Episode 1 Interview Transcripts JOY FRENCH

0:34 My name is Joy French and I’m an assistant adjunct professor in the dance department and I’m also the artistic director of Bare Bait Dance.

0:45 Originally I did my undergrad here back in the day. And so I was living in Missoula for about five years at that point and then I left. And danced and did other things around the west. I eventually got my MFA in dance and theater down at CU Boulder. Then after that, upon graduating they needed someone to help cover maternity leave for one of the professors and I happily volunteered.

1:12 That brought me back up around here originally and then it just kind of snowballed from there.

1:34 Before coming back and sort of starting to teach at the university, one of my favorite projects I did was a film called  Leading Ladies and (weird ass break here, wtf?)

1:44 It’s a dance film of course. Because that's my interest and I was just assistant to the director so I wasn’t in charge of anything specific on the film except for just supporting her and the directing. It’s also a coming out story. It’s a lesbian love story at the same time. It’s a fun mix of really virtuosic dancing and then this really beautiful love story.

3:10 Originally I was taking over for just a couple modern classes that first fall. That’s all I did the first fall and I started choreographing with the students to help out some of the productions.

3:23 Within about the first year I was able to take over the jazz classes from Heather Adams who is an amazing jazz teacher and she was kind of phasing out about that time. She runs the downtown dance collective. There’s always this trading in town of the professional dancers and teachers and what we can all do. And she was phasing out so I was able to take over the jazz courses. Which has been now my stable gig here at the U in addition to taking on other teaching as needed.

3:49 Then I got to develop this really great course called ‘dance in popular movies’. It’s an online course, people always think it’s funny to have a dance class online.  This one is actually about film because of course I have that interest. So we look at the whole history of dance and film which has been a super great class and a riot. Because we watch hilarious films and talk about them. Like Busby Berkeley and Black Swan and everyone gets crazed about that one.

4:17 It’s a really fun, kind of, survey course of dance and film.

4:26 For this particular course we’re just looking at the films.

4:58 Especially in the arts but also in academia, I think it’s about putting feelers out constantly like ‘I’m available or I’m interested’ So about six months before I actually got hired for the maternity leave teaching gig, I was still in grad school and I was still finishing that up. All my projects and papers and thesis and all that great stuff and I just started putting my feelers out to all the places I was interested in being.

5:23 And of course in Missoula, who doesn’t want to be in Missoula if they can. I put the feeler out about six months before I actually got the email, not the phone call, but the email. And Nicole Bradley Browning, who's now the director in the dance department emailed and said ‘it looks like we need somebody in the fall’. She didn’t know what kind of stability it would be and they just really needed someone for the fall semester. They didn’t know what was going to happen beyond that.

5:52 So I just kind of lept in that way of saying ‘well I just need a transition year after grad school’. This was a great opportunity to teach at a University.  I’m in a location that I love, I love the University of Montana. How wonderful to get to do anything here.

6:06 From there, I pretty quickly fell in love with the dance community here. And during that first year, did a production off campus as well as supporting productions on campus. And I produced a show at the Downtown Dance Collective called Crackin Yolks. Without even barely a blink of the eye, I had twelve professional dancers that were willing to dance in the show.

6:34 I thought, woah, there is obviously a dance community here that obviously is rearing to do more. Within that first year, I realized I was interested in staying, so I reinvestigated those opportunities at the university and talked to them more. Like I said the jazz classes came up at the time.

6:49 I said okay, well if I’m going to stay and teach jazz. I’d also like to be doing more professionally. So I created my company off campus, Bare Bait Dance. Which is a professional modern dance company, or a contemporary modern dance company. That has been going on off campus for a while, while I was still teaching on campus and working with students and choreographing. I choreographed Pippin last year. Like, even expanding my repertoire when it comes to working with my students as well. Now I teach comp and the online class. Doing more modern also whenever needed.

7:22 The those two worlds kind of merged and last year they offered that Bare Bait come on campus. Now we have shows and rehearsals on campus as a professional dance company housed within the PAR-TV building. Everything has merged for me. I’m in the PAR-TV building a lot.

7:45 I really feel so nurtured by this community, specifically by the University of Montana. I would not be here if it weren’t for the people in the theater and dance department. For them to not only see that I'm hopefully a really great teacher for them but I can also bring that professional outlet for the students to see as well.

8:27 One of my favorite projects I’ve done on campus was a collaboration with the school of music for their opera students. It was the Legend of Orpheus a couple of years ago. I was approached by Anne Bazinski, she approached all the faculty in the dance department and I was the first one to pipe up I think. I ended up choreographing for her, she was devising a new opera, but she was bringing together scenes to create the Legend of Orpheus for her students through all these different scenes. She wanted dance students. There were maybe 15 opera students and then I brought in six of the dancers. We would work separately and then get together and see what happened. It was so great because the music was way more challenging than I usually choose and the students also.

9:38 Usually dance students work in fours and this is not in fours. Not 4/4 times. Usually we count in eights but we break it up into two fours. Anyway it was super challenging music and then they had to get on stage with really wonderful singers and hold their own performatively.

10:14 It was really a wonderful opportunity to see the amazing ability of the students in the school of music. Trying to blend the world of contemporary modern dance with classical opera music.

11:08 I think one of the best parts about the dance program here is that it’s really nurturing the artist. Nurturing people who are ready to explore. There are some schools that focus on technicians and conservatory. There’s like a right and a wrong and you should really… you’re learning how to dance correctly. Which is really wonderful and that’s one way to approach dance education. But here what we open up to the students is the ability to play.

11:36 They can be at the opera show, and be at the site specific show, dance on location, or go dance around in the leaves.

11:40 Then they could dance with someone like Melissa Britt who we brought in as a hip/hop instructor. She was giant about the way she talked about hip/hop to these students who live in Montana. We don’t have a lot of hip/hop influence up here. The versatility with what they get and the ability to take it and explore and honoring all those different facets of an artist. Dance, and a creator and an artist is pretty unique and they get a ton of experience choreographing. That's not true with all dance programs.

12:13 But here, from freshman year they get to start choreographing on their peers and working on the craft and right now in the dance world you have to know your own voice. Most professional companies are looking for people who have instincts choreographically and that aren’t just waiting to be told where every fingertip and every toe goes, but really have an internal instinct and that is what we cultivate in our students here.

12:56 You don’t audition right in your first semester. We start having you take classes and you can kind of try something first. You can take jazz or ballet or all these different classes so as you start figuring where you’re interested in the department. And then right away at the first week of school we have a performance auditions for productions that are going on in the next year. So we really try to get our freshman in there right away to audition for that and even if they’re one piece in one show, that immediately gets them to perform. And gets them excited about getting to know their peers.

13:35 So that’s really the sort of launching off spot is putting their feelers out and doing different types of projects immediately with peers as well as the faculty.

14:05 One of my favorite things to do is touring. I love touring around the state. Depending on the year or the venue and how much money and the Arts Council but I love taking our shows out into smaller communities. We go our to Kalispell and up to Eureka. We’re going to go to Dillon here in another month.

14:32 It’s really fun to take these shows of contemporary modern dance which, frankly, a lot of places in Montana don’t really have a strong dance community and if they do, contemporary modern might not be the focus. Maybe, but not so much in this state. Getting to share our art form with the smaller communities is really just so fulfilling and the discussion is created. And we are touring with a lot of my own work.

14:49 A lot of my choreography is really narrative based and tells a story as well as some kind of angle I want you to take away besides the dance. The dance is the vehicle about a larger discussion. For example, one of the shows we toured was Wall City News which is about prison newspapers at the turn of the 20th century. Super random, I know.

15:47 and then to hear the response, not just here in Missoula, but also in all these other communities that may or may not have a direct relationship with that narrative and brings it to life like a story to them. Like a play would.

16:02 We go on lots of little coffee dates and stop in all these little towns along the way and see what they’re offering, we talk to them about dance and it’s just super fun.

16:13 One of the things we have coming up is also one of my favorite opportunities that I’ve been able to produce for this community and the dance lovers in this community. Every year I partner with the Roxy Theater and we have a screen dance festival. Screen dance or dance for camera is the terminology for short films that are dance and choreography focus. It’s not a narrative, it’s really about taking a piece of choreography and looking at it through the lens in some way or creating a piece of choreography for the camera as compared to the stage.

