Thank You Stockman Bank

Montana Trout Unlimited and Stockman Bank: Partners With A Cause

Guest post written by David Brooks, Executive Director of Montana Trout Unlimited Unlimited

David Brooks

We all like to help improve our own backyards or our own neighborhoods. When I accepted a job with Montana Trout Unlimited a few years ago, one of the reasons I was most excited to do so was because the organization was going to start working on a project to remove the deadbeat Rattlesnake Creek dam near my home in Missoula, MT.

Rattlesnake Dam - Rob Roberts

It’s a rare day that I fail to walk, jog, pedal, or wade along or in the Rattlesnake Creek just below the now-obsolete dam in this stream, which flows from designated Wilderness into the heart of downtown Missoula.

Rattlesnake Dam - Rob Roberts

My daughter grew up frolicking in the creek’s cold, clear water on hot summer days and listening to owls hoot from the riverbank cottonwoods while ice cracked and popped in the Rattlesnake on dark winter nights. My affection for this stream, my daily experiences with it, and my excitement about removing the old, unnecessary dam that blocks its flow is pretty common in this area.

Community support for fully freeing the Rattlesnake is high.

With the city’s support, Trout Unlimited is leading this project, which will allow native westslope cutthroat and bull trout to migrate and spawn in the Rattlesnake without impediment. Restoring the floodplain above and below where the concrete dam now sits in the river, will add about fifty percent more open space to the valley. The addition of hiking and biking trails around the project will help accommodate increasing recreational use.

Removing the dam is proving an occasion to engage the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in reminding people about the rich history of how native tribes have long used the area, as well as allows us to tell the history of its development and protection. TU’s work at the site will likely provide an opportunity for university-level field work. Local contractors will be hired to do the rock rolling.

Local Support

In addition to community enthusiasm, local businesses have stepped up to kick-start the fundraising for this project, estimated to cost $1-1.5M. Stockman Bank was among the first and biggest to do so by contributing $10,000 in November of 2017. That initial gift has been critical to raising awareness about the dam removal and has been matched by other local businesses looking to help with this multi-year effort.

Stockman Bank Check Presentation

Fishing with Bob Burns

I had the chance to fish the Blackfoot River with Stockman Bank’s Missoula market president Bob Burns last summer. Having met Bob at various ceremonies for the donations Stockman made to the Rattlesnake, followed by a $7,500 contribution to TU work in the Blackfoot and another $4,500 for the Bitterroot River, I knew he cared deeply about forwarding the bank’s efforts to build healthy communities, including their natural environments and the recreation healthy rivers provide.  Seeing Bob fish made it clear that his commitment to angling and the outdoors is very personal, too.

Like taking out a dam, investing in the Blackfoot and Bitterroot helps us help wild and native trout. TU’s new Bitterroot project manager, Christine Brissette, is overseeing work to reconnect and restore one of the most important native trout tributaries in that drainage. Her work will reopen spawning habitat and a source of cold, clean water for federally-listed, endangered, native bull trout.

Rattlesnake Creek - Rob Roberts

And the Bitterroot and Blackfoot are some of the countless watersheds where the key to TU’s success is thanks to partnerships to with local ranchers. Like Stockman Bank, much of our work is with folks who know the land best, because their families have worked it for generations.

Cottonwood Revegetation

The Stockman donation for the Blackfoot River helps finance work on public and private property through win-win-win solutions for landowners, the public, and trout. A multi-year stream restoration on the Nevada Creek tributary to the Blackfoot is reducing erosion of literally thousands of tons of soil from a multi-generation ranch and, hence, reducing sediment in the river.

Our Big Blackfoot River chapter project manager, Ryen Neudecker, has also replaced an irrigation head gate to make water use more efficient and to keep hundreds of native fish from being caught in a ditch and dying every year. Like most TU stream restoration project managers, she is also using early, private or business donations to leverage millions of grant dollars that put local contractors to work. Local school kids have used the site as an outdoor science classroom and volunteer opportunity.

Willow Growth

Building Relationships

As great as it is seeing improvements in the stream that’s virtually in my backyard and being involved in that work, what’s even better about the work we do is building relationships. By focusing on Montana’s revered trout waters, we often benefit from and enjoy working with agricultural and ranching producers, biologists, recreational river users, agency staff, and community-minded businesses. Once in awhile, I even get to spend a day on the river with someone like Bob Burns.

