. (EDULOG) is a school bus routing software company that has been providing routing and planning software solutions to districts across North America for more than 40 years. In 2016, the Saudi Arabian government hired EDULOG to help implement a system to help girls get to school as part of a nationwide effort to help women enter the workforce. EDULOG offers employees a dynamic workplace with opportunities for training and development in hardware, software, network, business, sales, and marketing positions. The company has been working collaboratively with the University of Montana to bring speakers into the classroom and hire the university’s top talent.
Montana Leadership: Wil Lansing, CEO
Dale Tarnowski, Senior Talent Acquisition Manager
Year founded: 1956
Montana employees: 70 (3,400 nationally)
Why they’re great to work for: FICO is a software analytics and credit rating company based out of San Jose, California. FICO is a $3 billion company, known for developing the FICO credit score. With deep ties to Gallatin Valley, FICO is dedicated to building a small, but sturdy team in Bozeman, where CEO Wil Lansing owns a home. FICO offers careers in big data analytics, hiring hundreds of new employees each year with opportunities for advancement, travel, training, educational reimbursement, and more. The company is especially interested in working with new graduates and fostering entrepreneurialism.
Search jobs: http://www.fico.com/en/careers
Helix Business Solutions, Dillon
Montana Leadership: Tim Black, COO & Founder
Kevin Sherwood, CEO and Founder
Travis Cottom, VP Business Development and Solutions
Year founded: 2008
Why they’re great to work for: Helix Business Solutions is a leading Oracle Customer Experience (CX) Gold Partner in North America. Helix recently acquired Accelas Solutions, an Oracle Sales Cloud partner based in Rexburg, Idaho, which gives Helix the ability to help businesses large and small with a broader array of consulting services. Helix associates gain exposure to some of the world’s largest companies, giving them an unmatched level of experience, unlocking challenging and rewarding careers in consulting, engineering, and business development. From Bozeman to Dillon, Helix works to grow its relationships with the community. The company hosts the “Bridges to Business” speaker series at the University of Montana-Western, bringing the latest conversations in business to Dillon, Montana, where business leaders share their experience with students, local business leaders, and the community.
Search jobs: https://helix.solutions/careers/
Kampgrounds of America (KOA), Billings
Montana Leadership: Toby O’Rourke, President
Year founded: 1962
Montana employees: 75 (1,000+ nationally)
Why they’re great to work for: Kampgrounds of America is the world’s largest network of campgrounds and a leader in outdoor hospitality and related-technology. Founded in Billings, KOA now has over 500 locations across the United States and Canada. KOA’s technology talent is responsible for the architecture, development, and support of its proprietary reservation and property management system as well other technologies that improve the operations of their parks. Additionally, KOA has a robust digital marketing team that drives KOA.com, a mobile app, and digital advertising campaigns. KOA President Toby O’Rourke said the company places emphasizes family and healthy living by offering premium benefits such as paid maternity/paternity leave and reimbursements for health-oriented activities and camping.
Loenbro, Great Falls
Montana Leadership: Paul Leach, President
Jon Leach, Vice President
Lee Haven, VP of Business Development
Year founded: 1998
Employees: 800+ nationally
Why they’re great to work for: Loenbro offers welding and other custom manufacturing solutions for the oil and gas industry. Brothers Paul and Jon Leach founded Loenbro in a spare bedroom and grew to 800 employees by hiring people who share their core values, which include taking action, leading by example, and practicing stewardship. Employees range from welders’ helpers just starting their careers to civil engineers and MBAs.Team members have workplace mobility both geographically among offices in Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming, and within the company, with opportunities for advancement. Loenbro employees are active in their communities, donating to local charities and churches, supporting the Loenbro Employee Assistance Fund for coworkers in need, and cheering on the company’s professional racing team – Loenbro Motorsports.
Search jobs: http://careers.loenbro.com
Montana Instruments, Bozeman
Montana Leadership: Luke Mauritsen, President and CEO
Year founded: 2009
Montana employees: 50
Why they’re great to work for: Montana Instruments (MI) designs and builds custom cryogenic microscopes for customers around the globe. MI never loses sight of the scientists and creators who will change the world with their technology, constructing each device next to a picture of the person who will receive it and eventually adding that portrait to their collection hanging in the hallway. Employees cite Montana Instruments’ dynamic workplace and opportunity for growth and advancement as great reasons to work there. The company pioneered an innovative high tech apprenticeship program, which allows team members to give time and talent back to the community by training high school and college students. MI has also donated to help communities in Montana affected by devastating wildfires and will match employees’ donations to causes they care about.