16:52 This festival is for films from artists in the country as well as international artists and filmmakers and choreographers. So we get to see dancing bodies from Finland or from Germany or from Australia. Which is amazing to see what else is going on outside of not only our state but the country. There’s usually about 7 to 9 shows and there’s usually about two screenings, just a bunch of dance films. Its inspiring on a physical dancer level as well as just beautiful cinematography.

17:53 I think this is our third or fourth year of doing that so this is Bare Bait Dance’s fifth year or fifth season and I think this is our fourth kinetoscope. It’s been at the Roxy since the start.

18:34 It’s just been a remarkable weekend of film at the Roxy. We have that coming up in December this year. December fifth and sixth.

18:55 I have kind of the typical story in some ways of being like being a small child and dancing. My mom claims that I wanted to start dancing at age 4 or something like that and she just thought that was ridiculous. She told me that was too young to start and I had to wait until I was in Kindergarten.

19:12 I guess on the first day of Kindergarten I came home and said ‘are we going to dance class now? It’s time, you said Kindergarten and it’s Kindergarten’ It just been something forever that felt right.

19:26 Dance is a hard journey and I never thought I would be here saying all these things. When I was younger I never thought I was good enough. What that means as a young dancer compared to what I understand now as a professional.

19:45 I think we are told when we are younger that only people that have like spot on amazing facilities. Like they are super flexible or they have beautiful feet, they have a ballet body or whatever it is, we have this checklist  we instill in our dancers. If you look at Dance Magazine it’s all one type of look that you think of as a dancer.

20:10 I was kind of surprised by the time I was older teens or in my young 20s I was getting hired or asked to do collaborations or whatever it was that I was working on and thinking like, ‘I don’t think I’m that [weird fucking audio fuck up] So it was, I just kind of keep going back to it. Now that I’m in my 30s I realize it’s more. It’s more about the perfection and the drive and the interest and the heart and the intelligence and continuing to cultivate yourself.

20:43 Right now it’s a lot about being an entrepreneur because there’s not a lot of dance companies that have full time paid gigs and there’s not a lot of dance in the Rocky Mountain west. Which is where I want to be. There’s a little pockets for sure but it’s not about, I could be spot on perfection but in Missoula Montana it’s not about perfection, it’s about community and working with the artists that are here and being excited about what they can do and it’s about sharing my stories and Montana’s stories. It’s a lot more about being a well rounded artist.

21:21 I think I just had a narrow minded view when I was young and I was thinking I like it so much but it’s not really something you can really get paid to do. Now that I’m living and working as a professional I’m making all my money in the dance field either dancing and performing or creating in Montana. Like I said the University of Montana was super influential in that

21:46 It grows every year and I take on a new project. I shuffle my schedule to take something the community is really interested in on because that’s what it means to me to be an artist and be a dancer too.

22:21 I tell my university students this all the time but I think what is continually inspirational to me is that dancers, we usually get to engage our bodies all the time and I tell my students, maybe they’re coming in to take my jazz class or taking multiple dance classes or they might never enter the studio again, I think…  

22:48 What I always take away from my own experience is, I am more than a vehicle for my brain. My body is here to be expressive and to be engaged with the world. So I think everything that I do is continuing to be inspired by that with my students or teaching or with professionals, we can get so caught up and I can do especially as a business woman with my own company, I’m constantly like ‘where’s my to-do list’   and to just be reminded of the bodies that we have and even go for a hike or you know or whatever it is to be that expressive tool I think is so satisfying I think about being a dancer.

MICHAEL MURPHY

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I’m Michael Murphy, professor of Media Arts and I’m the head of the film making and graduate studies are there.

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Sure, well, I’ve been here for about 20 years, but before that I was an actor, and that’s what I studied as an undergraduate school, and I left the confines of that and went to New York City and was an actor for a number of years, and went to LA and was an actor there for a number of years, and started doing some directing for theater at that point, but then I came back to the university here, in 92, and got my masters degree. And after that was done, kind of retooled myself to  work on a new media arts program here. Which at that time was around 1995, and we started looking at how digital technology was informing the arts, and particularly dramatic arts, story telling, and movies, and different kinds of delivery systems that were coming up and we decided we would build a program around that. I was the head of the program for about 10 years, and I’ve been teaching in the film making and acting for film, so I do directing, acting for film and film studies, and other thing along those lines. So I started as a kid being really thrilled with learning how to act, and I kinda went into the theater, and then into film, and then into school, and then into new media. And now I direct experimental films, experimental fiction films… I still direct theater pieces but most of them are media based. So I’ll do interdisciplinary projects where I’m working with people from drama, and then I’m doing video work with it, and then I’ll be performing and mixing all those things together.

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*charming giggle.* Well, I don’t know, I’m the type of person who’s always been interested in a lot of different things, so even when I was going back to grad school I was working… I painted, I drew, I directed theater, I liked photography, so I’ve always had a real enjoyment of all these different areas. I guess what I’d say is that we’re at the point in time where more and more of those things are converging. For instance right now, I just came from a 3 hour session with students where I was working on a multimedia piece, a live piece, in which there will be an actor, and I’m writing something like a play, but not exactly a play, because there will be interactive triggers within the performance, so I’m working with a computer coder and a graphic designer, a 3d animator, and uh all of these people are getting together on this project.

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So what’s happened is more and more people like me who are interested in these areas converging, its easier and easier for them to do that. In the 1950s when technology first started working with artists, and they brought in electronics and things like that, it was unheard of to have artists themselves really dealing with electronic media. And so now, there are more and more people who are technology people and more artists who are technology people. So to me, those walls are breaking down, all across, at least, the things that I’m interested in.   

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I did [stay out in Missoula], the dean in the school of fine arts at that point was a very forward thinking person, and he decided he wanted to try and find a way to integrate digital media in all the different areas. the problem in 1995, was that not everybody wanted to do that. But rather than integrate it into all the different areas, we decided we’d start a new program on its own.

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That’s how the media arts program came into being here, if everyone decided they wanted to have all this stuff, it probably would’ve, every department would have their own media, digital person, or that sort of thing, but as it is, we have started a separate unit, and things worked out that way.

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So I got to go from being a theater person, to a film person, to a digital media person, and it’s been great for me, I’ve gotten to do things I never thought I would do.

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I did a 4 part project with professor Burnadette Sweeney, from the theater area, and she directed me in a play, and then we built a film out of that play, or based on that play, and then I went to Ireland and built a live performance and media piece over there based on the work we were doing, and then I came back here and we put together a full installation, a live installation, in the social sciences building, where the school of art has their galleries. So we took over their whole galleries, and had one room that was 5 video projections on the walls, and then a middle hallway area that was all writing on the walls, and the other room was all performance, and they all integrated together, and they were built on all these materials, based on 4 years of work. So that whole process was just amazing to get to do, and be able to go over to Ireland and get media over there, and to work with those people, that was my favorite thing I’ve done.

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I love to fish *charming giggle*, I love fishing here in Montana, uh, I also have kids that are in the arts. My son was a ballet dancer

~~** family full of artists and crap**~~

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I started, as a kid, doing music, and that kinda thing, so I think a lot of my life has been informed by being around music from my mother, and she was a singer and pianist, and that’s really where all of this started, in piano lessons, right? And that actually was very helpful in all of the stuff that I’ve done.

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If students are coming to work in areas of digital media, which is almost everything nowadays, whatever area you’re in, I think it’s important for them to understand that they need to get all those skills. Just like you’re getting skills to do these podcasts, right? That’s really important, but the stuff underneath it is really more important. How do we get at the content of the stories we want to tell each other, and the pieces we want to make, and to me that’s what the educational experience is about. And you’re really fortunate is you come from a family that, that values what’s underneath things. And is interested in looking for the meaning inside of what we do.

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But a lot of the entertainment we’re given doesn’t necessarily do that. It does, some of it, but um, but in order to be able to be good at any of this stuff, you have to be a good story person. And stories are based in a lot of things, rather than just the surface element. So I think that’s one of the things that the University of Montana is great with, all around campus, is getting students these experiences. I think just sometimes students believe that the one little corner of their areas of studies that is about technology is the one that’s gonna save them. *giggles* And it certainly won’t hurt, and I’m really proud that we’re teaching our students how to go out there and and learn software and hardware and different things they’re going to have to use to apply this stuff, but in the end, the jobs and the experiences they’re gonna have , the most valuable are the ones that are driven by their ideas.

