Pre-Summit Workshop Session Speakers in Alphabetical Order by Last Name:

Marilyn Besich_editedMarilyn Besich
Program Director
Montana Cooperative Development Center

Marilyn Besich joined MCDC in January 2018.  As Program Director, she assists the center in promoting and developing cooperatives to meet the economic and community needs of rural Montana though training, technical assistance, and support efforts.  Marilyn was Program Manager for the Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Administration for Great Falls College for 26 years and has taught Entrepreneurship and Management courses and curriculum for over 30 years.

She has experience in both Management and Marketing positions in Great Falls. She is a graduate of the University of Montana in Business Administration and Montana State University in Adult Education.  Marilyn has three sons and has been married to her husband, Al, for 43 years.

Janice Brown MCDC Executive DirectorJanice Brown
Executive Director 
Montana Cooperative Development Center

Janice Brown became executive director of MCDC in July 2015. She supervises a statewide network of cooperative development specialists who are trained to assist new co-op leaders across Montana and eastern Idaho.

Jan has 40 years of experience in the private, nonprofit and government sectors specializing in recreation/tourism enterprises, organizational development, and natural resource policy.

A graduate of the Oregon State University School of Forestry, Jan has spent her entire career in Idaho and Montana including 10 years of operating her own guest lodge near Yellowstone National Park.

Brianna EwertBrianna Ewert
Program Manager
Lake County Community Development Corporation (LCCDC)

Ewert started at LCCDC (Ronan, MT) in the Farm to Institution program working with producer cooperatives to serve institutions and expand markets for the region’s farmers and ranchers. Brianna has transitioned to work more broadly in LCCDC’s Cooperative Development Center. Brianna recently completed the final of three sessions in the Art and Science of Cooperative Development, a comprehensive training for cooperative developers through Cooperation Works! Brianna holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Studies with a focus in Sustainable Food and Farming from the University of Montana and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Harvard University. She is personally a member of several cooperatives, co-manages a diversified farm, and spends as much time as she can enjoying the outdoors with her partner and their young son.

Wendy Greene LoweWendy Green Lowe
Certified Professional Facilitator and Owner
P2 Solutions

Wendy has 30 years experience in group process facilitation and public participation support. She is a certified professional facilitator and has extensive experience bringing diverse perspectives together for collaborative conversations. Several long‐term projects brought stakeholders and participants together to reach consensus on contentious public policies.

She has successfully designed and facilitated group processes for a variety of public and private organizations. She has developed and implemented public involvement plans, managed public meetings of various formats, and moderated public hearings.

In addition, Ms. Lowe provides the IAP2 five‐day Foundations Program and facilitation training as a partner in The Participation Company.

Dr. George HaynesGeorge W. Haynes, Ph.D.
Professor and Extension Economist
Montana State University

Dr. Haynes is a professor and extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University.

Dr. Haynes’ primary line of research has been in family business finance, where he has examined the intermingling of family and business resources, explored changes in the financial structure of family business, examined the lending behavior of depository institutions and assessed the response of family businesses to disasters and disaster assistance.

His instructional responsibilities include teaching an introduction to cooperatives course, delivering the Montana agricultural outlook, conducting borrower training for Farm Service Agency borrowers, and educating farmers and ranchers on the agricultural policy issues.

Margaret LundMargaret Lund

Margaret Lund is an independent consultant specializing in community development finance and shared ownership strategies. Her clients includes dozens of cooperative development organizations, co-ops and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).

Prior to launching her consulting practice in 2008, Lund spent 16 years as the Executive Director of the Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund, a CDFI lending to cooperatives of all sectors.

Lund is a past board member of the National Cooperative Business Association where she chaired the Cooperative Development and the International Development committees as well as a national task force on cooperative capital formation. She also served on the board of Health Partners, the largest consumer-governed healthcare organization in the U.S.

Lund has been featured as a speaker, trainer and panelist for a wide range of organizations including the Opportunity Finance Network, the National Credit Union Administration, the National Association of Housing Cooperatives, the Consumer Cooperative Managers Association, and the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives.

Bob ManningBob Manning
Benefits Manager
CHS Insurance

Manning attended the University of Minnesota and is a Chartered Financial Consultant. Bob has been with CHS Insurance for twenty years and specializes in risk management for health insurance and human resources.

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(406) 727-1517
12 3rd Street NW, Suite #110
P.O. Box 3027
Great Falls, Montana 59403



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