About

MWED & FCEDA

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

Jerry Meerkatz
Jerry Meerkatz

President & CEO

Jerry brings an extensive range of expertise to his role at Montana West. During his 35 year career in business management, he held leadership roles in tech industry giants including Hewlett Packard and Compaq, as well as ushering a start-up company to success. His experience in that enterprise company fueled Jerry’s passion to help new and expanding local businesses thrive.

406.257.7711 Ext. 4

Christy Cummings
Christy Cummings Dawson

Government Contracting Advisor

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. She enjoys assisting local business owners in gaining government contracts throughout the US.

406.257.7711 Ext. 5

Stephen Walter
Stephen Walter

Loan Officer

Stephen is an Indiana native living in the beautiful state of Montana. He is passionate about small businesses, helping the community, and growing awareness of opportunities. He loves spending time outdoors and enjoying what this beautiful state has to offer.

406.257.7711 Ext. 1

Lara Russell
Lara Russell

Accounting Manager

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 joined Montana West as Membership Director in May 2021. Before joining Montana West, 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. Ben and his wife Kristin are excited to be members of the Flathead Valley community.

406.257.7711 Ext. 2

Lisa Mey
Lisa Mey

Office Manager

Lisa brings over 30 years of experience as an Office Manager and Bookkeeper for private businesses and nonprofit agencies to her role at Montana West. Originally from the East Coast, Lisa moved to the Flathead Valley in 2017. She is excited to help local businesses grow and succeed.

406.257.77111 Ext. 7

Our Executive Committee

Jason Williams

Flathead Electric Cooperative
Chair

Don Rich

Cornerstone Wealth Management Partners
Past Chair

Tom Moody

Northwestern Energy
Vice-Chair

Ty Weber

Logan Imaging North
Treasurer

Dennis Beams

Glacier Bank
Member-at-Large

Beckie Christiaens

Flathead Valley Community College
Member-at-Large

Our Directors

Don Bennett

Freedom Bank

Matt Baldwin

Daily Inter Lake

Kellyn Brown

Flathead Beacon

Brent Brown

Greenway Development Group

RG Dickey

Swank Enterprises

Derrick Woodward

Nomad GCS

Scott Nicholson

First Interstate Bank

Tagen Vine

Logan Health

Ryan Jones, PE

Morrison-Maierle

Our Advisors

Rebekah King

Bigfork Chamber of Commerce

David Fetveit

Lakeside/Somers

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

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

MWED Logo
Flathead County EDA Logo
MWED Logo
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