Prairie Bighorn – Missoula
American Indian Business Leaders
Prairie Bighorn is the Executive Director of the American Indian Business Leaders organization, which is the only non-profit organization dedicated to empowering business students in the United States with programs designed to engage students in activities that expand business education beyond traditional academic methods. Ms. Bighorn has been recognized by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development as one of Indian Country's 40 under 40 honorees. She holds a bachelors and masters of business administration degree from the University of Montana. Outside of work, she enjoys running, snowboarding and traveling with her family.
Jim Davison - Anaconda
Anaconda Local Development Corporation
Jim Davison has served as Executive Director of the Anaconda Local Development Corporation since 1982. Davison is responsible for delivering a full range of economic and community development services in Anaconda and the surrounding areas including the encouragement of new and expanding businesses, loan and grant programs, technical assistance and recruitment programs.
Jim is a founding director and past president of several organizations including Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA) and Headwaters RC&D Economic Development District and its' related services. He has served on numerous job training and education boards including the State Workforce Investment Board and the Montana School Board Association.
Davison is a 1975 graduate of Montana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Management and has ongoing training in finance, management and administration.
Larry Farrar - Butte
Lawrence C. Farrar is the President and CEO of Resodyn Corporation, Resodyn Acoustic Mixers, and Resodyn Polymeric Engineered Systems, companies that he founded, and that are headquartered in Butte. The range of activities undertaken by these companies includes advanced technology R&D, equipment and system design, product manufacturing, marketing and sales. The products manufactured at the Resodyn facilities have application in numerous industries and are sold globally into the market by Resodyn and by selected trading partners. Resodyn is focused on building unique technology products in Montana and taking them into the market. Mr. Farrar's expertise includes engineering, R&D (numerous SBIR awards across several Federal government agencies), inventor (numerous national and international patents), and business development from the ground up. He holds Bachelors and Masters of Science Degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1973 and 1975 respectively). He is a U.S. Army veteran, serving as an aviator during the Vietnam era.
Eric Fulton - Bozeman
CEO and Founder
Treasure State Internet
Eric Fulton is CEO and founder of Treasure State Internet & Telegraph (TSI&T). Prior to starting this company, Mr. Fulton performed information security assessments for Subsector Solutions Corporation, consulted for KPMG, and performed systems administration for Occidental Petroleum. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Montana and a Masters of Science in Information Security and Assurance from Western Governors University. Mr. Fulton has authored academic papers, mentored students in business and technology, and teaches Ethical Hacking at Montana State University.
David Opitz, PhD - Missoula
Dr. David Opitz received Bachelor degrees in Math and Computer Science at Montana Tech and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1995. As a tenured, full professor in Computer Science at the University of Montana, he published many papers, participated in funded research projects, and was awarded the prestigious NSF CAREER grant. Dr. Opitz co-founded and was President of Visual Learning Systems (VLS), at which time he left the University. VLS quickly became the world leader in automated feature extraction from remotely sensed imagery. Over its first five years, VLS received considerable research funding (including six Phase II SBIR awards), sold millions of dollars' worth of software commercialized from the funded research, and won several awards including the Tibbetts Award, Army Quality Award, and Montana SBIR company of the year. Dr. Opitz led all facets of the company, including research, management, sales and financials. Over the period of about a decade, Dr. Opitz participated in nearly 25 research projects that received over $10 million in funding and co-authored and published nearly 80 research papers. He currently mentors other businesses, is starting another software company, is writing books, and serves on multiple boards.