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About The Vault at 201 North Broadway


Episode 18: Empowering Business Through Borders: Owen Haacke’s Trek into International Trade

Kayla, Marcell • 08/30/2023

Step into the captivating world of international trade as we sit down with Owen Haacke, the visionary owner and founder of Empress Brokers International LLC. In this episode, we delve into Owen's remarkable journey, starting from his roots in Billings, Montana, to his adventurous exploits across continents. Growing up with a deep love for Montana's rugged outdoors, Owen's passion for languages and history led him to fall in love with the intricate dynamics of international trade. Join us as he takes us through his high school journey, Latin class where he learned the historical threads that weave nations together, and his unforgettable experiences traveling across Italy and Asia. Embarking on a courageous journey, Owen's pursuit of knowledge led him to a Chinese university where he navigated a foreign landscape armed with nothing but a paper map and determination. Overcoming language barriers and cultural differences, he immersed himself in China's vibrancy and ultimately established Empress Brokers during his college years. A company name that was inspired by the Empress of China, 1783 ship. From working as a trade associate in Washington D.C. to his immersive years in China, Owen's dedication to trade relations solidified. While juggling a full-time job, he held tight to Empress Brokers. As fate would have it, the challenges of COVID-19 prompted a shift, bringing Owen back to his business full-time. Empress Brokers emerged as a beacon of solutions, seamlessly connecting businesses with the products and materials they require through their expertise in sourcing and logistics. Tune in to this episode for an inspiring narrative of resilience, cultural exploration, and the relentless pursuit of entrepreneurship. Owen's story is a testament to the power of embracing change, learning from diverse experiences, and carving a path toward global success. Join us as we explore Owen's journey, as insightful as it is inspiring, on this episode of The Vault at 201 N Broadway.

Episode 17: Finding Alignment the Pura Vida Way, A Tale of Entrepreneurial Resilience with Sarah Kennedy

Kayla, Marcell, & Karli • 08/16/2023

In this inspiring episode of The Vault, we sit down with Sarah, a remarkable entrepreneur who embarked on a transformative journey from her hometown of Billings, Montana, to the vibrant landscapes of Costa Rica. Sarah takes us through her captivating story, sharing her profound connection to movement and dance, which ultimately propelled her into the realm of entrepreneurship and led her to establish her very own dance fitness studio back in Billings. Growing up in the picturesque town of Billings, Montana, Sarah recounts her earliest encounters with dance and movement, revealing how her passion blossomed over the years. She delves into her bold decision to relocate to Costa Rica, uncovering the pivotal role that discovering Zumba played in her life – an exhilarating fusion of workout and dance that ignited her spirit. During her time in Costa Rica, Sarah's heart was captivated not only by the rhythm of dance but also by the rich tapestry of the local culture. Her experience as a tour guide immersed her in the beauty and authenticity of Costa Rica, leaving an indelible mark on her soul. Sarah's journey took an unexpected turn in 2020 when, like many, she found herself reevaluating her career path amidst the uncertainties of the pandemic. With unwavering determination, she seized a unique opportunity that aligned with her passion and vision, setting in motion a new chapter of her life. As a multi-business owner and a pivotal figure in a thriving wellness company, Sarah opens up about the strategies that help her maintain balanced. She reveals the secrets to staying organized, remaining focused, and preventing burnout, offering invaluable insights for listeners aspiring to balance their entrepreneurial aspirations with personal well-being. Join us for an enlightening conversation as Sarah takes us on her remarkable odyssey – from the plains of Montana to the lush landscapes of Costa Rica – where movement, dance, and entrepreneurship converge to create a story of resilience, transformation, and unwavering pursuit of one's dreams.

