Big Sky Roundup

Gov. Greg Gianforte announces board appointments

By: - January 13, 2021 5:59 pm

Gov. Greg Gianforte speaks after being sworn in to office on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021 in the Governor’s Reception Room of the Montana State Capitol. (Photo by Thom Bridge of the Helena Independent Record)

In a news release sent out Wednesday evening, Gov. Greg Gianforte announced appointments to the Board Environmental Review, the Transportation Commission, the Fish and Wildlife Commission and the State Parks and Recreation Board.

Below are the following appointments provided by Gianforte’s office:

Board of Environmental Review

  • Steven P. Ruffatto, Columbus. Qualification: Hydrology. Ruffatto has been an attorney at Crowley Fleck PLLP since 1976 and now practices in the firm’s Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Department.
  • Joseph T. Smith, Florence. Qualification: Government Planning. Smith serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Missoula Electric Cooperative and manages nearly 75 percent of the employees.
  • David W. Simpson, Billings. Qualification: Environmental Sciences. Simpson is an environmental scientist with more than 45 years of experience in the Montana coal industry. He has worked extensively with DEQ permitting and regulatory programs for coal mining, water quality and air quality.
  • Jon C. Reiten, Billings. Qualification: Hydrology. Reiten is a hydrogeologist with the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology and has extensive experience in water supply development and management.

Transportation Commission

  • Shane Sanders, Great Falls. Qualification: District 2. Sanders works for United Airlines as a pilot flying the Boeing 777 from of San Francisco. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he was born and raised on a cattle ranch near Big Timber.
  • Loran Frazier, Bozeman. Qualification: District 3. Frazier worked for the Montana Department of Transportation for 27 years and is the lead transportation engineer for TD&H engineering.
  • Scott Aspenlieder, Billings. Qualification: District 5. Aspenlieder has over 15 years of experience in Civil and Water Resources engineering and has extensive experience with permitting and regulatory structures at the local, state, and federal levels for various industries.

Fish and Wildlife Commission

  • Patrick Tabor, Whitefish. Qualification: District 1. Tabor is the owner of the Swan Mountain Group of Companies which includes stand-alone businesses in outfitting, guest ranching, snowmobiling and consulting. Tabor has served on the Montana Board of Outfitters and has been the president of the Montana Outfitters, and Guides Association and the Professional Wilderness Outfitters Association.
  • K.C. Walsh, Martinsdale. Qualification: District 3. Walsh, a dedicated conservationist, and a lifelong angler, hunter and outdoorsman, is the executive chairman of Simms Fishing Products and the director of the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.
  • Brian Cebull, Billings. Qualification: District 5. A lifelong Montanan, Cebull is the owner and president of Nance Resources, Inc., a private oil and gas exploration and production company. Cebull also owns and manages a 20,000-acre Grove Creek Ranch in Carbon County, Montana. Cebull serves as president & CEO of GTUIT LLC, an oil and gas service company that focuses on reducing emissions.

State Parks and Recreation Board

  • Jody Loomis, Helena. Qualification: District 1. Loomis is the president of Precision Crankshaft Inc., a crankshaft machining and engine balancing company located in Helena. Loomis also serves on the Montana State Parks Off Highway grant program advisory board.
  • Russ Kipp, Polaris. Qualification: District 2. Kipp is a 6th generation Montanan and an outfitter in Southwest Montana. Kipp has also served on several Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks resource advisory committees.
  • Kathy McLane, Glendive. Qualification: District 4. McLane serves on the Southeast Montana Tourism Council and has also served on the Montana Chamber of Commerce Board. McLane also worked as state director of constituent services for U.S. Congressman Rick Hill and as case work director for U.S. Senator Conrad Burns.

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Keith Schubert
Keith Schubert

Keith Schubert was born and raised in Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2019. He has worked at the St.Paul Pioneer Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and most recently, the Asbury Park Press, covering everything from local craft fairs to crime and courts to municipal government to the Minnesota state legislature. In his free time, he enjoys cheering on Wisconsin sports teams and exploring small businesses. Keith is no longer a reporter with the Daily Montanan.