June Noel

“It’s almost like I’m playing all day.”

– June Noel

In June Noel’s world – and an increasing number of others – the website for the Phyllis and Dennis Washington Foundation is a work of art.

It’s attractive, innovative and easy to navigate.

“She designed that site from the ground up, as she did the Envirocon website,” said Noel’s boss, Terri Cheff-Goldade, IT development manager for the Missoula-based Washington Corp. “She’s made some of the other sites that we currently had responsive, so they work across all platforms.”

So Noel, 27, is a web designer, a “front-end web developer” in the vernacular.

Those who know her will chuckle at so narrow a description. Cheff-Goldade describes Noel as “just this great rising young star in technology in general.” Even that doesn’t quite do justice.

Consider: Even before Noel came to Washington Corp. three years ago, the 2010 graduate of the University of Montana in media arts co-founded and recently helped rejuvenate a community group called Women for the Web.

“It’s basically a group for women to get together and learn from each other, and really get them interested in web design and development,” Noel said recently.

Last fall, in the wake of the devastating typhoon in her native Philippines, she launched “a super small campaign on my little Facebook page” to raise relief clothes and supplies in Missoula.

Friends shared with friends, and within 24 hours donations and pledges were flooding in.

“Somehow it blew up in the middle there,” said Noel, who lived her first 17 years in the Philippines.

She scrambled to set up drop boxes around town. People drove from as far away as Great Falls with donations. By the end of the two-week campaign, some 300 boxes of supplies were set to be shipped to a Seattle nonprofit called Child United.

Watkins and Shepard Trucking agreed to deliver the goods to Seattle at no charge. Noel also helped secure a $35,000 grant for Child United through a Washington Corp. affiliate in Canada. Child United invited her to see the fruits of her efforts, and so in February she spent nearly three weeks in the Philippines doing relief work.

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A hiker and cyclist, Noel has also taken up fly fishing. She recently added a new hobby, 3D printing, and this spring taught a class on its fundamentals at Makerspace, a digital fabrication workshop on the south side of Missoula.

Now Noel and a 14-year-old student from Missoula International School are planning a summer 3-D Boot Camp for kids in which she’ll supply support for the teenage boy to instruct because “he knows a lot more than I do,” Noel said.

In March she took part in a panel discussion called “Real Women Real Success” during UM’s International Women’s Day. In April she presented at the inaugural MACH1 Missoula conference.

Meanwhile, it seemed time to start a side business.

Noel and co-worker Jolene Slingsby recently hatched the idea for Treats on a Trike. They’ll soon be on the streets of Missoula peddling “paleo” health treats. “Paleo” foods are based on the diet of Paleolithic humans who existed in prehistoric times.

It’s an amazing array of activities, especially when you consider that Noel was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in college. It was brought on, she said, by frenetic tendencies that she handles now with meditation, which has brought about a major shift in attitude These days Noel does what she loves and loves what she does.

“It’s almost like I’m playing all day,” she said. “I play at work and then I go mountain bike after work, and then I go do something else.”

Reporter Kim Briggeman can be reached at (406) 523-5266 or by email at kbriggeman@missoulian.com.

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