Episode 16: Untamed Stories: Jeff Ewelt’s Journey to ZooMontana

Kayla, Marcell, & Karli • 08/08/2023

In this extraordinary episode, we embark on a captivating journey through the heart of ZooMontana, a zoological/botanical garden, accredited arboretum, and educational facility nestled in the scenic landscapes of Billings, Montana. At the helm of this remarkable oasis is the visionary Director, Jeff Ewelt. Discover the magic of ZooMontana as Jeff shares his inspiring career story, from humble beginnings in Ohio to overseeing this incredible community gathering place. Beyond its role as a haven for over 80 animals representing 56 diverse species, including majestic Amur Tigers, powerful Grizzly Bears, playful River Otters, and elusive Canada Lynx, ZooMontana has evolved into a cherished hub for education, conservation, and recreation. Join us as Jeff unveils the touching stories behind the zoo's rescued inhabitants and their heartwarming tales of rehabilitation. These stories epitomize the dedicated efforts of the ZooMontana team, driven by their passion for wildlife preservation and their commitment to caring for the animals' physical and emotional well-being. In this enthralling conversation, Jeff sheds light on the significance of animal training within zoos, sharing anecdotes of the animals' cooperation and trust. This training plays a pivotal role in ensuring their medical care and fostering meaningful connections with the community. As a beloved community gathering place, ZooMontana is a center of learning, discovery, and appreciation for the wonders of the natural world. Through Jeff's leadership, ZooMontana has undergone a triumphant resurgence, transforming from a struggling organization to a thriving sanctuary and a source of inspiration for wildlife conservation efforts. By emphasizing quality over quantity, the zoo has become a symbol of hope and compassion, demonstrating the profound impact that a dedicated team can make on both animals and the local community. Prepare to be captivated by the untamed spirit of ZooMontana and its dedicated Director, Jeff Ewelt. Experience the wilderness resurgence and the profound connections it fosters between people, animals, and nature. Whether you're an animal lover, conservation enthusiast, or simply curious about the wonders of the wild, this episode will leave you in awe of the transformative power of a united community and its dedication to preserving our precious wildlife heritage. We want to thank our sponsor of this episode, Visit Billings. To learn more about Visit Billings, check out their website:

Episode 15: From News Reporter to Publisher: The Inspiring Journey of Julie, Owner of Yellowstone Valley Woman Magazine

Kayla, Marcell • 07/19/2023

On this episode of The Vault the hosts sit down with Julie, the dynamic owner of Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine. Julie gives listeners a glimpse into her early love for storytelling which ignited her passion for journalism, and how it led her to pursue a career in journalism. She shares her journey from news reporter to marketing director and finally to editor, culminating in her successful venture as a publisher. Tune in to hear Julie's fascinating story and learn about the importance of taking risks and embracing new opportunities in pursuing your passions. Get ready to be inspired by this engaging episode of The Vault! Julie's passion for storytelling is palpable as she recounts how she used to record family conversations as a child. She delves into her diverse career path, sharing how she seized an opportunity to start her own magazine and eventually became a publisher. The episode emphasizes the value of following your instincts and being open to unexpected opportunities. Whether you're looking for career inspiration or simply enjoy hearing about people's journeys, this episode is a must-listen. So sit back, relax, and get ready to be uplifted by Julie's story!   Connect with YVW!

Episode 14: Serving with Passion and Excellence with Steve Arveschoug, Big Sky Economic Development

Kayla, Marcell • 07/05/2023

"We're all about service to this community and making impacts that will have a lasting and positive value for our community economically. We show up everyday and we put in a lot of work to do that and I'm proud of this team."
In this episode of The Vault, Steve Arveschoug, Executive Director of Big Sky Economic Development (BSED) walks us through each of the BSED programs and the work they do to serve our community. Before we dive in to that, however, Steve shares his life journey beginning in Hawaii, bouncing around to different communities growing up, starting his career serving on the Colorado state legislature, and eventually making his way back to Montana with his family.
Steve has served as Executive Director of Big Sky Economic Development for nearly 15 years, and has grown and evolved alongside the team and our Billings community. The economic development efforts of the BSED team can be seen in so many projects throughout Billings, Yellowstone County, and Montana. One of the most recent projects being the revitalization of the Montana Bank Building in to the new home of BSED and Rock31 in the heart of Billings - where this very podcast is recorded. Steve shares the value behind creating a central place for entrepreneurs to collaborate with other entrepreneurs while launching their business and seeing their dreams come to life.
Listen in to learn more about the work Big Sky Economic Development does for businesses, organizations, individuals, and the community as a whole and how they may be able to assist you! You do not want to miss the fun stories throughout Steve's life, and the fun facts we share - like what skin diving is and how long the longest undammed river in the United States actually is.