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Well, I love the exploratory process at the beginning of making a project. Which is, I brought my little notebook with me, I bring it around everywhere, and it’s just an old composition book, but I work a lot in it every day. I draw in it, I write things, I observe things, and then when I get into the process of a project, I get myself a nice sketchbook or something that I can just begin to put things in.

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So it’s a very nonlinear process, and I really like that, because there’s a point where you have to start assembling everything, and working towards organizing and shooting, editing, and building scripts, getting the artwork, and all of the things that have to go into a piece. But that freedom of the early part where I’m just free to put whatever I want down, and not edit anything, I love that part of it. It’s the most exciting part, because I’m surprised all the time by it. There’s a point towards the end where I’m not surprised anymore and it’s more hard work.

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Maybe this is outing myself to my students, but I was gonna say that I think the hardest part for most of us, especially when you’re filming, is the actual production process. Securing of locations, making sure that all of the logistics that have to happen on a given day, are there to happen. Because it’s not a simple thing. I spent most of my life working in the theater, and the theater is great cause everyone goes to one space, and the coffee is always there, and everyone can sit down and have a good time. and you get to work over 3-6 weeks on putting together what you’re working on. But when you go on a film shoot, you’re probably going somewhere new everyday, and there’s always something falling apart, and has to be put back together in terms of times and people and that sort of thing, So it’s a pretty chaotic, falling forward that happens when you’re in the actual production process. So I think most people are pretty happy when that’s done. For better or worse. And then you go and look at your material and go into a room right now and try to put things together.

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Whether or not it’s of any interest for the podcast or not, what’s begun to happen with a lot of our students moving to say, LA, is they’re getting a lot of work, let’s say directing, but what they’re doing more and more is they’re working with groups of 5-7 people in these teams put together by publicity, marketing people for films or television shows or whatever it is, and there’s a director and a DP, but there’s always the social media people, and it’s THE driving force behind a lot of this stuff now. The fact that we all know about it and use it, whatever our backgrounds are critical, so I’m glad you’re doing it.

I like what he has to say about the process. I think it’s an interesting narrative for a short piece too, and could go first in the line up of the three? or in the middle, I think that would still be powerful. It would be an interesting thing for prospective students too, cause I think that something that isn’t as praised or visible is the nitty gritty of the processes people in the industry go through.

MIKE MORELLI

0:17 It’s a program designed to get students ready for the entertainment business with agents, artists. It prepares them through application and theory about how it’s going to work and what their going to do

0:29 It’s a dream job. There's so few universities in this nation that are preparing students to go out into the entertainment business. This was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.

0:41 I ran several performing arts centers and most recently I built one in Ohio from the ground up. Twenty million dollar building.

1:05 There's been a lot of crazy fun weird things. It was very strange for me to hang out with Night Ranger the band and the guys because they were such a part of my life growing up. When they came back I thought they're aging rockers. I wasn't prepared for those guys jumping off the stage, doing flying splits and diving into the crowd. I just wasn't prepared for that.

1:36 I also enjoyed talking to them after like, oh I should get a health director. I can't do that like I used to. Very funny. So that was pretty good.

1:55 I think a lot of people that get involved with the entertainment business do it because they love it. It's just a cool thing to do, but they don't want to take any kind of training. They don't understand where they're going to go or where they could go.

2:08 Maybe they get a job as a roadie and they go out and they tour with whoever, not understanding that there's a whole world of factors out there. That if they knew about them they could apply them and move up. So rather than learning those hard knocks and taking decades to do it, having a program that gets students to do it is the way to go.

3:05 We've got a bunch of things going on. Right now we have a 402 class, they're finding artists. They've done that and they're developing those artists and getting them ready for a gig at the Top Hat. We thank Nick for helping us out.

3:17 We've got from our Entertainment Management office, our very bright students down there came up with the idea for Stair Sessions. They have artists playing for ten minutes standing on the landing of the Gallagher Business Building stairs. So we are bringing in all types of artists, we even have a bagpipers at one point, who know? They'll be playing out there as just a way of getting people to see live entertainment and getting our students involved with it. And of course setting it up as a programmatic aspect.

3:47 and then we are getting ready to bring in instructors from the professional level. We do that every semester, for next semester for the 403 class. We have these long weekend classes where we do projects and bring in instructors from out in the entertainment business.

4:04 Folks that are leading the way or helped found the way to the entertainment industry.

4:20 When you look at Missoula, you look around and you go 'oh man, so and so works at the Top Hat or they're at the Wilma and they came through this program. Or so and so down here just contacted us and they want us to bring in more entertainment into their bar.

4:34 Used to be a manager at 112, now they expanded because they went through the EM program.

4:43 This program has really helped expand the view of Missoula and I think we will help even more things come in.

5:00 Oh yeah I was going to be the next great actor. I knew it. My mother knew it. Everybody knew it. They said oh yeah you should act, you should go to college. Then I did those things and I found out that as an actor I was a much better director. Then after directing for years and going out and working, I found out that as a director I was a much better manager. Then went out and worked and got more education and started running theaters and performing arts centers. That was my path. It was a winding crooked path like a lot of folks here.

5:33 I grew up right outside of Boulder, affectionately known as the home of fruits and vegetables. It's a wonderful place. Hug a tree for the good Lord kind of place, very crunchy. Loved it. And Missoula, when we looked at that I said, 'wow, this kind of feels like Boulder.' It's a pretty good vibe.

6:19 It's been pretty limited that I've been here. I think the craziest thing is understanding, for me, the national job scene. It's crazy how students come back and say, 'hey I just got a job with...' And there's so many of them. Because they've had such good training and made such great connections. It's unreal that our students are getting a job right out of the bad. Sometimes even before they get out of college. It's just not what usually happens and that's just so cool.

6:54 I've been a lucky fella. I don't go looking for jobs. I know people that say, 'this is a great job for you.' What happened with this is, someone I had done a lot of business with, Clint Mitchell, was a founder of this program, along with many others. His assistant, great guy, said, 'have you heard about this? You have a PHD right? Is this something you would be interested in?'

7:22 One thing led to another, I started talking to Clint and here I am.

7:42 The education, part of that is who you know. The more work that you do and the more connections you make, the better you're going to do in the industry. What people kind of forget sometimes is that there are people that you know that never in a million years would you work with if you had any other choice. So yes it's who you know, but it's who you know that works hard and who you know that made a good impression. With our students that's something that I tell them all the time. You gotta keep working, you gotta keep doing it. No one puts in the work except for you. At the end of the day, you're the only one that's looking for a job. If people remember you because you worked hard, you will get that job.

8:28 Always work hard. We've had several guest speakers come in and they all say always work hard. Always be honest and show integrity. And be willing to do what your employer asks... that's still ethical, of course. But be willing to do those things rather than saying, I don't wanna put that trash can in my car because my car might get dirty, even though I'm supposed to be moving that trash can, which is one of the examples from one of the instructors for an intern that didn't get hired.

9:02 We have these guest instructors that might be some of the people that founded the program or are industry professionals that are out there working. We recently had Danny Spitzer in, he runs the ____ at UCLA. He's the kind of guy that worked Super Bowls and worked with the Dalai Lama and has 340 event days per year. That's unreal. The Clippers have their training camp there.

9:29 He comes in and talks about the realities of running an events center in California. And he gives students a point of contact so if they want to go out and work, Danny, if he has a job, might remember them. Or he might know other people that have job openings. All of our instructors have round tables where they sit down with 8 or 9 students and they get an impression of him and several students say, 'can I get your card?' Do they have internships, can I follow up, can I work for you? Which is pretty great.

10:11 It's people that we know and also people that are recommended by some of our founders. Or even, shot in the dark, out of the blue, read some great letter or some blog post and I'm like, 'goodness I need that person here.' So we start communicating and talking and finding out if they're a good fit. Most of our guest instructors are so excited to come. They're like, 'yeah, why wouldn't I?' Because they're excited to pass along what they know.

10:44 They always show me up by a mile. Well for example, everyone down in the office when we were talking about how we gotta do something 'well, we got this idea for these Tiny Desk concert series that turned into the Stair Sessions. That was not on my radar, that's not what I was thinking. All of a sudden, now it's going. I love that part. I love the creativity and the energy and I love being able to get involved.

11:24 That is the question right? Not only is that coming out of the students because they want more classes, they want more opportunity and they want more things on their transcript that show yes I have a degree and this is what I’m interested in. But also our founders who are out there in the highest levels of the entertainment business. Effectively running William Morris involved with ING. Owning their own business and selling them time and time again and really not having the same kind of financial pressures other people have anymore. Those people want to see this program turn into a degree and they want to see it integrate with sports and they want to see it integrate more with arts.

12:03 To me it’s a great vision.. arts, sports, entertainment management all wrapped up into one degree that a student has wonderful background and training and then all kinds of practical experience.

12:20 If I was younger and in college still I would be at the front of every class going, ‘Give it to me baby!” Because I want to know  what these folks have to offer because some of these guest instructors are getting paid thousands of dollars to give lectures somewhere else and they’re giving our students in classes. That’s phenomenal.

12:50 I think that the difference is, there are very hard sets of skills that our students need, when you break in you’re always trying to get to know people and trying to be nice of course and you’re trying to work hard, all that stuff is the same. But people want to know how are your data analytics, how do you interact of the web, yes of course you use Facebook but how about your social media jobs, do you have them?

13:15 There’s a whole set of skills that folks need in addition to all the other skills that we think are necessary.

13:38 In another incarnation, I teach online for Central Texas College. I teach enlisted personnel all over the world and uh, that is pretty great. The nice thing about that is, I’ve been involved with that for over a decade. I’ve watched online education expand and change and so I’ve been involved with some instructional design there, pretty cool.

14:00 I have had three or four projects since I took this job, where folks say ‘woah will you get involved with this’ and I haven’t done any of those yet because entertainment management takes up enough, but there’s some things to look at.

14:21 My family is so great I love to do the things that Missoula has to offer with my family especially the things in fall and summer.

14:32 I fish two or three times a week, in the summer it was every day. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to go to work, get out and fly fish for a little bit then get back to work.

14:50 Growing up in Colorado we had that pilgrimage up to Glacier and it was great, but it was really 40 years ago… hahaha… so it’s been a while.

15:37 They have crazy backgrounds and they are chosen so that not only do they fit the curriculum and fit the classes we have but many times they’re chosen with student needs in mind. We might have a block of students coming through and we say, ’hey we have 12 or 14 students interested in the business of television and film.’

15:56 Right now we have one coming up on the books next semester. It is 491 which is developing your entertainment business class and it’s for those students that have a seed of an idea. They say, ‘I’d like to make a festival or do a show or tour or make my own online business.’ We made that course and we came up with that course because we’re sitting around shooting ideas back and forth and we realized we have all these students with these great ideas but kind of no mechanism to get there. So let’s create a mechanism and link it up with Blackstone Launchpad. We link it up with other entrepreneurial things or events on campus and make it a very concrete 15/16 weeks that students can come out with at the end with a product.

16:49 Even if it is, Wilbur that’ll never fly. That’s valuable too, right? But if you come out at the end with ‘Boy, I have a plan.’ Then there’s a way to get there and I can’t think of anything better.

17:04 Those instructors are chosen to promote student interest and then also to fill the curriculum.

17:28 Students really drive who we’re working with. Journalism, of course. Multi-media, of course. Arts, all kinds of folks there. But we also have people that are in history and sociology and english. You might say at one point ‘why would a history major do that?’

17:49 But if you took History of Rock and Roll and it seemed really cool and then you say well what else is out there that’s kind of like this. You start talking about venues. You start talking about working with acts and entertainment management. It all just kind of flows together so we work with a lot of different people across campus.

18:04 And we work with a lot of athletes and student athletes who are trying to find a way to be involved with athletics after their playing days are over at the university. So entertainment management is a nice fit in some respects for that. And they’re from all walks.

18:26 That’s the crazy thing. So we have sports reporting and you look around for all of those things and well there’s six or seven classes already. They’re just not housed all in one place, they’re all over the place.  

19:00 Central Texas College which is the college that I teach for has a contract with the army and the navy and sometimes the marines to deliver online education to active duty/ reservists all kinds of folks.

19:16 I ever, it’s an indication of my age, I even teach mail-in packets from folks that are on ships. So they may be on an aircraft carrier sometime. They’re reading the books, they’re taking the quizzes, they’re doing the assignments and then putting it all in a packet and they mail them to me. That happens maybe once or twice a month.

19:45 But really the majority of my teaching is online and in fact I’ll teach tonight. I was online this morning as well.

19:53 Filling, grading papers, having discussion boards, Blackboard collaborate sorry to the University of Montana, they use a different system there. They have asynchronous video and synchronous video so I can link up with people that have broad enough band and we can discussions about the material that they’re reading or they can read lecture notes or they can watch recorded materials or audio lectures that go along with the books.

20:31 I was running a theater in Texas, had a lot of education, I looked around and said what else can I do. This little crazy college down there, it has 100,000 students now it’s not a little crazy town anymore. Big crazy college. Great place.

20:47 They had a satellite campus on this little piece of land that was right outside of where I was running this theater. I said, well I think I’d like to teach there, that would be fun. I would like to teach in the classroom.  From being in the classroom then it evolved into ‘would you teach online?’ So I did that too.

 

Episode 2 Interview Transcripts

Dave Beck

 

0:09 This is Dave Beck, professor in the Native American Studies department.

[loud mic adjustments]

0:52 Even before I came before I came here I worked at an American Indian college in Chicago and one of the things we did there was, we worked with a national American Indian organization called Americans For Indian Opportunity and they have a leadership development program for young adult American Indian leaders. Mostly in their 20’s and 30’s. It’s called the Ambassador Program.

1:17 As part of that program we have a… we established this program in the early 90’s and it’s still going. When the ambassadors get together, they get together four times during their term of ambassadorship. First in a local Indian community and then Washington DC where they meet national Indian leaders and national leaders like congressional leaders and White House leaders and things like that.

1:46 The third trip we take is an international trip to visit indigenous communities and learn about indigenous issues in different nations and then the fourth trip is a trip back home so

2:00 I really began to travel to latin america as part of that program. As a faculty member for that program. When we traveled there we traveled both to indigenous heritage communities and met with local, state and national indigenous leaders and non-indigenous leaders in those places.

2:26 One of the places we visited was central America, another place was Mexico. We’ve visited Peru, we visited Bolivia, and Venezuela with different groups of leaders.

2:42 Because I teach American Indian History and because of the fact that most people in the United States don’t recognize that most of the American Indians live outside of the United States. I became very interested in learning more about native people outside of the United States and so…

3:05 Through that program and then through a program with the national endowment for the humanities and through visits that my wife and I have made as faculty members to native communities in Mexico, I just thought that that was a good place to built up my knowledge for teaching in the classroom. And for comparing conditions in other places to conditions here.

3:36 One year, I made two consecutive trips so for two months I was in Central America. One of those trips was a trip with other faculty members from across the United States. Where we visited ancient Mayan ruins. We visited 40 ancient Mayan sites in about 6 weeks so it was a very intense trip.

4:05 We met with scholars who studied those places and toured the sites and really got to see from an academic perspective what those sites mean historically. That same year we went with a group of American Indians from the Ambassador program. We were toured around some of those sites by indigenous people and we got to learn what those places mean to modern Mayan people.

4:39 I learned that by taking both those trips, some of the meaning of those places overlaps with what the scholars say with what the indigenous people say.  In some cases they have very different meanings for the two groups of people. Scholars mostly are archeologists and some historians really try to understand what those past societies looked like.

5:09 Native people have a different understanding that’s based on how those are their ancestors and how those people's lives relate to their own lives.  To me it was very enlightening to kind of see the juxtaposition of different people’s perspectives on those visits.

5:40 The first time I went to Mexico was in… actually the first time I went to Ecuador was in 1985 on a trip of my own but the first time I went with one of these groups was in 1993 where we went to Mexico and in that case we didn’t visit ancient sites, we visited with modern communities.

6:09 The most interesting things I saw then were the way that native communities in Mexico thought about their place in Mexico in relation to how the Mexican government thought about the the place of native peoples in Mexico.  

6:25 In the 1990’s in Mexico, the federal policy was still to assimilate them into Mexican society. So when we met with the leaders of the federal government in the Mexican branch of what’s known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the United States, they really emphasized that they were trying to, in their words, help American Indians and Mexican American Indians become Mexican and to lost their connection to their culture so they could become a part of modern society.

