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Old 05-20-2011, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
18,696 posts, read 36,369,077 times
Reputation: 2147483647

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Last stop View Post
The biggest sale is getting the local support to engage companies. The number 1 question I always ask when doing site selections is, "Why this area?" From there of course you fill in the blanks of time, money, workforce, logistics, permitting, cost of business index, etc. With what I have seen so far, it is probably better to look at surrounding areas such as Superior, Butte, or Billings as far as Montana goes.
I did a feasibility study and a plan before I went to Redding. Because the Mayor was a trusted individual in the community, I got an appointment with him. The first thing out of my mouth was "I can put $30,000. into your economy in the next year." I had his attention and my 15 minute appointment turned into 2 hours as we went over my documents and I showed him exactly what we could do, but I also told him what I expected to do.

If the mayor is not well liked, get some podium time with the city counsel.

The plant I run in Grand Prairie did $140 million a year with 109 employees.

Missoula needs the jobs. They're going to have to bend to allow it. Just plan on that slump of people between 6 month and a year. One you can get by that, you'll do nothing but grow.
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Old 05-20-2011, 04:45 PM
 
1 posts, read 4,262 times
Reputation: 17
It is not lack of funds that Montana and the entire country lacks to improve the education system. It is the method. All the money in the world will not improve a wrong direction. For this country to compete world wide we need to specialize. Over the years, sports has adopted that direction to become the best. Every business in this country has learned to be the best you must specialize, except the business of education. PS. Great posts on Missoula. Any thoughts on Kalispell? Thanks
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Old 05-21-2011, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Western North Carolina
4,919 posts, read 7,847,729 times
Reputation: 10347
I lived in the Bitteroot Valley and worked in Missoula for a few years - the OP has done an excellent job of describing it.

I agree that the land/housing prices are ridiculous for the lack of jobs paying enough to afford them. From what I saw, most people working blue-collar pay scale jobs bought their homes and land back when they were cheap, before Missoula and the surrounding area became "In" destinations for the real-estate boom, monied Californians and other wealthy out-of-staters.

A good friend of mine, with a home in Lolo on the outskirts of Missoula, said she and her husband had purchased their home in the early 1980's for $53,000! Easily tack on an additional $100K to that home today.

It's a nice place if you want to get away from the rif-raf that exists in many other places in the country, but the opportunities for employment are very sparse, unless you can get into one of the hospitals or the University. Of course, employment opportunities are spare everywhere, but many places aren't as expensive to live in as Missoula either.
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Old 05-21-2011, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Approximately 50 miles from Missoula MT/38 yrs full time after 4 yrs part time
2,293 posts, read 3,328,352 times
Reputation: 4808
.......Last Stop......

I have gone back and re-read your posts (particularly #1 #27, #49, #42 & #46.) Please let me make this clear:

I am not "knocking" or "flaming" you with some of my thoughts and opinions re what you obviously believe in very strongly. It is obvious you are intelligent and have the "best-of-intentions" at heart regarding Missoula, Missoula County and the area in general, and I agree with someof what you have posted.

....However, In general, IMHO I don't think you did enough detailed, thorough and extensive research (particularly regarding your "work-history and skill-set fitting the Missoula area) before you chose to move your wife and school age children to Missoula. After having lived here (the Missoula/Bitterroot area) for 32 years, I have seen many, many folks move here and then after about a year or so end up leaving because their qualifications didn't satisfy what was (is) needed in this area.

You have posted that you "fly" out of state frequently as related to your present work. I can empathize with you in that regard. When I bought my land in 1976 (knowing I would move here in early 1980), I knew I could not (and would not) be able to find a job (locally) that would fit my "skill-set" and/or pay enough wage to allow me and my family to maintain the same standard of living we had in Colorado.........Soooooo, I .....(stayed in the same "field"--Industrial mfg as related to the Mining, Timber, Petro Chem and Aero Space Industries)......... but aligned myself with an out-of-state-firm that allowed me to live in the Bitterroot but required me to travel to (11) western states as well as Toronto, Chicago, Newark, St Loius and Atlanta.

I flew out of MSO for approx 15 years (approx 32 times a year) and enjoyed my job to the max. When I could do a trip by car and be gone for a full week (say in ID & NV), I would many times take my wife with me. This type of arrangement allowed me to live in the Missoula/Bitterroot area because I "liked & loved" the area as it was.....and hoped it would never change. Plus I used my existing "skill-set" to continue to have the same clients (Bechtel Corp, Parsons, Flour Daniel, etc, etc, etc......and customers (Kennicutt, Carlin Gold, Neumont, Potlatch, Boeing Aero-Space, etc,etc,etc), that I had been working with since the 1950s.

