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Meet the Steering Committee

Who is the steering committee?
We are a group of community individuals who recognize that no one entity can meet the community’s facility requirements for recreation, performance, wellness, trade shows, conventions and exposition. We recognize that any facility that meets a single organization’s needs would be much more fully utilized if it were shared and met multiple needs. A facility that meets the needs for indoor recreation can also meet needs for community wellness and provide space for performances, conventions, concerts, equestrian, tradeshows, sporting events and community events – all year long.

What organizations are represented on the steering group organizing the project?
The following organizations have one or more members representing them: The Missoula Events Center Steering Committee is a group of proven fundraisers and community leaders involved with successfully completing the following projects for Missoula:

 

John Riley photoJohn Riley
Co Chairman of Steering Committee

Vice President, Major Accounts
ISCS

Missoula is a great place to live and raise a family. Our natural amenities, wilderness areas, Flathead Lake, pristine rivers, wintertime sports, and wonderful climate make Missoula an outdoor paradise.

It is also the people of Missoula, the University, Caras Park, A Carousel for Missoula, Missoula County Stadium, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, YMCA, Ogren Park and Allegiance Field, and many other important amenities that combine to make this a great community and truly enrich the quality of life in Missoula. Many of these wonderful facilities have been driven by our own neighbors; citizens with a vision and passion to help make Missoula a better place to live.

The MEC will continue this tradition. It will bring Missoula high school and professional sporting events, concerts, trade shows, consumer shows, conferences, expositions and has the potential to bring millions of tourist dollars to local businesses and create several hundred jobs. With many of our large employers facing challenging times, the ability to create several hundred jobs is critical to grow and maintain our community. The MEC will also minimize the extensive travel Missoulians endure to follow and enjoy our high school teams in state tournaments.

Why am I involved in this project? It is simply the right thing to do.

Bill BoucheeBill Bouchee
Co Chairman of Steering Committee

Bill Bouchee volunteered for the MEC Steering Committee to help drive a solution for the development of the Missoula County fairgrounds. Through a county directed feasibility study, it has been revealed that an events center was considered in two of the three proposals. My feelings continue to be strong on an events center and more so with the MEC economic study sharing the same conclusion and the economic benefits for our community. The events center would pump the community with money and our citizens would not have to travel to other areas to attend featured events. The reality of this economic benefit and public enjoyment could be offered at a price that all citizens would have to pay for the benefit with increased taxes.

Dale MahlumDale Mahlum
Owner of Thoroughbreed Farm
Past Montana State Senator
Retired owner of ACE Hardware

Having been a business person in the Missoula community for almost 50 years, I have watched the community grow, sometimes slow and at other times, moving along with haste. I find that our community needs to have a center to bring people together from all parts of our great state and from the neighboring states. Citizens of Montana have a desire, along with out of state citizens, to visit Missoula, to enjoy its ambience; it is the garden city of our state. There is always some activity going on in Missoula, but we need an area that can bring to our community large groups of people who will thoroughly enjoy their visit, whether at a convention or a sporting event or a show of some sort. Missoula is known for its great hospitality, we just need a larger venue to provide this.

Stacey MuellerStacey Mueller
Publisher
Missoulian

I am serving on this committee for several reasons….not the least of which is because I love Missoula and want to help however I can to make it an even better place to live and work. As a long time community member, I would welcome the idea of being able to stay home to watch my kids in sporting events that currently are held in other parts of the state due to our lack of facilities. I welcome the idea of more concerts and family events for us to enjoy. As a member of the business community, an event center in Missoula makes complete economic sense. Folks want to travel to Missoula for work and pleasure, and currently, we struggle to provide adequate space for such requests. The economic growth that will come as a result of such a facility really excites me, it will provide jobs and infuse Missoula with spending from travelers that we otherwise would not see. This type of facility not only makes the economic pie larger for our whole community, but it's a great way to showcase to others all that Missoula has to offer.

Dirk Visser PhotoDirk Visser
CEO
Allegiance Benefit Plan Management, Inc.

