Panel Discussions 1:00 – 2:15

Panel Discussions 4:00 – 5:15

Venture Capital in Big Sky Country

Location: Library Auditorium
Learn from regional investors and experts: 

  • What are investors looking for?
  • How does the VC process work?
  • What challenges and opportunities do companies face in today’s market?
  • What are typical deal terms, valuations, syndication structures and return goals?
  • What sectors and stages of businesses do they invest in? 

Watch and learn from LIVE presentations:

  • 3 winners of the John Ruffatto business plan competition will each give a brief presentation
  • After each presentation the investor panel will ask questions and make recommendations
  • Audience Q&A

The list if panelists will include:

  • John O’Donnell, Moderator and Managing Director of the Bridger Private Capital Network and Operating Partner at Montlake Capital
  • Brian Birk, Founder and Managing Director of Sun Mountain Capital
  • Brian Wallace, Managing Director of Access Venture Partners and Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Venture Capital Association
  • Sam Schwerin, Founder and Managing Director of Millennium Technology Value Partners
  • Jack Manning, Attorney at Dorsey Law Firm

Examining Commercial and Community-Based Options for Small Business Financing

Location: Mining/Geology Building 204
Description: As entrepreneurs seek financing to start small businesses in Montana, banks and community development corporations have stepped up to support innovative ideas in their communities.  This panel will consider how lenders and community development officials assess the markets for these new ideas and the financing options they offer for small business capital.
Moderator: Tracy McIntyre, Executive Director, Eureka Rural Development Partnership

  • Kevin Clark, Senior Vice President, Mountain West Bank
  • Leslie Messer, Executive Director, Richland Economic Development
  • Tom Swenson, President and CEO, Bank of Montana
  • Paul Tuss, Executive Director, Bear Paw Development

Bakken Infrastructure Needs and Opportunities

Location: Engineering Lab/Classroom 203
Description: Montanans are working hard to take full advantage of the Bakken oil fields, and the opportunities for continued economic growth in the region are unbound.  However, rapid growth presents its own challenges.  This panel will cover a broad range of infrastructure issues in Eastern Montana and provide expertise on how planning, collaboration, and targeted investment can strengthen communities and support Montana jobs.
Moderator: Bob Hunt, Jones Lang LaSalle

  • Matt Erskine, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Cary Hegreberg, Executive Director, Montana Contractors Association
  • Niles Hushka, President and CEO, Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson
  • Steve Schneider, Managing Partner, SST Bakken Properties, LLC
  • David Cook, Bakken Asset Manager, ConocoPhillips

Montana’s Economic Driver: A Look at Expanded Opportunities in Agriculture

Location: Natural Resources Building 122
Description: The production of crops and livestock brings over $3 billion dollars into Montana’s economy every year making agriculture the #1 industry in the state. In addition to providing high quality food for the world’s consumers, one in five Montana jobs is related to agriculture. This panel will discuss large and small-scale value added agricultural enterprises, how rural development programs improve the quality of life in our small communities, and a unique effort to connect Montana’s rural and urban communities.
Moderator: Lola Raska, Executive Vice President, Montana Grain Growers Association

  • Matt Bitz, Program Manager, One Montana
  • Dean Folkvord, CEO, Wheat Montana
  • Tony Preite, Montana State Director, USDA Rural Development
  • Dave Dougherty, Regional Supervisor for Brewing Materials, MillerCoors

International Tourism in Montana

Location: Engineering Lab/Classroom 327
Description: From East to West and North to South, Montana has a lot to offer international visitors.  This panel will discuss innovative strategies for boosting one of Montana’s leading economic drivers and creating jobs.  Our state’s combination of natural beauty, recreation, and culture is unmatched, and the key is spreading that message far and wide!
Moderator:  Meg O’Leary, Director, Montana Department of Commerce

  • Eric Phillips, Vice President of Pricing and Revenue Management for the Americas, Delta
  • Keith Hansen, Director of Airport Planning, Allegiant Airlines
  • Patricia Rojas-Ungár, Vice President of Government Relations, U.S. Travel Association
  • Sandra Johnson-Thares, Chair, Montana Lodging and Hospitality Association

The New Healthcare Marketplace:  What does it mean for Montana?

Location: Natural Resource Building 128
Description: Starting October 1, thousands of Montanans will able to shop for affordable health insurance through the health insurance marketplace.  This new marketplace will provide Montanans with more organized and affordable health insurance coverage options.  This panel will address what the marketplace means for Montanans and Montana businesses.
Moderator: Dick Brown, President, Montana Hospital Association

  • Monica Lindeen, Montana Securities and Insurance Commissioner
  • Jeff Hinson, Region VIII Region Administrator, CMS
  • Matt Varilek, Region VIII Regional Administrator, Small Business Administration

8(a) Government Contracting:  Providing Jobs, Providing Quality Services to the Federal Government

Location: Natural Resource Building – Mobile Classroom
Description: 8(a) government contracting operates through the Small Business Administration, 8(a) Business Development Program.  Contractors participating in the program provide goods and services to the federal government in exchange for compensation.  In 2011, just Native firms added 109,000 jobs and sold nearly $6.8 billion worth of goods and services which resulted in $5.9 billion in wages.  This panel is comprised of local and out of state Native 8(a) programs that have been very successful in using the 8(a) Program for their community and the federal government and will explain the nuts and bolts of government contracting.
Moderator: Richard O. Litsey, Senate Finance Committee

  • Tom Acevedo, CEO, SKT Corp
  • Larry Hall, President, S&K Electronics
  • Leonard Smith, Executive Director, Native American Development Corp.
  • Annette Hamilton, COO, Ho-Chunk, Inc.

