April 14 - 16, 2019

Copper King Hotel & Convention Center | Butte MT
4655 Harrison Avenue | 406.565.5001 


The following agenda is a work in progress and may be subject to change.

Breakout Session Tracks

To help you maximize your Governor's Conference experience, we've organized breakout session content into three tracks this year:  Destination Development, Destination Marketing and Destination Management. Each track will have four sessions that are focused on providing innovative tools, resources and best practices presented by guest speakers and panelists who have experience and expertise from their respective areas to share. The goal is for the information to be delivered in a meaningful and inspiring manner that will facilitate discussion and engagement and that will have attendees leaving each session and the conference with new tools, new contacts and new inspiration that they may put to work. The breakout sessions have been extended to 75 minutes each, allowing for more valuable time together. 

As tourism industry professionals, we are familiar with the term "destination". However, it may hold different meanings depending upon our unique situations, locations and opportunities. While some define destination as a geographic place or specific site of an attraction, others may define it as a state of being, an entire region or a season of the year! The conference will explore Montana as an overall destination while providing an indepth look at the individual issues, challenges and opportunities of the various unique destinations across the state.

Sunday, April 14, 2019


Location: Main Lobby | Sponsor:  Windfall


Available at no additional charge to those attendees registered for the full conference. Space is limited, available first come, first served basis, please pre-register to guarantee your spot. Transportation will be provided from the Copper King Hotel & Convention Center.

9:30 AM - 12:00 PM | RAILS AND TRAILS

Guided by: Jocelyn Dodge, 2017 Montana Tourism Ambassador of the Year

Take a walk along a 1.5 stretch of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad aka Milwaukee Road located in Thompson Park, a 3,500 acre Congressionally designated municipal recreation area dedicated in 1922 – unique to the National Forest System. The Park has been co-managed with the City-County of Butte-Silver Bow since 1922 when the Mayor of Butte and Secretary of Agriculture signed an agreement – a rare occurrence. The park holds a rich history of management as a historical, recreation destination in Butte’s backyard. The park offers 25 miles of non-motorized trails for multiple recreation uses. There are two trailheads and four picnic areas, as well as two tunnels and a trestle that make up the backbone of the trail.

Notes: The walk will be on easy, railroad grade, and packed snow. Bring weather appropriate shoes (spring in Montana means lingering snow!), warm and weather-proof clothes, water, camera. Energy snacks and hydration provided.



The fastest and most colorful way to learn about Butte is a Trolley Tour. In about two hours, you'll see where the characters, famous folk, miners and scoundrels lived and worked. Plus, you'll hear how they made Butte the lively, urban center it was. The trolley driver will share knowledge of Butte history and folklore. Sightseeing tour includes: National Historic District, Charles W. Clark Chateau, Victorian neighborhoods, Copper King Mansion, Dumas Brothel Museum, Piccadilly Museum of Transportation, World Museum of Mining, Mai Wah, and our Lady of the Rockies. The trolley will stop at the Berkeley Pit viewing stand and the Copper King Mansion for a guided tour inside the historic home of William Andrews Clark.


Join us for a private bus tour as we visit the World Museum of Mining and explore the underground mine tunnels and shafts of the original Orphan Girl Mine. Go down either 65 or 100 feet and experience a mine tour unlike any other. Next we’ll stop at the Berkeley Pit, the mining site that marked the shift from underground to open pit mining in 1955. Finally, we’ll finish with a pint, or two, at Butte Brewing in old Finn Town, East Butte.


Butte is more than copper and characters. Join us as we learn about a few of the unique economic drivers of Butte’s past and present. The guided bus tour will travel up to visit the Kelley Mine, one of the last underground mines established in Butte, and the last to close in 1983. The once prosperous mine is now the site of Headframe Spirits Manufacturing (HSM) and Mountain Consolidated Packaging (MCP), two of four successful operations under the Headframe Spirits company. We’ll learn how Headframe Spirits is both dedicated to providing quality products and continuing the rich tradition of economic opportunity in Butte. At the Dumas Brothel we’ll peek into the unusually lucrative history of Butte’s red light district. We’ll finish with a stop for a tour and tasting at Headframe Spirits tasting room, a contemporary favorite born from the depths of Butte’s famous mines.


Presenters: Dax Schieffer, Director, Voices of Montana Tourism & Jan Stoddard, Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

Location: Copper Conference Center | Sponsor:  Arrivalist

If you're attending the Governor's Conference for the first time, then you're invited to this exclusive gathering that immediately proceeds the Welcome Reception. After a brief introduction to the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development, learn how to get the most from the Governor's Conference before enjoying time to chat with MOTBD staff and other first-time attendees.


