Business briefcase published Jan. 19, 2020

Business briefcase published Jan. 19, 2020

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Names and faces

Sarah Nicolai, PE, PTP, has joined Robert Peccia and Associates traffic and transportation group as a project manager. Nicolai holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in civil engineering from Carroll College and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton College.

Prior to her employment with RPA, Sarah worked as a Senior Project Manager for DOWL in Seattle. She has 15 years of experience as a professional engineer and planner serving numerous state and municipal transportation agencies, federal agencies, and private clients throughout the northwest. As a project manager at RPA, Sarah will apply her knowledge and experience to provide planning services to current and future clients. Nicolai is currently assisting the traffic and transportation group with the Whitefish Urban Study and the U.S. 191 Corridor Study. 


Evan West has joined Great West Engineering as part of the municipal group and will be based out of the Helena office. West graduated in December 2019 from Montana State University with a B.S. in bio-resources engineering. 


Linda Chilton has been promoted to senior vice president, chief retail officer at Opportunity Bank of Montana.

Chilton has more than two decades of banking experience, holding leadership positions at community-focused financial institutions throughout Montana. Since joining Opportunity Bank of Montana in 2014, Chilton has played an integral role in the bank’s growth, most recently serving as vice president, branch administrator. In this new role, Chilton will be a member of the executive management team responsible for leading overall retail banking, treasury management, branch administration, marketing and product management.

Chilton holds a B.S. in business administration from the University of Montana. She resides in Florence and will continue to work out of Missoula.


Jon Rutt of Laurel and Duane Kurokawa of Wolf Point have been elected to serve three-year terms on the board of the Montana Community Foundation.

Rutt is a licensed water treatment plant operator. He and his wife owned and operated AQUA Systems of Montana for 37 years, providing residential and commercial water treatment services in the Laurel and Billings area. Rutt is a founding member of the Laurel Montana Community Foundation, formed in 2015, and currently serves as chairman.  

Kurokawa is the market president of the Opportunity Bank of Wolf Point, where he has served in a variety of positions since 1979. He attended the Graduate School of Banking in Madison, Wisconsin, where he graduated in 1992. Kurokawa served as the director of the Helena Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Board of Directors from 2012-2017. 

News and notes

Grants will benefit indigenous, folk, traditional, media arts

The Montana Community Foundation, Inc. announces the opening of a grant cycle to benefit Montana indigenous, folk, traditional and media arts. Grants will be made from the William B. Pratt Endowment Fund, established at MCF. This fund is a legacy gift to the people of Montana to help them tell and share stories – especially the untold ones – about Montana’s arts, culture, and history and to learn about the traditional art forms and cultures of this unique state.

William “Bill” Pratt, a former employee at MCF, established the William B. Pratt Endowment because of his life-long interest in indigenous, folk and traditional arts, with experience as a musician working in the folk tradition and as a living history and production artisan in forged iron. 

Grants will range in size from $500 to $1,500 and must be matched dollar-for-dollar. Grant applications will be accepted through March 31. Montana 501(c)(3) organizations, local, state and tribal governments are eligible to apply. Media artists who are not staff of 501(c)(3) organizations may also apply under the fiscal sponsorship of a 501(c)(3) organization.

To learn about eligibility requirements and to apply for the William B. Pratt Endowment Fund, visit For questions, please contact Jessica Stewart-Kuntz, MCF director of operations & grants, at 406-441-4950 or

Mountain-Pacific Quality Health awarded Medicaid contract

The Montana Department of Health and Human Services awarded Mountain-Pacific Quality Health a contract to help efficiently and cost-effectively improve health outcomes for Montanans enrolled in Medicaid.

Medicaid provides free or low-cost health insurance coverage to more than a quarter of a million Montanans who need financial help to receive medical and behavioral health services across the state or, when necessary, outside the state. Through a review process, Mountain-Pacific helps Medicaid members get the medical services, equipment and supplies that are most appropriate to their health and health care needs.

Under this new contract, Mountain-Pacific is subcontracting some of the work to Telligen, an organization headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa, with national Medicaid and quality improvement experience. While Mountain-Pacific will still provide most of the Medicaid medical review services, Telligen will be responsible for behavioral health reviews and other evaluations.

Mountain-Pacific has held Montana Medicaid contracts since 1974. The new, two-year contract started on Oct. 1 and will extend to October 2021 with an option for five, one-year extensions.


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There is no charge for items appearing in the Business Briefcase. Items are run on a space-available basis, and we reserve the right to edit and use information as we see fit.

The deadline is noon Tuesday to be considered for publication the following Sunday.


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