7:02 If you fast forward to 2010 when I took a group of students from the University of Montana down to Mexico and we met with the same officials in the same positions in their office of Indian Affairs. They had an entirely opposite perspective on what they were trying to do. They told us the federal efforts were to recognize distinct cultures, maintain and preserve Mexican indigenous languages and indigenous cultures.

7:37 I asked the officials why there had been such a change in such a short amount of time. Their reasoning was that Mexico had signed on to the United Nations Declaration of the Independence of Native Peoples. And that they had changed their policy entirely. It was in a very short time period that that happened.

8:03 When we visited with indigenous leaders in Mexico at the time, their perspective was that indigenous communities in Mexico had played a major role in bringing about that change. Beginning with the Zapatista movement in the early 1990s after NAFTA when into effect and warfare broke out in southern Mexico where indigenous communities were trying to regain the rights to their cultural heritage.

8:36 The first time we went down there in the 1990s, the first couple of times in ‘93 and ‘97, when we met with indigenous leaders, some of them were risking their lives to come and meet with us because of the war that was going on. They were going to talk to us about indigenous rights.

8:50 So that was one thing that really struck me the second time I went down there. Was that indigenous leaders wanted indigenous leaders in the United States to understand what they were facing. And that they were willing to go to such extent as to risk their lives to come tell us what their troubles were.

9:33 Now if you look at the way that trickles down into native communities in Mexico, local officials were still trained in the old system. So the federal policy isn’t necessarily carried out at the local level. But there are people trying to bring about that change, to make that policy change a reality.  

9:57 In 2010, Rosalyn LaPier, my wife and I, went down to work with a couple of universities in Mexico. It was faculty in the universities in the economics department in Calima for example who were working very closely with native communities to try and bring about sustainable development projects that would help to maintain the community's culture. As well as bring economic development to that region.

10:34 The other thing that was exciting to me was the ancient ruins. To see the amazing architectural work and scientific work that the Mayan people. And when we were in South America we went to Tewanaka, which was a group of people in Peru and in Bolivia who 28 centuries ago had built modern cities that were cleaner cities that in Peru they had better plumbing 28 centuries ago than they had in Europe.

11:18 To begin to understand the immense scientific knowledge the ancient empires had amassed

11:48 We were down in southern Mexico, still in Chiapas. It was still when there was low level warfare going on after the Zapatista uprising. We had a heavily scheduled trip. We were going to see the Bonampak murals which are just beautiful murals which we never did get to go see.

12:20 We were down in San Cristobal. We were planning to meet with a scholar from Canada who was going to show us the ruins. He was an archaeologist that was considered a MacArthur genius and the week before we were supposed to meet with him, he had a group of graduate students. Where they were digging up a very large religious artifact and they were going to take it to a museum.

13:15 They had gotten permission from the local tribe to do that. But the local tribe wasn’t the tribe whose cultural heritage that was a part of. There was another tribe to had a direct connection to that and they hadn’t given permission to his graduate students and him to do that.

13:32 The people from that community showed up with rifles and guns and told them to stop digging, The archeologist told his students to keep digging, then they fired their guns over their heads and told them, really we’re serious stop digging. So they graduate students said ok and they stopped digging. This was right before most people had digital cameras so they had film cameras and the community members took their cameras and ripped all their film out of their cameras and they took their shoes. Then they said we are going to count to 100 and you better be gone or we’re going to start shooting.

14:09 So they ran away, and they dove into the Ucimenta River and they ran into the rainforest on the other side and disappeared there.

14:18 We got this information about one or two days before we were supposed to meet with that guy so we weren’t going to meet with him. So we ended up staying and visiting the site that we were at.

14:35 At the same time I was concerned that news of this might get out to the United States and I knew that both my wife and the president of the college where I worked had our schedule and knew who we were meeting with and when so I said I wanted to get a message to them. There was no phone service, we didn’t have cell phones then and there was no public phone service because of the low level warfare that was going on.

15:01 But it was the beginning of the modern era and there was a cyber cafe where you could pay a few pesos for ten minutes of time on the old dial up internet and we had America Online internet services. So I paid the fee and by the time the phone dialed up, I had to pay another fee  to send a message off. This was relatively instantaneous contact in those days so I sent a message off to my wife and I said, please tell Faith Smith the president of the university that if she hears of this that we’re not the scholars that were taken by gunpoint and disappeared into the rainforest.

15:42 Sure enough the story was on NPR and the president called my wife and asked, ‘Is David with those guys that got taken away? What’s going on?’ Rosalyn was able to tell her no no they’re okay. Same person, but something else.

16:02 We found out they kind of wandered in a circle in the rainforest for almost a week and came back to the river and caught a river boat and were able to leave.

16:16 The whole issue in terms of collecting was an issue that really came to the forefront there.

16:34 I don’t know the exact number but I’ve been down to Latin America probably 8 times or 9 times almost always going to different places. Occasionally we took the ambassadors to the same places as I went with the academics through the college with NEH program.

17:01 But like I said it was a very different experience going with American Indian people than it was going with non Indian college professors.

17:10 We went to one village which a lot of tourists visit. We went there with both groups as well. When we went with the college professors, this is another ethical issue where our group became the ugly Americans. When you walk into the village there’s a sign that says, ‘When you see people conducting ceremonies.’  …..

17:34 When you go into the church, there’s a big Catholic church in this community, but Mayan people are conducting their own ceremonies inside the church as well as the priest conducting

17:45 ...No photographs are allowed. Well we had several professors who took their cameras out and surreptitiously took photographs. This is kind of the combination of both the American idea that we have the right to do anything and the academic idea that we have this right to freedom of speech or academic freedom to record anything people in other societies tell us they don’t want recorded. That was a real downside to visiting that place with academic scholars.

18:26 It’s really exciting visiting a place with American Indian leaders because the other indigenous leaders we meet with all over the Americas are so welcoming to the groups we travel with and are so interested in sharing cross cultural.  

18:45 We had another experience in Venezuela where we were right on the Columbia border and we were going down one of the great big rivers there like a river trip. We were headed to visit a native village and one of the boats we were in started taking on water.

19:08 At the same time when they switched gas tanks, there were little small engine motors, there was water in the gas so we weren’t doing very well. We saw a village and we pulled over and stopped in the village  

19:27 and they had dough on the side of the hill in like 4 foot wide. It looked like bread but it wasn’t wheat it was made from a local root. When we stopped there, they didn’t know we were coming but they invited us to stay for lunch.

19:47 It turned out that this was right before the first of the month and the first of the month in Venezuela is Welfare day. Welfare day is when people of low income can get their welfare payments and those payments are made at banks and so everyone lines up at the bank and they can go in and get their welfare payment.

20:08 The people in this village every month caught a lot of fish and smoked it and they made this bread product or this starch product and they would go to the public squares outside the bank and they would sell it after they got their welfare payments.

20:32 This was a very small village, there were more of us than there were of them. There were about 30 of us and about 20 people who lived in this village and they put on just this big feast, they gave us fish and they gave us bread and we found out after they feasted us that this is what they were going to sell at the market

20:47 It was the same kind of generosity that you see in native communities all across the hemisphere. Then we had this experience while we were feasting with them or sharing. People shared songs from our group and different tribal groups. They shared songs with us and it turned into just a very wonderful day.

21:15 They had a hot sauce made of red ants. They had a big jar and they put red ants in it and as the ants died… they were ants that had a lot of spice in them and when you put the hot sauce on the fish, it was about the hottest sauce I’ve ever eaten.

21:36 When we traveled, my wife Rosalyn was an ambassador and after the first trip she became a faculty member for the program as well. Throughout the 90’s when we traveled we brought our children with us. When you travel to Latin America and you have young children, people are just very very friendly to you.

21:58 People always want to meet the children and talk to the children and sometimes they’re doing it though several different levels of translation. English to Spanish, Spanish to the local language. And sometimes different local languages.

22:17 We were at an airport in Bolivia and we had our daughter who was a year and a half old and a businessman was running to catch his flight and he looked over and saw our daughter and he ran into a little shop and bought a bag of candy and he came buy and he tossed it to us on the way because he saw this little child and children mean so much and are a significant part of culture in latin america countries that it was just something that people normally do ya know pay attention to children and be kind to children

22:58   We visited a village in Bolivia we got into two toyota pickup trucks there were about 35 of us on this trip so they put boards on the back of the trucks and then people from that village in the rain forest had been in the city and are going back and brought their animals and brought the things that they were bringing so it was a crazy trip

23:24   We were driving down this road called the big road and it was just at the beginning of the rain season and the people we were visiting lived on a hill that became an island during the rainy season so for several months after the rain came they would be isolated there.