Location: Bert Mooney Airport | 101 Airport Road (directly across Harrison Avenue from the Copper King)

Transportation from the Copper King Hotel & Conference Center to the airport and back will be provided as well as transportation from the airport to various hotels at the conclusion of the reception. 

Sponsors:  Butte Silver-Bow Tourism Business Improvement District | Montana Ambassadors, local chapter | Visit Southwest Montana

Pack your bags and plan to travel to the 2019 conference in Butte, Montana. Upon your arrival on Sunday, plan to make your way over to the recently constructed new terminal at Bert Mooney Airport, the perfect site to host the reception to welcome attendees. The spirit of travel and adventure will fill the 40,633 square foot space that was designed to reflect the historical charm of Butte, while providing the modern necessities that travelers desire. 

The Welcome Reception that will feature a tour of ethnic and cultural cuisine unique to Butte. Guests will travel around the beautiful new airport terminal to enjoy an authentic Chinese noodle bar, pasties and gravy, pork chop sliders, tamales and a delightful dessert tray. Montana made beverages, along with local brews, wines and spirits and your favorite standbys will be available at a no host cash bar. 

Guests are encouraged to "dress up" for the occasion as their favorite Butte character from a bygone era or the current day. Many immigrants from other countries or areas of the country made the trek to Butte, some stayed and established the diverse population that still exists today, some traveled through leaving their mark such as Charles Lindbergh, who landed the "Spirit of St. Louis" in Butte in 1927, and some were born there and became legends. Here are some suggestions as you travel through time to select your character costume: a copper baron, William A. Clark or Marcus Daly, an immigrant, a miner, a patron of the Rookwood Speakeasy, the madam or a worker at the Dumas Brothel, a union leader or the man himself, Evel Knievel. 

The reception is a time to connect, reflect and celebrate with fellow tourism industry friends and colleagues. In addition, special activities for both the leisure and active traveler to enjoy will be on the evening's itinerary including a passport photo booth, prepaid postcard station to send greetings from Butte, Montana USA and a live performance by local Irish dancers. 

We anxiously await your arrival and look forward to checking you in at the 2019 Governor's Conference on Tourism and Recreation! 




Monday, April 15, 2019


Location: Main Lobby | Sponsor:  Windfall

8:15–9:30 AM | WELCOME & FEATURE PRESENTATION - Samantha Brown - For more than 15 years, Samantha Brown has traversed continents, experienced culture and tasted adventure applying her singular brand of warmth and inclusion along the way. Now, Samantha joins the public television family with 13 NEW 30-minute episodes of Places to Love that seek out the little-known places where innovators and "disrupters" are creating a brand new travel experience.

Location: King Ballroom | Sponsor:  Xanterra

9:3010:00 AM | EXHIBIT BREAK Sponsored by Hagadone Media Group Montana


DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT | Tourism Product Development Panel -  Tourism product development will be presented by guest panelist Jon Schmieder of Huddle Up Group whose team provides insights and expertise to develop and enhance sports tourism offerings and unique economic development projects utilizing vacant spaces. Pat and Susan will present an overview of agritourism, a place where agriculture and tourism meet,  including definitions, trends, and opportunities. Take a look at  Montana agritourism products ranging from community events, seasonal offerings, and a full Permaculture farmstead. 

Presenters:  Susan Joy, Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development | Patricia McGlynn, PhD, Montana State University Extension | Jon Schmieder, Huddle Up Group 

Moderator:  Kevann Campbell, Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

Location:  Copper Conference Center Rooms 1-2 | Sponsor:  Arrivalist

DESTINATION MARKETING | Technology Advancements in Tourism Marketing - Learn from industry experts about existing and emerging technology and digital solutions. This panel will discuss how technology and digital marketing influences Montana's marketing initiatives. The team will discuss the key uses of research and analytics from paid, earned and owned media; new evolutions in paid and social media; measuring traditional media and an overview of the new Arrivalist Dashboard.

Speakers:  Ben Gill, Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development | Nick Johnson, Matt Hogan, Pat Kopischkie of Hoffman York

Location:  Copper Conference Center Room 3 | Sponsor:  Rocky Mountain International

DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT | Success Stories Panel - Destination development through tourism product and infrastructure development is increasingly recognized as vital to long-term economic sustainability. Learn about successful destination development from the varied perspectives of businesses, communities, destination marketing, and non-profit public lands organizations.

