Yellowstone County is open for business.
That’s a message that Allison Corbyn frequently shares with companies taking a look at Yellowstone County, and Billings, as a place to grow.
As business recruitment and outreach program manager for Big Sky Economic Development, Yellowstone County’s economic development agency, Corbyn is in frequent contact with professional site selectors and executives of expansion-minded companies.
Yellowstone County’s advantages include a talented, capable work force, a diversified economy and its strategic location between larger metropolitan areas.
Also, BSED’s funding model is a public-private partnership, funded through a countywide property tax levy and contributions from more than 100 companies, known as member investors. Various kinds of state and federal funding also supplement the agency’s budget, and the organization provides a wide variety of services.
“We have a neat model,” Corbyn said. “We’re a full-service shop that does a lot of things.”
Over the past decade, Billings has enjoyed numerous successes in attracting new businesses and helping existing businesses expand.
Energy-related businesses and agricultural processing are two areas that have potential for growth, Corbyn said.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job?
Understanding so many diverse industries. Every industry has a different set of needs and a different set of factors that affect their “bottom line.” In my work, I strive to make the business case for Billings and showcase all that our community has to offer.
What’s the best business advice you have received?
Always provide a high level of service — perceived value comes down to level of service.
Who gave you that advice?
My Dad, a very successful business owner.
Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community:
At our organization, so many of our projects are focused on enhancing our community so it is hard to narrow down my answers. I would like to see a truly thriving downtown. That is the heart of our community and having that urban feel is what truly differentiates us from any community within a 500-mile radius.
Outside of work, my biggest passion is: Raising a delightful little person — my son Colter who is almost 2.
Which living person do you most admire?
My parents, they are the smartest and most hard-working people I have ever met.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job?
I measure success every day by examining whether or not my work is helping move our community forward; Am I marketing our community effectively? Am I providing the resources people need? Am I being the type of person I would want to work with?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I am really proud of my college degree, and I am extremely proud of the work I do at Big Sky Economic Development. But, my greatest is yet to come.
I’m happiest when I’m… with my family.