University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings announces its inaugural Business Hall of Fame class

September 12, 2014



Carmen Price, University Relations, 657-2269
Chuck Wendt, MSUB Foundation, 657-2244
Barbara Wheeling, College of Business, 657-2326


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — A ceremony featuring former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be held on Oct. 2 at the Big Horn Resort to honor the cumulative contributions of five Montana business leaders.


Through ingenuity, remarkable insight and risk, the inaugural class of Montana Business Hall of Fame inductees have made significant impacts on the landscape of business in the Treasure State, Chuck Wendt, president and CEO of the MSU Billings Foundation, said.


"On behalf of MSUB’s College of Business and the foundation, the hall of fame will recognize our state’s most respected and influential leaders for their commitment and investment in our communities,” Wendt said. “It’s a who’s who of business in Montana.”


Wendt announced Tuesday the following comprise the inaugural hall of fame class—a first of its kind in Montana: Chris Nelson, of Zoot Enterprises, Mike Schaer, of Computers Unlimited; Bill Oftedal, of Oftedal Construction; Ian Davidson, of Davidson Companies; and the late Sam McDonald, of Wendy’s of Montana.


The hall of fame is designed to honor, preserve and perpetuate the names and outstanding accomplishments of Montana business leaders who have enhanced the state’s business climate and made significant contributions to their communities.


College of Business Dean Barbara Wheeling said hall of fame inductees serve as role models for Montana’s business students, those just beginning their careers, and for new entrepreneurs.


“Their accomplishments and innovations serve to inspire others to make the best of their chosen careers while being thoughtful of the people in their organizations and communities,” Wheeling said.


The hall of fame recognizes outstanding businessmen and women who have made significant and enduring contributions to their business and industry through extraordinary leadership, she said.


To be inducted, nominees are selected based on a number of criteria, such as their level of business leadership and ethics, willingness to take risks, concern for customers and employees, innovation and impact on their community and the state’s economy.


Selected among 20 nominees, the first five hall of fame members will be honored during an Evening with Rudy Giuliani dinner event. During the event, Wheeling and the College of Business’ Advisory Board chair, Chris Dimock, will present inductees with portrait watercolor paintings painted by Joe Heins, of Heins Creative.


Large portrait oil paintings featuring each inductee, also painted by Heins, will be housed at the Business Hall of Fame in MSUB’s College of Business.


Giuliani, the evening’s keynote speaker, is a successful businessman and attorney who served as New York's mayor from 1994 through 2001.


Tickets for the ceremony are $75 per person. Those interested in meeting Giuliani and taking a photo with him can make a $1,000 tax-deductible gift to the foundation to join the Chancellor's Circle. Seating is limited.


Earlier in the day, inductees will participate an Executive in Residence program where they will speak about their success in business and leadership. The panel discussion is open to the public and will be held on the MSU Billings university campus in the library building, room 148, from 2 to 3 p.m.


Nominations for hall of fame inductions will reopen in January for the 2015 class.


For more information, visit