Episode 13: From Rural Roots to Global Consumers with Bryan Wood, President of Wood’s Powr-Grip

Kayla, Marcell, Karli • 06/21/2023

"No matter where you are you can do big things, you can create industry changing instruments and technology - so just go for it!"
In this episode of The Vault, Bryan Wood walks us through the history of his grandfather starting Wood's Powr-Grip in rural Montana and how it has flourished into an international company that is now in its fourth generation of the Wood family working within the company.
It all started in a small repair shop when Howard Wood needed to solve a problem while working on engines that sparked an invention that quickly ignited a successful company that works with consumers all over the globe. Bryan paints the picture of his grandfather creating this product, moving a general store (yes, the whole building) over 10 miles to Wolf Point, Montana, and purchasing surplus World War 2 equipment to create the first manufacturing facility.
Fast forward through years of growth, evolvement, and relocation, Wood's Powr-Grip now operates out of Laurel, Montana just west of Billings. The company continues to face new opportunities that challenge them to be innovative and further develop their product to meet the ever-changing industries it serves. You may be wondering, what is this revolutionary product Wood's Powr-Grip created? You'll have to listen to find out!

Episode 12: Cultivating a Kaleidoscope Culture with Toby O’Rourke, CEO of Kampgrounds of America

Kayla, Marcell, Karli • 06/07/2023

As President and CEO of Kampgrounds of America, Inc., Toby O'Rourke oversees KOA, the world’s largest branded system of campgrounds with over 500 franchised and company owned locations across North America. (Fun Fact: KOA is headquartered right here in Billings MT!)
In this episode of The Vault, Toby shares her career background beginning in technology then to marketing and how it eventually led her to KOA and later becoming President and CEO of the company. She gives background to how KOA started right here in Billings, Montana and what exciting new developments are coming to life! One of these new developments is a brand new headquarters that was intentionally designed and built for employees to have an environment that brings them closer to nature while at work, and fosters creativity and focus.
Toby has years of experience working with large corporations such as Hillshire Farms and Silk, and now leads a large corporation. Through these experiences Toby has gained valuable skills, tools, and methods that help her to cultivate a strong organizational culture. She has also learned how to manage her personal life with her work life, and how to make sure she sets aside time to work ON the business, not just IN the business.
Listen now to learn more about the tools and methods Toby uses to help cultivate a kaleidoscope culture that you can implement in your business, ways to create more space to work on your business and not just in it, and get the inside scoop on "what's behind the yellow sign"!

Episode 11: Creating Innovation by Asking the Dumb Questions with Karl Rude, Health Management Services LLC

Kayla, Marcell, Karli • 05/24/2023

"As you start looking at the second half of the game, it's like 'What have I become? How did I become that? And how do I influence who I want to be by taking the history of how I got here?" Karl Rude is a Billings born and raised entrepreneur that has used his formative life experiences to be innovative in his work and to build a career that is highly meaningful to him. In this episode of The Vault, Karl shares his background growing up in Billings and how mentorship, learning perseverance through losing, and earning his first "Master's Degree" at the kitchen table shaped who he is today. He developed a love for problem solving early on in life by working on and studying cars, and later in his career found that being a positive disruptor can spark radical change that is beneficial and impactful in whatever feat you are facing. From playing soccer as a child to working in business and healthcare as an adult, Karl has learned that problem solving and innovation comes from perseverance, being brave enough to be wrong, and asking the dumb questions. Listen in to this episode packed full of good humor, heart-warming stories, and powerful quotes and ideas that will inspire you to start asking the dumb questions and spark innovation all around you!

