Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Montana Regional Initiatives

The regional healthcare conference that I spoke at on Friday was their fourth annual one of tying together the fourteen small hospitals in Northcentral MT, covering an area larger than the three states of MA, CT and RI combined. Each of these hospitals, located in towns of from 800 to 5,000 populations, is the glue that helps tie their small towns together. Great Falls (population 56,690) and its hospital, Benefis Healthcare, is the large anchor for these towns, acting as their regional center.

I was pleased to see the spirit of cooperation that was displayed in talking with the various hospital administrators and others at the conference. We talked about the barriers to having more regional cooperation like demonstrated at the conference, in my question and answer period. I talked about the FNL Syndrome (Friday Night Lights) and how we need to try to work together on Monday mornings after competing against each other on Friday nights in our small towns.

There were other great signs of regional cooperation in the region. The Hands of Harvest booklet highlighted almost 100 local crafters and cultural offerings with maps of where they are located. Burgeoning birding, dinosaur and historic ranches were also being done on a regional approach. The main story on the front page of the Great Falls Tribune on Saturday was on the sighting of a rare yellow-billed loon on the Missouri River near Great Falls.

North Central MT has learned of the importance of leveraging their wonderful natural assets with a regional approach.

1 comment:

Russ said...

Thank you for speaking in Montana and highlighting the evolving economic development environment in the state.

Montana has come a long way from a resource based economy to one of high tech, bio research, GPS excellence and any number of other success stories. All have been accomplished through a continually improving understanding that trying to go it the "cowboy" way just won't work in today's global economy.

Now, more than ever, we have communities and regions actively collaborating to achieve the types of economic success that we all strive for.

Your efforts to continue to improve our understanding of how it can be done right in a rural and wonderful placd to live are much appreciated.

We hope we can bring you back to continue to spread the ideas that will lead us to even better local and regional economic and social success.

Russ Fletcher
Montana Associated Technology Roundtables http://www.matr.net

"The State with the Best Education Wins!"