In Missoula, Sen. Jon Tester Hosts Roundtable Event on Bringing Regional Tech Hub to Montana
Tester was joined by experts, innovators, and entrepreneurs to discuss critical next steps for securing a Regional Tech Hub in Montana
(Missoula, Mont.) — U.S. Senator Jon Tester today hosted a roundtable at Missoula College in Missoula to discuss next steps for securing a regional Montana Technology and Innovation Hub, and the innovation and economic growth it would bring to the state. After the roundtable, attendees from Montana’s colleges and universities, tech startups, and accelerators participated in breakout planning discussions. Following the event, Tester answered questions from the press.
“Through the Regional Tech Hub program, we have a unique opportunity to create good-paying Montana jobs, fix our supply chains, and reduce our reliance on foreign adversaries by investing in research and development right here in Big Sky Country,” said Tester. “Montanans sent me to the United States Senate to defend our communities, and that means making sure every single community in our state – whether that’s a city like Kalispell or a frontier community like Circle – has the resources it needs to support its businesses and grow its economy. Let me be clear: I am hell-bent on making sure Montana is home to one of these tech hubs.”
The roundtable panelists included Seth Bodnar, University of Montana; Sandra Boham, Salish Kootenai College; Clay Christian, Montana Commission for Higher Education; Nathan Greenfield, Bridger Photonics; Alison Harmon, Montana State University; Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins; Angela Lueking, Montana Tech; Garrett Leach, Next Frontier Capital; Jeff Turner, Applied Materials; and Eric Smith, Economic Development Association.
Last year, Congress passed the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act that will invest in high-tech manufacturing across the country, strengthen technology supply chains, and bolster development of cutting-edge research in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Tester was the only member of the Montana congressional delegation to serve on the conference committee that negotiated the bill.
Among Tester’s key achievements in negotiating the legislation were provisions that establish Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs in key areas across the country. He championed an amendment to ensure that a rural state like Montana will have an opportunity to secure Tech Hub funding, which could ultimately bring hundreds of millions of dollars in new federal funding to the state.