There’s a corny fish joke that goes something like: Where do fish keep their money? In river banks. Ha ha ha. The truth is, if Montana trout did any banking, they’d be smart to consider doing so with their friends at Stockman.

Thank You Stockman Bank

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Stockman Bank: RE Team

Diversity in the Workplace and Why It’s Important

Stockman Bank: Jessica ChapmanBy Jessica Chapman, Legal Administrative Assistant at Billings King Avenue

Stockman Bank was founded on the principle that people from every walk of life can have a bank to help them grow their dreams with businesses, retirement, and families. It’s not just the drive to be successful and to remain competitive with other banks in the area that keeps us motivated.

What inspires us the most is knowing that we are able to meet the needs of Montanans: the farmers and ranchers, the young college graduate who wants to start their own small business, the single parents who work multiple jobs to provide for their families, the newly married couple who are looking to buy their first home, as well as the large business owners, the entrepreneurs, doctors and lawyers, etc.

Stockman Bank: Ag Lenders


Think about the most recent book you read, the most recent movie you watched and the most recent song you heard come on the radio. Now think about what it would be like if those were your only choices. You could only read that one book, watch that one movie and listen to that one song… every day… for the rest of your life. Sounds kind of awful, right?

Even if all of those things were your absolute favorites, wouldn’t you still want to have the opportunity to see something new, hear something new, and experience something new? Even your favorite songs can get old after they get overplayed. Diversity is what makes every day life new, exciting, and valuable in all aspects.

Diversity in the Workplace

You may be wondering how all of this ties into diversity in the workplace.

Think about what it would be like if you walked into work every day to see a group of people who all looked the same, all talked the same, all believed in the same things, etc. You had to listen to the same ideas, you never got an upgrade for your software programs, your office Christmas party was the same theme every year, and you were expected to do all of the same tasks in all of the same ways, regardless if there was a better option available.

Think about it this way… the hands of a clock can’t tell you the time without the wheels. Each moving part is unique and serves its own purpose, but it’s when they all come together that something incredible takes place. Progress and growth happen when you take a diverse group of people and bring them together to offer up their different thoughts and ideas. A machine runs smoothly because of all of its different parts, working together as one unit.

Clock Parts


Pat Wadors, the Head of HR at LinkedIn, once said, “When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become a wiser, more inclusive, and better organization.”

Each customer who walks through our doors is equally as important as the next, and just as diverse as our customers are our employees. We have both men and women in management, employees of all ages, races, and backgrounds. The diversity within our staff allows us to have an open and welcoming atmosphere, where each customer and employee has the opportunity for growth and success.

Stockman Bank: RE Team

So here we are… the hands, the wheels, the pendulum, the anchor, the barrel, the driving weight, the pallet and the face, all working together simultaneously to make Stockman Bank the successful company that it is. With each new idea, every unique talent we possess and every moment spent not only talking, but listening, we learn from each other, we grow together and we share in our successes, not only amongst ourselves, but with the communities that we serve.

We are proud of who we are, what we have accomplished together, and we thank you for being a part of the Stockman Bank family.

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Love and Money Scale

Love and Money

By Shannon O’Hare – Real Estate Loan Officer and Ron Culver-VP Real Estate Market Manager – Bozeman

Shannon O'Hare - Bozeman Ron Culver - Bozeman


According to the Beatles, “All You Need is Love.” While that may be right, it is possible for love and money to work together! Yes, the relationship between love and money can be complicated and different for everyone. On the one hand, there are people who absolutely love money. That relationship can be fraught with peril if a healthy perspective isn’t maintained. Then there are those who might trade in all their money to find love; be that love for another or love for life. Montana has many examples of people who left big money careers elsewhere to move here and find a new love of life and happiness in this beautiful place we all call home.

Love and Money Scale

One of the fascinating similarities between love and money can be found in having it versus sharing it.

For example, having love is wonderful; sharing it with another can be life-altering. Likewise, having money is good, but sharing it with those you love can be rewarding. That may be as simple as buying a cup of hot cocoa for someone on a cold winter day. The protagonist of Charles Dickens’ tale “The Christmas Carol” personifies this when Ebenezer Scrooge discovers the joy in sharing wealth far exceeds the joy of hoarding his millions.

10 Dollar Bill in a Heart Shape

As we take on a new year with new opportunities and new goals, how can we share our love and/or money with those closest to us?

We have a recommendation. A new home!

After all, home is where the heart is! Also, few things in life build wealth better than owning a home. And few places in life are better suited to foster the love of friends and family than the comfort of a home. The dream of homeownership is one that we strive to bring to fruition for our friends and customers. There is nothing better than coming home after a day on the slopes with Montana’s famous Cold Smoke or hiking in the pristine wilderness alongside one of our state’s many mountain lakes. It makes it all worth every penny.

Blue house in snow with icicles

If you think homeownership is not within your reach, think again! Traditional home-buying is often achieved with spouses pooling their resources, but did you know that you can buy a home with loved ones other than spouses? Friends, business partners, siblings or just about anyone you want to share the investment, can buy a home together. Or you can create all of your own love by forging ahead on your own!


We have had the opportunity to develop and learn a number of strategies to help people get into homes over many years that we would love to pass on to you. After all, knowledge that isn’t shared is like love that isn’t shared… it might never reach its full potential.

Having an heirloom like a home, or the potential equity that comes with homeownership to pass on to your loved ones is something to be proud of long-term.

We know that buying a home (or even refinancing the one you have) can be intimidating to even a seasoned home owner. As with many things in life, the first step to overcoming a stressful topic is simply having a better understanding of it. Talking to someone about money, credit scores, or even a budget can go a long way. Your local Stockman mortgage lender is available to have that conversation, without pressure, to transact business.

CLICK HERE to start a conversation with one of our mortgage professionals today. Let us help you open the door to your new home.

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Steve Tucker - Head Start

Employees Giving Back – Steve Tucker

Our commitment to Montana extends beyond great service, our bank buildings and our monetary contributions.

Every year, our employees go above and beyond their day-to-day work activities. They take pride in being involved in their communities and give countless volunteer hours to events and organizations.

Steve Tucker, VP Branch Manager, Billings Grand

Steve Tucker, VP Branch Manager, Billings Grand

Young Families Head Start and Steve Tucker

Steve Tucker, the branch manager of Stockman Bank Billings Grand Avenue, is on the Board of Directors for Young Families Early Head Start (YFEHS) in Billings. This nonprofit assists and supports low-income, primarily teen, parents and prenatal parents pursuing their educational goals as well as the development of parenting skills, while providing comprehensive, quality child care for their infants and toddlers, from birth to age three.

Steve Tucker - Head Start

Board Members Karen Moses, Steve Tucker along with Wendy Wheeler, Director, playing outside with children.

Steve shared his heartfelt story of why he is so passionate about being involved with YFEHS:

“Let’s go back about 48 years. I want you to envision a young 15 year old teenage girl living on the south side of Billings with her five siblings and parents. They live a very modest life, dad has a decent job with the Montana Power Company and the house is always filled with family, friends and laughter. One day, much to her surprise and that of her family, this same little 15 year old girl came home with the disheartening news that she was pregnant.

What? How did this happen? What is to be done now? All options are considered, but it becomes painfully obvious there is no way they can keep this baby. The family does not have the financial ability to sustain another child. Mom is just a child with the inability to care for herself, much less a newborn baby. Even if she did try to keep the baby, she would have to forego her education and opportunity for a future.

The Decision

After much discussion and debate, they decided the best option was adoption and just before the young girl started to show her baby bump, she was sent off to the Florence Crittenton home in Helena to carry the baby to term. Six months later, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy who was promptly adopted through the state of Montana, and she returned home to Billings to finish her education.

Fast forward to today. That same young boy who was adopted about 48 years ago is sharing his story with you right now with the privilege of being the newest board member of the YFEHS organization and the honor of representing Stockman Bank on the Board. We recognize the vital role that YFEHS serves in allowing young mothers the opportunity to keep their babies without sacrificing their own education and future.”

Steve Tucker - Head Start

Thank you Steve

Steve experienced first-hand the vital role an organization like YFEHS plays in our local communities. Now, he is giving back his time to an organization that makes a difference in the lives of young mothers and children with similar stories. We thank Steve and all our Stockman employees for their volunteer service to help make Montana communities better places to live.

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