Havre Daily News
After an exhaustive search, Havre-based Opportunity Link, a nonprofit group that works to reduce poverty, has named a new director.
Steve Galbavy started on the job this week.
Galbavy said the scope of efforts made by Opportunity Link fit with his experience and interests.
Opportunity Link board chair Russell Boham said Galbavy grew up in poverty and is ideal for the position because he knows about the issues personally.
“Steve has the right amount of experience and background and vision for the future,” Boham said.
Opportunity Link board member Judy King said she thinks the group is lucky Galbavy accepted the position.
In its second round of searching, the board had interviewed two other applicants for the job, one from Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation and one from Browning, she said. The first round took place in early February, when five applicants were interviewed. An applicant declined a job offer and the board started the search again.
King said Galbavy was the chosen because of his job record. Galbavy has served as president of Stone Child College and will continue to work as project manager for Rocky Boy's planned ethanol plant.
Galbavy said his job positions will work “hand in hand” because the two are aiming for the same goal - economic development.
Boham said he has no worries that Galbavy's two positions will conflict.
“Fortunately for us, the ethanol project is wrapping up right about the time we are going to move forward,” Boham said. “And the plant is the kind of thing we are looking to see happen.”
The proposed ethanol plant will provide about 42 full-time jobs and 2,000 peripheral jobs, including about 400 positions during construction, he said.
“Economic development had been pretty dormant in north-central Montana for the last few years but the area seems to be progressing,” Galbavy said.
He said he will work to fit the “right people in the right places for the right jobs.”
Opportunity Link has three employees, including Galbavy. He said he hopes to add at least six more staff members.
King said she looks forward to working with the new executive direction and seeing the ideas Opportunity Link members have been working on coming to fruition.
“In the next two years it's going to make a huge difference in all the counties Opportunity Link serves,” King said. “I am excited. It's neat to be able to help people,” she added.
The organization covers 11 counties and the Rocky Boy's and Fort Belknap Indian reservations.
Opportunity Link's mission is to involve both those living in poverty and other community members, including all levels of government officials, business people and faith leaders in efforts to reduce poverty.
A list of goals created by the organization includes: researching the cultures and customs of the regional community, improving the health of those living in poverty, ensuring affordable housing is available and making transportation accessible to low-income individuals.
The counties and reservations are represented by two elected members on the board of directors. It is the board's job to act as leaders and direct the implementation of the group's 10-year economic development program.
Galbavy has a bachelor's degree in physical education from Montana State University-Northern and a masters of education in school administration from Montana State University-Bozeman.
He was born and raised in Box Elder.
“My roots are almost to China by now,” he added.
He and his wife, Mona, are the parents of three children and have five grandsons.