Three local tech companies have been awarded grants that will help them hire more than 100 people in Flathead County.
Job Creation Grants from the Big Sky Trust Fund have been awarded to ClassOne Technology, GL Solutions, and Nomad Global Communication Solutions. The companies are among half a dozen recipients of more than $1 million through the program this year, according to the Montana Department of Commerce.
“It’s a great tool for our local businesses to help them fund growth,” Christy Cummings Dawson, Montana West’s president of economic development, wrote via email. Dawson and nonprofits in the economic development field have helped the companies compile their grant applications.
According to Cummings-Dawson, the grants ensure that the new jobs will be high-paying.
“[The companies] It will be compensated for each new job created [with compensation] Over $22.05 [per hour] It must show a single matching investment, whether in wages paid or equipment purchase.
This was the first time ClassOne had been selected, but GL Solutions and Nomad have previously been awarded grants through the program, according to Cummings-Dawson.
Hiring in the Flathead Valley has been difficult for high-tech manufacturing company ClassOne, whose business is focused on developing specialized tools for microelectronics production, according to vice president John Gecker.
Ghekiere says the grant will support “serious growth,” which could lead to the company hiring an additional 45 employees. The company currently has 70 employees in Kalispell.
Nomad, which designs and manufactures mobile operations centers for emergency services and private sector companies, has received funding from the program before.
“We’ve been very lucky to use it a few times,” said Clay Benford, co-founder of Nomad. “It has allowed us to expand faster in certain areas because it has allowed us to defer or offset some of the costs.”
In addition to the 26 assembly, project management and administrative positions Nomad hopes to fill in Flathead County, Benford said the grant money allows the company to offset a portion of payroll costs and focus on expanding its new plant in Libby.
The company is building its facilities in Lincoln County and expects production to begin in April.
Binford hopes to place 78 employees there with the help of the grant, which has the option to extend for an additional year.
Organizational software developer GL Solutions will hire 30 workers with the help of a job creation grant, CEO Bill Mosley said.
Mosley credited Montana West’s economic development and the administration of Governor Greg Gianforte for helping his company through what he described as a simple grant application process.
Ghekiere agreed, and gave a special thanks to Cummings Dawson.
“I was quite clumsy putting some of the details together,” he said, “but Kristi’s experience and clear instructions made everything clear.”
“Sometimes our customers ask us why we manufacture semiconductor equipment in Montana. One answer is experiences like this.”
Reporter Adrian Knowler can be contacted at 758-4407 or [email protected].