Business Days In Helena and Workers' Compensation

Michael was invited to serve on a panel at the 2018 Montana Chamber of Commerce event, Business Days at the Capital held January 10 and 11, 2018 in Helena, MT. On the panel to address the business climate of Montana, and workers’ compensation issues, were Bill Dahlgren, Sun Mountain Sports and a member of the Governor’s Labor Management Advisory Council, Lanny Hubbard, CEO of Montana State Fund, and Michael Marsh, President of Midland Claims Service, Inc. and Industrial Injury Claims®. After the event, Michael said “It was an honor to speak to our business leaders and legislators about moving to a new paradigm in Montana, a zero tolerance injury mentality, no injury is okay. The partnership between the Montana Chamber and WorkSafeMT will redouble our efforts to create important #culturechange.”

Press Release from the Montana Chamber about the event: 

From: Montana Chamber of Commerce

Sent: Friday, January 12, 2018 9:21 AM

Subject: Top 5 Takeaways From 2018 Business Days At The Capitol

2018 Good Year for Business and Envision 2026

Top 5 Takeaways from Business Days at the Capitol

The 18th annual Business Days at the Capitol took place Jan. 10-11 in Helena. If you couldn’t make the event, here at the top five takeaways:

1. State of Business

  • Given by Montana Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Webb Brown
  • “One of my personal initiatives— ever since my days in the logging business— is workplace safety. Unfortunately, too many workers in Montana suffer at too high a cost. These workers are our friends and family. As employers, we can, we must, and we will do better to send everyone home at the end of the day as good as or better than when they showed up.”
  • We’ll continue to connect educators, employers and workforce training professionals to yield a better pipeline for future workers
  • Hoping to see a 3 plus percent growth in the Montana economy in 2018


2. Workforce Symposium

  • First panel’s moderator was Paul Hopfauf, district III manager of Montana-Dakota Utilities. Panelists included: Scott Trent, chief human resources officer of Montana Rail Link; Eric David, Town Pump of Montana; and Bruce Knudsen, executive vice president, Montana Automobile Dealers Association
  • Second panel’s moderator was Kelly Cresswell, executive director of Reach Higher Montana. Panelists included: Amy Williams, dual enrollment/big sky pathways program manager at Montana University System; Meagan Lannan, manager of Livingston Job Service; and Scott Anderson, principal at Billings Career Center
  • ”We focus on the character, values and attitudes of the people we hire. We can teach people how to do the job, but we can’t teach them how to be better people.” -Scott Trent, Montana Rail Link
  • •ome workers are not as prepared as employees need them to be, missing soft skills
  • Most important thing is to listen to business and industry and then put a plan in place for educators


3. Entrepreneurship in the high-tech sector

  • Moderator Will Price, general partner at Next Frontier Capital. Panelists included: Dr. Zeb Barber, director at the MSU Spectrum Lab; Michael FitzGerald, co-founder/CEO of Submittable and Submishmash; and Eric Siegfried, CEO of onXmaps
  • How onXmaps excelled without startup money: Focused on a product we were passionate about, found a product that was a good market fit and had viral growth
  • Help bring awareness to Montana, get early mentorship, find out what you want to do


4. Business Climate

  • Moderator Bill Dahlgren, operations manager at Sun Mountain Sports. Panelists included Lanny Hubbard, president of the Montana State Fund; and Mike Marsh, president of Midland Claims Services
  • ”We need to be in the top 10 of workforce growth, but we can’t grow if we don’t have a workforce or if it’s injured.” – Mike Marsh, Midland Claims Service
  • Opioid usage in Montana and the country play a role in workplace safety accidents (43 percent of prescriptions for injured workers are opioids)
  • The Montana Chamber of Commerce is helping to launch a public awareness campaign to help encourage workplace safety in Montana (


5. Infrastructure

  • Moderator Darryl James, executive vice president of the Montana Infrastructure Coalition. Panelists included: Jason Williams, CEO of Blackfoot Telecommunications; Pat Wise, deputy director of the Montana Department of Transportation; and Tim Burton, executive director of the Montana League of Cities and Towns
  • ”Fiber-based broadband is an essential component of mobile wireless broadband.” Jason Williams, Blackfoot
  • Some of the challenges that broadband encounters include: it’s capital intensive, the broadband business model is changing, “donut effect” for communities on the outskirts of big cities, ROÍ is low
  • The website that will show where new revenue is going for the Bridge Road and Safety Accountability Act will be up in June 2018



  • Eggs and Issues Legislative Breakfast
  • Moderator Bill McGladdery, Town Pump Hotel Group. Panelists included: Sen. Scott Sales. Rep. Jenny Eck, Rep. Greg Hertz
  • Topics included taxes, a recap of the November 2017 special session and revenue projections.
  • Last Word Closing Luncheon by Bob Nystuen
  • Bob is market president of Glacier Bank and Vice Chair of the Board of Higher Education
  • “Be a catalyst in Montana’s economy.”
  • “Stay the course on Envision 2026.”
  • Bob spoke about the 6-mill levy and urged guests to support the level on the November 2018 ballot. The MEA-MFT has said they would match the first $500,000 raised for an awareness campaign.


We appreciate your attendance at Business Days and if you couldn’t make it this year, we hope to see you next year, January 7-8, 2019!

Thank you to our sponsors/exhibitors:


Town Pump Hotel Group



AT&T, Cloud Peak Energy, Associated Employers, EBMS, First Interstate Bank, Montana State Fund, NorthWestern Energy, PacificSource Health Plans, The Washington Companies, Talen Energy, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana



Glacier Bancorp, Boeing, Republic Services, Blackfoot, Vision Net, Crowley Fleck, Tri-County Implement, Montana University System, and Big Sky Chamber of Commerce



Charter Communications, Hecla Montana, PayneWest Insurance, Midland Claims Service, BNSF, Tintina Montana, and Weyerhaeuser



Montana Petroleum Association, Montana Manufacturing Extension Center, Montana Bankers Association, Montana’s Credit Unions, and Montana Housing Coalition



Great Falls College MSU, UBS, Montana Stockgrowers Association, Citizens for Balanced Use, Montana Mining Association, and St. Vincent Healthcare





First Interstate Bank – Gianforte Family Foundation – NorthWestern Energy – Stockman Bank


BlueCross BlueShield of Montana – BNSF Montana – Montana State Fund

MHESAC/Reach Higher Montana – PacificSource Health Plans

Sletten Construction – US Bank



Since 1931, the Montana Chamber of Commerce is the state’s leading business advocate, representing over 1,200 member entities from the state’s largest businesses to Main Street mom-and-pops. For more about the Montana Chamber, visit



As the leading business advocate, the Montana Chamber of Commerce envisions a business climate that is optimal for Montana business prosperity.



To create and sustain an optimal business climate, business prosperity, and a strong Montana economy, the Montana Chamber of Commerce, through advocacy, education, and collaboration, works to provide an empowered and educated workforce, reduce business growth obstacles, and advance positions that promote success for Montana businesses.


Montana Chamber of Commerce | 900 Gibbon St / PO Box 1730, Helena, MT 59624-1730