Speakers:  Shirley Beck, The Sweet Palace and Sapphire Gallery | Sarah Calhoun, Red Ants Pants | Courtney McKee, Headframe Spirits | Mike Penfold, Our Montana

Moderator:  Jan Stoddard, Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

Location: Copper Conference Center Rooms 4-5 | Sponsor:  Arrivalist

11:30 AM12:45 PM | KEYNOTE LUNCHEON | Cameron Sholly, Superintendent, Yellowstone National Park

Location: King Ballroom | Sponsor:  Sojern

1:00–2:00 PM | FEATURE PRESENTATION | How To Market and Sell To People Not Like You | Kelly McDonald, McDonald Marketing - Kelly is a marketing and advertising specialist and considered one of the nation’s top experts in consumer trends, generational differences and leveraging the customer experience. She is the founder of McDonald Marketing, which has twice been named one of the “Top Ad Agencies in the US” and ranked as one of the fastest growing independently owned companies in the US by Inc. Magazine.

Location: King Ballroom | Sponsor:  Montana State Parks 


DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT |  Developing Integrated Partnerships to Build Tribal Tourism - A discussion to highlight the collaborative actions between the State of Montana and our Tribal tourism partners to support and grow future capacity, drive economic development and connect conscious travelers to the tribal culture, tradition and history of Montana. 

Speakers:  Shelly Fyant, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes | Lester Johnson, Inside Lakes Learning Institute | Stephanie Vielle, Blackfeet Nation | Rose Williamson, Indian Battle Tours 

Moderator:  Heather Sobrepena, Montana Office of Indian Country Economic Development

Location:  Copper Conference Center Rooms 1-2 | Sponsor:  Arrivalist

DESTINATION MARKETING | Deep Dive into Diversity with keynote speaker Kelly McDonald - Diversity marketing is the new norm as our marketing environment has become more complex and consumers have become more sophisticated. Join Kelly for this deep-dive presentation and interactive discussion to explore these differences and to learn solutions, strategies and tactics to identify and reach your high potential prospects with tailored product, messaging and marketing efforts. Plan to share your specific challenges with the group.

Speaker:  Kelly McDonald, McDonald Marketing

Location:  Copper Conference Center Room 3 | Sponsor:  Rocky Mountain International

DESTINATION MANAGEMENT | Workforce Development and Talent Acquisition - Experts from higher education, businesses, communities, state agencies and organizations will present innovative approaches that incorporate tools and Montana outdoor assets to attract, educate, train and retain talent in the hospitality and tourism industries. Featured panel speakers include representatives from Carroll College, Montana State University, Montana Department of Labor and Industry and the University of Montana.

Speakers:  Aimee Elliott, University of Montana | Marcy Gaston, Montana State University | Dylan Rogness, University of Montana | Dr. Annette Ryerson, Carroll College

Moderator:  Julie Jaksha, Small Business Development Center in Butte

Location:  Copper Conference Center Rooms 4-5 | Sponsor: Destination Analysts

3:304:00 PM | EXHIBIT BREAK Sponsored by Hagadone Media Group Montana


DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT | Data Driven Development Experts from the Institute for Tourism & Recreation Research (ITRR) will present an overview of both non-resident and resident travel, inbound routing data, and research driven tourism product development. 

Speakers:  From the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research:  Norma Nickerson, PhD, Director | Jeremy Sage, PhD, Economist and Associate Director | Kara Grau, Assistant Director of Economic Analysis | Megan Schultz, Project Manager and Research Associate

Location:  Copper Conference Center Rooms 1-2 | Sponsor:  Arrivalist

DESTINATION MARKETING |  International Travel and Market Update - International Travel Trade Manager, Marlee Iverson will provide an update on Montana’s key international markets for FY19. In addition we will hear from Mathias Jung of Rocky Mountain International on the process of the Great American West branding project with the five state consortium. Mako Sakaguchi, Montana’s representative in Japan will also be in attendance and give an update on her market.

Speakers:  Marlee Iverson, Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development | Mathias Jung, Rocky Mountain International | Mako Sakaguchi, State of Montana Japan Trade Office

Location:  Copper Conference Center Room 3  | Sponsor:  Rocky Mountain International

DESTINATION MANAGEMENT | Hire For Your Peak Season and Don't Lose Money Doing It - The SBDC course provides an opportunity to delve into the key indicators business owners with seasonal staff should consider to help determine decisions of when to hire, how much to pay new hires, and what to expect in performance as it impacts the bottom line.  

Speaker:  Julie Jaksha, Small Business Development Center in Butte

Location:  Copper Conference Center Room 4-5 | Sponsor:  Destination Analysts


Location: Poolside and Outdoor Patio | Sponsor:  Headframe Spirits


Master of Ceremonies:  Rachel Gregg, Big Sky Film Institute

Location: King Ballroom | Sponsor:  Hoffman York


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

7:30 – 11:15 AM | REGISTRATION

Location: Main Lobby | Sponsor:  Windfall

8:00 – 9:30 AM | FEATURE PRESENTATION - Adventures in Marketing - First, we'll take a look at how MOTBD is marketing a summer adventure in Montana to our priority audiences. Then, the audience will choose their own adventure as they vote on the topics to be covered by the panel. Options to explore include national travel trends, flipping the marketing funnel, turning research into action and more.