After all....in your own words....you have lived in (5) states in (5) years.......not very easy "on the family" in many respects....would be my guess......but I certainly could be wrong and "no offense intended".

My suggestion: Accept Missoula as it is (IMHO, you don't have a chance-in-hell of changing it).......stay here if you & the family like it for raising your kids.....don't become engaged in conversations that include phrases such as: "boy, if we could only get 'XYZ company" into Missoula, or "nobody here wants to "push for" a 200% increase in Industrial Manufacturing in Missoula", or "the City Council here is '30 years behind-the-times".........if you can silence the "mind-set" associated with these types of phrases and learn to accept and enjoy what this area has to offer (in many, many ways)....you'll come to see why so many of us moved here because of the way it (was) and is..

Believe me......(and I know we are all different & welcome to our opinions)...
you'll never live long enough to see the changes (you would like to see) occur
in Missoula....I'd guess your age at about 40 to 45...... Enjoy living here, enjoy your travel........and get a horse for your kids!!!
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:30 AM
 
Location: western montana
214 posts, read 529,283 times
Reputation: 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Last stop View Post
To clarify, from what I have seen so far you are right. I could not in best business intentions or conscience bring a manufacturer to the area or select this area to build one on my own with a select group of interested investors.
I am a business owner / entrepreneur and fortunate enough to travel were needed to make a living. As long as there is an airport close enough, (Spokane) Missoula is a great home for our family.

I have strong eastern US companies wanted to have a western US presence that await advisement on where to do the deep dives.

What does "not" need to change for this to work in Missoula:
1) the quality of the workforce - engineers / managers / maintenance / laborers (all available and needing to work)
2) the labor cost compared to national average
3) Logistics (not the best but will work)
4) State support (will work for economic industrial growth partnered with the right locally engaged community)
5) Concerns of "real" environmental impact (groups I work with produce products of no concern / with 0 emissions.

What "does" need to change:
1) local leadership
2) local influence (5% of the population here controls 90% of the money - they do not want to divide their pots that run over) #2 controls #1.
3) lack of education regarding industry (University or not a disjointed message is taught fueling the area to be non-industrial for fear of "dirty smoke stacks"
4) Economic Development pulling the rope in the same direction. Visited over 100 sites across 22 states in 2008-09 to select communities to build plants. Did local deals that married the state with the city for funds and grants. Missoula is first one I have seen that does not have the key members (local chamber, mayor, and economic development group) pulling the rope in the same direction. One hires undercover consultants to advertise the other is not doing their job. Power struggles always show insecurity.

Everything rises and falls on leadership. If the current path continues bumper stickers will change from "Best Place" and "Keep Missoula Weird" to "Poverty With A View."

I love the area and want to make a positive difference. It is a great place to raise a family and constantly be in awe of God's creation. I just think it would be an improvement to see people make a descent living. Those from Montana and those not.
I think Linkedin is a good resource for industry professionals to get you started with your ideas, too.

Some are already in Montana, either with the know-how or the backing.

I consistantly get invites from automation professionals, most are outside my scope of work, that are looking for ideas that might be interested.
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Old 05-29-2011, 11:44 PM
 
Location: State of General Disarray
837 posts, read 1,279,776 times
Reputation: 1377
I don't think it is any secret, or should come as a shock to anyone who has done even rudimentary research, that the job situation in Missoula is less than ideal.

As far as I know Missoula has always had a depressed workforce which I believe to be a function of the university population. Employers know that students WILL be around to fill jobs and, as most are temporary members of the community, are eminently exploitable. If one quits there will be another one to fill his or her place. Of course this has gotten worse the last two years with the plant closings; skilled jobs which have LONG been in short supply in Mizzoo are now practically nonexistent.

Several years ago DirectTV opened a call center and there was much squawking from the powers-that-be in the community about their $10/hour jobs. DirectTV was lionized as the savior of Missoula (never mind the massive taxbreaks they were given to locate there in the first place). Actually I would think that, with the low going-wage and large potential workforce, Mizzoo would be attractive to manufacturers and others even though it poses some transportation/supply problems.

