MSU Billings Alumni Relations

Spring 2004

George Kurkowski '58 and his wife, Peggy, of Forsyth, Mont. recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the Longhorn Steak House in Rosebud.  George is a retired public school teacher and also served as mayor of Miles City until his retirement in 2000.  They have four children, 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Ward '59 and Alice Fenton ’60 of Shepherd, Mont. were inducted into the prestigious Trail Blazers level of membership in the Northern International Livestock Exposition.  They have achieved 30 years of membership in the non-profit organization.

Robert McCleave '70 has opened an accounting office in downtown Billings, Mont.  His private practice specializes in income tax planning and compliance, small business accounting, management consulting, financial statement preparation and business management advisory services.

Anita Varone '74 is County Commissioner for Lewis & Clark County and lives in Helena, Mont.  She was past executive board member and secretary of the National Fire Information Council and chaired a committee to draft the fire incident reporting system program for the United States.  She also worked with the Australian fire service to establish a fire incident reporting system for that country.  Anita was associate co-chair of MT PRIME - an appointed team of state employees that implemented the replacement of Montana's personnel and internal accounting Systems.  Anita and her husband, Mike, have one daughter and 2 grandchildren.

Lew Anderson '75 is the dean and administrator of the Freshman Academy at Billings West High School.  He was honored with the Golden Apple Exemplary Administrator Award, presented this spring by the Billings Education Association.

Suzanne Erben '75 of Billings, Mont., has earned the Graduate Realtors Institute designation.  GRI is a three-year program concentrating on all facets of the real estate business.  Less than five percent of realtors nationwide carry this designation.  Suzanne is a broker with Town and Country Properties.

Jani McCall '75 was this year's recipient of the YWCA of Billings Salute to Women Award. Jani is involved with a consortium of social-service and mental-health providers through the Montana Health Initiative.   For the past 15 years, she has worked as an executive for health and human service organizations and has helped change public policy at the national, state and local levels.  She has been an advocate for children with special needs, disabilities and emotional and mental-health needs.

Les Reichert '77 and his wife, Nancy, have opened a 2nd location for The Ranch, a store that sells jewelry and clothes with a unique western style, at 2808 Second Avenue North in Billings.  Their original store opened in 2000 in Rimrock Mall.  Les has a certificate in metal fabrication from Billings Vo-Tech which has since become part of the College of Technology.

Ron Laird (78) & Teri Laird (77) are moving to Casper, Wyo after 26 years in Powell, Wyo. where Ron served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and activities director. Ron has accepted the position of Commissioner of Wyoming High School Activities and begins his new job on July 1st. They are very excited about this new challenge!

Shaun Harrington '81 has accepted the position of Director of Curriculum for School District 2 in Billings, Mont. and will assume his new duties on July 1.  He was previously vice-principal at Riverside Middle School. 

Byrne Manley '81 and his business partner, Glenn Myers, run Brown Bear Adventure Tours out of Laurel, Mont.  They are both licensed Orvis fishing and hunting guides and offer a variety of trips including Yellowstone River floats, bird watching, bird hunting in the fall, trips to Yellowstone National Park, horseback riding or excursions to the Kevin Red Star Gallery in Roberts.

Roger Vanlandingham '82 was named Chef of the Year by the Cooks and Chefs Association of Montana.  Roger has been executive chef at The Rex in Billings, one of Montana's most popular restaurants, for over three years.

Sue Bailey '83 is the Resource Center manager for the Yellowstone County Council on Aging.

Charlene Murdock '83 has joined MDU Resources Group as a government affairs representative.  She will be responsible for multi-level government relations activities in Wyoming and will assist in representing MDU's business interests in eastern Mont.  Charlene was most recently with Kennecott Energy and was former president of the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce in Gillette.  Charlene and her family live in Gillette, Wyo.

Sandy Wong '83 of Billings, Mont. was awarded the Spirit of Women Award by St. Vincent Healthcare this spring.  Sandy is the founding president of Rebuilding Together Yellowstone County and in its first year the organization was able to rehabilitate 3 homes for the elderly and low income families with children.

Clint Lunde '84 and his wife, Suri, have opened The UPS Store in Billings Heights at the intersection of Wicks and Main.  Clint has 20 years of experience with UPS and moved back to Billings from Casper, Wyo. 

Jo Anne Bylsma '85 has joined the engineering firm of Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson in Billings, Mont. as a CAD drafter and landscape technician.  She has a degree from the College of Technology in drafting and a bachelor's degree in interior design from Washington State University.

Craig '87 and Susan Anderson '85 operate their own business called The Screenmobile in Billings, Mont.  They repair residential screens on-site and have been successfully running their business for three years.

Roger Huebner '88 has been named as partner at Eide Bailly a regional consulting and certified public accounting firm in Billings, Mont.  Huebner specializes in individual, partnership and corporate taxation for closely held businesses and agricultural clients as well as income tax and business consulting and estate planning.

Maureen Jurovich '88 has been promoted to assistant vice president of the Shiloh Branch of Yellowstone Bank.  She is also chair of the Billings Housing Authority and is a real estate and consumer lender with Yellowstone Bank.

Bryan Grummett '89 is the band teacher at Lewis and Clark Junior High in Billings, Mont.  He was honored this spring with the Golden Apple Award presented to him by the Billings Education Association.

