March 21, 2019 Member Newsletter
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Montana High Tech News

Attendees brave snow, ice to attend Bozeman member reception hosted by Rocky Mountain Bank

Rocky Mountain Bank provided a warm reception, exciting door prizes, and free pint glasses to the Alliance members and guests who attended the February 28 member reception in Bozeman.

Photos by Mallory, 40 Watt Photo. View the photo album on Facebook or on our website.
View the photo album

CONNECT: Executives discuss what's next for Montana's high-tech sector in 2019

Andrew Field, CEO of PFL, along with Chris Hamilton, onX VP of Product Management, and Morgan Hausauer, Perficient Managing Director - Technical Delivery, discuss their companies' 2018 success stories and how Montana can keep momentum and address future needs in 2019. The CEO Roundtable was hosted at Foundant Technologies.

PROMOTE: Advanced Electronic Designs and Zinovo give lightning talks about their growing companies

Bryan Robertus, Founder and President of Advanced Electronic Designs (AED), tells reception attendees about his company's growth from a solo venture in his basement to constructing a new building in his company's 25th year. Striving for “Serious Fun, Serious Engineering,” AED is an electronics product development company and professional engineering firm that solves complex technology problems for clients. 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. AED was also named a Top Tech Employer.
Jonathan Distad, Zinovo Founding Partner, describes his company's fast growth from its founding in late 2017 to the end of 2018 when it had hired its 26th employee. The Bozeman-based company has found a niche in providing high quality on-shore support for Salesforce for a fraction of the cost of hiring an employee. Distad said Zinovo is looking to expand, including opening international offices. Zinovo was named a 2018 High-Growth Company to Watch.

ACCELERATE: Early Stage Montana jump-starts tech startups with mentorship, investment opportunities

Les Craig, a partner with Next Frontier Capital, spoke on behalf of Early Stage Montana, a organization aimed at providing opportunities and resources for Montana tech startups. Applications are now open for the 2019 Pitch Competition. Companies interested in participating as mentors or corporate sponsors are encouraged to reach out to Pat LaPointe at Learn more and apply to compete.
A message from Rocky Mountain Bank:
Thank you for attending February's reception at Rocky Mountain Bank. We are proud to partner with the Montana High Tech Business Alliance and look forward to seeing the growth and impact your business sector will have on the Montana economy. We are a multi-regional commercial banking institution that prides ourselves in seeing your vision for business come to life. Together, we can build a plan that is unique to your business and will help you achieve your financial goals. Contact Scott Sehnert, EVP, Market President at 406.556.7616 or; or contact Bob Gieseke, SVP, Commercial Banker at 406.556.7677 or

A high-tech high: State’s tech industry hits $2B mark with room to grow

By Martin Kidston/Missoula Current

Montana companies that deal in high technology generated more than $2 billion in revenue last year and continued to grow nine times faster than the state’s overall economy, a new University of Montana study found.

Released this week by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, the study also found that Montana’s high-tech firms now pay more than double the median earning of other state workers.

Boil it down and it’s the third highest-paying industry in the state.

“We’re pleased that we hit that $2 billion mark – it’s phenomenal news for Montana,” Christina Quick Henderson told the Missoula Current. “Just a couple years ago, we were excited to surpass $1 billion. It’s surprising that it’s climbing that fast. After five years, it just keeps getting better.”

Read more:
Montana High Tech Business Alliance, Cognizant ATG, onX, AXIOM IT Solutions: A high-tech high: State’s tech industry hits $2B mark with room to grow (Missoula Current)

Here are some more stories about the survey: 
Montana High Tech Business Alliance, Blackmore Sensors and Analytics, Frontier Angels, Next Frontier Capital: Report: Tech sector growing nine times faster than overall Montana economy (Bozeman Daily Chronicle)

Montana High Tech Business Alliance, Cognizant ATG, onX, Big Sky Economic Development, Montana Department of Commerce, PatientOne, Missoula Economic Partnership: Montana tech industry generated record $2B in revenue in 2018; Missoula firms hiring rapidly (Missoulian)

Member News:

Montana native becomes KOA's first female CEO

By Billings Gazette

KOACurrent Kampgrounds of America Inc. President Toby O’Rourke has been named the new chief executive officer of KOA. The announcement was made by Oscar Tang, whose family has owned KOA since 1980.

