Startup Weekend Butte

    Friday, March 27 - 29, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Startup Weekend Butte

Friday, March 27 - 29, 2015

Friday, March 27 - 29, 2015
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Thornton Building
65 E Broadway
Butte, MT 59701

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Share Ideas, Form Teams, Build Products, and Launch Startups!

Startup Weekend Butte is 54­-hour event where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups! Local CEOs, founders, startup veterans, attorneys, publishers, professors, and economic developers with entrepreneurship, investing, marketing, and technology expertise will be on hand to coach teams.

Photos courtesy of Lisa Wareham Photography


Friday March 27th

6:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

7:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:15 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday March 28th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday March 29th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

2:00 pm
Presentation Prep
Final hours of work time should be focused on perfecting your presentation.

3:00 pm
Tech Check-In
Tech-check for final presentations.

4:00 pm
Final Presentations

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Martin Butts
Founder, Small Potatoes

Martin Butts is a local food advocate, entrepreneur, writer, speaker, and the owner of Small Potatoes, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in working with food businesses of all kinds. He has previously served as the Director of Syracuse University's Community Test Kitchen, working with aspiring foodpreneurs to help them turn their product ideas into businesses, and as the Community Education and Outreach Coordinator for Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York. He has spoken at conferences and summits around the country, including at TEDxUtica in October 2013. He has also spoken at universities, community centers, grocery stores, private homes, city parks, and on stairways and wooden crates.

He has worked with food producers, farmers, restaurants, retailers, distributors, nonprofits, colleges, and consumers, as well as on advisory councils for fair trade standards, retail food co-ops, and currently as an advisor for Syracuse First. His work focuses on developing fair and sustainable food systems that support independent businesses and healthier communities. In 2010, he was chosen as one of Central New York's 40 Under Forty, recognizing individuals who have excelled in both the workplace and in the community, and Small Potatoes was awarded a 2013 Snail of Approval Award by Slow Food CNY.

To watch his TEDx talk, click the link: 

Event Judges

Les Craig
Director, Blackstone LaunchPad at Montana State University

Les Craig has spent the past 13 years as an entrepreneur and innovator. Most recently, Les co-founded The Twenty, a company offering data science as a service to solve the data problems of small and medium sized businesses. Prior to The Twenty, Les co-founded RedOwl Analytics, a software product company which built a platform for identifying trends and anomalies in the digital trail of corporations in order to combat insider threat and mitigate risk. Previously, Les served as a Technical Operations Officer at the Central Intelligence Agency. Prior to his time at the CIA, Les was a member of the professional staff of the National Security Technology Department at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. He began solving problems of national significance in 2002, when he interned at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, working on a special project with the Counter-proliferation, Analysis, and Planning System. Later that year, he contributed to a study with the Army Research Labs where he developed a unique methods to analyze the performance of a diagnostic device used to detect Malaria.

Gary Gannon
Principal, SciGaia

Gary Gannon has lifelong experience envisioning, forming, managing, and growing companies and organizations in diverse fields in the US and around the world. He has demonstrated a solid track record and leadership in anticipating global trends, and has built numerous businesses that both leveraged and added value to these emerging trends. Mr. Gannon focuses his full professional attention to helping solve complex global problems. Currently, Mr. Gannon is Executive Manager and co-founder of sciGaia, serves on the Board of Advisors for the Craighead Institute.  During 2011, Mr. Gannon became the inaugural Entrepreneur in Residence at Montana State University. 

Paul Gladen
Director, Blackstone LaunchPad at the University of Montana

Paul Gladen is the Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at the University of Montana, a program that helps students, alumni, faculty and staff start their own business. He is co-founder of Muzeview, a research business based in Missoula and also co-founder of the Hellgate Venture Network, a networking group for Montana entrepreneurs.

Paul has an MA in Mathematics from Oxford University and an MBA from Manchester Business School. He spent the first 14 years of his career working for Arthur Andersen. He has lived and worked in London, New York, Rome, Dublin & Chicago, moving to Missoula in 2008.

Dawn McGee
CEO at Goodworks Ventures, LLC

Dawn McGee is the CEO of Good Works Ventures, LLC a Montana based company that invests in high social impact companies. She is also President of the High Stakes Foundation, which provides support to visionary people and organizations that are leading and implementing changes that create a sustainable future for Montana. She loves to play outside and play music as often as possible.

Dev Warren
CEO, Ascendant Advisory Group and Consultant at Upstream Academy

Dev is the CEO and Co-founder of Ascendant Advisory Group. Having spent the majority of his career as an entrepreneur and CFO in the venture capital industry, he has experienced the challenges and frustrations that come with trying to start a business, grow it and exit it. With his fresh approach, Dev has taken multiple companies from average to high performing. Developing and implementing strategic visions and plans, building strong cultures and focusing on decision making, have always been key elements in Dev's success. He works closely with companies to help them identify and target high-value methods of gaining and serving customers, leading teams and engaging all generations. Dev has coached numerous C-suite leaders along with younger employees utilizing real-world experiences uniquely tailored for each client, to excite and engage today's business leaders.

