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Kearns and Sons

Bitterroot Tool & Machine expanding operation

By Michael Howell

Bitterroot Tool and Machine (BTM) is on the move and expanding its operation. According to Julie Foster, Executive Director of the Ravalli County Economic Development Authority, a $250,000 loan from the Big Sky Trust Fund has been confirmed in telephone conversations although the actual paperwork has not been completed. The money, which originates from the state’s Coal Tax Trust Fund, will be used to pay for new building construction and for purchasing some new machinery. The expansion project also involves a change in location as the new construction will be on property located adjacent to the Stevensville Airport. At least ten new jobs are expected to be created over the next two years.

The company manufactures quality machine tools and parts for selected industries, one of which sells to large multi-national customers. A USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant written by RCEDA provided $33,000 in matching funds in 2008 that was used for technical assistance for the company to contract with the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center. It was one of only 25 companies in the state of Montana to receive their ISO 9001 Certification. The company became certified by the international organization for standardization in November of 2012.

BTM produces high quality custom re-loaders and has also partnered with Wildfibre, an advanced technology company located in Hamilton, to produce bone-shaped fibers used to strengthen concrete. According to Foster, this breakthrough technology puts BTM and Wildfibre in a strong position to take advantage of the US government priority of $1.6 trillion in comprehensive infrastructure improvements in the next five years.

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