O’Rourke takes over the top leadership role at KOA from Pat Hittmeier, who will retire after 38 years with the company. He will continue to serve as a consultant to KOA, specifically in the areas of new acquisitions and development of company properties.

O’Rourke has served as KOA’s president since March 2018, and will retain that title in her new role as KOA President and CEO. She joined the company in 2011 as its director of digital marketing, and quickly rose through the ranks to become vice president of marketing and then chief franchise operations officer in 2016.

Her arrival at KOA in 2011 coincided with a period of strong growth for the 57-year-old camping company, which was founded in Billings in 1962.

Read the full story.

Next Frontier Capital update: 18 Investments to Date, $141M Total Invested in Companies, First Exit in 2018

Will Price/Next Frontier Capital

Next Frontier is executing on our mission to partner with entrepreneurs to build Montana technology companies of impact, utility, and value, while adding Colorado and its vibrant ecosystem to our mandate.

Please find below an update on our portfolio and some exciting detail regarding MT's continued growth and development.

Fund II is off to an strong start with one exit to date and a portfolio of quality MT and CO companies, backed by some of the industry’s leading Funds. In 2018, Fund II made six new investments and, most notably, saw our first exit, Ataata (acquired by Mimecast). 2018 was also Les Craig’s first full year in the partnership and he is proving perhaps our best investment yet.

Over the life of the Firm, we’ve seen True, Venrock, Amgen, BMW i Ventures, Toyota, Millenium, Summit, Bessemer Venture Partners, Steve Case’s The Rise of the Rest Fund, The Chernin Group, and Foundry Group, among others, invest in NFC companies. The influx of capital into our companies to date, is making it possible for founders to build, fund, and scale industry leading companies in our market.  

View the full update from Next Frontier Capital.

Fast-growing tech company Cognizant opens new office space in Missoula's Old Sawmill District

Montana Governor Steve Bullock talks to a crowd gathered Wednesday for the official opening of the new Cognizant ATG Missoula Solution Center in the Old Sawmill District. Photo by Tom Bauer/Missoulian
By David Erickson/Missoulian

The Old Sawmill District in Missoula would have seemed at the beginning of this decade like the most unlikely place in the city to become a tech hub. But that just shows how fast things are changing there.

On Wednesday, executives with the publicly traded tech company Cognizant, along with Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Missoula Mayor John Engen and University of Montana President Seth Bodnar, held a ribbon-cutting for the official opening of the new Cognizant ATG Missoula Solution Center.

The company employs about 140 people in Missoula and 175 statewide. It specializes in helping businesses across the world “effectively plan, implement and optimize cloud-based business processes and technologies.” Cognizant's clients are in a wide range of industries, including financial services, health care, communications and technology.

The company also formally announced a new 12-week training program in partnership with UM that will prepare students for tech consulting jobs and give them the opportunity to apply for open positions at the company, which has been on a hiring spree the last few years.

Read the full Missoulian story.

Read the Missoula Current story.

Read the press release.

Women Techmakers Bozeman International Women's Day Summit inspires Montana women

Fifty-two woman from more than 15 companies and of different backgrounds, ages, roles, and cities came together in one room to listen, share, and network at Bozeman's inaugural Women Techmakers Summit. Photo by Lindsey Hanna.
By Lindsey Hanna/Workiva

On March 8, 2019 there were celebrations across the globe for International Women’s Day. Here in Bozeman we commemorated the occasion with a Women Techmakers Summit, the first of many in the years to come.