James Markel '90 and his partner, Perry Jones, are the owners of Red Oxx Manufacturing in Billings, Mont.  Red Oxx was awarded national honors this year by Outside Magazine for excellence in design and performance if its Safari Beano carry-on luggage.  To qualify for this national award, the product must offer cutting-edge design and be really rugged.

Larry Bitterman '91 is a State Farm agent in Plentywood, Mont.  He was recently named to the Chairman's Circle for 2003 which recognizes agents who align their agencies with the long-term direction of the industry and act as advocates for their customers.  Larry is one of two State Farm agents in Montana to quality for the Chairman's Circle.

Terry Jessee '92, '04 has joined Alpine Counseling Associates of Billings, Mont.  He will offer individual and group therapy services in anger management, loss and grief counseling, life change adjustment and relationship counseling.  Terry earned his master's degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling from MSU Billings this spring.

Nancy Widdicombe '93 was honored by the Montana Historical Society with the 2003 Trustees Educators Award in recognition of student projects she has conducted in cooperation with the Montana Heritage Project.  Since graduating from MSU Billings, Nancy has been teaching in Harlowton High School.

Jeffrey Henderson ’94 is the executive director of the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association in Long Beach, Calif.  Henderson was honored with several awards in the areas of communication, videography and public relations and has extensive experience in event planning, public outreach and presentations to community and special interest groups.

Michelle Schuster '95 has joined the State Farm Insurance office of Angela Boos in Billings, Mont.  She has ten years of insurance experience and will specialize in life and health insurance.

Stephanie Krueger '96 has been elected to the School District 2 Board of Trustees and will serve a three-year term.  Stephanie is an English teacher at the Career Center and lives in Billings with her family.

Karen Walshe '98 is the executive director/CEO of Girl Scouts Treasure Trails Council in Billings, Mont.  She was previously with the Billings Federal Credit Union.

Roni Baker '99 was presented with the Epsilon Sigma Phi Early Career Service Award by the Montana State University Extension Service for her leadership, skills as an educator and her outreach to agents and volunteers in other counties.  Roni is a 4-H Extension agent for Yellowstone County.

Emily Greene '00 is working towards her doctorate in clinical psychology at the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Miss.  She has also traveled extensively to such destinations as France, Australia, Egypt and the United Kingdom. 

Grace Katolas '00 is a special education teacher at Highland Elementary in Billings, Mont.  She was the recipient of the Golden Apple Award this spring, presented by the Billings Education Association.

Jewelet Schmidt '00 was recently promoted to employee benefits account manager at Hoiness LaBar Insurance in Billings.

Tiffany Kelker '01 of Billings is an information specialist with the Yellowstone County Council on Aging.

Tonya Varner '01 has joined the accounting firm of Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co. in Billings as a CPA and senior consultant specializing in assurance and business advisory services.

Brandi Barovich '02 is the director of administration at Kojo Worldwide in Florence, S.C.  She is also pursuing a master's degree in elementary education.

Kathy Dietz '02 recently completed three Chartered Life Underwriter courses in insurance and financial planning, income taxation and planning for retirement needs.  Kathy is a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in Billings, Mont.

Stephanie Morrison '02 is in her second year of a Ph.D. program in physics at the University of Notre Dame.  She is enjoying her studies and credits the solid undergraduate education she received at MSU Billings for preparing her well for success in graduate school.

Angela Janich Edwards '03 is the director of annual giving at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont.  She was previously program coordinator for the Muscular Distrophy Association.

Martha Schultz '03 is teaching Spanish in Bozeman, Mont.

Sarah Sherman '03 is the new office manager for Career Services and Cooperative Education at MSU Billings.  She was previously assistant manager at Little Rascals' Daycare & Preschool, in Billings.

Amy Smith '03 is spending the year following graduation working in an orphanage for girls in Guatemala.

Neil Schlosser '03 is a drilling fluid specialist for Halliburton Corporation in Rock Springs, Wyo.  Halliburton provided an intensive training program as well as a ten week engineering school in Houston, but Neil credits his diverse educational experience in the Environmental Studies program at MSU Billings for helping him land the job.

Karen Stewart '03 is a lecturer for the Communication and Theatre Department at MSU Billings.  Karen combines her professional experience as a graphic designer with her academic interests in rhetorical practices to teach public relations, media advertising and visual communication.

Tammy Taylor '03 successfully passed the CPA exam and is working to complete the requirements of the Certified Public Accountant license.  Tammy joined Walborn & Associates in Billings, Mont. as a staff accountant in November 2003.  

Linda Varela '03 has been promoted to director of Volunteer, Patient Representative and Mission Outreach Services at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings, Mont.  She will be responsible for daily operational leadership for all aspects of Volunteer Services including service development, recruitment and retention.  Linda has been with St. Vincent Healthcare for 23 years, most recently in marketing communications.

Mandy Amoroso '04 is the new cooperative education specialist at MSU Billings.  She was previously a review specialist for Psychiatric Services at Deaconess Billings Clinic and also worked with the Yellowstone Aids Project.  Mandy graduated with a bachelor's degree in organizational communication.

Amber Gamsby '04 is the administrative associate for the Department of Communication and Theatre and Modern Languages and Literatures at MSU Billings.  Amber also has experience working behind the scenes at many of the department's theatre productions and is a member of the Magic City Singers.

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