Coaches and Mentors

Danny Choriki
Strategic and Product Consultant

Born in Bozeman and raised around the agriculture industry of Montana, Danny Choriki decided in his 20's to see if there was life without dirt under his finger nails. With a degree in the social sciences, Danny went to New York City to study environmental psychology with an eye towards understanding how people cope with and adapt to rapid social and technical change. He assisted the director of The City University of New York Graduate School's computer center to move from card punch machines, Wilbur and VAX terminals (9600 baud) to PC's on a LAN, structured databases, and eventually the internet. From there, Danny looked at the impact of information technology on New York Public Schools for a policy research center. A series of consulting and strategic planning positions at Fortune 50 corporations in legal, finance and telecommunications industries followed until the internet bubble burst. Danny returned to his startup roots in the online advertising technology ecosystem and built a vertical ad network and an AOL-owned US branch of an European ad serving company followed by digital privacy and online game startups. Danny returned home to Montana in 2012 to refresh his father’s 40-year-old startup business including innovation with drones and the company’s 18 years of experience with GPS farm consulting. Additionally, Danny advises startups on early stage strategic business planning. Danny was the lead organizer for the inaugural Startup Weekend Billings, is writing a book on integrating strategy into daily life, and a game idea (ask him about it!). Interests include digital privacy, rapid change adaptation, STEM, economic development, and low earth orbit.

Janice Copeland
Loan Officer & HomeBuyers Education Facilitator, Headwaters RC&D

Janice Copeland is the Loan Officer and HomeBuyers Education Facilitator for Headwaters RC&D Area, Inc. in Butte, Montana.  Joining Headwaters in 1998, Janice is responsible for the oversight and management of a $5 million commercial loan portfolio established in 1993 to promote small business enterprises that will hire or retain employees throughout Headwaters’ seven county region in southwestern Montana. Additionally, Janice provides financial analysis and lending services through Professional Service Contracts with Economic Development Agencies and Counties in Headwaters region.  Janice brings over 30 years’ experience in the lending field as a bank commercial loan officer, title insurance escrow officer along with experience as a casualty and life insurance agent.  In 2000, she completed the National Development Council Economic Development Finance Professional program earning the designation “Economic Development Finance Professional”.  Additionally, in 2010 she received certification as a CORE FOUR Business Planning Course Instructor.  CORE FOUR provides the information and skills needed in the four fundamental or “CORE” elements of business planning. 

Patrick Dudley
President, National Center for Health Care Informatics

Pat Dudley is currently the President of the National Center for Health Care Informatics located in Butte, Montana. Pat began his professional career as a Medical Technologist and then changed his career path within healthcare and entered the Human Resource field where he held a variety of positions including Employment Supervisor, Education Director and eventually Director of Human Resources at St. James Healthcare. Concurrent with his role as HR Director, Pat also served as Compliance Officer, Ethics Committee Chairman, Environment of Care (Safety) Committee Chairman and Emergency Preparedness Incident Commander. In 2008, Pat transitioned to his role as President of NCHCI, a Center which he helped found in 2004. Since 2011, Pat has also been an Adjunct Professor at Montana Tech where he teaches Business Ethics and Decision Making. Pat is a Butte native and a graduate of Montana State University with a degree in Microbiology. He is married and has two grown children. Pat serves on numerous local and state organizational boards.

Wayne Gardella
District Director, SBA

Wayne Gardella has an all-encompassing background in small business lending and start-up business counseling. Wayne is the Small Business Administration’s District Director for the State of Montana. Prior to coming to the Small Business Administration he spent the last 20 years actively engaged in supporting small business export initiatives at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Before joining Export-Import Bank Wayne was the Managing Director for Small Business Lending at Citizen’s Bank of Maryland. Wayne is a certified public accountant, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from UNLV and a Masters of Business Administration from Marymount University.

Andrew Gordon
Executive Director of Corporate Relations & Co-Founder, Ascendant Advisory Group

As the Executive Director of Corporate Relations and Co-Founder of Ascendant Advisory Group, Andy is a dedicated technologist and relationship expert. He advises both startups and larger businesses on digital media tactics, branding, fundraising, and new technologies to streamline their operations while refining their growth strategies. Andy is a graduate of the University of Montana with a deep technical background in IT built over a 14 year career in the engineering consulting industry. He serves as a Montana Ambassador and is a coordinator for the annual creativity and global innovation summit known as HATCH in Big Sky. Andy has dedicated his "off time" to helping Montana businesses and entrepreneurs grow, develop and innovate. His passion for helping others succeed in their pursuits is second to none.