Small Business and Economic Development Tax Credit Programs at Work in Montana

Location: Student Union Building – Kelly Steward Room
Description: Federal tax credits such as the New Markets Tax Credit, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, and Energy Production Tax Credits reduce federal tax liability for equity investments in small businesses, affordable housing, real estate, and renewable energy.  Learn about these credits, how they have been used in Montana, and how they might be used in your community.
Moderator: Heidi DeArment, Vice President, Montana CDC

  • Todd Hanson, Board Chair, Bullhook Community Health Center
  • Bill Markovich, CEO, Markovich, Inc.
  • Dave Glaser, President, Montana CDC
  • Mark Esponda, Vice President/Senior Lending Officer, American Federal Savings Bank
  • Maria Bustria Glickman, Vice President of New Markets & Historic Tax Credits, U.S. Bank

Growing Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs across Montana

Location: Mining/Geology Building 103
Description: This panel will draw on expertise in entrepreneurship, financing, sales, and community development to discuss the outlook for building successful women-owned businesses in Montana, and encouraging women entrepreneurs in every community across the state.
Moderator: Nicole Hagerman Miller, Director of Client Services, Biomimicry 3.8

  • Amanda Schultz, Director, Montana Women’s Business Center
  • Diane Smith, Founder and CEO, American Rural
  • Cari Yturri, Owner and President, Bennett Motors

Doing Business in Canada

Location: Science and Engineering 113
Description: Canada is the top foreign market for Montana exports, purchasing everything from our manufactured goods to our high quality agriculture products.  This panel will provide an overview of the Canadian market, discuss the details every potential exporter needs to know, and review the resources available to Montana businesses.
Moderator: Steve Holland, Director, Montana Manufacturing Extension Center

  • Arnie Sherman, Executive Director, Montana World Trade Center
  • Sara Warren, Export Marketing Officer, Montana Department of Commerce
  • Stephen Davis, Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Canada
  • Dan Rooney, General Manager, ADF Great Falls

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Location: Mining/Geology Building 104
Description: Experts from the public and private sector will discuss the ever-growing importance of protecting your intellectual property, both domestically and abroad.  The panel will discuss the wide range of tools available to help you protect your investment.
Moderator: Toni Tease, Patent Attorney, Antoinette M. Tease, P.L.L.C.

  • Susan Anthony, Attorney-Advisor, Office of Policy and External Affairs, U.S. Trade and Patent Office
  • Raquel Cohen, International Trade Specialist, Office of Intellectual Property Rights, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Jonathan Godfrey, Director of Communications, Association for Competitive Technology
  • Craig Bohn, Director, Legal Department, Intellectual Property, Applied Material

Hiring veterans: How to Gain Strong Returns on America’s Investment

Location: Natural Resources Building 123
Description: This panel will present a variety of ways to strengthen your company by tapping into an innovative and disciplined work force. Discussions will explore federal opportunities for businesses who hire veterans, while also featuring the value-added benefits of employing vets.  Panel is designed to be useful for both veterans and companies seeking to hire them.
Moderator: Andrew Person, Afghanistan and Iraq veteran, U.S. Army; former defense policy advisor, U.S. Senate

  • Kevin Stacy, U.S. Army Special Operations veteran, Executive Director, The Station Foundation
  • Keith Kelly, Assistant Secretary for Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, Department of Labor
  • Richard Sonju, Vietnam veteran, President, Sonju Industrial Aerospace and Defense
  • Steve Nowlan, President, Center for America
  • Clint Wallace, Associate, Caplin & Drysdale

“Big Data” in the Big Sky

Location:  Health Sciences Building 202
Description: “Big Data” is becoming the holy grail for more companies and organizations every day.  Montana is uniquely positioned with cutting edge education programs, innovative companies and experts in the field throughout the state. Montana has significant strengths that make a compelling reason for any outside investor, CEO or consultant to move their IT environment here.  This panel will discuss how Montana can bring these assets together to build a world class data focused industry and education cluster to train the workforce and build and attract the cutting edge data-centric companies of the future.
Moderator: Russ Fletcher, Inteneo Systems

  • Luke Norris, CEO, PeakCOLO
  • Wally Finley, Principal, DCCDR
  • Jeff Dickey, Senior Vice President of Cloud Solutions, Redapt, Inc.
  • Nancy Minchillo, Supplier Diversity Manager, Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Scott Roller, CEO, salesfloorLIVE

Go Viral:  Raise Awareness of Your Company Online

Location: Science and Engineering 106
Description: The easiest way to grow a business is to grow the market for your product.  The internet provides limitless opportunity to grow that market by increasing awareness of your company and your product specifically with worldwide businesses and shoppers for whom you fit a unique need.  This panel will examine ways to reach out into the online community and grow your customer base.
Moderator: Josh Spitzer, CEO, Schedulicity

Speakers, including Josh Spitzer, CEO of Schedulicity, will discuss marketing strategies and best practices for raising awareness of your business or products online

Panel Discussions 1:00 – 2:15

Panel Discussions 4:00 – 5:15