Celebrating Excellence: Michelle Harkins Receives 2024 Outstanding Business Person Award

In a bustling city like Billings, Montana, where growth and development are constant companions, it takes remarkable individuals to lead the charge towards progress. Michelle Harkins, the director of the Billings Industrial Revitalization District (BIRD) and overseer of the East Billings Urban Renewal District (EBURD), stands out as one such visionary leader. Her exceptional dedication and achievements have earned her the esteemed title of the 2024 Outstanding Business Person, presented by the Billings Chamber of Commerce.

Michelle’s journey to this prestigious accolade is marked by her unwavering commitment to the community and her relentless pursuit of excellence. Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Michelle’s adventurous spirit led her to Montana 15 years ago, where she fell in love with the majestic mountains and the vibrant community of Billings. Armed with a master’s degree in accountancy from the University of Montana, Michelle embarked on a career path that would blend her financial expertise with her passion for community development.

At the helm of the EBURD, Michelle’s responsibilities encompass managing tax-increment financing (TIF) to fuel public and private infrastructure projects within the district. Acting as a liaison between EBURD property owners and the City of Billings, she navigates complex negotiations with finesse and diplomacy. Over the past year, Michelle’s focus has been on enhancing the safety and community impact of the EBURD, spearheading initiatives to revitalize neglected areas and create a more vibrant urban landscape.

Beyond her role in urban renewal, Michelle is actively involved in various community organizations, channeling her energy towards causes that resonate with her values. Whether serving on the Billings Skate Park Committee, volunteering as the PTSA Treasurer at Highland Elementary, or contributing her expertise to the BillingsWorks Steering Committee, Michelle’s impact extends far beyond her professional realm. Her involvement in leadership programs like Leadership Billings and NextGEN underscores her commitment to personal growth and community leadership.

Michelle’s remarkable achievements are a testament to her exceptional leadership skills, strategic insight, and unwavering dedication to making Billings a better place for all. Her ability to drive organizational growth, secure significant funds, and foster lively community development sets her apart as a true trailblazer in the business world.

As Michelle and her husband, Justin, raise their twins in this vibrant and growing community, her passion for creating a brighter future for Billings only continues to grow stronger. With Michelle Harkins at the helm, the future of Billings shines brighter than ever, guided by a leader whose vision and determination know no bounds.

Recipients will be recognized at the 2024 Billings Chamber Breakfast on Thursday, April 25 at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark. The event will feature Andre Reed, NFL Hall of Fame Receiver, as the keynote speaker and be entertained by James Cunningham, comedian and television personality on Food Network.

This is the Chamber’s largest annual event and is presented for 2024 by Nonstop Local and Rubicare Health Savings Program. The event will run from 7-9 a.m. with doors opening at 6 a.m. with a buffet breakfast.

You can learn more about Chamber Breakfast and purchase your tickets here.