Julie Jaksha
Director of the Small Business Development Center, Headwaters RC&D

Julie is the Director of the Small Business Development Center for Headwaters RC&D in Butte Montana. In her current position she helps businesses with business planning, marketing, financials, and growth strategies throughout the 7 counties that Headwaters serves. The mission of her office is to build, sustain and promote small business and enhance the local economy through job and business creation.  She has over 16 years in the banking industry working at both Wells Fargo and First Montana Bank before joining Headwaters in 2009. In 2013 she completed the National Development Council Economic Development Finance Professional program and earned certification. In addition she is a trained facilitator for Edward Lowe Peersepective Program and Profit Mastery, a financial education program for small business owners.  Julie also volunteers her time serving on numerous public and private boards including, Butte Silver Bow Zoning Board, Insure Montana Board, Montana Community Finance Corporation Loan Committee, and the Montana Youth Soccer Association. Julie started the first official Start-Up event in August and has grown the group to 50 members. She is attending Montana Tech, working towards completing her BA in business management. Julie and her husband Steve have 3 amazing children, Seth, Hailey and Kenzie. Julie and her family like to spend their weekends traveling for soccer games, as well as skiing, camping, rafting, fishing and hiking.

Dan Lloyd
Business Development Specialist, State of Montana Governor's Office of Economic Development

Dan Lloyd was appointed by Governor Bullock in July of 2013 to serve as a business development specialist in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Prior to joining the Governor’s staff, Dan worked for the Montana Department of Commerce with a focus on energy development, managed projects for a publishing & training firm, and served as an independent contractor in the medical device industry. Dan earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame in 2006 and is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council.

Ray Rogers
CEO, National Center for Health Care Informatics

Raymond F. Rogers is the Chief Executive Officer for the National Center for Health Care Informatics (NCHCI), a Montana non-profit corporation dedicated to improving the management of health care data, information, and knowledge.  Mr. Rogers has over 20 years of experience in higher education administration, fundraising, marketing, engineering, and business development and 15 years of experience working in the field of health care informatics. He is active in his community and sits on a number of different boards and committees including the Executive Committee of the Butte Local Development Corporation.  Mr. Rogers also serves on the Board of Directors of the Montana Health Co-Op.  He holds an undergraduate degree in Petroleum Engineering and a Masters Degree in Technical Communication. He has three grown children and enjoys running, mountain biking, skiing, hiking and fly-fishing.

Andy Shirtliff
Small Business Ombudsman, State of Montana, Governor's Office of Economic Development

On January 7, 2013, Andy officially began his duties as Governor Steve Bullock appointee as Montana’s  Small Business Ombudsman; the first such position for the State.  He assumes an executive-level position as liaison for small businesses, Montana’s largest segment of its economy.  He serves as policy adviser to the Governor on issues affecting small business, provides technical assistance to small businesses, supports the Montana Main Street Project, the state’s strategic plan for economic development, and supports creation of the development of Montana’s Business Portal project which will streamline the state’s efforts to support the establishment and growth of small businesses across Montana.

Joe Willauer
Director, Food and Ag Development Center

Joe is the Food and Ag Development Center Director for SW Montana as well as a licensed fly fishing guide and small business owner.  He specializes in assisting value added food and ag businesses and is part of a statewide network assisting this rapidly growing sector.  Joe received is MURP from Eastern Washington University and currently lives in Twin Bridges with his wife and daughter.

Andy Zdinak
Marketing Director, Butte Local Development Corporation

Andy is Marketing Director for the Butte Local Development Corporation, recognized as one of the most progressive economic development organizations in Montana.  Andy manages the financial assistance programs (portfolio valued at over $12 million) to assist local businesses with retention of jobs, support expansion of business operations, and recruitment of new businesses to the local area.  He also was instrumental with establishing the Manufacturing Consortium of Montana to assist regional entrepreneurs with early stage prototyping and technology commercialization  Andy holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Geology.  He was previous employed by MSE, Inc, one of the largest technical firms in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region and served as a Project Manager/Business Development Director.  

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Butte team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Signature Sponsors

Blackstone LaunchPad is a co-curricular, experiential, campus program designed to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career path and develop entrepreneurial skills and mindsets through individualized coaching, ideation and venture creation support.

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Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Butte is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Adam
  • Pam
  • Julie
  • Jennifer
  • Nathan


Marc Nager
Startuper, skier, mountaineer, and CEO of UP Global - [ Startup Weekend, Startup Week, Startup Digest, Education Entrepreneurs, Startup Next ]

Marc Nager is the President and CCO of Techstars Startup Programs. In early 2009, he found the opportunity to acquire Startup Weekend, LLC and to transform it into a non-profit to help others pursue their passions, solve real problems, and impact the world around them. Years later, UP Global has built a network of more than 150,000 alumni, thousands of volunteer organizers and hundreds of trained facilitators spread across more than 500 cities in 130 countries, which later merged with Techstars. Marc balances his mission to make entrepreneurship a universally accessible career path with an active lifestyle. Marc holds a degree in International Business from Chapman University in Southern California. An ambitious go-getter, he is dedicated to expanding his experience and understanding of startup ecosystems around the world. His efforts focus on increasing the levels and quality of support available for passionate entrepreneurs and communities. Entrepreneurship is something that can be taught and learned, and he’s on a mission to make it possible for anyone.

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