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Michael Sanderson and Rick Leuthold

Michael Sanderson, left, and Rick Leuthold of Sanderson Stewart are shown in 2012. The Billings engineering firm was named the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Billings-based engineering firm Sanderson Stewart was named the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Sanderson Stewart, which does civil engineering, land surveying and land development, was one of seven nominees up for the award. It’s the only Montana business to receive the honor from the U.S. Chamber, according to John Brewer, CEO of the Billings Chamber of Commerce.

The firm’s CEO, Michael Sanderson, called the experience “overwhelming,” especially while watching mini-documentaries during the ceremony about all of the finalists.

“I’m sitting here, thinking to myself, which of these other companies is the winner. Because they’re all pretty impressive. When you’re in that company, it’s an honor,” Sanderson said in a phone interview from Washington, D.C.

In addition to the recognition, the firm will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Sanderson Stewart was nominated by the Billings Chamber of Commerce based on its business practices, strategic planning, employee development, customer service and community involvement, Sanderson said.

The firm has worked on dozens of projects in the area, most notably the Shiloh Crossing and new Scheel’s sporting goods developments in Billings’ West End.

Sanderson Stewart was incorporated in 1969 and has grown to 70 employees in six cities in Montana, North Dakota, Idaho and Colorado. This month, the firm announced it was buying Bozeman-based Hyalite Environmental, adding to its environmental consulting services.

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