Search jobs: https://www.montanainstruments.com/About/Careers/
Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply, Bozeman
Montana Leadership: Rick Ungersma & MaryKay Yeley, Owners
Year founded: 1994
Montana employees: 600 (nationally 1,400)
Why they’re great to work for: Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply is a retailer that serves people who work and play outside with a selection of clothing, tools, power equipment, and more. It operates 31 locations across five states, including a strong e-commerce component. Beyond IT maintaining close to 100 servers, 1,500 computer devices, hundreds of in-store digital signs, hundreds of phones, wireless access points, store sound systems, security cameras, and a dozen critical business applications, Murdoch’s technology focus includes hosting live training webcasts, operating a digital asset creation studio with 360-imagery capabilities, and investing in digital marketing strategies. The company has also partnered with Montana Code School to help recent grads gain experience working in their IT department.
Search jobs: https://www.murdochs.com/about-us/careers/
Year founded: 1977
Employees: 138,000+ globally
Why they’re great to work for: Oracle provides businesses with the most complete integrated business software, systems and cloud technology. The company’s broad portfolio and range of services means that Oracle’s fingerprint is somewhere on most products or services you’ll come into contact with each day, such as banks, airlines, health care services or even the tennis shoes you just purchased. Kelly Schwager, Vice President, Global Communications, said Oracle is a global company focused on helping top talent reach their full potential. She added that being part of the Oracle team means employees collaborate with some of the sharpest minds in the tech industry. New college graduates can participate in “Oracle Class Of,” a multi-week program designed to teach participants the skills they need for a career with Oracle at one of its hundreds of global offices. Oracle is also dedicated to hiring veterans, with internship opportunities, on-boarding programs, and development programs to support vets through all phases of transitioning from the military to civilian workforce. Oracle benefits extend beyond core health and welfare programs, offering perks such as financial planning services, an employee stock purchase plan, and onsite benefits such as cafes, fitness centers, and dry cleaning.
Search jobs: https://www.oracle.com/corporate/careers/index.html
PROOF Research, Columbia Falls
Montana Leadership: Larry Murphy, CEO
Year founded: 2012
Montana employees: 70 (nationally 80)
Why they’re great to work for: PROOF Research designs and manufactures custom carbon fiber rifle barrels, for personal and military use. The company provides employees with flexible work schedules to fit with their personal goals and quality of life. CEO Larry Murphy said PROOF often develops skills in-house, giving employees the abilities they need to succeed at at PROOF and future opportunities. PROOF has had tremendous success in recruiting engineers from Montana schools, like the Montana State University College of Engineering. Every employee is incentivized to provide improvement suggestions with opportunities to earn company swag. Employees will receive a free gun for their seven-year work anniversary.
Search jobs: https://www.proofresearch.com/the-company/careers/
Montana Leadership: Jerry Nettuno, Founder & CEO
Year founded: 2010
Montana employees: 50
Why they’re great to work for: Schedulicity provides a platform to facilitate transactions between small, service-based businesses and their clients in more than 7,300 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Schedulicity books more than 110 million appointments and generates $8 billion in commerce. More than 50 different industries use Schedulicity’s platform, but the company looks locally for talent in Montana. Schedulicity Director of Engineering Craig Dugas said the company is focused on building a positive company culture from the first interview– hiring managers look for applicants who are excited about the company’s learning culture and want to work in groups. New hires attend meetings with all teams to see what’s going on at every level of the company.
Search jobs: https://essentials.schedulicity.com/careers/
Social Finance (SoFi), Helena
Montana Leadership: David Thompson, VP of Engineering
Year founded: 2011
Montana employees: 140+ (1,300+ nationally)
Why they’re great to work for: SoFi is a new kind of finance company taking a radical approach to financial services by helping members with student loans, mortgages, personal loans, wealth management, and more online. Based in Silicon Valley, SoFi has raised more than $2 billion in funding and has funded more than $30 billion in loans. SoFi can help employees with tuition as well as provide them monthly reimbursements for student loans. The company supports employee health and well-being through catered healthy lunches, a fully-stocked kitchen, and subsidized gym memberships. Employees have often pointed to the fun company culture that emphasizes work/life balance and provides generous vacation time.
