Governor Steve Bullock today announced the 2017 Montana Ambassador Awards honoring individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to economic development in Montana.
“It’s an exciting time to be in Montana. Our economy is growing, wages are up, unemployment is down, and businesses are creating good-paying jobs all across the state,” said Governor Bullock. “I’m pleased to recognize this group of hard-working folks and am thankful for their dedication, service, and efforts to ensure that Montana is one of the best places in the country to live, work, play, start a business, and raise a family.”
The Montana Ambassadors is a volunteer, not-for-profit organization of leaders in business, education, and local and state government with a common dedication to living and doing business in Montana and to furthering the best interests of the state.
Governor Bullock also recognized Peter Rosten, founder of the MAPS Media Institute and winner of the Montana Ambassador Outreach Ambassador Award. Rosten passed away last Wednesday, April 20, 2017.
“Peter Rosten was always willing to share his talents to make the world around him a better place,” said Governor Bullock. “From fighting childhood hunger to fostering a brighter future for Montana kids by opening doors of imagination and possibility, Peter’s impact on Montana will be felt far into our future.”
Montana Ambassador Business of the Year – Xtant Medical
Formerly Bacterin, Xtant Medical is a biotech firm located in Belgrade that has experienced considerable growth and is a pillar of its community. The company manufacturers a suite of proprietary regenerative biological tissues and related medical devices for orthopedic and spine applications. Xtant Medical is proof that globally impactful businesses can not only exist but thrive in small town America.
Montana Ambassador Entrepreneur – Innovator of the Year – Blackmore Sensors and Analytics
Blackmore Sensors and Analytics has proprietary LIDAR (laser radar) technology with applications in defense/security and autonomous vehicles. The company is located in Bozeman and has experienced a phenomenal rate of growth since being founded. Their products are poised to revolutionize troop protection and provide unparalleled levels of environmental detail for self-driving cars, drones and more.
Montana Ambassador Entrepreneur – Placemaker of the Year, Angie Dickinson, Style Alley
In small communities, entrepreneurial businesses can literally change the landscape and Angie Dickinson’s new business, Style Alley is doing just that. Angie Dickinson, a Forsyth native, opened Style Alley Boutique in her hometown during the winter of 2015 after she left the fashion industry. When an ad for a commercial property in Forsyth “called her home,” Angie put everything she had into renovating her main street building and building Style Alley.
Montana Ambassador Educator of the Year – Paul Gladen
Paul Gladen is the Director of the Blackstone Launchpad at the University of Montana in Missoula as well as the CEO of the Montana Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs, Co-founder of the Montana Code School and adjunct faculty in the School of Business Administration at the University of Montana. His dedication to educating the next generation of entrepreneurs pervades everything he does. Paul’s passion and drive have had considerable impact on hundreds of new and aspiring business owners in Montana.
Montana Ambassador of the Year – Melanie Schwarz
Melanie Schwarz is the Director of Marketing and Member Investors at Big Sky Economic Development in Billings and is the new president of the Montana Ambassadors. Melanie is spearheading a wide variety of initiatives and has had a considerable impact on the community of Billings. In her role at the Montana Ambassadors, Melanie is spearheading a new strategic direction and providing strong leadership to a geographically and experientially diverse group of individuals.
Montana Ambassador Outreach Ambassador – Out-of-State – Lynda Colucci, California Chapter
Lynda Colucci is the Professional Liability Underwriting Manager at CV Starr Companies in the Los Angeles, California area. She is a long-time Montana Ambassador and California Chapter Vice President for the organization. Lynda is very active in the group and recently organized a reception in Burbank for the film industry that was attended by nearly 100. Her dedication to Montana and to the Montana Ambassadors is evident in her passion and deep pride in the Montana Ambassadors. Lynda proudly flies the Montana flag outside her home 365 days per year.
Montana Ambassador Outreach Ambassador – In-state – Peter Rosten, MAPS
It is with great sadness that the Montana Ambassadors must present the award for In-State Outreach Ambassador posthumously. Peter Rosten, who passed away on April 20th, 2017, was a shining example of a Montana Ambassador and the founder of the MAPS Media Institute. Having spent over 30 years in the movie and TV business, Peter founded MAPS (Media Arts in the Public Schools) a non-profit organization that provides education combined with hands-on business experience. This after-school program is based in Hamilton and has helped hundreds of students gain knowledge and passion for education. His was admired by all that knew him and his contributions will be sorely missed.
Plenipotentiary – John Rogers
John Rogers was selected as this year’s Plenipotentiary, that is the individual that embodies what the Montana Ambassadors represent as an organization. Before retiring, John served as Chief Business Development Officer of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and previous to that served in the Economic Development Administration for over 24 years. His contributions to the state of Montana are far reaching and deeply felt.