Episode 10: Strengthening Communities through Childcare with Jason Nitschke, Zero to Five Montana

Kayla, Marcell, Karli • 05/10/2023

Zero to Five Montana is a statewide early childhood organization focused on increasing access to early care and education, supporting and strengthening families, uplifting voices, and empowering small businesses and communities. Jason Nitschke currently serves as the Senior Childcare Business Advisor for Zero to Five Montana. In this episode of The Vault, Jason walks us through his own entrepreneurial journey beginning as a child in Montana mowing lawns. He shares the background behind starting his own businesses in adulthood, and how he succeeded, failed, learned, and grew along the way. Each of Jason's experiences eventually led him to where he is now: teaching, advising, and inspiring other entrepreneurs and small business owners. Listen in to this deep conversation between our hosts and Jason about the realities of entrepreneurship and owning a small business and the advice, tips, and resources available to work through the nitty gritty. Listeners will learn more information on the issues today's workforce and communities are facing in childcare, and the work Zero to Five is doing to empower and strengthen early childhood care and education in Montana, which in turn strengthens families and the communities surrounding them.

Episode 9: The Entrepreneur Journey from Dreaming It to Doing It with Kris Carpenter, Sanctuary Spa and Salon and Joy of Living

Kayla, Marcell, Karli • 04/26/2023

In this episode of The Vault we are honored to share the story of an inspiring entrepreneur, a strong and respected community leader, and the owner of multiple businesses in our community. Kris Carpenter owns Sanctuary Spa and Salon and Joy of Living boutique in Billings, which have become staple businesses in our city. Kris explains her journey from doing at-home facials with oatmeal, incense, and Enya to creating the first all-inclusive, luxurious day spa and salon in Billings, and later opening a "gifts for your girlfriends" boutique. Throughout the episode Kris shares different ways she listens to her employees, customers, clients, and the community to continuously grow and improve her businesses. Her businesses are about more than just the business, they are about the people and the experiences they have. From the idea to putting it into action, Kris is the perfect example of being bold, being innovative, and being brave and building a wonderful life, business, and community. Listen in to this episode for advice on employee and customer retention, creativity and innovation in your small business, and taking the steps from dreaming it to doing it.  

Episode 8: Empowering Our Future Workforce with Bo Bruinsma, Billings Public Schools

Kayla, Marcell, Karli • 04/12/2023

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" That's the age old question that we ask children, teens, young adults (and even ourselves when we're well into our careers). Billings Public Schools has been paving the way to create the career pathways and exploration opportunities to help students truly discover what it is they want to do with their future. In this episode of The Vault, Career Outreach Director for Billings Public Schools, Bo Bruinsma tells his story of how he came to be in his position today, helping create career exploration opportunities for students and connecting them to where they want to be and doing what they enjoy doing. He shares the purpose behind creating these pathways and initiatives, upholding partnerships with various businesses and organizations throughout the community, and working alongside four Career Coaches for Billings high school students. Listen to learn more about the innovative ways Billings Public Schools is building an empowered and motivated workforce for our future!

Episode 7: Serving with Sustainability with Tiffany Miller – O’Brien, FRAE Everyday Goods

Kayla, Marcell, Karli • 03/29/2023

From a career in fashion and design in Seattle, WA to sewing thousands of face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic to creating a sustainable goods corner-store in Billings, MT, small business owner Tiffany Miller - O'Brien shares her story with us in this episode of The Vault. 'FRAE' means 'from' and Tiffany's store, FRAE Everyday Goods, takes that into careful consideration with each product's life cycle. Where did the product come from, where is the product going, where will the product eventually end up? Tiffany also teaches a variety of skills through one-on-one conversation and workshops at the store to educate and inspire customers. Throughout this episode Tiffany shares how she combined her love of fashion, connecting people with the products they need, her family, and environmental sustainability to build FRAE. You may even gain some tips and tools on what products to use to make your day-to-day consumption sustainable!

