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Eric Loftsgaarden

Eric Loftsgaarden

Why Bozeman? A Q&A session with Eric Loftsgaarden

What is the linkage between Atrium and Bozeman?
While Bozeman may not be the first place that comes to mind for a technology startup there are a lot of reasons why we opened an office here. Bozeman provides a quality of life that is hard to find in most large cities (See outdoor question below). That combined with a strong technology talent base and infrastructure designed to minimize the challenges of living in a rural location make Bozeman a great foundation for a technology startup. The affordability of Bozeman also makes it an attractive location for top talent. An added bonus – the Bozeman airport has daily direct flights to Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Newark, making travel easy.

Isn’t Bozeman more associated with the outdoors vs. data science?
Yes. Bozeman is one of the primary gateways into Yellowstone national park along with numerous other biking, fishing, hunting, hiking and skiing opportunities. For people that enjoy the outdoors, all of these activities can be found within 30 minutes of town without having to fight hordes of other people. This makes it very easy to attract and more importantly retain top talent that values the quality of life found in this small community.

What does the tech community look like in Bozeman?
MSU is the largest engineering school in Montana with almost 5000 engineering students. With many of the graduates wanting to stay in Montana combined with the fact that Bozeman has developed an infrastructure that is conducive to Technology work, it has created a technology hub in Bozeman. There is also a good software community that has sprung up from the combination of homegrown talent and talent attracted by large technology companies like Oracle.

What is Atrium’s affiliation with Montana State?
We recruit MSU graduates and have established a strong pipeline of talent from the Math, