Missoula Downtown Association Board

Bob Burns

President
View Bio
A native of Livingston, Mont., Bob Burns has served as the Missoula Market President for Stockman Bank since October of 2014. He earned his degree in Business Administration & Finance from The University of Montana in 1996 and has worked in finance for over 25 years.  Since its start in Missoula, Burns has grown the staff to 78 employees in the Missoula market, offering full service banking along with Stockman Wealth Management and Stockman Insurance. Under his leadership, Stockman Bank has opened three full service Missoula branches since 2014. Burns is active in the Missoula community, serving as Chair of The Missoula Fairgrounds Foundation Board, and the University of Montana College of Business Management & Marketing Advisory Board. He is also a past State Board member of Make-A-Wish Montana.  Bob is married to Katrina and they have one daughter, Maeve.

Katie Ghen Simpson

VP of Advocacy

Mimi Hall Gustafson

VP of Marketing/Events
View Bio
Mimi Hall Gustafson is in her second stint as Director of Sales & Marketing at the Holiday Inn Downtown. She moved to Missoula for the same position in 2013 with Sage Hospitality and served in that role for four years. She worked for Destination Missoula and the Tourism BID as the Director of Sales and Services from 2017-19. Prior to her arrival in Missoula, Hall Gustafson was on the leadership team at Northern Quest Resort in Spokane for four years. She has spent the majority of her adult life in sales and marketing, specializing in destination resorts. With a breadth of sales and marketing experience in the hospitality and destination resort industry, Hall Gustafson has served in leadership roles with world-class destination resorts, an innovative full-service marketing firm, a successful destination marketing organization, and a unique, luxury resort representation firm. Hall Gustafson has a B.A. in Advertising & PR from the University of Idaho. Originally from Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., she and her husband, Frank, enjoy hiking, skiing and boating, as well as spend time exploring Montana with their three dogs.

Ellen Buchanan

VP of Master Plan
View Bio
Ellen Buchanan has served on the MDA Board of Directors since 2003 and stepped into leadership as a vice president in 2017. She chairs several committees and was the visionary behind the creation of River City Roots Festival. She came to Missoula in 2003 from Johnson City, Tenn., to oversee Missoula’s tax increment financing program. Under her direction, the Missoula Redevelopment Agency created several urban renewal districts and leveraged significant investments all across Missoula. Her priorities are community sustainability, Downtown vitality, and residential development in the heart of city. Buchanan chairs the Downtown Master Plan Implementation Team, as well as the committees that plan and produce Winter BrewFest, Garden City BrewFest, and River City Roots Festival. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Downtown Business Improvement District and the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. She has B.S. in Architecture from the Pratt Institute in New York City. She has worked in redevelopment in New York, California, Florida and Tennessee. Ellen is married to Michael Hornick. She has two grown children, Jason and Keenan, and a granddaughter, Tess. When not working, you will find her at live music events and festivals.

Jed Liston

VP of Membership
View Bio
Jed Liston is a lifelong Grizzly, having spent 30 years in Admissions, overseeing many years of record enrollments. He served as the Director of Marketing in Integrated Communications from 2014-2016. Liston, a fifth-generation Montanan, originally from Helena, has two degrees from UM, a BA in Communications Sciences & Disorders and a Master’s in Educational Leadership. Jed is married to Jorrun Liston, and they have three kids who all attend UM.

Conor Newman

Treasurer
View Bio
Conor Newman was born and raised in Missoula and graduated from the University of Montana with a BS in Accounting in 2010 and a Masters of Accountancy in 2011. He started working at Boyle, Deveny & Meyer, PC as a tax season intern in 2008, was hired on full time in 2011, and became a shareholder in 2016.  Newman’s practice centers around individual and business tax return preparation and planning. He is a Downtown resident and previously served on the Habitat for Humanity Board. He enjoys camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and snowboarding/skiing in the great Montana outdoors with his wife, Rose, and two daughters, Eva and Hadley.

Josh Eder

Past President
View Bio
A proud Missoula native, Josh Eder has worked in Financial Services since 2006 and has been with MDA Member SG Long & Company since 2009. He earned a BS in Finance from the University of Montana in 2005 and has earned multiple licenses, including Series 7, 53, 63, 65 & Montana life and health, annuity, and long-term care insurance. He has been a CFP® designation holder since 2018. Josh has a passion for service and has served on the Board of Directors for the Missoula Downtown Foundation, Missoula Downtown Association, Habitat for Humanity, and Missoula Interfaith Collaborative. He most recently served as the president of the Missoula Downtown Association in 2022. He is married to Chanda, and they have 2 daughters, Ellery & Haddy.

Bryan Hickey

Member

Ashley Larkin

Member
View Bio

A native of Billings, Mont., Ashley Larkin started working at First Montana Bank in 2011 and is currently AVP Commercial Loan Officer. She earned a B.S. in Business Finance from the University of Montana and more recently completed the Pacific Coast Banking School program.

Larkin joined the board in 2018 and served as board president in 2021 and has served as a volunteer for Downtown event and committees for several years.  In addition to the MDA, Larkin serves on the Jadyn Fred Foundation and Missoula Chamber Red Coats.

Kia Liszak

Member
View Bio
Kia Liszak has been the Executive Director of the Zootown Arts Community Center (ZACC) for ten years. She spearheaded and led the visionary process and multimillion-dollar campaign efforts to bring the ZACC downtown and triple its size and ability to build community through accessible arts experiences for all. She was recognized by the Missoulian in 2013 as one of Western Montana's top 20 business leaders under 40 years old to have made a positive impact through exceptional entrepreneurship, leadership, creative vision, innovation and dedication to the community, and recognized by the Missoula Downtown Association in 2019 as the Downtowner of the Year. She has served as a volunteer on many committees including The Missoula Public Art Committee and on Missoula's Community Arts Team to implement the Kennedy Center’s support of the SPARK arts program. She was able to travel to Thailand and Laos to enrich her work through the YSEALI professional fellows program in 2017 and subsequently invited to participate in the US State Department’s seminar, “Art, Culture, and Transforming Conflict" in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is extremely passionate about empowering people of all ages through the arts and creative community building.

Paige Livingston

Member
View Bio
Paige Livingston is the owner of One Eleven Boutique at 111 N. Higgins. She bought the store in 2010 after managing the business for nearly a year. A native of Missoula, Livingston managed a fine dining restaurant in Portland before returning home. She previously served on the Mayor’s Downtown Advisory Commission in 2015-16 and will serve on the MDA’s Retail and Festival of Trees committees. Paige married Randolph Chitwood in 2017.

Aimee McQuilkin

Member
View Bio
Aimee McQuilkin is the creative entrepreneur behind the beloved Betty’s Divine on the Hip Strip. Originally from Portland, Ore., McQuilkin graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Psychology and a Minor in Women’s Studies in 2000. She started her retail career as a manager for Rainbow’s End and then took the leap to business owner when she opened Betty’s Divine in 2005. She then leaped again into property owner when she purchased the building next door to her original location and moved. Aimee is married to Matthew McQuilkin, co-owner of Black Coffee Roasting Company, and they have two daughters: Quinn and Macy. In her free time, she likes to watch birds, bake bread, fly down mountains on bikes and skis, camp in the woods, read voraciously, garden-eat-read about food, play kickball, and comb garage sales and junk stores for treasures.

Matt Mellott

Member
View Bio

Matt Mellott is the owner and lead commercial real estate advisor with the Sterling Group, which includes Sterling Commercial Real Estate Advisors, Sterling Commercial Management Group and Sterling Capital Investment Group.  He is also a partner with Renewal Real Estate Services which builds modern, sustainable and affordable homes inside the city limits of Missoula.  Mellott specializes in commercial realty and affordable housing development.