Presenters:  Dave Bratton, Destination Analysts | Emily Dold, Hoffman York | Raylee Honeycutt, Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development | Marlee Iverson, Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

Location: King Ballroom | Sponsor:  Town Pump Hotel Group

9:30 – 9:45 AM | EXHIBIT BREAK Sponsored by Hagadone Media Group Montana

9:45 – 11:00 AM | BREAKOUT SESSIONS 

DESTINATION MANAGEMENT | Strategic Planning and Collaboration - Strategic planning is a comprehensive process for determining what a business or destination should become and the steps needed to achieve that goal. Collaboration is a critical component of the process. This panel offers insights into creating community collaboration and tourism strategic planning from a variety of perspectives.  

Speakers:  Dylan Boyle, Explore Whitefish | John Brewer, Billings Chamber of Commerce | Racene Friede, Glacier Country | Emilie McGee, Visit Big Sky | Diane Medler, Discover Kalispell

Moderator:  Jan Stoddard, Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

Location:  Copper Conference Center Rooms 1-2 | Sponsor:  Arrivalist

DESTINATION MARKETING | Montana Film Office "Fame & Fortune in the 406" - Film professionals will play the location selection game with audience teams who will attempt to sell their community's assets in order to be selected as the site for a multi-million dollar film project. This is sure to be a lively session complete with game pieces, props and even some real life movie producers may grace the game show stage!

Facilitator:  Allison Whitmer, Montana Film Commissioner

Location:  Copper Conference Center Room 3 | Sponsor:  Rocky Mountain International

DESTINATION MANAGEMENT | Crisis Communications and Working with Local Media - "Tell your story or someone else will" is an all-too familiar challenge for Montana's tourism and outdoor recreation industries, especially when it comes to the national media describing crisis situations such as natural disasters or worse. Public Relations strategists Lisa Jones and Brian Schott, back by popular demand, will be joined by local newspaper editor, David McCumber of the Montana Standard to present methods and case studies along with good local reporting and story-telling that will prepare your organization, business and community to collaborate with local media professionals to not only shed light, but to spotlight the state as a safe and spectacular place to visit.

Speakers:  Lisa Jones, LJ Communications, Inc. | Brian Schott, Buckshot Enterprises, Inc. | David McCumber, Montana Standard

Location:  Copper Conference Center Rooms 4-5 | Sponsor:  Destination Analysts


11:30 AM -12:45 PM | KEYNOTE LUNCHEON - Governor Steve Bullock

Location: King Ballroom | Sponsor:  Pursuit

1:00 - 2:00 PM | KEYNOTE PRESENTATION - Will Brown, US Travel Association

Location: King Ballroom | Sponsor:  NorthWestern Energy

2:00 - 2:15 PM | BREAK Sponsored by Hagadone Media Group Montana

2:15 - 4:00 PM | INDUSTRY NETWORK BREAKOUT SESSIONS - These popular breakout sessions give attendees the opportunity to gather and discuss industry specific issues in an informal round-table format with plenty of time for questions and discussion. Each session will have two facilitators and attendees are encouraged to share their challenges and success stories with their industry peers.

Attractions (parks, museums, historical sites, trails, routes, retail businesses...)

Facilitators:  Pam Gosink, Montana Dude Ranchers' Association | Sheena Pate, Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council

Location:  Copper Conference Center Room 1

Outdoor Recreation (businesses, manufacturers, retail, public and private partners, outfitters & guides...)

Facilitator:  Rachel VandeVoort, Montana Office of Outdoor Recreation | Diane Bristol, Simms Fishing Products

Location:  Copper Conference Center Room 2

Hospitality, Lodging, Food & Beverage (properties, businesses, restaurants, cafes...)

Facilitators:  Bill McGladdery, Town Pump | Sandra Johnson Thares, O'Haire Motor Inn & Sip-N-Dip

Location:  Copper Conference Center Room 3

Visitor's Services & DMOs (TBIDs, BIDs, Regions, CVBs, Visitor Centers, Chamber of Commerce...)

Facilitators:  MarySue Costello, West Yellowstone CVB | Robin Hoover, Yellowstone Country

Location:  Copper Conference Center Room 4

Tribal Tourism (tribal leaders and representatives and interested partners)

Facilitators:  Phillip Belangie & Heather Sobrepena, Montana Office of Indian Country Economic Development

Guest Presenters:  Edward Hall III, Bureau of Indian Affairs | Kristin Lamoureaux, PhD, Virginia Tech

Location:  Copper Conference Center Room 5



301 S. PARK AVE. | P.O. BOX 200533 | HELENA, MT 59620-0533 |  T: 406.841.2870 |  F: 406.841.2871 | TDD: 406.841.2702