What is ‘Women Techmakers’?

Women Techmakers is a global organization aimed at supporting women and increasing diversity across all facets of the tech industry. We strive to help women join, thrive, and lead within the industry through professional development, networking opportunities, and community building. The Bozeman chapter is new, having been founded in October 2018 and hosting its first Meetup in the following December. After the two social gatherings, the International Women’s Day Summit was our first large-scale event for the group.


I (Lindsey Hanna) started at Workiva in the fall of 2012 where I am currently a senior software engineer. Although I have oft been the only woman on my team (or one of two), I have also been fortunate to have the opportunity to twice attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. This global conference is the largest gathering of women technologists and has grown to over 20,000 attendees. The experience of being surrounded by nearly 100% women (including our genderfluid and non-binary friends) but yet have so much diversity is something difficult to come by in the tech industry at all, but is especially difficult in Montana. It is eye-opening and empowering to sit in a group of what is usually the gender minority but is also comprised of individuals that are so different but still have a set of similar goals: to get more women to join tech, to help more women thrive, and to lead the way. I wanted to bring a small piece of this experience to our own community and share that invigorating feeling with others. While Bozeman has done a fantastic job building opportunities for school-aged girls and women, my goal is to continue that support and community for those of us already in the industry.

Summit Recap

Getting to network with other amazing women.

Our sold-out inaugural event had fifty-two amazing women convened at the Rialto in downtown Bozeman for a day of speakers, discussion, and camaraderie. Most hailed from the Bozeman area, but there were also attendees from across the state including Butte, Missoula, and Helena. As the women arrived and the room filled, the growing excitement was palpable. Women from more than 15 companies and of different backgrounds, ages, roles, and cities came together in one room to listen, share, and network. With blocks of presentations broken into rough genres, we covered a multitude of topics and ideas and had plenty of time for discussion with new friends and mentors.

Read more: WTM Bozeman International Women's Day Summit (LinkedIn)

Accelerate Montana seeks feedback, support for tech-savvy workforce grant proposal

Workforce has long been an impediment to growth for high-tech companies in Montana. Accelerate Montana (the University of Montana’s economic development program) believes the Economic Development Administration (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies i6 Challenge (RIS i6) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) represents an opportunity to leverage Federal funds to enhance the software skills of Montana's workforce.

Accelerate Montana is seeking up to $750,000 over three years in grant funding from the EDA for a training program called Montana Software Talent Ecosystem Development (MSTEP). The Alliance believes this program could address some of the workforce challenges presented in our High Tech Industries Surveys.

There are two ways you can support this endeavor:

1) Submit ideas and feedback addressing the following questions as soon as possible: 
  • What do you anticipate being your most significant software talent needs over the next three years (considering that grant funding would probably begin during Fall 2019)? 
  • What training, activities or other initiatives would be most effective in addressing those needs?
2) Commit monetary or in-kind resources in a formal letter to be submitted to the EDA no later than April 2.
  • What commitment in cash and/or in-kind resources would you be willing to make to this program?
  • What would you require or hope to see as outcomes to justify that commitment?
For more information, read the full letter from Paul Gladen, read this informational email from the Alliance, or contact Paul:, this survey, or set up a call through
Montana High Tech Business Alliance, UM Blackstone Launchpad, Sellout: Student startups compete for cash (Montana Kaimin)
Montana High Tech Business Alliance, RightNow, Oracle, Next Frontier Capital: Montana High Tech Business Alliance: A Statewide Ecosystem Bringing Together Tech Companies to Promote Industry Growth (
Cognizant, ATG, Missoula Economic Partnership: “This is about prosperity:” City leaders welcome Cognizant with eye on job growth (Missoula Current)
onX, Schedulicity, Blackmore Sensors and Analytics, Pulsara, Quiq, Ascent Vision, AdvicePay, CrossTX, Audience Awards: 2019 Best Tech Startups in Montana (The Tech Tribune)
onX: UM students hunt career-launching jobs at Big Sky Employment Fair (Missoula Current)
Big Sky Economic Development, Missoula Economic Partnership: Missoula makes list of cities vying to house two federal agencies; MEP the applicant (Missoula Current)
LMG Security: Can Do: The Hacker's Life (Montana Public Radio)
Missoula Economic Partnership, Big Sky Economic Development: Missoula partnership backs state grants, eyes growth in high-wage jobs (Missoula Current)
Montana Chamber of Commerce: Todd O'Hair named Montana Chamber of Commerce President (Montana Chamber)
Montana Code School, tech workforce: Businessolver: Nationwide employee benefits administrator to open Missoula office (Missoula Current)
Stockman Bank: Missoula City Council gives initial OK to $1.5M reimbursement for Stockman Bank (Missoula Current)
UM Blackstone Launchpad, MSU Blackstone Launchpad: Berries to eat and milkweed to heat: Students pitch innovative ideas at business event (Missoulian)
PatientOne: Missoula’s upstart PatientOne helps users navigate the health care system (Missoula Current)
Girls in STEM: Club empowers Butte girls with exposure to math, science (Montana Standard), Code Girls Get $50,000 Donation for Program (Flathead Beacon), Montana high school girls encouraged to learn cybersecurity skills (KPAX)
Great Falls living: Great Falls named among top 100 places to live (The Electric)
Industrial tech career fair: Missoula College to host industrial technology career fair (Missoulian)
Internet privacy legislation: Billings legislator: Internet providers should ask before using customers’ browsing data (Missoula Current)
STEM education: For the fun of it: Butte area middle and elementary school students prepare for Montana Tech science and engineering fair (Montana Standard), Technology Takes Center Stage at Kalispell’s Newest Elementary School (Flathead Beacon), Children’s Museum of Bozeman announces new name as Montana Science Center (MSC)
Women in business: Athena Pack conference to empower Montana women for successful families, careers (Missoula Current), Montana Women’s Business Center Impact Grant (Prospera Business Network)

Upcoming Events:

2019 Economic Outlook Seminars - Statewide. Seminars begin Jan. 29 and run through March 24. This year’s Economic Outlook examines the challenges of affordable housing. EOS 2019 will travel to ten cities across the state and provide a live webcast for other regions. This year, the seminar will visit Helena, Great Falls, Missoula, Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Kalispell, Sidney, Miles City and Big Sky. Find registration information and the full meeting schedule on the website.
Intent-Based Leadership: Keynote David Marquet & Workshop - Billings. March 29, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. Join Big Sky Economic Development to hear nationally recognized keynote Captain David Marquet, followed by a three part workshop led by Intent Based Leadership Trainer, Andy Worshek,  a retired Navy Master Chief who served with Captain Marquet on the USS Sante Fe. Learn more and register.
2019 GRIT High School Trades Workshops - Missoula. Registration forms for Auto Mechanics are due April 1, 2019. This winter and spring, the GRIT (Girls* Representing in Trades) program is offering three 20-hour workshops for high school students in Missoula and western Montana! These in-depth workshops will cover carpentry, welding, and auto mechanics! In each workshop you’ll gain tangible skills through hours of hands-on practice, work as a team to complete projects and solve problems, build confidence and leadership skills, make new friends, and have lots of fun!  For more information and registration, visit this website.
1 Million Cups Bi-Weekly Meeting - Missoula. April 3. Meets the first and third Wednesday each month at 9:00 am at The Loft, Missoula. 1 Hour Free Parking across the street in the city parking garage. 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. April 3. 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.
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.
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.
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 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: 
03/07/2019 - 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
01/25/2019 - Jobs board reveals MT hiring trends; Legislature issues to watch; Workiva named Best Workplace; Blackfoot apprentices; XYPN aids furloughed workers
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