Originally from Lancaster, Penn., Mellott has a B.A. in Real Estate from Penn State University.  After starting a career in commercial real estate in Atlanta, GA and Harrisburg, PA, he served with the United States Marine Corps.  He spent twelve years on active duty flying F/A-18 Hornets and then moved with his family to Missoula where he returned to the world of commercial real estate. 

Matt and his wife have five children. Together they have a deep appreciation for the Missoula lifestyle.

Zachary Millar

Member
View Bio
Zach Millar and his wife, Sarah, founded The Dram Shop – Montana’s first-ever, stand-alone growler fill station - in 2015. They subsequently opened a second location in 2019. Prior to that, Millar was a member of the staff at Big Sky Brewing Company for 11 years, working his way up from tap room manager to distribution manager.
A native of Donation, Pennsylvania, Millar earned his B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Montana in 1999. As a talented musician, he also played music professionally for 15 years.
Zach and his wife, Sarah - who works at the National Interscholastic Cycling League - have two daughters.

Heidi Starrett

Member
View Bio

Heidi Starrett is an Advertising Executive at Missoula Broadcasting Company, a locally-owned and operated radio company. Prior to that she was the advertising sales manager at the Missoula Independent from 2014-2016, and she owned her own business, Computer Central, from 2005-2014.

Starrett has been a board member since 2011 and has served as chair on the Out Lunch Committee since that time. She was the Board President in 2015 and has held three vice president positions: VP of Marketing in 2013, VP of Membership in 2014, and VP of Advocacy in the latter half of 2017.

Since getting involved with the MDA in 2006, Starrett has served a role on nearly every committee, plus she volunteers for almost every MDA event.

Originally from Massachusetts, Starrett has a B.A. in Interior Design from Endicott College. She moved to Missoula in 2004 after falling in love with the Garden City.

In addition to MDA, Starrett serves on the Arts Missoula and City Club Missoula boards. In her free time, she helps with the Milltown Garden Patch and enjoys hiking, biking, cross country skiing and attending a plethora of Downtown events.

Scott Whittenburg

Member
View Bio
Scott Whittenburg is the Vice President for Research and Creative Scholarship at UM, a position he has held since coming to Missoula in 2013.  He is also the President of MonTEC, as business incubator located adjacent to Missoula College.  Prior to coming to UM, he held similar roles at the University of New Orleans.  In these roles Scott leads the university’s efforts in research, creative activities and economic development.  Scott has a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Oregon State University and a doctoral degree in Physical Chemistry from the University of Utah.  Whittenburg and his two kids moved to Missoula to be closer to his mother.  They have lived downtown on the Hip Strip, in the Wilma, and on North Higgins before moving to the Ranch Club. Scott loves North Higgins and would love to see it become a destination for residences and multi-use buildings.

Corey Aldridge

Ex-Officio Representative
View Bio

Corey Aldridge has been the CEO & General Manager of Mountain Line Transit in Missoula, Montana, since 2015. Corey has numerous significant accomplishments helping to advance public transportation in Missoula. He successfully oversaw the Zero-fare initiative, now in its eighth year, with overwhelming voter approval to fund it in perpetuity in Nov. 2020. Zero-Fare is at the core of Mountain Line's identity and a strong source of community pride. Since 2015, ridership has grown nearly 70% to 1.5 million rides annually.

Corey also oversaw a transformational mill levy increase initiative on the November 2020 ballot, which allowed Mountain Line to expand its service by 28% in July 2022. He fostered strong community pride in Mountain Line, with residents clearly repeating back our agency's message that public transportation "benefits us all," a message that was largely unknown prior to his arrival. Corey has championed the largest project our agency has ever undertaken, the Bus Stop Improvement Project, aimed at improving safety and accessibility. Corey has also championed sustainability initiatives, transitioning the agency to a zero-tailpipe-emissions fleet. With successful applications for two Low-No grants (2018, 2020) and a state grant (2020) to purchase a total of 12 electric buses in three years, bringing the fleet to 40% electric. Mountain Line won national recognition in 2021 with APTA’s Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award for North America!

