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April 4, 2019 Newsletter
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Montana High Tech News

Outdoor tourism and marketing technology company TOMIS looks to expand community service, SaaS offerings, and hiring in Missoula

TOMIS employees separated into teams and got to work on Clark Fork Coalition’s website, email marketing, and more for the first TOMIS Growthathon. TOMIS is looking forward to volunteering with more Missoula nonprofits. Photos by Katy Spence/MHTBA

By Katy Spence

Volunteers for the nonprofit Clark Fork Coalition often find themselves in the mud, fishing out litter from the river’s banks or restoring riparian areas.

But on February 20, 17 employees from digital marketing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) TOMIS, armed with laptops instead of waders, crowded into conference rooms, stood at counters, and tucked into corners of CFC’s Missoula office to tackle a different issue: digital marketing strategies.

Holly Biehl, CFC Outreach & Marketing Director, said it was fun to see how easily and naturally the tech team divided into subgroups and found space to work among wading equipment and boating gear.

“It was really awesome to go from team to team to see how I could help out,” Biehl said. “It was really exciting and really fun, and I got the sense that they were having fun, too.”

Biehl worked with Ryan Frank, TOMIS Marketing Manager, to set up the volunteer day and working through any follow-up steps. Frank said TOMIS is uniquely situated to help nonprofits optimize their online marketing efforts to increase visibility, donations, volunteers, and more.

“We all have special skills and qualifications that we can bring to these organizations where they might otherwise not see people volunteering,” Frank said. “It’s important for us to use them for the greater good.”

The volunteer day was the first of what CEO and founder Evan Tipton hopes will become regular TOMIS Growthathons.

“We’re going outside the scope of what we’re asking people to do from 9-5,” Tipton said. “Being able to make a difference together will be, I think, quite impactful on our team and for the community.”

Increasing their community involvement is just one way TOMIS is anticipating to grow this year. Tipton said the company recently launched a new SaaS product, completed a seed round, and anticipate hiring new team members in 2019.

Read more

New Apprenticeship Opportunities Improve the Accessibility of Tech Jobs for Montana Workers, Employers

Journeyman linemen Mike Lewis and Spencer Payne work to install an airbreak switch on an H frame near Conrad. NorthWestern Energy is one of the companies in Montana with a high tech apprenticeship. Photo courtesy of NorthWestern Energy.

By Noah Hill

After retiring from the Air Force with a career that spanned nearly 10 years, Adam Watson and his family settled down in Orlando, Florida. They were close to family and not far from his hometown in North Carolina. Watson began working as a ride mechanic for the Universal Studios Theme Park but decided that the work would not make a sustainable long-term career.

Always interested in IT and armed with his GI Bill, Watson began to search for ways he could get into the tech field.

“I wanted to look for an apprenticeship because the military familiarized me with that style of learning,” Watson said. “I find it very helpful to apply the knowledge as I am learning it.”

Eventually, his search for an apprenticeship in the tech field brought him to the fifth page of Google search results, where he saw a fledgling apprenticeship program in IT advertised by Missoula College.

Watson, who had been stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls with the 819th RED HORSE Unit for three years, immediately applied to the program.

“The apprenticeship seemed like it would be a great opportunity,” said Watson. “My wife and I always wanted to come back to Montana, and it seems like it had the best bang for the buck.”

Watson’s particular apprenticeship program is a partnership between Missoula College and Blackfoot, a local telecommunications company. Watson attends several classes at Missoula College in addition to working approximately 16 hours per week at Blackfoot. At work, Watson’s supervisor, Cody Mitchell, mentors him on a daily basis.

Read more

Member News:

iResponse named the American Indian Business of the Year

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise evelopment (NCAIED) is the longest standing and largest American Indian business and economic development organization in Indian Country. Each year, NCAIED honors outstanding individuals and companies for their contributions to economic parity and the betterment of Indian communities at our prestigious annual Indian Progress in Business (INPRO) awards gala - the longest standing and most prestigious Native American recognition event in the nation. Photo courtesy of iResponse.
By Derek Hann/Havre Daily News

Rocky Boy business that helps tribes preserve and protect sacred tribal lands received a national award on March 14.

National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, an American Indian business and economic development organization for Indian Country across the country, presented iResponse with the American Indian Business of the Year Award.

iResponse CEO Alvin Windy Boy Sr. said he feels good about receiving the award and wants to grow his businesses to assist with tribes across the country.