23:41 This was kind of the end of the time where they could travel back and forth. When we started down these roads there were these big fields with cattle in them. As we got farther the forest closed in on us.

24:01 The rain really started pouring and we held tarps over our heads in the back of the truck, we got to the village and the children in the village grabbed our daughter and ran off and played with her until we were meeting with the leaders of the village. They took us to a meeting place, first they took us to the church.

24:22 The Catholic church in that village is used as a place to house their animals so they thought that that wouldn’t be a good place to meet. We went past the soccer field that the US built and they took us to a community meeting house which was an open air meeting house with a roof.

24:40 There was a whole pile of rusting sewing machines sitting in the corner. We visited with them through several layers of translation and it was obvious that missionaries and government  officials had been there in the past trying to, in their terms, help them by providing them with sewing machines so they could make clothing or building a church for them and that they had put those things to different use.

25:10 They couldn’t use the sewing machines because they rusted to fast in the humid weather. We asked the leaders in that community, ‘what do you need?’ The outsiders coming in had determined what they thought the community needed and it obviously wasn’t something that was really useful to them.

25:33 They said we need two things. We need surveyors and we need lawyers. We need surveyors to make out where our lands are and we need lawyers to go to the national courts and protect our lands for us.

25:50 They knew two words in English. The people in that village knew two words in English. Burger King. The reason they knew Burger King is because Burger King was advertising at the time that they had all American grown beef. In the United State, people think of America as the United States. [door knocks]

26:12 But they were growing their beef in Latin America and bringing it to the United States. They were growing their cattle on those lands that we were going through and they were cutting down their resources to built the farms. It was outsiders creating these cattle farms.

26:33 One of the ecological factors in the rain forest is that a lot of the nutrition in the forest is not in the soil. It’s in the tops of the trees for example and it’s throughout the whole ecosystem and when you cut the trees then you have a very this useable section of soil and after a couple of years it’s not productive anymore so you gotta cut more forest down to move the cattle there.

27:01 That is what was impacting their community.

27:22 We were there at the invitation of the Bolivian ambassador who was a close friend of LaDonna Harris’s and was on her board of directors. He was with us. I don’t know what the final result was but he sat down with them as well and met the community leaders who talked about what they needed.

27:50 We barely got out of there it was raining so hard. Trucks were sliding, sitting in the back you could feel the trucks whipping from one end to the other.

28:05 At some point it really started pouring. Somebody got out of the front of the truck and said to Rosalyn, ‘get in the truck with Abaki.’ So Rosalyn got in the truck with Edgar Bowen who was and elder chief from the Coos tribe and it was just as wet up there because the windows leaked and water was flooding in the windows.

28:46 We loved to travel before we had kids. I grew up my family traveling a lot as a family and because this program was an American Indian based program and multi-generational families are the norm. We just decided that our kids should have these experiences and the leadership in the Americans for Indian Opportunity agreed with us.

29:18 LaDonna Harris was the founder of Americans for Indian Opportunity and in the indian way she is our kids’ Comanche grandma. The word in Comanche for grandma is kaku so she always said that she was kaku to our kids. We had this kinship relationship that way.

29:40 Ahvahki was born the year Rosalyn was an ambassador so she was part of the program. She traveled to Mexico when she was 6 months old.  

 

PAUL GLADEN

0025

the Blackstone launch pad is a program that’s open to all students on campus, and also to alumni and faculty and staff, and the program helps any students and people in those other categories that have an idea to start a business or to start an organization, so it could be a not-for-profit organization. and really we do 2 things for those people: we help them understand sort of the process they need to go through to see if their idea has potential, and to research that and then what do they need to do if they think that it’s got the opportunity to do that how to turn that into an actual organization.

0107

and then we help them identify other people and resources that can help them do the things they need to move through to turn their idea into reality. so that could be connecting them with other entrepreneurs that can mentor them, it can be giving them legal advice, it could be helping them figure out if they need funding, and connecting them to people who could help with funding and supporting their ideas. So that’s broadly what we do and students can come to us and meet with us as many times as they like, as frequently as they like, for as long at they like, and that’s a free service to them. So we’re there to try and support them through that process for as long as they want help and support

0148

and we’ll work with people with any kind of idea. So we’re not the Shark Tank, so we don’t listen to their idea and say hey i dont think thats a very good idea, so dont do it… our job is really to facilitate them through that process to help them to discover whether their idea is good or not. As well as also do they have the passion and the drive, and motivation to take their idea from just an idea into a real organization that’s serving customers or serving their community that can benefit from what they're trying to do.

0222

It’s a very broad spectrum. I mean, from food and beverage, to software businesses, to retail or to manufacturing.. it’s literally all over the shelf and including not for profit organizations. we’ve had several people coming in and wanting to start NFPs, typically trying to help disadvantaged communities. so it’s been very diverse.

 

0317

So we’ve seen some businesses that are already out there and successful, but the majority of those are perhaps the ones that were started before Launchpad came along, so we’ve been sort of able to help them continue with their journey. they've also tended to be those from alumni  or faculty, just cause they generally have more experience and more networks and resources to move forward. But we’re starting to see now that there are some student run businesses that are starting to get some sort of traction in the marketplace. So we’re seeing good stuff.

0400

What I would say as well though is part of our mission isn't just to make someone successful with an idea, it’s actually if you think about the university as an educational learning environment, part of our mission is really to help students explore the idea of entrepreneurship. Explore the idea that they could start something that they could pursue a career that is a career of their own making that is based on pursuing that idea, pursuing that passion, not potentially just sort of following a more traditional career path. So for me and for the program, success isn't just about being successful in their business, it’s success in terms of them exploring something and coming to whatever conclusion that is, that they've had that opportunity to explore is and pursue it.

0500

yeah so a few examples, that sort of come to mind right now, some sort of visible businesses that people might recognize: the Dram shop, downtown, which is a growler fill station. Zack and Sarah are both alumni of UM, so we helped them from fairly early on with their business planning, and their financial models, and connecting them to some of the financial institutions. One of which sort of ended up kinda the lender for that business. Another organization is Agile Data Solutions, which was started by Joel Henry, who is a computer science faculty here at UM, we helped him with his kind of sales, strategy and pricing strategy. Some other businesses that we’re working with now, one called Montana root applications, they’re coming up with some very cool ideas with coming up with applications that would, with the mission of trying to reduce skin cancer, by making people much more aware of the UV exposure they have, and they’ve been able to monitor that and manage, and how to recognize they should put more sunscreen on, so they’re a really cool start up we’re working with right now.

0617

I actually just came to this interview having spent earlier today reviewing the entrance for the fall start up pitch competition, which is a competition we run that ultimately leads to the Business start up challenge, which will happen in May of next year. it’s open to all student start ups, not just at UM but across the state. Last year we gave away $50,000 in prize money in that May comp. and hope to do the same next May, so some fo the biz we were just reviewing will be pitching at the fall comp, include (examples)

0830

prize money for the comps come from sponsorship, comps been around for 26 years, changed the name but the same thing. see it as a great learning op for students, but also important for entrepreneurial community here. there’s a good record of successful people coming out of the business plan comp.

big sky brewery

five on black

market on front

american expedition vehicles

 

valuable part of the entrepreneurial community here in montana

question and expectation of going to the launchpad

 

0950

“before you go about thinking about funding, first you gotta figure out whether the marketplace wants what you have.”

 

dont wanna waste time, and because investors wont give you money unless you have evidence the market wants.

 

actual opps for market? kickstarter, other funders. Basically talk about funding and how they help the process, etc.

 

1245

moved in 2008, started a biz with a non-trad student, hiring people there, moved here for the biz.

 

1350 judge for the biz comp he talked about, invited for guest speaking in the biz school. year after started the Hellgate venture network. entre. networking group that’s been going for 61/2 years, 700 members in linkedin, meet once a month with 30-70 people there. found himself in the biz community entre. and school, was basically doing what he is now and he applied for director.

 

1455

love working with students, love working with biz people, it’s kind of a perfect fit.

