The Community Excellence Awards, which honor service to both MSU and the greater Gallatin Valley community, were announced at the 30th annual Awards for Excellence Banquet, hosted by the MSU Alumni Foundation and the Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 21.
Hope (Fjelstad) Folkvord and Dean Folkvord were active and involved students at MSU. Hope Folkvord belonged to the MSU Spurs (a sophomore service honorary), was in the homecoming court and was active in the Residence Hall Association. She graduated in 1982 with a degree in business management. Dean competed in rodeo and graduated in 1982 with a degree in agricultural business.
Since graduating, these life members of the MSU Alumni Association have continued to engage with and serve MSU. They are members of the Bobcat Club, Quarterback Club, Rodeo Club, Friends of the Library, and the Montana Aggies Group, Hope Folkvord was a member of the MSU Foundation Board of Directors for five years. Dean Folkvord served on the MSU President's Circle and is currently on the fundraising committee for the Bobcat Rodeo Club. The Folkvords have established a scholarship in their name, and they were contributors to the Bobcat Stadium End Zone campaign. As football season ticket-holders, the couple even traveled to Huntsville, Texas, this past season to watch the Bobcats in the quarterfinal playoff game.
The Folkvord family has been involved with agriculture for three generations, and their family-owned-and-operated businesses are well-known in the Gallatin Valley and beyond.
Wheat Montana's agricultural operations encompass 12,000 acres, and the company employs more than 100 people and produces 113 products, which are sold nationwide. In 1994, Wheat Montana Farms was awarded the Montana Family Business of the Year honor. In 1997, Dean Folkvord was named Montana's Small Business Person of the Year and in 1999, Wheat Montana Farms won the Best Managed Farms Contest. Wheat Montana Farms has also made its way into the Guinness Book of World Records for cutting, milling, mixing and baking a loaf of bread in 8 minutes and 13 seconds.
In 2009, the Folkvords bought the historic Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks. A seven-month, $2 million renovation both restored the hotel's historic elegance and modernized it. The Folkvords received the Commercial Preservation Award from the Montana Preservation Alliance in 2011 for restoring the 100-year-old hotel, which is now an important commercial anchor for the town of Three Forks.
Dean Folkvord is a state champion livestock auctioneer, and has donated his professional services to raise funds for the College of Agriculture, Bobcat Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the College of Business, and many local nonprofits. He has served on numerous chamber panels and the Montana Business Leadership Council. He was named Montana's SBA Small Business Person of the Year, Montana Entrepreneur of the Year by "Entrepreneur" magazine, and has served on SBA's National Advisory Council, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana Board of Directors, the Federal Reserve Bank Advisory Council on Agriculture, and chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Helena.
The community service awards are awarded annually to a local man and woman in recognition of outstanding support of the Bozeman and MSU communities. Criteria for the award include giving time and resources beyond business or professional obligations to both the community and MSU.
Phillip Luebke (406) 994-2416, firstname.lastname@example.org