Tester’s successful Bozeman jobs forum now online

Bozeman’s Bridger Photonics and Missoula’s Rivertop Renewables among those sharing success stories at Sept. 30 event

(U.S. SENATE) – Montanans who missed Senator Jon Tester’s successful jobs forum in Bozeman last month can now view video of the well-attended event on Tester’s website, tester.senate.gov/jobsforum.

Tester’s September 30 hearing brought together small business owners and university researchers to examine how university and federally-funded research benefits Montana’s economy and creates jobs.

“In the last four years, the company has grown to 18 employees and almost $3 million in annual revenues,” said Pete Roos, former university researcher and now the CEO of Bridger Photonics. “Our company started with no money, zero funding. We sat down one night and wrote three government proposals.” 

Roos’ Bozeman company is now listed as one of the country’s fastest growing small businesses.

“Listening to Montanans share recommendations, successes, and challenges is the best way for me to help grow Montana’s economy,” said Tester, chairman of the Senate’s Economic Policy Subcommittee. “My forum put small business owners, university researchers and economic experts in the same room to brainstorm on job creation and long-term economic growth. I look forward to turning many of their suggestions into policy recommendations.”

Many other growing Montana technology companies got their start from university research or through government research grants, including Missoula’s Rivertop Renewables and Kalispell’s ZincAir.

Tester’s jobs forum, attended by dozens of people, also focused on the role of capital formation in spurring the economy and facilitating innovation.

Tester also held his ninth Small Business Opportunity Workshop in Butte earlier this month. More than 1,700 Montana companies and individuals have attended Tester’s small business workshops in Great Falls, Bozeman, Kalispell, Billings, Butte and Missoula.