In Kalispell on Thursday, Montana Sen. Max Baucus announced the latest headliner for this September’s Montana Economic Development Summit in Butte.
During a roundtable discussion at the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, Baucus revealed that he has secured Elon Musk for the lead role in Butte.
Musk, 41, is a co-founder of PayPal and Tesla Motors and the founder and chief executive officer of SpaceX, a space technologies exploration company.
“Having one of the most visionary entrepreneurs of our time in Montana will continue to help put our state on the map as a growing hub for technology, innovation and manufacturing,” Baucus said.
“It’s my job to get the right investors in the door, and from there Montana businesses will blow them away with all the exciting things they are doing across the state.”
Baucus is spearheading organization of the sixth Montana Economic Development Summit at the Montana Tech campus Sept. 16 and 17. More than 150 national companies will have a presence at the event, which is expected to attract 2,500 to 3,000 people from businesses in and out of state.
Musk joins several prominent speakers who already have been announced. Also speaking will be Ryan Lance, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips; Safra Catz, president and chief financial officer of software giant Oracle; Boeing CEO Jim McNerney; and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, who authored the book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.”
Baucus explained that the summits are intended as a practical resource for business owners to find and meet the contacts they need, and he urges Montana business people to provide input in advance of the event.
“You are really the team that’s going to make the Butte economic development a success,” he told community leaders at the chamber board room.
Baucus said he has several rules regarding the summit.
“One is everything is on the table,” he said of the ideas that come up for Montana business development.
“Number two, no politics. This is not political,” he said. “Number three, this is private-sector driven.”
Baucus said he is very upbeat about Montana’s economic future.
“I’m excited. I think Montana is on the cusp of developing into a stronger economic state than it has been in the past,” he said.
Baucus’s staff encourages Montana businesses to register for the summit and check for updates online at: http://www.MontanaJobsSummit.com.