Search jobs: https://www.sofi.com/careers/
Montana Leadership: Allen Ellmaker, CEO
Year founded: 2001
Montana employees: 25
Why they’re great to work for: Butte-based Synesis7 works to improve client data use across a variety of industries including government and military. In 2017, Synesis 7 won Montana’s Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year. Company culture is vital, and employees receive wellness benefits and comprehensive insurance at no cost to the employee. Synesis7 is willing to take risks when a new, but perhaps underqualified hire is a great fit for the company. They’ll put the new hire through internal training programs, teaching them military data specifications, XML, and Synesis7 systems. As a veteran-owned company, Synesis7 is dedicated to working with veterans. CEO Allen Ellmaker says his company benefits from skills learned in the military, such as teamwork, collaboration, and having each other’s back.
Search jobs: http://www.synesis7.com/careers.html
WGM Group, Missoula
Montana Leadership: Brent Campbell, CEO
Year founded: 1966
Montana employees: 75
Why they’re great to work for: WGM Group is a planning, engineering, survey, transportation design, hydrology, environmental and water rights firm with headquarters in Missoula. The firm has grown from 55 to 75 employees in the last six months and opened offices in Helena, Bozeman, and Kalispell over the last year to meet growing market demand across the state. CEO Brent Campbell said the firm emphasizes high quality work but allows flexibility in the office to ensure employees enjoy a healthy work/life balance. One way they achieve this is through flexible schedules that allow employees to pursue personal passions at their own pace; for example, a heavy work week may be balanced by a three-hour lunch visit to the ski slopes. Campbell said volunteerism and family time are also key for WGM employees.
Search jobs: http://wgmgroup.com/job-openings
Workiva, Bozeman and Missoula
Montana Leadership: Jeff Trom, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
Year founded: 2008
Montana employees: 98 (1,300+ globally)
Why they’re great to work for: Workiva delivers Wdesk, an enterprise cloud platform for data collaboration, reporting, and compliance that is used by more than 3,000 organizations, including state and local governments, educational institutions, and more than 75 percent of the Fortune 500. Workiva has received dozens of “best workplace” awards, including Fortune Magazine’s Best Workplaces in Technology and Best Workplaces for Millennials in 2018. Workiva employees enjoy benefits such as flexible work hours, telecommuting, continuing education opportunities, a pet-friendly work environment, and an employee stock purchase plan. Jeff Trom, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, said Workiva has a culture of close-knit teams of people who care about each other and its customers. Workiva relies on relationships with Montana State University and the University of Montana to grow its teams from interns to full-time employees who are invested in Workiva and in Montana.
Search jobs: https://www.workiva.com/career
Zoot Enterprises, Bozeman
Montana Leadership: Chris Nelson, Founder
Year founded: 1990
Montana employees: 256 (globally 300)
Why they’re great to work for: Zoot Enterprises is a global finance tech company providing origination, acquisition, and decision management solutions to the nation’s top financial institutions. Zoot’s clients include four of the world’s 10 largest banks. Founder Chris Nelson wanted the company’s headquarters to be like a college campus where employees feel comfortable to talk and exchange ideas. Based in Bozeman, Zoot boasts a dog-friendly workplace with a flexible work schedule and on-site cafeteria. Employees also enjoy amenities like an espresso bar, a gym, a private disc golf course, and more. This year, Zoot opened a new onsite daycare for employees’ children ages six weeks to six years.
Search jobs: https://zootsolutions.com/careers/
About the Author: Katy Spence is the Staff Writer and Digital Content Specialist for the Montana High Tech Business Alliance. She worked previously with the Missoula Current and Treesource, and has an Environmental Journalism Master’s Degree from the University of Montana.
About the Publisher: Launched in 2014, the Montana High Tech Business Alliance is an association of 350 high tech and manufacturing companies and affiliates creating high-paying jobs in Montana. For more information visit MTHighTech.org.