Of course the leadership of Missoula, and Montana, is such a disjointed, argumentative, uncooperative bunch of talking-head nincompoops that these things are highly unlikely to change.

Thing is, we left Missoula (and $9-an-hour-jobs!) to go abroad for a year, and dysfunctional a town as it is, I miss the hell out of it. We moved there in the first place for the lifestyle, not economic opportunity. One should be fairly secure economically to move there... as a no-kid, no-debt couple we had no problem making ends meet, but I certainly would not recommend Missoula for a family unless you're pretty well filthy rich.
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Old 05-30-2011, 03:38 PM
 
17 posts, read 113,012 times
Reputation: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Griz View Post
.......Last Stop......

I have gone back and re-read your posts (particularly #1 #27, #49, #42 & #46.) Please let me make this clear:

I am not "knocking" or "flaming" you with some of my thoughts and opinions re what you obviously believe in very strongly. It is obvious you are intelligent and have the "best-of-intentions" at heart regarding Missoula, Missoula County and the area in general, and I agree with someof what you have posted.

....However, In general, IMHO I don't think you did enough detailed, thorough and extensive research (particularly regarding your "work-history and skill-set fitting the Missoula area) before you chose to move your wife and school age children to Missoula. After having lived here (the Missoula/Bitterroot area) for 32 years, I have seen many, many folks move here and then after about a year or so end up leaving because their qualifications didn't satisfy what was (is) needed in this area.

You have posted that you "fly" out of state frequently as related to your present work. I can empathize with you in that regard. When I bought my land in 1976 (knowing I would move here in early 1980), I knew I could not (and would not) be able to find a job (locally) that would fit my "skill-set" and/or pay enough wage to allow me and my family to maintain the same standard of living we had in Colorado.........Soooooo, I .....(stayed in the same "field"--Industrial mfg as related to the Mining, Timber, Petro Chem and Aero Space Industries)......... but aligned myself with an out-of-state-firm that allowed me to live in the Bitterroot but required me to travel to (11) western states as well as Toronto, Chicago, Newark, St Loius and Atlanta.

I flew out of MSO for approx 15 years (approx 32 times a year) and enjoyed my job to the max. When I could do a trip by car and be gone for a full week (say in ID & NV), I would many times take my wife with me. This type of arrangement allowed me to live in the Missoula/Bitterroot area because I "liked & loved" the area as it was.....and hoped it would never change. Plus I used my existing "skill-set" to continue to have the same clients (Bechtel Corp, Parsons, Flour Daniel, etc, etc, etc......and customers (Kennicutt, Carlin Gold, Neumont, Potlatch, Boeing Aero-Space, etc,etc,etc), that I had been working with since the 1950s.

After all....in your own words....you have lived in (5) states in (5) years.......not very easy "on the family" in many respects....would be my guess......but I certainly could be wrong and "no offense intended".

My suggestion: Accept Missoula as it is (IMHO, you don't have a chance-in-hell of changing it).......stay here if you & the family like it for raising your kids.....don't become engaged in conversations that include phrases such as: "boy, if we could only get 'XYZ company" into Missoula, or "nobody here wants to "push for" a 200% increase in Industrial Manufacturing in Missoula", or "the City Council here is '30 years behind-the-times".........if you can silence the "mind-set" associated with these types of phrases and learn to accept and enjoy what this area has to offer (in many, many ways)....you'll come to see why so many of us moved here because of the way it (was) and is..

Believe me......(and I know we are all different & welcome to our opinions)...
you'll never live long enough to see the changes (you would like to see) occur
in Missoula....I'd guess your age at about 40 to 45...... Enjoy living here, enjoy your travel........and get a horse for your kids!!!
Dear Montana Griz, thanks for the comments and feedback. I am sure with your history and years of experience here you have learned a great deal.

I do need to clarify something. I did not come to Missoula for work, to start a local business, or to build a manufacturing operation for myself or investors. I have a job and business established and knew travel would be outside often and sometimes international as well. That's fine for me and my family is used to it. We came here for the quality of life and to raise our family in a great area that all could enjoy the wonderful surroundings. This has all worked well and we plan to stay. I have met several others from here in conversations that also figured we came here without locals jobs would be gone in a year. Frankly, we could have picked anywhere in the country to live and decided on Missoula. We have moved a lot in the last few years but before that in the same place for over 30 yrs. Thanks for guessing me to be so young!http://pics3.city-data.com/forum/ima...lies/smile.gif

The main thing I missed in my research was how depressed the economy is for many blue collars families in the area.

