Steve Arveschoug Executive Director
Steve Arveschoug (pronounced “Arveskow”), is the Executive Director of the Big Sky Economic Development Authority and Economic Development Corporation. In that role Steve leads the economic development efforts for Yellowstone County and the Billings’ community.
Before relocating to Montana in 2008, Steve was the Executive Director of the HARP Authority in Pueblo, Colorado, directing a $30 million downtown redevelopment project and a non-profit capital-improvement foundation. Steve has 10 years of experience in water resources development, managing two of Colorado’s largest water conservancy districts. He also served two terms in the Colorado Legislature as an elected State Representative.
Steve holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Montana Tech and a Master of Public Administration Degree from the University of Colorado. Steve’s wife, Chris is a registered nurse and a native of Anaconda, Montana.
Member Investors and Marketing
Melanie Schwarz Director of Business Development
Melanie Schwarz works with our growing list of companies who invest in the work of our organization by pledging membership dollars to the Big Sky Economic Development Corporation. Melanie is a graduate of Montana State University Bozeman with degrees in Marketing and Management. She is active with the Montana Ambassadors and numerous local boards and councils. Melanie has significant marketing and relationship building experience having worked for The Center for Children and Families, Montana State University Billings and owning her own advertising agency.
Dianne Lehm Director of Community Development
Dianne oversees the Community Development team working on key Community Development and planning projects throughout Yellowstone County. She consults with local non-profit organizations and facilitates collaborative community projects which contribute to successful business operations, job creation, and desirable quality of life. Dianne has over 15 years experience in grant and project management, grant administration, grant writing and research, Federal and State compliance, fund development, and marketing. Dianne holds a Masters in Management Degree from the University of Mary, as well as, a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Maryland, and an Associate of Arts Degree from Montgomery College.
Patrick Klugman Senior Project Manager
Patrick holds a Master of Public Administration Degree from Montana State University Billings and Bachelor of Art Degrees in Political Science and Legal Studies from Minnesota State University Moorhead. He currently serves on the City of Billings/Yellowstone County Planning Board representing Ward V of Billings. As a member of the International Economic Development Council, he is continuing his professional development training to strengthen economic knowledge and support current and future community endeavors. Originally from Minnesota, Patrick enjoys the beautiful Montana landscape and engaging in the local vibrant economy. He works to expand the impact of community development and provide greater outreach services to rural Yellowstone County.
Thom MacLean Project Manager
Thom graduated from the University of Montana with degrees in Finance, Economics and Political Science. Prior to joining Big Sky Economic Development, he owned a business in Chinook, Montana, where he also coached the high school tennis team. Thom is happy to be back in Billings and excited by its vitality and its potential.
New Business Recruitment and Outreach
Allison Corbyn Director of New Business Recruitment
Allison holds a B.S. in History and Political Science from Rocky Mountain College. Allison works directly with business executives and corporate site selection consultants to locate operations in Yellowstone County, providing proposals, incentives and information to help them make informed decisions. Corbyn previously worked in BSED’s Community Development department. Originally from Fort Collins, Colorado, Allison moved to Montana for the great quality of life and small town feel with metropolitan amenities.
Karen Baumgart Director of BillingsWorks
With a BA in History, a Master’s Degree in Public Relations, and a certification in Brain-Based Coaching Karen Baumgart brings a multifaceted perspective to her work. Born, raised and educated in Montana, Karen is committed to the advancement of the Big Sky state. Karen was previously employed as a coach and facilitator for Elation, Inc.-a start-up company in Billings dedicated to organizational performance. Prior to, she served as the Immigration Specialist for the Office of International Studies at Montana State University-Billings. By combining the different aspects of her education and professional experience, Karen has the perspective and insights that elicit enthusiasm for innovation and excitement for action.
Brandon Berger Director of Business Finance
Brandon Berger has a BA in Business Finance from MSU-Bozeman. He is the Director of Business Finance. Prior coming to Big Sky EDC, he worked for 12 years for Wells Fargo in Billings in Trust Tax, Retirement Plan Administration, and Credit Analysis. He is a board member of the Billings Downtown Exchange Club.
Sherry O’Donnell Loan Officer
Sherry is located in the Big Sky Finance’s Helena office and specializes in the SBA 504 loan closings. She started with Montana Community Finance Corporation in 2000 and joined the Big Sky Finance team as part of their merger in 2017. Sherry enjoys working with all types of business owners around Montana taking the next step in buying their buildings.
JoAnn Jones Loan Officer
Jo Ann Jones has a BS in Business Administration, Finance and Management from the University of Montana. Prior to joining the Big Sky Finance team, she was a Portfolio and Servicing Manager/Underwriter for over 15 years with Montana Community Finance Corporation with previous commercial lending experience with large and small commercial banks throughout the state of Montana. Jo Ann has volunteered in a variety of service organizations during her career and is currently on the Family Selection Committee for Helena Habitat for Humanity.
