Havre Daily News
Bear Paw Development Corp. executive director Paul Tuss will begin today as the project director for a $15 million grant, which is set up to aid in the creation of a biolubricant and bioproduct industry in eastern and central Montana. The industry could include oilseed products, biodiesel and ethanol.
“It's a phenomenal opportunity for central and eastern Montana,” Tuss said. “It's a wonderful way to kickstart the grant.”
Tuss will serve as the grant pro-
ject's director for a startup period of 90 days. He will continue as executive director of Bear Paw Development Corp., which specializes in regional economic and community development along the Hi-Line.
Half of his
time over the next three months will be spent on the grant project and the other half on his executive director position, he said. While Bear Paw Development Corp. covers a five-county region, 32 counties and six reservations will be involved with the grant, Tuss said.
“The magic to this program and the challenge is to leverage these dollars into something much larger,” Tuss said.
He said he presented his opportunity to the Bear Paw Development Corp. board and executive committee, and both supported his decision to be a part of the project. He said the corporation has a good staff and he is sure that no projects will “slip through the cracks” during the time he is working on the grant.
“I don't think we'll skip a beat,” Tuss said.
In a press release announcing Tuss' new position, Gov. Brian Schweitzer said “economic development in eastern and central Montana is a priority.”
“This $15 million grant will help get dollars on the ground to help revitalize the economy with energy development while adding value to Montana's agricultural products,” Schweitzer said in the statement.
Tuss is a past president of the Montana Economic Developers Association, a member of the Montana Economic Development Advisory Council and a member of the Small Business Development Center Advisory Council.
He will be paid $12,500 for the 90-day contract. The state received the federal Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development grant in February.
“It's certainly an opportunity that doesn't come along very often. I am very pleased to be involved,” Tuss said.
Tuss said he is unsure of the parameters of the program and said he will soon know more specifics.
Adam de Yong, of Helena, who served as an economic development specialist in the governor's Office of Economic Development will serve in a temporary position as the administrative officer.
By year's end, permanent positions for the three-year grant will be filled, the press release said.