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Meeting Our Economic Needs Together – Understanding Cooperative Leverage Webinar

Please join us for an overview of Cooperatives in Montana. Marilyn Besich, Program Director for MCDC, Julie Foster, Executive Director for Ravalli County Economic Development Authority and MCDC Cooperative Development Specialist, and Eric Bergman, MCDC Cooperative Development Specialist and Food and Ag Development Specialist will be presenting some information about cooperative formation in Montana, examples of  cooperatives in Ravalli County and surrounding area, and how cooperatives can function within a variety of Montana industry sectors.  The session will be about 60 minutes long with time for Q&A.


Apr 14 2020


2:00 pm




  • Eric Bergman
    Eric Bergman
    MCDC Cooperative Development Specialist/Food and Ag Development Specialist
  • Julie Foster
    Julie Foster
    Executive Director for Ravalli County Economic Development Authority/MCDC Cooperative Development Specialist

    Julie is a 30- year veteran of small entrepreneurial Montana business with over 20 years’ experience in rural economic development. Expertise includes providing a variety of technical assistance to diverse businesses and corporations, small business counseling, business expansion and retention services, grant writing and administration, capitalization and management of various loan funds and project management. Project work also includes development of local infrastructure such as water, waste water, land use and zoning for economic development purposes, as well as establishing effective regional partnerships.

    Julie was hired as the Ravalli County Economic Development Authority (RCEDA) Executive Director in December of 2005. RCEDA is a non-profit, community and economic development organization, established to serve Ravalli County and its citizens.

    In 2008 Julie led the planning, funding, and construction of the $3.2 million dollar Ravalli Entrepreneurship Center. In 2005 RCEDA took over management of Ravalli County’s $750,000 Revolving Loan fund. Today RCEDA has three loan fund programs totaling over $2.5 million. The RCEDA has been involved in the finance and implementation of projects large and small in Ravalli County totaling over $200 million since 2005.

    Montana’s rural communities are close to her heart. The “rurals” of Montana have much to offer the state and those that desire to do business in Montana. Julie has been a Cooperative Development Specialist for the Montana Cooperative Development Center. Julie understands business, the cooperative business model including cooperative housing, the art of putting together complex finance strategies and the relationships necessary to succeed. She has attended training and conferences around the nation and one international visit to Laos on these topics.

    Professional and personal interests include innovative economic development, long distance hiking, cooking and outdoor recreation with friends and family. Julie has lived in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley of Western Montana for 36 years with her best friend and husband Steve.

  • Marilyn Besich
    Marilyn Besich
    MCDC Program Director
Montana Cooperative Development Center


Montana Cooperative Development Center
(406) 868-0875

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