 

1555

him and jennifer stephens, they’ve both been or are entre. and MBAs and active in the community. understand what it takes, all the elements of biz, connected well to the community. so much about success is about your network and connect to the right people at the right time.

 

1710

the entrepreneurial community in montana is dynamic, growing, highly collaborative and supportive, and fun.

 

1745

loves classic montana things, loves to ski, mountain bike, running marathon, good beer,

 

1830

wants people to know its open to all students. not studying biz and how can they? its more about passion and their expertise. they believe liberal arts give people great skills and perspectives that make them great entre.

 

1950

how to solve and overcome the challenges and how they’re opps to create something awesome. they provide the biz tools and you provide the passion and drive.

Paul Gladen interview 12/4

 

Director of the Blackstone Launch Pad at UM

 

0025

the Blackstone launch pad is a program that’s open to all students on campus, and also to alumni and faculty and staff, and the program helps any students and people in those other categories that have an idea to start a business or to start an organization, so it could be a not-for-profit organization. and really we do 2 things for those people: we help them understand sort of the process they need to go through to see if their idea has potential, and to research that and then what do they need to do if they think that it’s got the opportunity to do that how to turn that into an actual organization.

 

0107

and then we help them identify other people and resources that can help them do the things they need to move through to turn their idea into reality. so that could be connecting them with other entrepreneurs that can mentor them, it can be giving them legal advice, it could be helping them figure out if they need funding, and connecting them to people who could help with funding and supporting their ideas. So that’s broadly what we do and students can come to us and meet with us as many times as they like, as frequently as they like, for as long at they like, and that’s a free service to them. So we’re there to try and support them through that process for as long as they want help and support

 

0148

and we’ll work with people with any kind of idea. So we’re not the Shark Tank, so we don’t listen to their idea and say hey i dont think thats a very good idea, so dont do it… our job is really to facilitate them through that process to help them to discover whether their idea is good or not. As well as also do they have the passion and the drive, and motivation to take their idea from just an idea into a real organization that’s serving customers or serving their community that can benefit from what they're trying to do.

 

0222

It’s a very broad spectrum. I mean, from food and beverage, to software businesses, to retail or to manufacturing.. it’s literally all over the shelf and including not for profit organizations. we’ve had several people coming in and wanting to start NFPs, typically trying to help disadvantaged communities. so it’s been very diverse.

 

february of 2014

 

0317

So we’ve seen some businesses that are already out there and successful, but the majority of those are perhaps the ones that were started before Launchpad came along, so we’ve been sort of able to help them continue with their journey. they've also tended to be those from alumni  or faculty, just cause they generally have more experience and more networks and resources to move forward. But we’re starting to see now that there are some student run businesses that are starting to get some sort of traction in the marketplace. So we’re seeing good stuff.

 

0400

What I would say as well though is part of our mission isn't just to make someone successful with an idea, it’s actually if you think about the university as an educational learning environment, part of our mission is really to help students explore the idea of entrepreneurship. Explore the idea that they could start something that they could pursue a career that is a career of their own making that is based on pursuing that idea, pursuing that passion, not potentially just sort of following a more traditional career path. So for me and for the program, success isn't just about being successful in their business, it’s success in terms of them exploring something and coming to whatever conclusion that is, that they've had that opportunity to explore is and pursue it.

 

0500

yeah so a few examples, that sort of come to mind right now, some sort of visible businesses that people might recognize: the Dram shop, downtown, which is a growler fill station. Zack and Sarah are both alumni of UM, so we helped them from fairly early on with their business planning, and their financial models, and connecting them to some of the financial institutions. One of which sort of ended up kinda the lender for that business. Another organization is Agile Data Solutions, which was started by Joel Henry, who is a computer science faculty here at UM, we helped him with his kind of sales, strategy and pricing strategy. Some other businesses that we’re working with now, one called Montana root applications, they’re coming up with some very cool ideas with coming up with applications that would, with the mission of trying to reduce skin cancer, by making people much more aware of the UV exposure they have, and they’ve been able to monitor that and manage, and how to recognize they should put more sunscreen on, so they’re a really cool start up we’re working with right now.

 

0617

I actually just came to this interview having spent earlier today reviewing the entrance for the fall start up pitch competition, which is a competition we run that ultimately leads to the Business start up challenge, which will happen in May of next year. it’s open to all student start ups, not just at UM but across the state. Last year we gave away $50,000 in prize money in that May comp. and hope to do the same next May, so some fo the biz we were just reviewing will be pitching at the fall comp, include (examples)

 

0830

prize money for the comps come from sponsorship, comps been around for 26 years, changed the name but the same thing. see it as a great learning op for students, but also important for entrepreneurial community here. there’s a good record of successful people coming out of the business plan comp.

big sky brewery

five on black

market on front

american expedition vehicles

 

valuable part of the entrepreneurial community here in montana

question and expectation of going to the launchpad

 

0950

“before you go about thinking about funding, first you gotta figure out whether the marketplace wants what you have.”

 

dont wanna waste time, and because investors wont give you money unless you have evidence the market wants.

 

actual opps for market? kickstarter, other funders. Basically talk about funding and how they help the process, etc.

 

1245

moved in 2008, started a biz with a non-trad student, hiring people there, moved here for the biz.

 

1350 judge for the biz comp he talked about, invited for guest speaking in the biz school. year after started the Hellgate venture network. entre. networking group that’s been going for 61/2 years, 700 members in linkedin, meet once a month with 30-70 people there. found himself in the biz community entre. and school, was basically doing what he is now and he applied for director.

 

1455

love working with students, love working with biz people, it’s kind of a perfect fit.

 

1555

him and jennifer stephens, they’ve both been or are entre. and MBAs and active in the community. understand what it takes, all the elements of biz, connected well to the community. so much about success is about your network and connect to the right people at the right time.

 

1710

the entrepreneurial community in montana is dynamic, growing, highly collaborative and supportive, and fun.

 

1745

loves classic montana things, loves to ski, mountain bike, running marathon, good beer,

 

1830

wants people to know its open to all students. not studying biz and how can they? its more about passion and their expertise. they believe liberal arts give people great skills and perspectives that make them great entre.

 

1950

how to solve and overcome the challenges and how they’re opps to create something awesome. they provide the biz tools and you provide the passion and drive.

Episode 3 Podcast Transcript

Welcome to 32 Campus Drive. This is the University of Montana’s own podcast. Our aim is to tell the unique stories of the people, places, and creatures associated with Griz Nation.

Hi I’m Claire Burgeson and welcome to 32 Campus Drive, I’ll be your host. I have to apologize for my sick voice, but that’s why I’m not talking that much.

We’re going to let these people tell their own stories.

Today we are talking to some really cool and powerful women in Montana.  

Today we are talking to Kathy Bates, who's an adjunct professor at the University of Montana School of Journalism.  She had her students think about their race and write about them in six words or less.

The other women that we’ll talk to today, is Emma B Lommasson, who is a pillar for culture at the University of Montana.

I’m Kathy Weber Bates, I’m an adjunct professor at the University of Montana School of Journalism and I teach Journalism 201 Diversity in the Media. I’m a UM J-School graduate and I owe so much of my success in life to the education I received here at University of Montana Journalism School.  So if there are opportunities to give back by teaching and learning myself, I’ll come back. This class isn’t necessarily my area of expertise.  Which is a good thing, because we’re learning a lot together.  It’s essentially one big long thoughtful discussion using all sorts of the best reporting, from big long documentaries to even the shortest ones, which we are using for this project which is six-word stories about race in Montana.

2:20

So the origin of the project came out of a class discussion about how carefully you need to listen to your sources.  About how they are inadvertently, or because of the institution forms of racisms in their community related to their own story. Basically passing along bigoted comments. The discussion was on just being mindful and watching out for those instances when a source could be saying a racially charged comment without even realizing it. And I pulled up a slide that an organization called, “The Race Card” Project, which was launched by Michele Norris, who was of course of all things considered.  And the origin was the statement, “you’re pulling the race card.”  

When people said that, in Michele’s mind that meant it was diminishing a further thoughtful discussion of race. So she decided to turn that statement on it’s head and encourage people to talk about their racial experiences in the United States through six-word stories about race.  And the slide that I pulled up in our discussion about sources was, “But my best friend is black.”

