The Jabs E Series
The Jabs E Series invites senior executives from business firms and organizations across the country as well as entrepreneurs to spend time on campus interacting with students and faculty. This program offers MSU students the opportunity to connect with executives and entrepreneurs, in efforts to inspire students to pursue careers as innovative, responsible, and ethical business leaders. Click here to learn more about this program.
Wednesday, September 27
Public Presentation: 5:00-6:00 pm
Reception: 6:00-6:30 pm
Location: Jabs Hall 111 and Forum
MSU Calendar: https://www.montana.edu/calendar/events/46643
Title: Impact Entrepreneurship in Montana
The panel will discuss and explore impact entrepreneurship in Montana, and beyond. Impact entrepreneurship (aka, sustainable business) involves designing and implementing companies with business models that create positive benefit for the natural environment and society, supported through the generation of a financial profit.
When done successfully, this kind of company can produce powerful win-wins for the business, its local community, and the natural environment – that can be sustained over time. Research has shown that impact-focused businesses can help improve the functioning of local natural ecosystems, and enhance the social and economic well-being of their local communities. However, there are many challenges business leaders face when implementing a sustainable or impact-focused business. A major topic of discussion will focus on what it takes to survive and thrive as an impact-focused business – including funding, local community support, competition, business models, and perspectives on growth (and/or benefits of staying small). Panelists will share the challenges they have faced, what have they learned, what skills and resources have been helpful, and provide advice for the impact-focused business leaders of the future.
The event will start with a 1-hour panel discussion, which will include time for audience Q&A, followed by a 30-minute reception. We look forward to seeing you at this exciting event!
Courtney McKee, CEO of Headframe Spirits & Stills
She is the co-owner and co-founder of Headframe Spirits and Headframe Spirits Manufacturing in Butte, MT, two Montana B-Corporations. Headframe Spirits produces distilled spirits and operates a Tasting Room while its Manufacturing counterpart designs and builds high-tech distillation equipment for distilleries around the world. Courtney’s two highest values are Community and Courage, and she brings both of them to the planning and execution of all the work she does. She formerly served on the board of the American Craft Spirits Association and continues to co-chair their Education Committee, since 2016. She also recently co-chaired the Leadership Academy Curriculum Working Committee and helped develop the DISCUS Academy Leadership Program for the Distilled Spirits Council of the US. Courtney and her husband John were awarded the 2013 Montana Entrepreneurs of the Year award, 2015 Montana Tourism Ambassadors of the Year award and the 2015 Grant Project of the Year for The Orphan Girl Film. Courtney is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration and is mom to two amazing kids, Tuesday and Cooper. The world is better because they’re in it.
Amy Hager, People & Culture Business Partner of West Paw
She is a People and Culture Business Partner at West Paw, the first certified B Corp in the Pet industry, and a founding business member of the Pet Sustainability Coalition. West Paw’s focus on sustainable solutions for devoted pet parents is what drew Amy to work for the company starting in 2020. Growing up in the Bozeman area, Amy found her love for the outdoors, rodeo, agriculture, volunteering, and Bobcat sports! In 2021, Amy earned her MBA in Business Administration from the University of Montana, and later earned her credentials as a SHRM – Senior Certified Professional in the area of human resources. A 2016 graduate of MSU’s Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Amy enjoys volunteering for career building activities for students, sharing her love for balancing people and policy for local businesses, and giving back to the MSU community. Amy serves as the Vice President of Membership for the Gallatin Valley SHRM chapter, GVHRA, and has focused her career on educating employees, building sustainable policies and practices, and advocating for access and inclusion in the workplace. Outside of work and volunteering, Amy enjoys spending time with her family, watching sports, hiking, riding horses, doing anything creative, and hanging out with her dog, Hoss.
Jeff Batton, Managing Partner of Homestake
He is a founder and managing partner at HomeStake, a family of companies that brings local investors together with local businesses of all kinds. He is a serial entrepreneur that has been a growth-stage executive for many businesses and investors throughout the region. His experience includes long-term leadership roles with a wide variety of well-known local businesses including Foundant Technologies, PFL, Wisetail, Blackmore Sensors & Analytics, and The Natural Baby Company. He has also filled leadership roles for a number of investors in the region, including Alaska Growth Capital, Ecotrust, and MOFI. He has been directly involved in more than $400 million in transactions for venture-backed and HomeGrown businesses. He serves on the boards of numerous local companies and is currently building the second HomeStake fund in order to bring more investment dollars to a wide variety of local businesses.
