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Linda Parker

Linda Parker is treating her five staff members at Berkshire Hathaway Floberg Real Estate to Christmas bonuses.

Linda Parker is calling it quits at the end of December after a half-century in real estate in Billings.

Parker, 72, is the managing partner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Floberg Real Estate, the city’s largest real-estate broker.

She will be replaced by Billings Mayor Tom Hanel, who, along with his wife, Robin, bought a stake in the firm in June.

“Our company needs new younger leadership, and Tom and Robin will be taking that role,” said Parker, who started with the firm 19 years ago.

Parker took over for Don and Marilyn Floberg, who founded the firm in 1959 as Floberg Companies. Parker led the company in 2014, when the brand changed from Prudential Floberg Realtors to the current Berkshire Hathaway.

Parker began her career in Billings at Charlie Hamwey’s office, then moved to the Billings Association of Realtors before coming to work for the Flobergs in 1997 as personnel manager.

She said she’ll still stop by the office once in awhile to check in. She will continue to own a stake in the business.

Parker will miss “the people here, the staff and the agents. It’s such a great group of people here. We’re just like a family. I’ll miss the daily interactions here,” she said.

Berkshire Hathaway has about 60 agents.

Billings ag event set

A Montana State University-sponsored symposium on barley and sugar beets is coming to Billings.

The two-day event will run Jan. 10-11 at the Big Horn Resort. Day one will focus on barley production, precision farming techniques, reducing tilling and farm business.

Keynote speaker will be Wade Malchow, the sourcing manager for barley malt and elevator operations for MillerCoors.

Sugar beet production will be the topic for the second day. The keynote will be Luther Markwart, executive vice president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association.

MSU is hosting the event with the University of Wyoming.

Pre-registration is $20 per day or $40 for both day. On-site registration is $25 per day.

Contact Jessica Rupp, an MSU assistant professor, at Jessica.rupp@montana.edu or 406-994-5572.

Chamber offering course

The Billings Chamber of Commerce is holding a series of training courses to help improve business managers.

The courses are called “Moving Up” and are hosted with NextGEN and Montana State University-Billings. Taught by university and community instructors, their aim is to build managerial skills and share them amongst organizations in the area, according to the chamber.

The series of five monthly courses start Feb. 2 and run the first Thursday through June. They’ll cover the power of connections, communications, conflict resolution, human resources basics and building collaborative environments.

The courses are limited to 25 attendees. Call 245-4111 for more information.

Scams du jour

The Better Business Bureau is offering tips for consumers to avoid scams during the holiday shopping season.

  • Check for security online. With the rise of secure chip-card readers in brick-and-mortar stores, scammers are focusing more heavily on online theft. Consumers should use credit, not debit cards, for online purchase, and only shop sites with https in the URL (the “s” stands for secure.)
  • Watch out for look-alike websites. Scammers set up fake sites similar to known brand names to lure unsuspecting buyers.
  • Resist requests for unusual forms of payment, such as prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfers or third parties. These payments can’t be traced or undone.
  • Avoid free gift cards. These ads or email are often ploys to obtain personal information to be used later for identity theft.

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