“We want to take iResponse to another level,” he said.

The award was presented Monday, March 25 during National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s Reservation Economic Summit, which is running Monday through today this week in Las Vegas.

Windy Boy said he is proud about what iResponse has accomplished and the work he and his employees have done. He added that his employees are important to him, and his employees have a variety of backgrounds and are not all tribal members.

He said that while he is in Las Vegas he plans to acknowledge at least 30 members of iResponse’s past and present employees. He added that he is proud of the people he has had over the years, with many of his former employees either going back to school or advancing in their own careers after leaving the company.

Read the full story.

Two Diamond BTS products gain traction in new markets

The Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative, within the Department of Defense, recently invited Diamond B Technology Solutions, LLC (LR-x®) to join them in their booths at the Fire House World Expo in Los Angeles, CA, March 24-28, 2019, and International Association of Fire Chief’s HAZMAT Conference in Baltimore, June 13-16, 2019. The Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative coordinates all Department of Defense efforts to identify, evaluate, and transfer to Federal, State, and local first responders technology items and equipment in support of homeland security.

"We're excited about that," said Perry Rockvam, Director of Sales, said. He added that the exposure at the expos will help more people learn about the tool that DBTS is building out.

Not only is LR-x getting featured at expositions, but they're adding more local clients, including Billings Fire Department and the City of Billings. With 30 years of law enforcement experience, Rockvam knows exactly how this tool could help emergency response crews.

When you have the capability to share info with your team and law enforcement -- where’s the threat now, where will it be in the future -- it can provide traffic control plans, evacuation points, medical triage areas," Rockvam said. "Once it's set up, you know it’s safe place to be."

Read more here.

ProCertX, another Diamond B Technology Solutions, LLC product was recently chosen by the North Dakota Petroleum Council as North Dakota’s ONE BASIN – One Way! training and certification platform.  ONE BASIN – One Way! is a standardized contractor safety orientation program that covers safety orientation at all producer’s sites. North Dakota Safety Council, TrainND, and Diamond B Technology Solutions, LLC were chosen to provide training and database management to assist companies and contractors in tracking who has attended training, and when they must renew their certification.

ProCertX delivers a solution that reduces administrative workload through a scalable, modern, cloud-based solution that centralizes the management, tracking, and verification of employee training, credentials, and certificates.

Scott Roller, VP, said DBTS plans to add payment processing to the system, allowing people to not only enroll in courses, but also process credit card payments and receive receipts through ProCertX.

Read more here.

Diamond BTS was also listed as a 2018 Growth Company to Watch.

Discount Available: World Trade Center US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Impact Webinar

Alliance members can receive a 10% discount on this webinar. Register by calling 406.243.6982 or emailing events@mwtc.org.

Apply to be a Presidential Innovation Fellow

The Presidential Innovation Fellows program is a highly selective, non-partisan tech fellowship that pairs talented mid-to-senior-level entrepreneurs and technologists with top innovators in government leadership to take on complex projects that have the potential for significant impact. Since the program was launched in 2012 by former U.S. CTO Todd Park, more than 135 Fellows have worked within over 35 agencies. Additionally, over 50% of Fellows have decided to stay in government after the program and have gone on to stand up new digital teams or to serve as chief technology officers, chief information officers, chief data officers, and chief marketing officers at agencies.

PIF is looking for high-performing data scientists, designers, engineers, executives, innovators, product managers and technology strategists that care deeply about solving our nation’s most difficult challenges and delivering better products, services, and experiences to the American public.