After several months of hearing from others, seeing the needs, and wanting to make a positive impact, I cannot except that's the way it's always been so don't rock the boat. The area is hurting for economic growth and jobs are needed so that others can have a quality of life that supports their families beyond just enjoying the surroundings and outdoors - which by the way - is not free. A silence of mind-set is one of the largest deterrents for preventing forward momentum to make a difference for the ones that have many years left to work and provide for their families.
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Old 05-30-2011, 03:49 PM
 
17 posts, read 113,012 times
Reputation: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by strudel42 View Post
I don't think it is any secret, or should come as a shock to anyone who has done even rudimentary research, that the job situation in Missoula is less than ideal.

As far as I know Missoula has always had a depressed workforce which I believe to be a function of the university population. Employers know that students WILL be around to fill jobs and, as most are temporary members of the community, are eminently exploitable. If one quits there will be another one to fill his or her place. Of course this has gotten worse the last two years with the plant closings; skilled jobs which have LONG been in short supply in Mizzoo are now practically nonexistent.

Several years ago DirectTV opened a call center and there was much squawking from the powers-that-be in the community about their $10/hour jobs. DirectTV was lionized as the savior of Missoula (never mind the massive taxbreaks they were given to locate there in the first place). Actually I would think that, with the low going-wage and large potential workforce, Mizzoo would be attractive to manufacturers and others even though it poses some transportation/supply problems.

Of course the leadership of Missoula, and Montana, is such a disjointed, argumentative, uncooperative bunch of talking-head nincompoops that these things are highly unlikely to change.

Thing is, we left Missoula (and $9-an-hour-jobs!) to go abroad for a year, and dysfunctional a town as it is, I miss the hell out of it. We moved there in the first place for the lifestyle, not economic opportunity. One should be fairly secure economically to move there... as a no-kid, no-debt couple we had no problem making ends meet, but I certainly would not recommend Missoula for a family unless you're pretty well filthy rich.
Great post strudel42. I am doing some research now on the percentage of graduated students from the area that leave for jobs. It is staggering and many love the area and would rather stay but again - no jobs. Saw 3 different graduates move out of apartments last week headed to Texas for work.

The locals posted DirecTv as a major home-run and somehow thought this justified their existence for years to come. I have heard many people tell me that they have been turned down multiple times for a job at Direct with the same response - "Sorry but we feel you are overqualified for the position." You're right - they only want $10/hr candidates.

You pegged the leadership here pretty accurately and I concur. The whole meaning of this post was to warn others that want to kayak, hike, and enjoy the great natural surroundings - to be prepared, have a job, or have very deep pockets with no need to work.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:44 PM
 
Location: Approximately 50 miles from Missoula MT/38 yrs full time after 4 yrs part time
2,293 posts, read 3,328,352 times
Reputation: 4808
Quote:
Originally Posted by Last stop View Post
Dear Montana Griz, thanks for the comments and feedback. I am sure with your history and years of experience here you have learned a great deal.

I do need to clarify something. I did not come to Missoula for work, to start a local business, or to build a manufacturing operation for myself or investors. I have a job and business established and knew travel would be outside often and sometimes international as well. That's fine for me and my family is used to it. We came here for the quality of life and to raise our family in a great area that all could enjoy the wonderful surroundings. This has all worked well and we plan to stay. I have met several others from here in conversations that also figured we came here without locals jobs would be gone in a year. Frankly, we could have picked anywhere in the country to live and decided on Missoula. We have moved a lot in the last few years but before that in the same place for over 30 yrs. Thanks for guessing me to be so young!http://pics3.city-data.com/forum/ima...lies/smile.gif

The main thing I missed in my research was how depressed the economy is for many blue collars families in the area.

After several months of hearing from others, seeing the needs, and wanting to make a positive impact, I cannot except that's the way it's always been so don't rock the boat. The area is hurting for economic growth and jobs are needed so that others can have a quality of life that supports their families beyond just enjoying the surroundings and outdoors - which by the way - is not free. A silence of mind-set is one of the largest deterrents for preventing forward momentum to make a difference for the ones that have many years left to work and provide for their families.
............Thank you for your courteous response. The additional information contained in your 2nd paragraph above does, in fact, clarify your employment situation.....which I misunderstood from your initial post.

