Governors talk in Billings about economic development

Posted at 2:29 PM, Oct 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-19 16:33:42-04

BILLINGS – Montana and nearby states are in a good position for growth.

That’s part of what a group of three governors said about economic development in Billings on Thursday.

The governors of Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota spoke at the Big Sky Economic Development Annual Meeting at the MSU Billings Glacier Room.

The governors said companies will bring the jobs to where people want to live.

And Montana and other states in the region have that quality of life.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, a Republican, and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, also a Republican, talked about the possibilities for growth.

Bob Dunn, CEO for Landmark Development Services Company, LLC, which is leading the One Big Sky project in Billings, also spoke.

Dunn said in the past, people moved to where the jobs are.

Now they to live in places like the west.

The fovernors talked about planning and keeping workers.

“We need to figure out a way to keep them in our community because that’s a much more likely win than trying to recruit somebody from two or 300 miles away to move to your community,” Daugaard said.

“I think we all need to assume in our respective states we’re going to have great success,” Mead said. “There’s going to be a huge migration of people with businesses and companies that come to the west.”

“The biggest challenge for businesses’ growth and expansion is making sure we have a talented trained workforce,” Bullock said. “And we have to be working at the local level, the state level, through our education system and through our business community to say, how do we partner? And make sure that happens.”

Dunn said employees are making a lifestyle choice first and a career choice second and mountain states are in a position to attract employees.

Reporting by David Jay for MTN News