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BACK OFFICE & CREATIVE PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

In recent years, Missoula has seen an emerging sector of creative professional and back-office support services — architectural and engineering design companies, advertising agencies, payroll and bookkeeping services, call centers and others.

The reason is simple: Missoula is a magnet for creative, educated, talented people. You see it in the innovative and award-winning work produced by local companies. You see it on the walls of Missoula’s many art galleries during the monthly First Friday ArtWalk. You see it in the thriving downtown commercial district, the buzzing Missoula Development Park and the remarkable array of nationally respected nonprofit organizations that call this place home.

Partnership in Action

“The University (of Montana) has provided us with motivated, well-educated employees at affordable salaries.”

— Tom Stergios, vice president and general manager of Advanced Technology Group in Missoula.

ATG provides customer and revenue management consulting services to companies around the country.

This is what you get when you put a top-notch university in the middle of some of the most spectacular scenery and outdoor recreation areas in the world. Every year, graduates of more than four dozen degree programs at The University of Montana enter the local workforce, joining professionals who come here to enjoy our renowned quality of life.

As a result, Missoula is a talent bargain brimming with educated and skilled workers who want to stay here.

“Our people travel extensively, but we always love coming home,” he said. “I think the quality of life here is a true advantage for our company.”
— David Keck, vice president and general manager, GT Advanced Technologies

“The University (of Montana) has provided us with motivated, well-educated employees at affordable salaries,” said Tom Stergios, vice president and general manager of Advanced Technology Group. ATG provides customer and revenue management consulting services to companies around the country through its Missoula Solutions Center. The quality of UM graduates, Stergios said, has “made a huge difference in the value we provide our Fortune 1,000 clients.”

It helps that Missoula is situated on a relatively uncongested east-west line of fiber optic cables with nearby access to north-south U.S. / Canadian fiber, giving local companies all the necessary infrastructure for major IT operations. World-class wind, hydroelectric and coal-fired generation plants combine to ensure reliable sources of low-cost power; while national and international commercial passenger airlines — Alaska, Allegiant, Delta and United — connect Missoula to major metropolitan cities from the West Coast to Chicago.

Businesses like ATG are thus finding the necessary technological infrastructure and air service to stay connected with their customers elsewhere, while finding the cultural and recreational assets necessary to keep their employees happy here. They are finding customized training resources for their employees through Missoula College and The University of Montana.

As a result, they are finding success.

David Keck knows that Western Montana’s natural and cultural assets help his company, GT Advanced Technologies, hire and retain the best available employees. “We have offices and production facilities around the world,” said Keck, who serves as vice president and general manager for the industry-leading solar panel technology company’s polysilicon research facility in Missoula.

“Our people travel extensively, but we always love coming home,” he said. “I think the quality of life here is a true advantage for our company.”

For a partial sampling of local Resources, Companies and Workforce connections, please click to expand the sections and explore the links below.

Resources

A number of organizations and associations exist to support professional services companies in Western Montana. They include:

Innovate Montana — a public-private partnership led by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to promote and market opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs to invest in Montana’s growing economy.

Missoula College — provides degree and certificate programs as well as customized workforce training programs to support area businesses.

Montana Department of Commerce — provides resources for businesses throughout the state; also runs the Made in Montana program, which seeks to promote the quality of goods manufactured in the state.

Montana Technology Innovation Partnership — a Montana Department of Commerce initiative created to promote technology commercialization in the state.

Montana World Trade Center — works to increase international trade through public-private partnerships, business networking and student education.

Sustainable Business Council — provides education and technical assistance to help businesses, organizations and individuals in Montana adopt sustainable practices that protect and enhance the environment, the region’s economy and local communities.

The University of Montana — provides undergraduate and graduate education, research and technical expertise in more than four dozen degree fields.

Select Companies

Missoula and the surrounding region are home to a number of back office & creative professional services companies.

Advanced Technology Group — provides customer and revenue management consulting services to companies around the country.

Beaudette Consulting Engineers — structural consulting firm with expertise in heavy log, timber frame, residential, commercial, industrial, historic renovation and research engineering.

Big Sky Call Center — 24-hour live operator answering service serving all of Montana and the northern Midwest states.

Corporate Technology Group — specializes in network and communication systems and IT solutions for commercial, government, medical and education customers.

CTA Architects Engineers — full-service multidisciplinary architecture and engineering design firm, dedicated to integrated and sustainable design.

DIRECTV Customer Contact Center — handles inbound customer technical and billing contacts for DIRECTV’s nationwide satellite television service.

GT Advanced Technologies — industry-leading solar panel technology company.

HDR Engineering — global employee-owned firm providing architectural, engineering, consulting, construction and related services.

MacArthur, Means & Wells, Architects — committed to contributing positively to the built environment while working in harmony with the natural environment.

May Technology Group — full-service information technology solutions partner for small and medium businesses across Montana.

McKinstry — full-service design, build, and operations / facility management firm offering consulting, construction, energy and facility management services.

Morrison Maierle — diversified engineering firm serving airport, development, natural resources, surveying, technology, transportation and water/wastewater markets.

Oz Architects — offers architectural, planning and interior design services for commercial, residential and civic clients.

PartnersCreative — full-service marketing firm offering brand development, strategic planning, copy and design, Web programming and public relations services.

Spiker Communications — marketing firm focused on selling stories of global resort and premier destination markets, including golf and ski resorts.

Territorial – Landworks, Inc. — an established firm that provides a comprehensive range of services and expertise from civil engineering, surveying, land use consulting, and construction management services for land development water/sewer operations, GIS mapping to construction consulting for both public and private clients throughout Montana, Idaho, Washington and Western North Dakota.

WGM Group — multidisciplined design firm specializing in land-use planning, engineering and surveying.

Workforce

With its highly educated workforce, Missoula is ripe with opportunity for creative professional service companies. One in every four adult residents holds a bachelor’s degree (compared to 15.5 percent of adults nationally) and 19 percent of adults — more than twice the national average — have earned a master’s degree or higher.

Much of that achievement owes to the local presence of The University of Montana, which offers programs in marketing, media arts, accounting and numerous other degrees relevant to the sector.

UM also makes Missoula an attractive option for back-office operations such as call centers, where flexible scheduling capacity is an important workforce attribute. Firms seeking cost savings in shared services such as payroll, bookkeeping and other office administrative services likewise find opportunity here thanks to Missoula’s affordable labor costs. Missoula College offers programs in computer support, accounting technology and other specialties that befit such operations; the school also can tailor educational offerings to fit the needs of existing and incoming employers.

Missoula Economic Partnership | 2501 Catlin Street Suite 205 Missoula, Montana 59801 | P: 406.541.6461 | F: 406.541.6464