Press Conference: MSUB College of Business Montana Business Hall of Fame Banquet

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 2:30 p.m. in the McDonald Hall on the MSU Billings campus (outside McD355)

Introductions:   MSU Billings Chancellor Ron Larsen
                              MSUB College of Business Dean Diane Duin
                              MSUB Foundation Board Chair Dave Warne
                              MSUB College of Business Advisory Board Chair Steve Wahrlich
                              MSUB Foundation President & CEO Bill Kennedy

The Montana Business Hall of Fame Banquet is presented by the MSU Billings College of Business and the MSU Billings Foundation. This is the 4th annual banquet honoring Montana business leaders who exemplify leadership and entrepreneurial spirit. Statewide nominations were accepted by the MSUB College of Business this past spring. The College of Business Advisory Board then had the difficult task of selecting this year’s inductees. We are pleased to present the 2017 class of the Montana Business Hall of Fame.

Bill Coffee, Stockman Bank

Bill became the President & CEO of Stockman Bank in 2009. Beginning in Miles City in 1953, Stockman Bank has grown to serve communities throughout Montana, always focusing on creating long-standing relations through integrity, expertise and results. Today, Stockman Bank is recognized as one of the state’s strongest banks, one of the state’s most active commercial lenders and Montana’s largest agricultural bank. They serve tens of thousands of their neighbors in every walk of life and industry found in Montana. Bill continues to lead the organization using the same founding principles and philosophy of community service as when the bank started.






Bill Johnstone, D.A. Davidson Companies

Bill Johnstone, D.A. Davidson Companies
Bill Johnstone, D.A. Davidson Companies

Bill is a leader in many areas – law, education, business – and puts that leadership into action not only as Chairman of the Board of D.A. Davidson, but as a statewide servant of Montana. Under Bill’s guidance, D.A. Davidson has grown tremendously. Since 2000, their employee base has doubled and many of the company’s growth metrics have more than tripled: revenues, number of clients, client assets, and number of firm offices. He has served on numerous boards across the state and was tapped by Governor Bullock to co-chair the Main Street Montana initiative and then to serve on the Montana Board of Regents. Building Montana is his conviction!







Nicki & Rick Larson, Employee Benefit Management Services Inc. (EBMS)

Nicki & Rick Larson, Employee Benefit Management Systems
Nicki & Rick Larson, Employee Benefit Management Systems

Launched as one of the nation’s first and most successful third -party administrator companies for self-funded health insurance plans, the business provides much-needed services in a growing healthcare industry. Rick & Nicki have worked tirelessly over the years to grow their business into a multi-state organization. Through the Larson’s leadership, EBMS is now one of the premier industry leaders in health risk management and third party administration of self-funded health benefit plans. The company designs strategies to transform the health and wellbeing of individuals, organizations and communities. EBMS has expanded their product line to include other management and administrative services. Nicki & Rick have left their mark in Billings and in Montana with their support of community.

These exceptional business leaders will be honored on September 29, 2017 during the Montana Business Hall of Fame Banquet, held at the Northern Hotel and beginning at 7 p.m. Included in the evening’s festivities will be keynote speaker MasterCard Worldwide Vice President Mercedes Eggleton-Garcia. We are excited to welcome this renowned industry leader and vibrant speaker to Billings!





Mercedes Eggleton-Garcia, Vice President and Senior Business Leader Global Community Relations of MasterCard Worldwide, will be the keynote speaker at the Montana Business Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, September 29.

Emphasizing financial success and consumer education, Ms. Garcia has helped propel MasterCard to the top of their industry. Ms. Garcia is actively involved with key women’s organizations and has been recognized for her work and professional dedication by various groups. For several years, she has also acted as MasterCard’s spokesperson for consumer education programs, and helped not only in the development of the educational programs, marketing and training materials, but also by personally conducting training sessions reaching thousands of people throughout the U.S.

Ms. Garcia joined MasterCard in 1994 to open the Venezuela office. She moved to the company’s headquarters in Purchase, NY, in 1998 to join the Global Product Group, supporting the development and global rollout of various MasterCard payment card programs in various regions. Prior to joining MasterCard, Ms. Garcia developed an extensive marketing and advertising background. She is a native of Venezuela, speaks several languages and has a Business Administration and Hotel Management degree from the Mexican Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management in Mexico City.

MSU Billings and the MSUB Foundation have arranged two days of community events and fundraisers featuring Ms. Garcia, culminating with the banquet celebration.

  • On Thursday, September 28, Garcia will join the MSUB chancellor and Billings taskforces for dinner and will address members, discussing fraud and security.
  • MSU Billings Foundation, MSU Billings, and MasterCard will host the MasterCard Women in Business Luncheon at noon on September 29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton.
  • Friday evening, September 29, celebrates the inductees into the MSUB College of Business Montana Business Hall of Fame with dinner and keynote by Ms. Garcia.
  • Proceeds from the MasterCard Women in Business Luncheon and the Montana Business Hall of Fame Banquet will be used toward scholarships for MSUB College of Business students.

Past inductees into the Montana Business Hall of Fame are:

  • Ian Davidson
  • Sam McDonald (posthumously)
  • Chris Nelson
  • Bill Oftedahl
  • Mike Schaer
  • Don & Marilyn Floberg
  • Greg Gianforte
  • Tom Scott
  • Karen Fagg
  • Terry Payne
  • Nick Wolter

Corporate tables and individual tickets to the Montana Business Hall of Fame Banquet are available by calling Shannon at 406.657.1626.

The Montana Business Hall of Fame recognizes business leaders who have been successful in private enterprise in Montana. By identifying outstanding examples of business leadership, the Hall of Fame recognizes, shares, and documents stories of success and innovation. The Hall of Fame creates an awareness of appreciation of Montana’s rich heritage of business leadership. More information on criteria for induction to the Montana Business Hall of Fame, see

For additional information or pictures, please contact Shannon Behounek at 406.657.1626 or

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