Montana Ambassador Award winners announced

Posted at 12:14 PM, Oct 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-11 14:14:36-04

Governor Steve Bullock Friday announced the 2019 Montana Ambassador Awards, honoring individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to economic development in Montana.

“It’s my honor to recognize this group of hard-working Ambassadors who help ensure that Montana remains one of the best places in the country to live, work, play, start a business and raise a family,” said Governor Bullock. “This commitment to growing Montana’s economy, creating more good-paying jobs, and revitalizing communities across the state is vital to our continued success.”

The honorees will be recognized at an awards ceremony and reception on Monday, October 14 in conjunction with the 2019 Innovate Montana Symposium [] in Butte from October 14-16.

The 2019 Montana Ambassadors of the Year are Michael and Gloria O’Rourke.

Gloria and Mike O’Rourke, from Anaconda, have contributed countless hours and thousands of miles to serve the state, whether that be helping to organize a statewide event, providing financial management, manning a registration desk, or staying to help clean up. Their company, Montana Economic Development Services, provided the administrative and financial services for Montana Ambassadors from 2006 to 2019 providing the support for the organization to thrive.

The Montana Ambassadors’ Plenipotentiary Award was given to Channing Hartelius.

Channing Hartelius, from Great Falls, has dedicated four decades of professional and legal leadership for the state of Montana.

The Montana Ambassador Entrepreneur of the Year is David Erickson.

In 2000, Erickson and two partners, Elizabeth Erickson and Josh Vincent, started Water & Environmental Technologies (WET). From four employees in 2000 to over 70 today with offices in Butte, Anaconda, Bozeman, Kalispell and Great Falls, WET provides employment to many scientists and engineers and, more importantly, many young Montanans, keeping jobs and talent in Montana.

The Montana Ambassador Business of the Year is Montana Precision Products.

Montana Precision Products (MPP) manufactures tube and duct assemblies for the aerospace industry. It is the only aerospace facility in the US which provides investment casting, CNC machining, welding and assembly under one (expanding) roof. The company supplies critical components to the world’s largest commercial aerospace programs and employs 270 dedicated team members.

The Montana Ambassador Mike Malone Educator of the Year is Dr. Beth Weatherby.

Dr. Weatherby became the 22nd chancellor of the University of Montana Western in 2015. Under her leadership, Western continues to attract more students regionally and across the nation. Weatherby is a proven innovator with over 20 years in higher education and is a champion of the unique Experience One program provided at Western.

The Montana Ambassador Legislator of the Year is Rep. Jim Keane.

Over his tenure in the Montana State Legislature, Jim Keane has been a persistent force when it comes to economic development while leading important policy changes with bipartisan support. His leadership was vital in passing HB52, which protects and continues the economic development programs that help businesses and communities across the state.

The Outreach Montana Ambassador of the Year is James Thompson.

James Thompson’s professional life has been in corporate finance and running companies as the CEO or CFO. He rejoined Alexander Hutton, a 33-year-old investment banking firm in Seattle where he had interned as a grad student 20+ years ago. Having grown up in Butte, Thompson is a tireless advocate for Montana and has been successful in connecting businesses with the innovative events hosted in Seattle.

The Montana Ambassador Placemaker of the Year is Hell Creek Music & More.

The brick and mortar business, Hell Creek Music & More, located in Glendive, began with $300 and a building in 2003. The business has crafted dinosaurs, comics, and musical instruments into an array of eye candy for any enthusiast. For four separate years, Hell Creek Music & More was listed as one of the top 100 music stores in the world by the National Association of Music Merchants.

For more information on these awards, visit [] .