Tuesday, March 7
Public Presentation: 6:00-7:00 pm
Location: Jabs Hall 111
MSU Calendar: https://www.montana.edu/calendar/events/44657
Title: The Business of The Outdoors
The panel will discuss and explore their journeys in the outdoor industry from three unique perspectives: start-up (Skwala), mid-growth (Stone Glacier) and established (Simms). They will discuss what it takes to survive and thrive in a constantly changing industry, as well as what happens when they are acquired by a larger enterprise (Simms and Stone Glacier). They will share what have they learned, what skills were helpful, and what they seek in the industry leaders of tomorrow.
About the Speakers:
Diane Bristol, VP of Culture & Community at Simms Fishing
She has been with Simms for over 30 years, previously worked with the former parent company, Life-Link International, and is looking forward to continuing in a leadership role with the recent acquisition of Simms by Vista Outdoor. Diane’s current role is a combination of helping Simms achieve even greater success by implementing broader employee professional development plans and helping Simms employees grow personally and professionally. In addition, a key aspect of this role is to identify and execute key conservation and community initiatives (local, state and national) and find opportunities to promote and support Simms’ employee involvement within the community.
Kevin Sloan, Founder of Skwala Flyfishing
Over the past 25 years Kevin was worked for or led some the most disruptive brands in the outdoor industry including early and growth stage CEO positions at Sitka Gear and MeatEater as well as leading Product Development efforts at Orvis. His Involvement in 4 ground-up startups has allowed him to oversee all aspects of the business from Product to Brand to Sales and Operations.
Kevin’s passion for the outdoors and experience building brands in the hunting and fishing arena led him to found Skwala Fishing and after several years of R&D launched the new venture in Spring of 2022.
Jeff Sposito, President of Stone Glacier
Jeff joined Vista Outdoor in December 2021. Prior to Vista’s Outdoor acquisition of the brand, Jeff joined Stone Glacier as co-owner in 2016. Prior to joining Stone Glacier, Jeff worked in various roles of increasing responsibility with Sitka Gear, through its sale to W.L. Gore and Associates. Bringing more 13 years of experience in the outdoor apparel industry, Jeff brings a wealth of business growth expertise alongside a commitment to advancing conservation initiatives. Jeff obtained a B.S. in Agricultural Business from California State University – Chico and is currently pursuing an MBA from the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.
Ray Sedey, CEO & Chairman of McCarthy
Wednesday, February 15
Public Presentation: 5:30-6:30 pm
Location: Jabs Hall 111
MSU Calendar: https://www.montana.edu/calendar/events/44806
Title: “Leadership and Decision Making”
Ray Sedey, Chairman & CEO of McCarthy Holdings, Inc., will discuss how a “perpetual” business model – one that considers short and long-term impacts – drives decision-making. By following their strategic map, the employee-owned company focuses on creating opportunities and making impactful decisions, controlling what you can control, and developing yourself and others. This approach has allowed McCarthy to continue to grow, while delivering great experiences to employees, clients, and the communities where we work and live.
About the Speaker:
Sedey began working for McCarthy in 2000 as a project engineer before moving up to executive vice president of business operations in Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado in 2012. In that position, he oversaw infrastructure, aviation, commercial, health care and entertainment projects, including successfully positioning the firm as a builder of choice for complex projects on the Las Vegas Strip.
Sedey was selected to lead McCarthy’s Texas region in 2015, strengthening the company’s position across the state with a focus on client results, safety, financial performance and talent management. In 2018, Sedey led efforts to combine McCarthy’s southeast and Texas operations to form a new southern region and became its president.
Sedey earned a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering technology from MSU in 2000 and completed the executive program at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He is involved in a variety of professional and community organizations, including the MSU College of Engineering advisory board.
This presentation is a part of our Orser Executive Speakers Forum.
Past E Series Guests:
The Jabs E Series will provide alumni and friends an opportunity to return to campus and offers them a compelling reason to travel to Bozeman. The time spent on campus will vary, anywhere from 1-2 days. This will not only provide our students a venue to meet executives in a familiar environment, it will allow them time to become comfortable around individuals in executive roles. Students should discover they are not only successful but very approachable and willing to share their story and advice.
If you are interested in participating in this or other programs in Jabs, click here to fill out this form.
Questions? Please contact Audrey Capp, 406-994-7026 or [email protected].
Marc Maleh, Global Director of Experience at HUGE, facilitates a workshop for MSU students in Jabs Hall.