Episode 6: Serving the Montana Food and Agriculture Industry with Joel Bertolino, Beartooth Resource Conservation & Development

Kayla, Marcell, Karli • 03/15/2023

In this episode of The Vault, we will be talking to a fourth-generation Montanan who grew up on a "typical Montana ranch" just south of Roberts. He has continued his family's tradition of agriculture by working for the USDA Farm Service Agency for seven years, then becoming the director of the Food and Ag Development Center and now the Executive Director for Beartooth Resource Conservation & Development. Learn more about what led Joel to the work he is doing today in Food and Ag Development, the grants and services Beartooth RC&D has available across their 5-county region, and some fun facts about Joel and our hosts!

Episode 5: Small Business Resources with Lorene Hintz, Small Business Development Center

Kayla, Marcell, & Karli • 03/01/2023

In this special episode of The Vault, we hear from one of our podcast sponsors and colleague, Lorene Hintz. From purchasing, to owning, and eventually to selling her business Lorene walks us through her entrepreneurial background and what led her to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). She shares the good and bad sides of owning a small business in rural Montana, while emphasizing the services and resources the SBDC provides to assist small businesses throughout Montana. Listen along for some light-hearted, entertaining stories and to gather some tips and tools to help you and your business! Make sure to subscribe and share with a friend. You can also follow us on our Instagram: thevault_201 "The SBDC is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA."

Episode 4: Being Comfortable with the Uncomfortable in Entrepreneurship with Gabe Espino, It’s Roasted

Kayla, Marcell, Karli • 02/15/2023

In this episode, food truck owner Gabe Espino opens up to us about the highs and lows of starting a food truck in Billings, MT. We learn where he grew up, what brought him to Billings, what his start up was like and how he came up with the name “It’s Roasted” for his iconic elotes and papas food truck. Listen to discover more about Gabe’s journey being comfortable in the uncomfortable, balancing family life with owning and operating a business, and what is on the horizon for this entrepreneur and his team “roasting” the food truck scene!

Episode 3: Finding Creative Content with Maddie Reiners, Maddie Nichole Photographer

Kayla, Marcell • 02/01/2023

In this episode, we sit down with young female entrepreneur Maddie - owner of Maddie Nichole Photographer, podcast creator of 20 Something, adventurer, and Rock31 member. The trio discuss what ignited Maddie’s passion to be a photographer, the experiences she went through to get her to where she is today, how she stays creative and where she finds inspiration in her business and in her life. Plus, Maddie shares some tips about how to start your own podcast! The energy between these three is electric that it will leave you wanting more! Make sure to subscribe and share with a friend. You can also follow us on our Instagram: thevault_201.

Episode 2: Meet The Hosts

Kayla, Marcell, Karli • 02/01/2023

What does a Toyota 4Runner, 1965 Red Ford Mustang Convertible, and vintage Mini Cooper have in common? These are the dream vehicles of our hosts. In this episode we meet the creators and hosts of The Vault at 201 N Broadway. They talk about what led them to the roles they have today at Big Sky Economic Development AND why they are so excited to finally launch this podcast to share the stories of Billings entrepreneurs, small businesses, and community leaders making big impacts in the community. Make sure to subscribe and share with a friend. You can also follow us on our Instagram: thevault_201.

Episode 1: Introduction

Kayla, Marcell, Karli • 01/13/2023

Welcome to our first episode of The Vault at 201 N Broadway- a podcast for innovators & problem solvers. In this episode the hosts will be introducing you to The Vault, who we are and why we are here! Make sure to subscribe and share with a friend. You can also follow us on our Instagram: thevault_201.

About The Vault at 201 North Broadway