The MWED Mission

Montana West Economic Development (MWED) is a private, non-profit organization working throughout Northwest Montana and its communities to promote economic diversity, job growth, and healthy businesses.

Montana State Shape MWED

The Montana West Economic Development office is located in beautiful downtown Kalispell.

44 2nd Ave W | Kalispell, MT 59901

Our Staff

Christy Cummings
Christy Cummings Dawson

President & CEO

Christy has an MBA and a BA in Political Science. She brings years of experience in both the public and private sectors and has worked on a number of projects that bridged the two. Her experience includes wildland firefighting, local economic development, and planning/community development.

406.257.7711 Ext. 4

Jill Duval

Government Contracting Advisor

Jill was born in Lander, Wyoming and raised in the Front Range of Colorado. The entire Rocky Mountain region has always been where her heart lies. Jill earned her degree while attending college in Greeley, Colorado, before becoming a Navy wife. Over the next six years, the military took Jill from New Mexico to Nevada and onto California, before she chose to return to her beloved Rocky Mountains. She spent the next two decades in Wyoming, working at a local Chamber of Commerce for a time before moving on to American Cancer Society, and finally serving as the Director for an Educational Foundation. Most recently, she has been coordinating a drug-free communities grant for a small rural area in Washington State.

Jill has dedicated most of her professional career to working with non-profit organizations. With over three decades of service to the communities she has lived in, she is committed to utilizing her knowledge and experience to enrich the area in any way possible. When not working, Jill enjoys traveling (both domestically and abroad), spending time exploring the outdoors, reading, writing, photography and engaging in genealogy research.

406.257.7711 Ext. 5

Carrie Johnson

Hazardous Fuels Program Manager

Carrie earned a B.S. in Forestry from the University of Montana and served on the front lines of wildland fire as both a hotshot and smokejumper for 20 years, she now manages the Hazardous Fuels Program as a Community Forester. Carrie grew up in Alaska but has called Montana home for the last 2+ decades. She has a passion for fire/fuel mitigation practices and connecting with landowners throughout the valley.

406.257.7711 Ext. 7

Mark Johnson

Loan Officer

A Great Falls native and a Montana State University graduate, Mark brings a broad range of experience from nearly 30 years of experience in the financial industry. His skills are enhanced by his passion to serve his communities. Mark serves on the boards of the Columbia Falls Food Bank, Columbia Falls Lion’s Club, Columbia Falls Community Foundation, Columbia Falls City Board of adjustments and St. Richard’s Parish Finance Committee. He is excited to bring his skills and talents to help business grow in order to make our communities strong and resilient.

406.257.7711 Ext. 1

Lara Russell
Lara Russell

Finance Director

Lara maintains the highest standard of accuracy and accountability in overseeing Montana West and Flathead County EDA funds. With degrees in Economics and Business Administration, a background in the brokerage industry as a fully licensed Financial Professional, and accreditation as a Certified Public Financial Officer through the Government Finance Officers Association, Lara brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in her role at Montana West.

406.257.7711 Ext. 6

Ben Thiem
Ben Thiem

Membership Director

Ben brings two decades of non-profit experience to his role of Membership Director at Montana West Economic Development. Ben has Midwestern roots, growing up in the Red River Valley of northern Minnesota. Before joining MWED Ben served as the Director of Member Services at the League of Chicago Theatres for 17 years. In that role, he was the point person for 250 companies overseeing their membership, communications, grant-writing, and professional development programming. He is a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago. Ben is a board member of Code Girls United, the Board Treasurer for the Rotary Club of Kalispell Daybreak, and a member of the Leadership Montana Flagship Class of 2023 and Leadership Flathead Class of 2023.

406.257.7711 Ext. 2

Our Executive Committee

Tom Moody

NorthWestern Energy

Scott Nicholson

First Interstate Bank

Beckie Christiaens

Flathead Valley Community College

Derrick Woodward

Nomad GCS

Jason Williams

Flathead Electric Cooperative

Our Directors

Matt Baldwin

Daily Inter Lake

Kellyn Brown

Flathead Beacon

Brent Brown

Greenway Development Group

RG Dickey

Swank Enterprises

Talia Domenico

LC Staffing

Dom Goble, PE


Sarah Gould

Elevated Accounting & Advisory

Cameron Johnson

Freedom Bank

Joe McClafferty

Logan Health Foundation

Dave McNutt

Glacier Bank

Our Advisors

Rebekah King

Bigfork Chamber of Commerce

David Fetveit


Doug Russell

City of Kalispell

Pam Holmquist

Flathead County

Lorraine Clarno

Kalispell Chamber of Commerce

Laura Gadwa

Columbia Falls Chamber of Commerce

Kevin Gartland

Whitefish Chamber of Commerce

Connie McCubbins

Evergreen Chamber of Commerce

Susan Nicosia

City of Columbia Falls

Giuseppe Caltabiano

City of Whitefish

Flathead County EDA Logo

Our Relationship with Flathead County
Economic Development Authority

Air shot of Columbia Falls by Vault Media

The Flathead County Economic Development Authority serves as Flathead County’s economic development arm. The Flathead County EDA responsibly invests public funds into local projects producing a strong return in job retention, creation, and infrastructure to attract and retain businesses. The seven Flathead County EDA Board of Directors are appointed by the county commissioners, these individuals possess years of business, entrepreneurial, public affairs, and real estate experience with track records of success. Montana West contracts with the Flathead County EDA to provide professional staffing, management, and the execution of economic development programs for Flathead County. By joining forces, the collaboration creates efficiencies for budgets, personnel, and communication. Find more information about FCEDA at their website, www.flatheadcountyeda.com

Flathead County EDA Logo