Charlie Beaton opened Big Dipper Ice Cream on the Hip Strip in 1995 and has grown the business from a simple wholesale manufacturer into a significant retail outlet, mobile vending operation, and a franchise with additional outlets in Billings and Helena. Big Dipper has garnered national attention in multiple publications and was selected in 2012 as the Best Ice Cream in America by USA Today and Good Morning America. Most recently Big Dipper was selected as the sole ice cream product sold by Xanterra, the management company for both Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. A native of Helena, Beaton earned a B.S. in Business Administration in 1991 from the University of Montana. He was a financial services agent with Prudential for two years before becoming an entrepreneur. Beaton has also served in leadership roles with the Missoula Food Bank, the Hip Strip Society and the State of Montana Small Business & Downtown Network. Charlie is married to Barbie, and they have two daughters, both students at Hellgate High.
Scott Stearns was born in Missoula and graduated from the University of Notre Dame. After receiving his law degree from The University of Montana School of Law, he worked in the Missoula County Attorney’s Office as a Deputy County Attorney and also served in the Montana National Guard as an Infantry Officer. He practiced law with Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis before moving back to Missoula in 2003 to join the Boone Karlberg law firm. In addition to serving on the Board for the Missoula Business Improvement District, Scott served as a Board Member on the Montana Board of Public Education, the Board of Trustees for Community Medical Center (past chairman), and the Board of Directors for the United Way of Missoula County (past president).
Director, City of Missoula Housing & Economic Development City Representative
Carma Gilligan has owned the property corner at Red's Bar and Masala for many years. She has volunteered at the Missoula Police Department and St. Patrick's Hospital since 1998. She is involved with the Missoula Red Hatters and several other organizations.
Karen Sippy was appointed to the Downtown BID Board in July 2020. She and her husband Brian invested in Downtown Missoula with new construction at 120 North Higgins, the former site of RH McKay Art Company and, most recently, the Uptown Diner. The new building opened in January 2020 and houses Radius Gallery, Relic Gallery, Art Vault and the innovative alley art program, Allez. Sippy serves as the Community Liaison for Allez. An extraordinary community volunteer, Sippy is the Executive Director of Trees for Missoula and serves on the boards of the Grant Creek Trails Association, the Friends of Missoula Parks, the State of Montana Arboretum Committee, Conservation Lands Advisory Committee, and the Downtown North Riverside Parks and Trails Blue Ribbon Committee. Karen and Brian have lived in Missoula since 2003.
Dr. James McKay has been appointed to the Downtown Business Improvement District Board of Trustees as a representative from Zone 2. Dr. McKay serves as the Chief Medical Officer for Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula and the Providence Medical Group. Prior to his appointment at St. Pat’s, he worked at Missoula Radiology for nearly 18 years. He earned his M.D. from Dartmouth College and holds a B.A. from UC Santa Barbara. Prior to medical school, he worked as a Smokejumper for the U.S. Forest Service here in Missoula.