Missoula is a wonderful city. We have many attractions and reasons why people would want to travel to Missoula for an event rather than any other city, but we currently don’t have an Events Center. The Events Center will compliment the larger Adams Center at the University of Montana and the smaller UM Theatre and Wilma theatre by providing a mid sized venue to host a myriad of events that are currently going else where for lack of a facility that could handle their program. It seems like a no brainer for Missoula, as a community, to capitalize on its natural beauty, current amenities and desirable draw by expanding our ability to attract and host the numerous activities that would come here if only we had the place to host them. It is also an opportunity for Missoula to brand itself as THE entertainment and events location in Montana.

The Missoula Events Center will benefit all citizens in the community by providing additional events and entertainment opportunities as well as the many local businesses that benefit from tourists and visitors to our city.

As a long time resident and major employer in the city, I want to see Missoula continue to improve the quality of life for the benefit of all of us who are lucky enough to live here and our friends who want to visit us. The Events Center will be one more reason why Missoula is the best city to visit and the best place to live in Montana.

Tim Winger PhotoTim Winger
Leasing/General Manager
Southgate Mall

“I have lived in many cities during my shopping center career. Over 22 years living in 9 states and the District of Columbia, Missoula is by far the place I would prefer to visit or live!!!! Being lucky enough to extend my career here has been a dream come true. Missoula, Montana and Southgate Mall will be where I finish my career. Although I have been here just over 3 years, it’s my sense the many people I have met feel the same way.

We all know the reasons….the beauty, the outdoor activities and the people. Quality of Life (QoL) is second to none.

When I was initially asked to get involved with a group of local business people to explore the possibility of an events center…I didn’t hesitate to join in, as a Multi-purpose events center would further enhance the QoL Missoula has currently achieved. Sporting events, trade shows, conferences, entertainment, fairs, bazaars, educational and arts events the list of possibilities are staggering.

The Missoula Events Center (MEC) project if accomplished would not only positively affect the QOL we cherish; it would strengthen and diversify our economic base with the impact of the events and the participants they attract.

Looking into the future during the past 18 months has been a challenging task as one of our main industries continues to shrink with little hope it will ever comeback. Missoula needs to seek out opportunities to develop new sources of economic activity to build for the future. The MEC would strengthen tourism, employment and serve as fuel for a new economic driver all regions of our country are seeking for the future.

Missoula is such a great place giving people a reason to come here more often and being able to stay here rather than support other communities with our hard earned cash is paramount to a sustainable community, as well. I am certain if my family could stay in town and attend an event that would have typically occurred in Billings, Bozeman, Helena or Spokane we would actually save some money and/or spend it in support of Missoula. I would even venture to say if I were asked to support the project financially by the local government, I would still end up way ahead!!!!

Finally, I have traveled the states of Montana and Washington attending events always thinking to myself, “What if…?” It’s not a coincidence that the Steering Committee ended up together, as I think we all asked ourselves the same question!!! So, we decided to find out “What if…?” For real!!!

I believe the Steering Committee was confident we’d like the answer, but now we’re intrigued by the unlimited possibilities!!!! We know the MEC will take blood, sweat and tears to make happen for Missoula, but if done right…..it will be something very special for the future generations!!!!”

Kim LatrielleKim Latrielle, President/CEO
Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce

“I have been employed by the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce for over 37 ½ years; the Missoula Chamber and this business community has supported my professional growth by providing my formal education and encouraging career advancements from Receptionist to President/CEO.

Over my 37 ½ years at the Chamber, I have heard a “community wish” stated by business professionals; that wish has been for a year round events facility. The dream and wish has always been the same; A facility large enough that it would bring new commerce to our community all year around. Over the years, I have tried three times to get such a process started for a large facility; with the goal to get it to a community discussion point and three times it has failed.

This time however things are working in a very positive fashion and I believe the difference is “The MEC Steering Committee” it is a small but powerful team consisting of 7 members that have guided us through this process. My true and honest reason for giving this so much time; I would love to leave to this business community as my legacy and also to say thank you for all their support over the years of me. Additionally, that I know I played a role in leaving an entertainment venue for my children, grandchildren and this community would be something pretty special.