A Havre native is returning to a federal-level economic development job.
U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced today that Tony Preite has been appointed Montana State director of U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, a position he also took in 1993 when he retired from the position of executive director of Bear Paw Development Corp. in Havre.
"I'm thrilled to go back to USDA Rural Development and work closely with partners at every level to bring even more jobs to Montana communities," Preite said in the release announcing his appointment. "I'm grateful to Sens. Baucus and Tester for having the confidence in me to fulfill the obligations of this important post and I look forward to working with both of them to maximize Montana's economic development potential."
Baucus and Tester nominated Preite in March. He will take the place of Matt Jones, who left the position to go to work for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.
"My number one, two, and three priorities are good-paying jobs for Montanans — and Tony has long been a great partner when it comes to Montana's economic development," Baucus said in the release. "This is great news for Montana jobs and I appreciate Tony's commitment to public service."
"Tony's long record of creating jobs and bringing new businesses to Montana make him the right man to strengthen Montana's economy," Tester said. "Smart, responsible leadership will keep rural Montana moving in the right direction, and I look forward to working with Tony to bring new economic opportunities to our state."
Preite took the leadership of Bear Paw Development not long after the economic development agency was created in 1968.
After leaving Rural Development, Preite served as regional office director for Economic Development for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Denver.
After retiring from that position, he became director for Space Commercialization and Economic Development Outreach at University of Montana in 2003, then Gov. Brian Schweitzer appointed him director of the Montana Department of Commerce in 2004.
In 2010, he resigned from that position, and soon became director for outreach and economic development at Montana State University-Northern in Havre — he graduated from Northern in 1963, while it still was Northern Montana College.