Names and faces

Julie Emge has joined the Montana Association of REALTORS® as their education coordinator. She brings 20-plus years of corporate event, meeting, tradeshow and project management experience both domestically and internationally. Emge also brings over three years’ experience in marketing and communications, having worked as the community events eirector for AARP Montana.

Samantha Smith joins MAR as their strategic programs coordinator. She comes to MAR from Blue Cross Blue Shield where she was a customer advocate. Smith brings over six years’ experience in event planning, scheduling and database management from the legal and hospitality industry.


Jake Hoffman has joined Triple Tree Engineering. Hoffman is a 2014 Montana Tech graduate with a Bachelors of Science degree in mining engineering. At Triple Tree Engineering, Hoffman will be performing general civil design and construction engineering.


Danya Ann Bonner has been promoted to the Lewis & Clark Brewing Company's newly created director of sales position.

She worked at Blackfoot River Brewing Co. from 2005 to 2016. During that time, she also worked at McDantim, the craft-beer industry’s go-to provider for beer/gas blending, where she attended MicroMatic Draught School. Bonner's has 15 years of experience in the craft beer industry and served at as Lewis & Clark's senior sales rep for the last two and a half years. 

Bonner can be reached at 406-442-5960, or email danya@lewisandclarkbrewing.com.


Eric Heidle has joined the design team at Farcountry Press. Heidle previously worked at Banik Communications in Great Falls. He  brings experience as a designer, creative director, photographer and writer to Helena’s family-owned independent publisher.

Heidle replaces Shirley Machonis, who recently retired from Farcountry Press after 20 years of service as senior graphic designer. 

Awards and honors

MDT administrator honored with HR award

Keni Grose has been awarded HR Leader of the Year from SHRM Helena Chapter.

Grose is the human resources and occupational safety division administrator for the Montana Department of Transportation. She oversees three work units that support approximately 2,200 employees state-wide: The Human Resources Bureau, the Occupational Safety and Health Bureau and Workforce Planning.  

She graduated from the University of Montana–Western in 2001. Shed moved to Oregon in April 2002, where she started working in human resources in the private sector. In October 2012, Grose moved back to Montana and started working for the Department of Transportation. She became the HROS Administrator in 2014 and has continued in that role. 


Steph Lehmann, a senior graphic designer and illlustrator at Farcountry Press, recently won a Gold Moonbeam Children’s Book Award for her 2019 release, "Who Pooped? Field Guide, Journal & Activity Book." Lehmann, an artist with a background in education, authored and illustrated the award-winning book.

News and notes

Personnel changes made at Sears Hometown Store

The first change is the promotion of its Human Resources Director, Laura Hunn. Hunn started with Sears Hometown Store in August 2019. She has extensive knowledge managing companies with similar product lines.

JR Parish has been promoted from service manager to assistant general manager. He has been part of the Sears Hometown Store for a number of years. Under his direction the service department has expanded its services including growth of personnel. It now services all makes of small engines and equipment.

Clover Walsh has been promoted to supervisor of the sales force. She has experience in the retail sector and customer service. Walsh has extensive knowledge about the store's products.

The local Sears Hometown Store is located at 1320 Market Ave., behind Pizza Ranch and next to Sherwin Williams.

Leadership Montana accepting applications

Leadership Montana has opened the application process for the Class of 2021. The class will meet in communities across the state during the months of September 2020 to April 2021. Applications are accepted until March 30.

The Class of 2020 will visit Big Sky, Butte, Missoula, Helena, North Central Montana, Sidney, and Billings. During visits, participants learn about the challenges and opportunities facing Montana through conversations with community leaders and tours of emerging and traditional businesses. At the same time, participants learn from skilled leadership professionals who teach from a curriculum designed exclusively for Leadership Montana.

Leadership Montana is a nonprofit collaboration of leaders from business, labor, healthcare, higher education, non-profit organizations and government coming together to form a strong partnership for the betterment of our state. Leadership Montana offers participants a program that strengthens leadership skills while fostering personal growth and reflection.

More information about the program, including the application form, can be found at www.leadershipmontana.org.


The IR welcomes reports of hiring, promotions, awards, recognition, learning opportunities and other news from local companies and nonprofits. We accept press releases and photos (digital images at 300 dpi or more are preferred). Email your information to irstaff@helenair.com.

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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