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The Missoula Economic Partnership has named Grant Kier as its new executive director. The decision follows a two-month search process. 

From 2007-2017, Kier was the executive director of the nonprofit Five Valleys Land Trust in Missoula, a conservation organization that's been involved in preserving open space and agricultural land. Kier left Five Valleys last year to run in the Democratic primary for Montana's U.S. House seat.

“If I learned anything in the past year, it’s how important good-paying jobs are to Montana families, how important outstanding skilled workers are for successful businesses, and how much people in Montana want to expand economic opportunity here while protecting our quality of life," Kier said. "At MEP I’m excited get to work with a great team, in all of these areas, and build a stronger community for the future."

Kier also served on the Missoula Economic Partnership board, including as treasurer. Scott Burke, the MEP board chair, said Kier has institutional knowledge and organizational drive.

"We were lucky to have a wonderful pool of candidates, which made this an extremely difficult decision, and we're thankful for all those who applied," Burke said. "We're confident that we've found a candidate who demonstrates dedication to Missoula's unique opportunities and challenges in the economic development ecosystem."

Burke said collaboration is one of the MEP's primary objectives.

"Grant is a team player with a proven ability to bring key stakeholders together to work towards agreed-upon goals," he said.

Before working at Five Valleys, Kier led the Bitter Root Land Trust in Hamilton, and before that was a project manager for a geotechnical company in Cambridge, England. He's also worked as a consulting geologist in Pinedale, Wyoming. He has a master’s degree in geology from the University of Colorado.

The MEP is funded by public and private funds, including $100,000 a year from the City of Missoula's general fund.

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