Your other comments in paragraphs 3 & 4 regarding the "depressed enonomy" and "lack of economic growth" in Missoula, Missoula County and the surronding area are correct. However, consider the following figures as of May 1st:

1/ State of Montana Unemployment rate...............................7.3%
2/ Missoula County Unemployment rate............................... 7.4
3/ National Unemployment rate.................................... 9.1

Considering the above, Missoula County isn't doing too bad.

Now consider these figures:
4/ Flathead County (which contains Kalispell, Whitefish and
Columbia Falls).....Unemployment Rate.............................12.7
5/ The adjacent counties of Sanders and Lincoln are.. 16.7 and 17.4
respectively.

These areas (#4 & #5) are where the "heart-break" stories (on a per
capita basis) are astounding.

I agree with much of what you say, however I just don't see any meaningful
"economic turn-around" ( for this area) in the near future.....regardless of how many energetic, well-meaning and dedicated folks join together and "push for economic growth" to happen.

I have frequent conversation(s) with several local business men, real estate people, and financial folks that have been in this general area longer than my 32 years and are successful in their respective fields. Their general concensus is: until we see a realistic and meaningful up-surge in the housing and R.E. market, we will not see much improvement in other related areas. Certainly, not much change nationally,.......until (several months) after "The Election".[/i]

I should note that your choosen field and your experience in that field and your amount of research (and contacts) certainly qualifies you to a far greater extent than yours truly regarding what may or may not happen as related to the future economy here in western Montana.

After (40 ) years of continuous employment in business development and project management in the Industrial field ("hung-it-up" in 1994), I feel "I have paid my dues" and will continue to "Carpe Diem" --every day-- in my retirement years.
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:52 AM
 
Location: State of General Disarray
837 posts, read 1,279,776 times
Reputation: 1377
Quote:
Originally Posted by Last stop View Post
Great post strudel42. I am doing some research now on the percentage of graduated students from the area that leave for jobs. It is staggering and many love the area and would rather stay but again - no jobs. Saw 3 different graduates move out of apartments last week headed to Texas for work.

The locals posted DirecTv as a major home-run and somehow thought this justified their existence for years to come. I have heard many people tell me that they have been turned down multiple times for a job at Direct with the same response - "Sorry but we feel you are overqualified for the position." You're right - they only want $10/hr candidates.

You pegged the leadership here pretty accurately and I concur. The whole meaning of this post was to warn others that want to kayak, hike, and enjoy the great natural surroundings - to be prepared, have a job, or have very deep pockets with no need to work.
WOW! Missoulians over-qualified? I've never heard of such a thing. That is absolute proof the economy is bad! Missoula traditionally is the place where you can assume that the person serving your burger has more education than you do...

Unemployment figures don't tell the whole story in Missoula. Unemployment was very low when we moved there in '05 -- I think around three percent -- but UNDER-employment is, and has been, rampant; this is just as bad if not even worse. In the first year or so we lived there (remember, like three percent unemployment) we read in the paper that twenty percent of Missoulians had used the food bank in the past year. Those figures don't seem to mesh until you realize that jobs in Missoula's service economy pay generally in the range of $8-10/hour AND you're hard-pressed to find a family-suitable rental under around $800/monthly -- much affordable housing was eliminated during the real-estate boom in favor of condos and development.

So it's a HUGE problem. In the Missoula I know, you are either HAVE, or you are HAVE NOT. I have no idea what the answer is, but I know there's no quick fix for Missoula's economy, no matter what you may have heard when DirectTV opened! It's sad; as you said blue-collar families there face serious struggles. And as long as there's little spending money to go around, people won't purchase goods and services, and those few remaining low-wage service-sector jobs will eventually be in jeopardy too.

I like Missoula. I like the people, and I like the sense of community; but I think that the real Missoulians tend to be forgotten by the ones who drive the Subarus with their "I support PBS" bumperstickers. It's all well and good to support PBS, but there are other, tangible needs in the community that need to be addressed.

I do wish city council in all its wisdom would crack down and figure out how to solve these problems, but they are preoccupied with infighting, quixotic missions, and "political statements." Perhaps you remember this gem: Economic development experts say Missoula efforts deficient, need reorganization

Yeah, the city paid an outside firm to conclude that "Missoula's economic development efforts are woefully deficient, dysfunctional, ineffective and without direction or leadership." There are 60,000 Missoulians who would have told them that for free.
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