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Pam Haxby-Cote, Director 


Pam Haxby-Cote

Pam Haxby-Cote was confirmed as Montana’s Department of Commerce Director in early 2017. Pam is a lifelong Montanan, born and raised in Butte. She has devoted most of her career to economic development and creating jobs, having nearly 30 years of experience in the field.

Before joining Commerce, Pam served as the Executive Director of the Butte Local Development Corporation. Her work began as Deputy Director and Loan Officer for the Butte Local Development Corporation in 1986. From there, she became heavily involved with local and state government as Community Development Director and Urban Renewal Director for Butte, as the Senior Economic Development Specialist for Governor Brian Schweitzer, and as the Butte Regional Director and Economic Development Director under Senator Jon Tester. In addition, Pam served as the Regional Director for the Montana Blackstone LaunchPad program.

Pam has served on many boards including the Highlands College Advisory Board and the Governor’s Equal Pay Taskforce. Pam co-founded Montana GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science), an afterschool leadership program for middle-school-aged girls. 


Emilie Ritter Saunders, Communications Director 


Emilie Ritter Saunders

Emilie Ritter Saunders joined the Montana Department of Commerce as Communications Director in early 2017. Emilie is an award-winning multimedia storyteller and communications strategist whose career began in journalism. Prior to joining Commerce, Emilie spent nearly two years as the Communications Director at the Montana Office of Public Instruction under Superintendent Denise Juneau. In 2016, Emilie earned a Montana Governor's Award for Excellence for her contributions to growing the Graduation Matters Montana initiative's communications strategy. Emilie spent a decade as a public radio journalist in Montana and Idaho. Her work has been heard on the BBC, CBC, Reuters, National Native News, and NPR. Emilie is a Montanan and graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism.




Sean Becker, Administrator, Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development


Sean Becker

Sean Becker is the Administrator of the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development. He is the former mayor of Bozeman, ex-officio president of the Rocky Mountain Economic Development District, former member of Governor Bullock's Economic Development Advisory Council, the City of Bozeman Economic Development Advisory Board, the Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and recently finished serving as a small business development professional for Montana Community Development Corporation. He has worked professionally for 15 years in the fields of market research, finance and economic development, including five years operating a manufacturing business in Gallatin County and 10 years as the research director of a research-based market assessment group. He is a graduate of Denison University, Leadership Montana, the National Development Council Economic Development Finance Professional program and serves on numerous public and private boards.


Jennifer Olson, Administrator, Community Development Division


Jennifer Olson

Jennifer Olson is the Administrator of the Community Development Division. Born in Duluth, Minn., she was raised in the Air Force and has had the fortunate opportunity to call Montana home for the past 30 years. She graduated with Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Montana State University and is a certified National Development Council Housing Development Finance Professional.  Her work began by serving communities and impoverished families with non-profit and public service. She has continued to engage and serve families and communities through her 16-year involvement and oversight of federal and state programs. Jennifer is driven by the successful collaboration with communities and the unique opportunity to live in this great state while assisting all Montana communities with their goals. Jennifer sees the Community Development Division as a valued partner for every community to help achieve successes for Montana communities, providing assistance through activities related to planning, economic development, infrastructure, community facilities, school facilities, housing, and downtown development supporting communities, businesses and organizations. 



Bruce Brensdal, Administrator, Montana Housing

Administrator Bruce Brensdal, Housing Division | Montana Board of HousingBruce Brensdal was born and raised in Plentywood Montana. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting from Eastern Montana College in Billings and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). He has been the Administrator of Montana Housing at the Montana Department of Commerce since 2000. This includes the Section 8 programs as well as the Montana Board of Housing. He was previously the Multi-Family Program Manager with the Montana Board of Housing from 1995 through 2000. During this time, Bruce managed the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit programs, the Multi-Family Bond Programs and the Reverse Annuity Mortgage (RAM) Program. He previously worked for the Montana Department of Revenue as an auditor for five and a half years.


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