Montana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
Deanna Langman Statewide Program Manager
Deanna is the Statewide Program Manager for the Montana Procurement Technical Assistance Center as well as the Billings PTAC Sub-Center Manager. She manages a network of PTAC centers across Montana and locally works with Billings-area businesses to help them do business with state and federal governments. Deanna has extensive experience in consulting with small businesses have worked with several area banks including Wells Fargo, Little Horn State Bank and Rocky Mountain Bank. Additionally, Deanna served in Big Sky Economic Development’s Small Business Development Center department for 6 years. She holds a B.S. in Health Administration from Montana State University-Billings and a Masters in Business Admin
Rosalind Dix Government Contracting Advisor
Rosalind Dix is a government contracting advisor for the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). Rosalind has a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Business Management from Washington State University and will graduate with her Masters of Science in Finance in August 2018 from Northeastern University. She has a background in hotel management and has held supervisory and management positions in Portland, Seattle, and Billings. Rosalind has also worked in commercial financing for GE Capital and Bank of Montreal where she was an Insurance Claims Analyst. Rosalind is originally from Joliet, MT. After living away for several years to pursue her education and career she moved back permanently in 2013. Outside of work she loves to bake delicious treats and cook interesting meals. She also tries to spend as much time hiking in the mountains as she can. Rosalind enjoys serving the community and helping small businesses grow.
Small Business Development Center (SBDC) / Business Expansion and Retention (BEAR)
Dena Johnson Regional Director SBDC | Entrepreneurial Development
Dena Johnson is the Regional Director for Entrepreneurial Development and Small Business Development at Big Sky Economic Development. She is a co-founder for Rock31 which launched under her leadership to deliver a hybrid approach to entrepreneurial development. The program is already underway with meetups and programming to engage a community of innovators and entrepreneurs (in all industries) hungry for development. Her team ascertained capital and support from Higher Education, Private Industry, and other community-focused groups to seed and support the program. Her team is partnering with Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists through a state-wide initiative, “Early Stage Montana”, to deliver acceleration and programming to Early Stage tech companies. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Leadership, a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, is an accredited small business consultant (AASBC), a certified Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP), a certified Business Incubation Manager (BIM), and a certified NxLevel trainer. Some of her accomplishments include: co-author of the TriStart Matrix, recipient of 2015 40 under 40 awards, was named Yellowstone Valley’s Enterprising Woman in April of 2015, was named America’s SBDC State Star in 2016 and was featured as one of Yellowstone Valley’s top 10 women building up her community in 2017. She brings a robust background in consulting, adult education, program management, banking, business ownership, small business management, and a passion for helping her clients and team with strategies to elevate their pathway to success.
Lorene Hintz, ASBC Program Manager, SBDC | Senior Business Advisor
Lorene Hintz is a Business Advisor for the Small Business Development Center at Big Sky Economic Development. She also manages the Business Expansion and Retention (B.E.A.R.) program and the Big Sky Trust Fund Job Creation and Worker Training grant assistance programs to provide capital and workforce training to basic sector businesses.
As an Accredited Business Consultant, Lorene is a passionate advocate and champion for small business owners and entrepreneurs. She provides one-on-one consulting, business technical and marketing assistance, financials analysis, business planning, and facilitates training workshops. She was named America’s SBDC State Star in 2010, is a member of Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA), Certified Nxlevel Trainer, Profit Mastery Consultant, Accredited Business Planning Advisor, Intuit QuickBooks Trainer, Certified Core Four Trainer, and is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) through the National Development Council.
Lorene strives to recognize needs, promote opportunities, and inspire growth in start-up and existing businesses.
Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC)
Dustin Frost Director –Veterans Business Outreach Center
Dustin is a fourth generation Montanan with a proven record of success in business, politics, and service. After studying Wildlife Biology and Communication Studies at the University of Montana, he managed two of Congressman Denny Rehberg’s successful statewide reelection campaigns. He then led the Congressman’s in-state constituent service operation as State Director until 2010, when he cofounded a Montana-based political consulting and government affairs company. The company helped to elect dozens of candidates across our region, including many right here in Yellowstone County. From 2012 to 2016, Dustin owned Alphagraphics of Billings, a nationally recognized print and marketing firm serving the Billings community for over 20 years. Dustin was honorably discharged after serving for 6 years as Chaplain’s Assistant in the Montana Army National Guard’s 1-190th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. He recently served on the Board of Directors of Montana Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, a career and technical student organization with over 1,150 members in 70 chapters across Montana.