My whole point in that discussion was to just listen carefully and look for coded language. That may or may not be relevant to the bigger story that they are covering. We got to thinking, I wonder if this would work in Montana.

4:05

Part of the reason that I really wanted to go see if this would a worthy exercise for my students was when I first started telling people- friends, colleagues that I was going to be teaching class they shared a similar sentiment. It really bothered me. It was, “how can you cover a story about diversity in a state like Montana where everyone is white.” Number one, it’s not true. Not everyone is white in Montana.

4:24

And number two, “why not?” This is where should we be talking about things that may be uncomfortable or not at the dinner table. When this project came together, it was like a lightbulb. Why don’t we cast the net and see what we can find? Let’s see if we can launch our own project where we gather essays from across the state and cast the net as wide as possible.  As for why six-words, legend has that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged by his literary friend to come up with as few of words as possible to tell a story, and he came up with six. His story was, “for sale baby shoes, never worn.”

Together with my students we reached out to all sixteen campuses in the Montana university system, which includes community colleges. Then we wanted to also reach out to all of the tribal colleges in Montana.  The response has been quite amazing.  The other that was exciting for my students to see is after we launched within the first two days we received 100 essays from all over.  In my mind, it went back to that sentiment I kept hearing when I was embarking on teaching this class.  Why talk about race in a state like Montana that isn’t very diverse.  The answer to that is, especially in the context of journalism is, why make an assumption that it isn’t an issue?

We’ve received 200 essays, we’ve engaged more than 50,000 students, faculty, and staff. I guess the answer we’ve found is that people have really personal reflections about their experiences related to race in Montana.  And we wouldn’t know it if we didn’t ask the question.  We didn’t ask people to indicate what race they are. I mean actually, that’s related to my personal essay. Which is, as a mixed race women growing up in Montana my essay is, “never sure which box to check.”

6:30

“Born raised Montanan and my last three words were we need diversity.”

“Finding significance as a Hein 57”

“Hearing other people helps us empathize.”

“Halfsican, where does my voice matter?”

6:48

“Not sure how African I am.”

“What is the difference between us?”

“I’m Emma Lommasson, and I will be 103-years-old on December 10.  It’s something that you don’t really think about as a youngster. You don’t think about when you’re going to be 100, I never thought about it.  I grew up in a little coal mining town called San Cooley, I lived there my entire childhood from the time I was born and until I was 21. Then after I graduated, I taught school there for four years before I moved to Missoula to live for the rest of my life.

7:55

I would have to say my favorite memory is the time that I spent at the University of Montana. Because I enjoy everything that I did at the university and I still am enjoying everything. My class entered college during the depression years. We graduated in 1933 at the height depression. But we were all poor, we were all in it together.  

I have very pleasant memories.

When I came back to work here in 1937 before the war started, we taught the young men who had who had signed up to go to further training. These young men went from one class to another class, they went out and marched like soldiers when they went from one building to the next. I’ve been very fortunate in having been around young people my whole life. That keeps me young of course.

Now, I’ll tell you truthfully I can recommend reaching your 100th birthday. At that point in life it is a milestone, it is kind of interesting to be able to say that you’re 100-years-old. But really truly we were not placed on this Earth to live forever. But I have no regrets. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about life as anything but being a happy one. I’ve had my ups and downs, as everyone else has. But I have no regrets.

Thank you for listening to 32 Campus Drive, one again I’m Claire Burgeson.  Tune in next week to listen to some cool science guys on campus.  

Episode 4 Transcripts

DOUG EMLEN

Hi, it’s Claire Burgeson. In this fourth episode of 32 campus drive, we’ll be talking to a couple of science guys. No, unfortunately, we didn’t get to talk to Bill Nye, but we did get to chat with Doug Emlen and Bret Tobalske, who are both in the biology department here at the University of Montana.

Doug Emlen is a biology professor at UM. He’s been featured on NPR, written two books and recently won an award...

 “the Carnegie Case 2015 Montana professor of the year, but that sounds really dorky to say’

He may think it’s dorky, but it’s actually kind of a big deal. This year there were about 30 state winners, and Emlen says Montana hasn’t won a professor of the year award in 10 years.

 “I think in my case I think the reason I got lucky with this award, wasn't just that I have exciting teaching evaluations from the students, it’s more than that. I think they're looking for people that sort of break out of the mold and do more than just one thing. So I have classes that I teach where I lecture, and I work with the students, but I also have other ways that I contribute. I work as a mentor to undergraduates that are doing research projects in my lab, that’s a huge part of modern competitive biology education, is training students how to do science. It’s not just what is the science and what have we learned about biology, or in my case animal behavior, it’s showing them how to do the science. So that they come out of here fully aware of the state of the art techniques and practices are, and intellectually they’re able to ask and answer research questions and they’re able to appreciate the questions others are asking. So when they see science in the news or in the media, you know, some big new result that’s out there, they’re in a position to evaluate for themselves: how credible is that result, how good was the science that underlies that result?”

Emlen’s passion for education and biology fills the room. You can hear it in his voice. We talked for an hour and I found myself wishing I wasn’t about to graduate so I could take one of this evolutionary biology classes. To give you some context of why this means something, I haven’t taken a biology class since it was required my freshman year of highschool, and for a good reason. My right side of the brain does the bulk of the work, let’s leave it at that.

Years ago, Emlen started looking at rhinoceros beetles and animal weaponry. For clarification, animal weaponry is what animals use for protection. Think of horns and claws. As an evolutionary biologist, Emlen researches the formation of these weapons. But he started seeing similarities between the animal kingdom and the evolution of weapons throughout military history. He wrote a book on it, called Animal Weapons: the evolution of battle, and that won the Phi Beta Kappa award for science.

“When you got ships that suddenly got sucked into this race where they had to get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, or fighter planes had to get faster and faster and faster, it turns out, that the stories are the same. So the same kind of conditions that spark an arms race in animals also are the conditions that spark an arms race in the military.”

His research has taken him all over the world, introduced him to new people and interesting learning opportunities.

“Believe me, I love my beetles and I love the research, and I think we really are pushing the envelope. You know I think our efforts are contributing fundamentally new knowledge to our field that’s going to be important. In some cases really important.”

But one thing that Emlen feels is even more important, the thing he always comes back to, is the teaching. His fire for it is stoked, after years of doing it, by the reminder that he’s not the end of the line when it comes to the information he’s giving students.

“Now that I’ve been doing this for 20 or so years, I look in the mirror, and honestly the thing that I feel like that I’ve done so far that matters the most is the teaching. At the end of the day, 20 years from now, 50 years from now, you look back, and nobody’s gonna care about weapons and beetles. It’s just not that important. But teaching is. We’re talking about helping light the fire, the passion, the interest for a generation of students. And when I look back, those are the things that matter the most. It’s a day when the lecture went really well, and I feel like, god it just clicked. It’s a rush, and that’s what it’s all about.”

BRET TOBALSKE

Bret Tobalske is a professor at the University of Montana specializing in bio micromechanics. He travels a little bit to study gigantic sea spiders.

Along with a team of professors and researchers from across the world, Tobalske spent a couple months in McMurdo Station, Antarctica studying a gigantic species of sea spiders. He studies a smaller species in Puget Sound, Washington. But Antarctica was different

0800

the ice creates darkness, so they were always carrying lights but so clear they could easily see 100 yards. That’s virtually unheard of in puget sound.

Training for their expedition to the bottom of the world was pretty easy for Tobalske. He would scuba dive in the middle of winter at nearby Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. It helped him prepare for the bone numbing cold in the frigid arctic water.

 

And the first impression you get is it’s extremely cold. You notice your head, like my face is cold my foreheads cold, like an ice cream headache type of thing. But it turns out that goes away pretty quickly. you forget about that.

1224

dives last 35 mins, up to 45 mins… first 10-15 you’re feeling pretty good about life, its ok, after that amount of time you start to notice your hands. and that’s really the limiting feature. other than the diving is fairly deep, so most of the time we were at least 60 ft deep and our deepest were at 130 ft. and you use up air more quickly at those depths.

Tobalske says he is fascinated about how sea spiders live.

 

The research on the sea spiders is important to the world. Climate change has made a huge impact on living organisms in the arctic area.

 

When Bret isn’t traveling the world, he studies the flight mechanics of birds at the flight lab at fort missoula. He says Montana offers outdoor experiences that no other school can.

For more information check out umt.edu. I’m Sean Robb