Tuss impresses at first meeting
Havre Daily News/Nikki Carlson, file
Bear Paw Development Corp. Executive Director Paul Tuss speaks during the Montana Attorney General's Consumer Protection Forum March 2010.
Although the Hi-Line-related agenda items at the Montana Board of Regents meeting in Bozeman last week were fewer than there were supposed to be, the debut of the latest regent from the Hi-Line went swimmingly by many accounts.
It was Paul Tuss' first time sitting on the governing board of the Montana University System.
"I think it went very well, " said Tuss, executive director for Bear Paw Development Corp. "My fellow Board of Regent members, as well as the commissioner, staff and all of the various other interesting constituencies were very warm and very welcoming to the rookie regent from Havre. "
Tuss spoke about the difference in his current work with the regents compared to what he has experienced in the past, when his work was all about economic development and mostly about Montana State University-Northern. Now he helps guide the fate of every post-secondary school in the state.
"It's slightly daunting because of the importance of the issues that we're dealing with, " Tuss said. "The Montana University System is a very important part of this entire state, so being one of seven votes on the board that decides the direction of the system is a pretty serious obligation. "
Those who have worked with Tuss, from his economic development work through being selected by the governor for the regent position and his work at last week's meeting, have no doubt in his ability to fulfill that obligation.
"His engagement was full and thorough and with good, appropriate, helpful questions at key moments, " Sheila Stearns, commissioner of higher education, said. "It was as if he had served on the Board of Regents for a year or two and not just a couple weeks. It seems like we didn't miss a beat, with a regent that new. And I'm not surprised.
"I couldn't ask for better involvement by a new regent. "
Associate Commissioner Kevin McRae commended Tuss' absorption of higher education issues during his orientation two weeks ago, to get him prepped for the meeting.
"I have been impressed immediately by the curiosity and interest expressed, " McRae said.
"I think that Paul is stepping in immediately where everyone thought he would, which is probably why he was selected by the governor. "