The deadline to apply is April 22. Learn more and apply here.
Montana High Tech Business Alliance: Montana Tech Industry Generated Record $2B in Revenue in ’18 (Helena Independent Record), The Tech Industry Is Booming Across Mountain West (Wyoming Public Radio), The Rise of Remote Workers (Flathead Beacon), Christina Henderson (SeniorLevel), High tech companies bring over $2 billion in revenue for state (KBUL NewsTalk), Christina Quick Henderson of Montana High Tech Business Alliance (Heart Stock Radio)
Montana High Tech Business Alliance, Advanced Electronic Designs: High tech business continues to boom in Bozeman (KBZK), High tech business continues to boom in Bozeman (KRTV)
Montana High Tech Business Alliance, Kalispell Chamber of Commerce: Another Tight Year for the Job Market (Flathead Beacon)
Montana High Tech Business Alliance, WGM, Missoula Economic Partnership, Hellgate Venture Network: WGM Group uses technology, homegrown talent to build Montana’s future (Missoula Current)
MonTEC, Missoula Economic Partnership: MonTEC Secures One of Seven National Awards (MonTEC)
PayneWest Insurance: Payne family donates 300 block of East Main, library building to city of Missoula (Missoula Current)
PFL: Tactile marketing automation: PFL CEO Andrew Field on growing from printing to martech (ClickZ)
Montana Chamber of Commerce: Incoming CEO of Montana Chamber of Commerce talks business and building a future (Helena Independent Record)
NorthWestern Energy: NorthWestern replacing flood-damaged power lines in Missoula conservation area (Missoula Current)
Ascent Vision: AUVSI Names AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards Finalists (AUVSI)
Frontier Angels, Sellout, Early Stage Montana: Early Stage Montana seeks tech startups to apply for mentorship, grant program (Missoula Current)
Frontier Angels, Goodworks Ventures, UM Blackstone LaunchPad: New UM Program to Boost Rural Economic Development (UM News)
Frontier Angels, Cardsetter: Cardsetter, a Billings-based Tech
Startup, raises Angel Investment
 (Cardsetter)
Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, Montana West Economic Development: Big Reasons to Invest in Kalispell (Flathead Beacon)
Montana air travel: Missoula airport pushes back on proposed jet fuel tax; cites potential loss of air service (Missoula Current), Amid construction, Missoula airport finds new ways to board summer flights (Missoula Current)
Montana living: Helena lands #27 spot on “Top 100 Best Places to Live” survey (Helena Independent Record)
Montana workforce: The 2019 Jobs Issue (Flathead Beacon), Help Needed: Employment Projections in Montana (Flathead Beacon)
STEM Education: Hundreds of Montana students compete at MSUB Science Expo (Billings Gazette)

Welcome New Members:

Ferho, Mike Ferrucci, Billings
MacBride Law, PLLC, William McBride, Bozeman
Montana Machine Learning LLC, Thomas Snell, Wolf Creek

Upcoming Events:

Dorsey Seminar on Developments in the UK - Bozeman and Missoula. Missoula, April 8, Presentation 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 pm, Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown, 200 South Pattee; Networking Reception 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 pm; Bozeman, April 9, Presentation 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 pm, Bozeman Event Center North Ballroom, 14 South Tracy Ave.; Networking Reception 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. In this presentation, attorneys from Dorsey’s London and Missoula offices will address GDPR and other pressing developments in the UK that create potential liability for Montana companies, particularly those in the tech sector. They will also highlight opportunities for Montana companies brought about through Brexit uncertainty.  Learn more and register.
IP Day in Montana - Missoula. April 10-11, Blewett School of Law, Missoula, MT. For the third year, the Blewett School of Law is partnering with the IPL Section of the Montana Bar to present IP Day in Montana. This year's program will focus on intellectual property (IP) wars and litigation. Morning and afternoon panels will feature experienced Montana intellectual property litigators discussing recent IP litigation in Montana, and content-creators’ and Montana businesses’ perspectives of IP litigation from a litigant’s point of view. Finally, join us for breakout workshops led by experienced IP attorneys for some practical tips and hands-on experience with intellectual property law. Join us for pre-IP Day presentations on the evening of April 10 to hear law students present their research into cutting-edge issues in intellectual property law. Learn more and register here.
1 Million Cups Bi-Weekly Meeting - Missoula. April 17. Meets the first and third Wednesday each month at 9:00 am. Please note the new location will be in the Southgate Mall in the Leonard + Bonnie Hamilton Community Room, located in a hallway near JC Penney, in-between metroPCS and Tradehome. Start your morning with coffee and start your business with 1MC Missoula, a place to percolate your startup. Entrepreneurship runs through it. For more information visit the website or Facebook page.
Third Annual MSBA Showcase- Missoula. April 17, 5:30-7PM at Goodworks Ventures.The MSBA students have spent the past year honing cutting-edge skills in big data analysis. This event will feature their capstone projects to demonstrate how their skill sets can uncover incredible insights for a range of enterprises. The Missoula business community, are a very important part of the success of this program.  Please RSVP and attend to learn more about the skill sets of these students and how they can positively impact your business. RSVP here by April 15.
2019 Western Montana Career Fair - Missoula. April 23, Missoula Hilton Garden Inn, 2:30 - 6:00 p.m. Western Montana's Largest Career Fair is brought to you by Job Service Missoula. Learn more about registering as an employer.
Montana High Tech Business Alliance Reception - Billings. April 24, 2019, hosted by Diamond BTS and Nemont Communications.
SBIR/STTR Proposal Writing - Bozeman and Missoula. April 30, MSU TechLink Center, Bozeman; May 1, Gilkey Executive Education Bldg, Missoula. These full-day workshops will teach skills appropriate for all agencies, including the Department of Defense, Energy, National Institutes of Health, or the National Science Foundation. In order to provide specific examples, we will focus on DoD for the Bozeman workshop and on NIH for the workshop in Missoula. Learn more about the Bozeman workshop. Learn more about the Missoula workshop.
1 Million Cups Bi-Weekly Meeting - Missoula. May 1. Meets the first and third Wednesday each month at 9:00 am. Please note the new location will be in the Southgate Mall in the Leonard + Bonnie Hamilton Community Room, located in a hallway near JC Penney, in-between metroPCS and Tradehome. Start your morning with coffee and start your business with 1MC Missoula, a place to percolate your startup. Entrepreneurship runs through it. For more information visit the website or Facebook page.
1 Million Cups Monthly Meeting - Bozeman. May 1. Meets the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 am at Red Tractor Pizza, Bozeman. Creating conversation around Bozeman startups, business development, and economic growth in the most entrepreneurial state in the nation (plus, coffee). For more information and application to present, visit the website.
Operational Excellence: 8-Week course - Bozeman. 8-Session SME Lean Bronze Certification Program beginning May 2. Join the only Nationally Recognized Lean Certification Credential and the only avenue to qualify for full membership to the Lean Alliance of the Greater Gallatin Valley Manufacturing Partnership (GGVMP). Learn more and register.
Business Transition Readiness Workshop - Bozeman. May 7, 8 am - 12 pm, S 8th Ave, Jabs Hall, Bozeman. Montana’s first and only certified exit planning adviser will help owners identify action steps to begin “de-risking” their businesses, increase value, and improve their transition outcomes. Business owners will learn what transition readiness is, why it matters, and how to improve their personal and business outcomes. Learn more and register.
Montana Code School Full-Time Course - Missoula & Bozeman. Full-time class dates: May 20, 2019 – Aug. 9, 2019; Sept. 16, 2019 – Dec. 6, 2019, Monday-Friday, 9 am - 5 pm. Part-time class dates: April 9, 2019 – Sept. 24, 2019; Oct. 8, 2019 – April 14, 2020; Location: Missoula & Bozeman, Tuesday & Thursday for 6 months, 6pm – 9pm + 1 immersive weekend a month. Financing available. Montana Code School’s full-time immersive program gives you the skills and fundamentals you need to land a job as a full-stack Jr. Web Developer. Contact 406-219-1392 or talk@montanacodeschool.com. Learn more here.
Montana High Tech Business Alliance Reception - Missoula. May TBD, 2019, hosted by Blackfoot.
Big Sky Dev Con - Bozeman. June 8, The Commons, Bozeman. A Montana state-wide tech conference for developers hosted by Montana Programmers. Tickets now available on the website.
Past Newsletters: 
03/21/2019 - Photos: Bozeman RMB reception; MT tech hits $2B; ESMT Pitch Competition; KOA names O'Rourke CEO; Next Frontier VCs invest $141M; Cognizant in Missoula
03/07/2019 - WGM engineering innovation; Startups save on Disrupt; Blackmore makes name in photonics; ESMT accelerates growth; Code Girls competition; TEDx Bozeman
02/21/2019 - ATG launches new office, training; PatientOne raises $1.2M; 2018 MT Cyber-Security Report; LC Staffing in Columbia Falls; MT VC Will Price on Can Do
02/07/2019 - The Lawyers Behind Montana’s Biggest Tech Deal; Zoot wins AVA Digital awards; AdvicePay closes $2M seed round; LMG in NYT; Helena robotics team
Click to view more past newsletters.
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Montana High Tech Business Alliance · 1121 E Broadway St, Suite 108 · Missoula, MT 59802 · USA