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Our Staff

Meet the team behind Missoula Economic Partnership.

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  • Grant Kier

    CEORead Bio
  • Nicole Rush

    Deputy DirectorRead Bio
  • Julie Lacey

    Economic Development DirectorRead Bio
  • Christine Littig

    Business Development DirectorRead Bio
  • Chelsea Rabideau

    Communications DirectorRead Bio
  • Ali Solomon

    Clean Energy Workforce Development CoordinatorRead Bio
  • Leidy Wagener

    Office ManagerRead Bio

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Grant Kier


GRANT KIER, CEO brings a commitment to excellence and a balance of mission focus, analytical depth, and executive leadership to MEP. Prior to MEP, he provided a decade of executive leadership to Missoula’s Five Valleys Land Trust from 2007 to 2017, establishing it as one of the most respected and successful conservation organizations in the state and one of the most successful land trusts in the country. His work in conservation helped families expand their businesses and helped communities around Missoula County tap into the growing recreation and tourism economy. Grant demonstrated his commitment and passion to economic development in his service on the Missoula Economic Partnership Board, included serving as the Treasurer. He has a Master’s degree in Geology from the University of Colorado.

Nicole Rush

Deputy Director

NICOLE RUSH, Business Initiatives Director, writes grant proposals and is responsible for the administration of state and federal grants awarded to assist local businesses through Missoula Economic Partnership. Nicole joined MEP in 2016, bringing ten years’ experience in grant writing, fundraising and non-profit administration to the team. Nicole has worked for a variety of organizations in Montana’s philanthropic sector, including the University of Montana Foundation, where she served as Associate Director of Gift Planning, and the Montana Community Foundation. A Helena native, Nicole is a graduate of the University of Montana with a B.A. in English.

Julie Lacey

Economic Development Director

JULIE LACEY, Economic Development Director, brings to MEP a wealth of business acumen, technical assistance, and experience with Missoula’s economic landscape. Most recently, she served as Director of Client Relations for MoFi, where she worked with key partners to connect capital to people and projects just outside the financial mainstream. She also oversaw MoFi’s Community Facilities lending program. Prior to her 8 year tenure at MoFi, Julie worked as Director of Marketing at the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER). She holds an MBA from the University of Montana, and an undergraduate degree in economics and environmental studies from Bowdoin College.

Christine Littig

Business Development Director

CHRISTINE LITTIG, Business Development Director, was an anchor to Missoula’s small business community for more than 25 years. A successful restaurateur, Christine started, and then later sold, RedBird restaurant.  And, after 13 years of ownership with her husband Marco, sold Missoula’s iconic Bernice’s Bakery in 2017.  Most recently Christine worked as a member of the AccelerateMT team with the Missoula Small Business Development Center (SBDC) advising small businesses’ during the COVID pandemic. As a business adviser, Christine leveraged her vast knowledge of Missoula’s business ecosystem, extensive professional network, and personal experience to support clients in meeting their professional goals.  Christine is a University of Montana graduate. Christine is pleased to be a member of the MEP team and looks forward to continuing to support Missoula County and the ways in which it does business.

Chelsea Rabideau

Communications Director

CHELSEA RABIDEAU, Communications Director, joined the MEP team in 2022. She is a graduate of the University of Montana and has worked in communications for the past 15 years. Chelsea got her start in the field of journalism at NBCMontana in Missoula before moving to Louisville, Kentucky to work as an anchor and reporter at their ABC affiliate. From there, she transitioned into public relations and marketing, working in the private sector for a Louisville-based global manufacturing company for the past eight years. She’s passionate about storytelling, the outdoors, and her dogs. Chelsea is thrilled to be back in her home state working to support healthy growth!

Ali Solomon

Clean Energy Workforce Development Coordinator

Ali comes to MEP with a deep background in communications, advocacy, and fundraising for public health, environmental justice, and sustainability organizations in Missoula and Chicago. She is committed to creating healthy outcomes for people and the planet, and works in coalition with municipal, non-profit, and private partners to create clean energy jobs for underserved Montanans. Ali completed a Climatebase fellowship in 2023, and is a lifelong learner, dedicated traveler, and enthusiastically mediocre musician.

Leidy Wagener

Office Manager

LEIDY WAGENER, Office Manager, supports the MEP team and oversees office operations.  Leidy moved to Missoula from southeast Idaho to study at the University of Montana, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with an emphasis on photojournalism and multimedia.  Leidy has several years of nonprofit experience in Missoula, most recently as Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager for Montana Food Bank Network.  Leidy also served on the board of the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project for 5 years.  Leidy loves the Missoula community and can be found at Saturday Farmer’s Markets, at the Clark Fork with her dog, and enjoying Missoula’s local food and shopping scene.

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