HELENA – So what is the Main Street Montana Project?
Gov. Steve Bullock launched it in early spring 2013 when he enlisted two top Montana business leaders, Larry Simkins, CEO of Washington Cos., and Bill Johnstone, CEO of Davidson Cos.
The goal was to create a private-public partnership to build and implement a business plan for Montana that was written by Montanans. Its aim is to achieve expanded business opportunities, increased wages and greater prosperity throughout Montana.
Over the next year, Simkins, Johnstone and Bullock administration officials sought engagement and ideas from the private sector, and conducted research into the strengths and challenges of the Montana economy. About 3,000 Montanans participated in a series of regional roundtables, completed surveys or both.
In April, Bullock, with Johnstone and Simkins at his side, released the Main Street Montana Project plan.
It identified these five pillars upon which the business plan will be built:
- Train and educate tomorrow’s workforce today.
- Create a climate that attracts, retains and grows businesses.
- Build upon Montana’s economic foundation.
- Market Montana.
- Nurture emerging industries and encourage innovation.