Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Alex Ross 

Bear Paw Development sees 'year of incredible accomplishment'


February 23, 2018

Paul Tuss

For Bear Paw Development Corp. 2017 was "a year of incredible accomplishment" Bear Paw Executive Director Paul Tuss said at this year's annual meeting Thursday in the Montana State University-Northern Student Union Building Ballroom.

"This good work occurred because Bear Paw has talented, committed and hardworking staff. I am blessed to be able to work every day with people who truly make a difference," Tuss said.

Bear Paw Development, the oldest

economic development district in Montana, assists communities, businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs with economic development projects in Blaine, Chouteau, Hill, Liberty and Philips

counties, as well as the Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy's Indian reservations. Bear Paw also works with the Little Shell Band of Chippewa Indians.  

Because of a hard-working team of economic practitioners, Tuss said, Bear Paw was able to coordinate more than $8.9 million through grant writing, revolving loan fund investments, bank financing and other sources for business startups, expansions and community infrastructure.  

Bear Paw in 2017 was able to leverage $85.33 from outside sources for every $1 invested in it by local governments, and helped the private sector create or retain 195 jobs.   

A flier at the meeting says Bear Paw has coordinated $136 million in local funding since 2006 for projects in its Economic Development District through state, federal and local sources, as well as through banks, revolving loan funds, owner equity and other investments.

Tuss thanked his colleagues Director of Operations Stefnie Redding, Director of Loan Services Tiffany Melby; Director of Community Development Michelle Turville; Food and Agriculture Development Center Director Taylor Lyon; Small Business Development Center Director Joe LePlante, and Community Planner Eryn Nissen.

Nissen, Tuss said, has stepped down from her position at Bear Paw this month "for a private sector pursuit of her own."

Krystal Steinmetz, who held the position for seven years, had come back after a hiatus, Tuss said, and Thursday marked her second day back on the job.

He also thanked Bear Paw Development's Board of Directors and parting at-large board member and former Chester Mayor Wayne Wardell.

Wardell, Tuss said, was not at the meeting but had served on the board for 23 years.


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