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Montana Governor Schweitzer Announces Winners of First Annual Innovative Business Award

August 8, 2012View for printing

Innovation Day and Awards Dinner to be Held Aug 28th at MSU

Registration Open at

Today, Governor Brian Schweitzer announced that nine Montana companies from around the state will be honored with an innovative business award at the first annual Governor's Innovation Day and Awards Dinner to be held August 28th at Montana State University. Registration is open at

"Montana's innovation economy is on fire; companies across the state are growing and creating jobs in new, innovative ways. These are just a few companies that exemplify the opportunities businesses have in Montana. When you could be doing business anywhere in the world, why not do business in Montana with our low taxes, world-class schools, and a quality of life that is unmatched?," asked Governor Brian Schweitzer.

On August 28th, 2012 at Montana State University the Governor will be hosting the first annual Innovation Day and Awards Dinner. The event is open to the public and registration can be found at

The day will include a panel of high level business leaders and investors, and tours of Montana State University's cutting-edge labs and research centers concluding with the Governor's Innovation Awards Dinner where these selected Montana companies will be recognized for their excellence in innovation and the contributions their companies have made to Montana's economy.

"This is a great opportunity for all companies to come together, network, and have a conversation about Montana's growing innovation economy. Register for the event and mark your calendars because you won't want to miss the first annual Innovation Day and Awards Dinner," said Schweitzer.

For the full agenda and more information visit

Innovation Award Winners:

CTA Group in Billings, MT

One evening in the summer of 1938, after a day of fishing on the Boulder River in Montana, Ralph Cushing, a Structural Engineer and Everett Terrell, an Architect made a bold decision - to begin an innovative partnership of their own. So began CTA Architects Engineers; a previously unheard-of alliance between an architect and an engineer under one roof. Even back then, they knew that the most effective and efficient way to provide professional planning service was to provide both architecture and engineering - integrated design. As CTA approaches our 75th Anniversary it has grown to include offices in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Colorado, Texas, and Louisiana. Our 390+ member staff, which includes over 260 Montana's and 95+ LEED AP's, provide our clients with a broad base of personnel resources such as architectural design, mechanical, electrical and structural engineering, landscape and interior design. CTA also employs a range of specialists in such areas as audio visual, refrigeration, and roofing and envelope forensics and design. Our comprehensive approach allows CTA to provide our clients with an innovative full service architecture firm and some of the best talent available.

Bridger Photonics in Bozeman, MT

Bridger Photonics was founded by three dedicated laser physicists who pursued their advanced degrees together at Montana State University. Each of the founders subsequently pursued different paths, developing unique sets of experience along the way, and reunited to build a pioneering company with a strong set of core values reflecting the pioneering spirit of Bozeman, MT. The company specializes in lasers and laser-based measurement systems for industrial metrology, biomedical, and defense industries. The company has developed the highest resolution distance measurement systems in the world, and the only affordable, compact, mid-infrared, high-energy pulsed laser. Their technologies improve manufacturing quality and efficiency, help rapidly identify cancer cells, and critically enable key national security capabilities. Bridger was ranked by Inc. Magazine as the fastest growing privately held U.S. company in the Engineering Sector in 2011 and was a 2012 recipient of the prestigious Tibbetts Award, honoring outstanding small businesses that participate in the SBIR program.

Enell Sports Bras in Havre, MT

ENELL SPORTS Bras started with a simple goal: Perfect the sports bra and make it available to all well-endowed women. After teaming up with one of the country's leading authorities on sports bra research, and conducting extensive research and testing in a Sports Biomechanics Lab, the ENELL SPORTS Bra was introduced to the public in multiple sizes for high-impact activities. ENELL was featured on The Oprah Show twice and is endorsed by Pro Beach Volleyball Players, Olympic Biathletes, and other sports enthusiasts. ENELL is committed to making a difference in women's lives and giving back to their community.

Rivertop Renewables in Missoula, MT

Rivertop Renewables develops, manufactures and markets cost-competitive, biodegradable chemicals for essential and innovative applications. The Company is currently co-developing products for the detergent and petroleum industries, two billion-dollar markets seeking replacement chemicals that fulfill price/performance and sustainability mandates. Multiple longer-term opportunities exist in the company's research with advanced biodegradable polymers, adhesives, and other functional materials. Rivertop spun out of research conducted at the University of Montana.

Zinc Air, Inc. in Columbia Falls, MT

Zinc Air, Inc. is developing a grid storage system focused on breaking the cost-benefit threshold which is currently limiting widespread adoption of storage. The company is developing and delivering a battery system that is safe, sustainable and cost effective, which will allow for a rapid industry adoption, wider social acceptance, and facilitate a reduction of fossil fuel carbon emissions.

Ticket River in Harlowton, MT

Ticket River & is an event ecommerce company based in Bozeman and Harlowton, Montana, serving the US, Canada, UK, and Australia markets. sells event products -- printed event and raffle tickets, wristbands, stickers, invitations, event badges, event programs, roll tickets, flyers, posters, and more. Ticket River enables event organizers to easily set up events and sell tickets online. Started in a garage in Bigfork in 1997, Ticket River & is the largest private employer in Wheatland County, Montana and operates across three continents with over 100,000 customers.

TerraEchos in Missoula, MT

TerraEchos, Inc. is an international leader in stream computing for advanced national security applications. Our award-winning solution, Kairos™, harnesses the power of big data in motion and leverages extreme data volume, variety and velocity to deliver real-time insights. Through mission critical workflow optimization, Kairos delivers the power of "knowing now," so our customers have the right information, right now in order to make the right decision. Kairos combines an optimal configuration of hardware, software and analytical components to achieve world-class performance, solving computationally intensive problems as information streams across the Kairos Technology Platform™.

Earl Fisher BioFuels in Chester, MT

Earl Fisher is a partnership formed between two fourth generation Montana farmers who set out to enhance the agriculture and rural economy. Located in Chester, MT, the mission at Earl Fisher BioFuels is to create economic growth and employment opportunities at their biodiesel production facility that will create a self sustaining industry for oilseed crops that can be grown locally, converted to fuel locally, and consumed locally. The Chester facility is the blueprint to duplicate the process in other small communities throughout the state.

Simms Fishing Products in Bozeman, MT

Simms has been manufacturing waders in Bozeman, Montana for almost 20 years. They pioneered the first breathable wader in 1993, which changed the face of fishing waders and opened up new possibilities for the sport. Today, every GORE-TEX® wader is still stitched by hand in their Bozeman facility, the only wader manufacturer in the United States and one of three GORE-TEX® certified wader manufacturers in the world. Simms is a fishing company. They have enjoyed success by staying true to the original vision of their company by building the highest quality products to keep customers dry, comfortable and protected from the elements in any fishing conditions.
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