Grant Kier

Ex-Officio Representative
View Bio
As the CEO of the Missoula Economic Partnership, Grant Kier is brings excellence and a balance of mission focus, analytical depth, and executive leadership to Missoula’s economic development agency. Prior to his appointment as lead staff, he was a committed and passionate board member to the MEP, including service as the Treasurer. Kier provided a decade of executive leadership to Missoula’s Five Valleys Land Trust from 2007 to 2017, establishing it as one of the most respected and successful conservation organizations in the state and one of the most successful land trusts in the country. Kier’s work in conservation helped families expand their businesses and helped communities around Missoula County tap into the growing recreation and tourism economy. Grant holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Geology from the University of Colorado. He is married to Rebecca Bendick, Ph.D. in Geosciences at the University of Montana, and they have one daughter, Fiona.

Ian Ortlieb

Ex-Officio Representative
View Bio
Ian Ortlieb is the new Parking Services Director for the Missoula Parking Commission, starting his new role in late July 2021. Ortlieb has had a long career in parking and transportation, starting in 2006 as a front-line employee at Washington State University Transportation Services while going to college. Upon earning his BA in History, Ortlieb moved to a full-time position with WSU Transportation. In 2011, Ian became the Field Operations Manager, overseeing the department's enforcement, maintenance, garage operations, and special events. He also helped develop large event parking and traffic plans for various events on campus.  He also helped work through condition assessments of parking lots and parking structures on campus and assisted with maintenance projects for parking lots. Ortlieb left WSU in 2015 to serve as the Parking Services Director at the University of Idaho, where he helped the team manage parking operations.  In 2016, he and his family moved to Southern California, where he served as Senior Manager for SP+ and the Downtown Santa Monica parking operation. Unhappy with the long commute and hectic city lifestyle, Ortlieb returned to WSU in 2017 for his second stint as the Field Operations Manager at Transportation Services. While his primary focus was on managing the day-to-day operations, he was also responsible for financial planning, budgeting, and establishing strategic goals for the unit and department. Ortlieb was responsible for implementing License Plate Recognition technology for parking structure and enforcement. Ian and his wife, Selina, have three children: Jessie, Avery, and Olivia. They love to spend time together and are very excited to be a part of Missoula community. He can be reached at the Missoula Parking Commission (128 W. Main) via phone (406-552-6243) or email ([email protected]).

Megan Redmond

Ex-Officio Representative
View Bio
Megan Redmond joined the MDA Board in August 2021 as an ex-officio representative of the Montana Department of Transportation. She spent many childhood summers in the Flathead Valley. Her parents met at the University of Montana in the 1960s, and UM has always held a special place in their hearts. Born in Denver and raised primarily in Memphis, Tenn., Redmond has always been in love with Montana – craving the mountains for years until she was finally able to call it home. She has a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Memphis with a concentration in Public Relations. She has since worked in both the corporate and non-profit sectors in a variety of capacities. As an event planner, Redmond previously worked for the University of Montana Foundation and the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves as the Missoula District Public Relations Specialist for the Montana Department of Transportation and is excited to engage with the great minds and volunteer spirit of Downtown Missoula. She is passionate about events and Downtown Missoula and participates in many, if not most, events, including Downtown on Tap, Downtown ToNight, Out to Lunch, River City Roots Festival, and Festival of Trees. She and her daughter, Violet (age 6), love the parades and family events all around Missoula. They also have a black lab named Bear and an orange and white tabby cat named Linus. As an enthusiastic supporter of downtown events over the years, Redmond is excited to be involved with the MDA in a professional capacity and do her part to support and enhance the vitality of Downtown Missoula.