Key Industries

How key industries are identified:

An industry cluster is a group of similar industries closely connected by supply chains or similar labor pools located within the same region. A location quotient (LQ) measures how concentrated an industry cluster is in a given region as compared to the nation. A LQ greater than 1.0 means the cluster has more representation than the national average. A LQ lower than 1.0 means the industry is under represented in the area compared to the industry’s national average.

Industry clusters are measured by the total amount of payroll of the combined businesses, how many total employees, and the total number of related businesses. In addition, how much this cluster purchases from local supporting businesses adds to the strength of the cluster. We identify the following as some of the stronger clusters in the Flathead Valley.

Machinery and Equipment
Insurance Adminstration Services
Forestry and Value Added Wood Products
Hospitatlity, Leisure and Recreation
Natural and Organic Products

Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing

The machinery and equipment manufacturing cluster is supported by inventive thinkers and a strong mechanical-minded labor force. Semiconductor manufacturing and custom made rifles are growing industries due to our talented craftsmen.

In the Flathead/Glacier Park Region the machinery and metals cluster is strongly supported by the following:

  • Machinery and equipment manufacturing

  • Rifles and rifle component manufacturing

  • Machine shops

  • Tool manufacturing

  • Metal building products

  • Specialty Vehicles

Insurance Administration Services

An industry that launched in the Flathead Valley is the administration of flood insuranceIMG_5765 to national insurance companies. The insurance administration companies hire hundreds of workers who protect and assist Americans with flood insurance. This type of business is reliant upon reliable internet service providers and the innovative drive of the insurance administration leadership.

The Flathead/Glacier Park Region is lucky. Lucky that internet service providers made investments and continue to invest in internet infrastructure that does not exist in any other area of the state. Over 90% of the cities’ residents and businesses have fiber or DSL at various speed choices, and without interruption. Down time is virtually zero.

The stakeholders in the Flathead/Glacier Park Region understand broadband boosts the social and economic well-being of the area, ensuring that medical and education facilities, law enforcement, and emergency management are connected to the latest resources. The broadband infrastructure in the Flathead/Glacier Park Region compares to what you would find in major cities, but at less cost, and less hassle.

Forestry and Wood Products

Forests cover about one-fourth of Montana’s land area, some 22.5 million acres, or about one-fourth of the state’s total land area. This 22.5 million acre land base is divided about equally between forests east and west of the Continental Divide. Because of the influence of moist air masses that flow in from the Pacific ocean, forests west of the Divide contain many more tree species than are found in forests in Eastern Montana. Ponderosa pine dominates “the east side,” but “west side” forests include larch, lodgepole, douglas-fir, grand fir, spruce, western hemlock and western red cedar.

Commercial Timberland Ownership

Montana’s 18,981,723 acres of non-reserved commercial timberland is divided between public and private ownership. The public owns 12,945,591 acres, and another 6,036,132 are privately owned. Of that, 85% of Montana’s timberland base is held in unreserved classifications, meaning it is available for harvest.  About 60% of unreserved timber-some 11.4 million acres-is held in national forests.

Forest product manufacturers in western Montana get more than 35% of their saw timber from public forestlands, while manufacturers east of the Continental Divide get most of their timber from private forest landowners.

Timberland, non-reserved is defined as land available for harvest, and capable of growing at least 20 cubic feet of wood per acre per year. In Montana, west of the Continental Divide, contains some of the most productive forestland in the nation. More than 40% has the potential to produce more than 85 cubic feet per acre per year, and more than 60% is capable of growing between 50 and 119 cubic feet per acre per year.

Timberland, reserved is forestland that would otherwise be classified as timberland, except that it has been withdrawn from timber utilization by statute or administrative regulation. It is most likely located within wilderness areas or national parks, and is prized for its natural beauty, recreational value or historic importance.

Hospitality and Leisure

Looking for a Rocky Mountain family friendly vacation or business meeting location?

Montanans have easy access to world class rivers and lakes, ski mountains, wildlife and national parks. The Flathead/Glacier Park region is visited for wildlife viewing, scenery, hiking, cycling, rafting, horseback riding, snow skiing, snowboarding, and boating. There are world class equestrian events such as the Event at Rebecca Farm, art festivals galore because of our large, creative artist community; the Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival, the Whitefish Winter Carnival, Amadeus Festival, the Spartan Race, live theatre at the Alpine or in Bigfork, Symphony in the Park, the Dragon Boat Races, and many more activities for entertainment.

Numerous lodges, ranch cabins, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals and hotels have facilities for meetings, conferences and retreats.

Visit our numerous convention and visitors bureaus for specific details to plan your trip. Connect with MWED if your interest is starting or expanding a business related to hospitality and leisure, or outdoor recreational products. From wooden soccer shin guards to snowboards, Montanans are inventive and passionate about great gear!

Natural Products

Natural products are minimally processed and formulated without artificial ingredients. Ourhurraw
entrepreneurs’ imaginations have launched and grown companies exporting nutrition/herbal supplements, food, and skincare/personal care products all over the world. Have you ever tried Hurraw! All Vegan Lip Balm? Or Tabletree Cherry Juice? What about Mountain Meadow Herbs supplements? All of these products were imagined and created right here in Montana.