BOZEMAN, Mont. – Governor Greg Gianforte today joined business leaders to discuss his administration’s pro-jobs, pro-growth policies fueling job creation, growth, and prosperity in Montana. The discussions took place at today’s Montana “On The Rise” Economic Summit, which U.S. Senator Steve Daines and the Montana Chamber Foundation cohosted.
“Our unmatched quality of life, tight-knit communities, and hardworking people make Montana an exceptional place to do business,” Gov. Gianforte said. “When you couple those qualities with a friendlier and more competitive environment for business, the result is more good-paying jobs and increased prosperity for Montanans.”
Gov. Gianforte hears from Will Lansing, CEO of FICO, on the company’s success in Montana
In the morning, the governor led a panel discussion with business executives who expanded or are in the process of expanding their businesses in Montana.
Opening the discussion, William “Bill” Tanona, Chairman of SoFi Bank and Senior Vice President of Corporate Development for SoFi Technologies, touched on the company’s success in Montana.
“People always say, why did you choose Montana? It’s a hidden gem. You’ve got great people, great education, they want a different quality of life than living in a major metropolitan area, so it’s been very, very successful for us. We have very low turnover,” Tanona said.
Bill Moseley, CEO of GL Solutions, recently moved the company’s headquarters from Bend, Oregon to Kalispell, Montana.
Asked what set Montana apart, Moseley explained, “We were looking around for places where it was a healthy business climate… We needed a healthy regulatory environment. I didn’t need the state to come and tell me how to run my business all the time, I can do that myself. And we needed a favorable tax climate.”
Last year, Governor Gianforte enacted one of the largest tax cuts in Montana history, providing over $120 million in broad-based tax relief to Montanans and making Montana’s tax code more competitive in the Rocky Mountain West.
The governor also spoke with William “Bill” C. Bailey, Jr., CEO of Radiance Technologies, who praised Montana universities, specifically Montana State University, as a major draw for their company to expand to Montana.
“You come up here and you find that everything we look for in a university partner exists at Montana State,” Bailey remarked. “Then you look at the vision of the university, the vision of Bozeman, the vision of the governor’s office, and the vision of the federal representatives’ offices, and you find alignment… superior alignment. All that adds up to, okay, this is a place we want to be.”
John Suh, CEO of Hyundai Motor Group’s New Horizons Studio, also participated in the panel. The governor joined Suh last month to announce New Horizons Studio was relocating its headquarters to Bozeman.
Reflecting on his interactions with the State of Montana and its partners as Hyundai Motor Group weighed a move to Montana, Suh remarked, “We have this saying called ‘Hyundai speed.’ It’s this idea that we can make fast decisions… relative to our competitors. I have to say, the speed of decision making in Montana was equal, or maybe even faster. It was really fun to work at the speed at which the state worked.”
The panelists also touted the strength and quality of Montana’s workforce. William “Will” Lansing, CEO of FICO, said, “It’s a little bit of a cliché – the rancher who went to MSU and then comes to work for FICO – but it really works. It’s great. We have these very talented people who… do great things.”
Later, the governor participated in a fireside chat with Todd O’Hair, president and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, to discuss the governor’s efforts to reduce friction between government and business and create more opportunities for Montanans.
In the discussion, the governor highlighted the Entrepreneur Magnet Act, which the state is using as a tool to attract businesses and entrepreneurs to Montana.
Asked why the state is focused on recruiting entrepreneurs, the governor explained, “Montana needs more good-paying jobs. Good-paying jobs are created by businesses, and businesses are created by entrepreneurs. We need more entrepreneurs.”
To strengthen Montana’s workforce and meet the needs of employers, the governor has made it a priority to create industry-specific workforce talent pipelines.
Under Governor Gianforte’s leadership, Montana’s total employment is at its highest level ever recorded, and five of the six months with the lowest unemployment rate in Montana history have been on Gov. Gianforte’s watch.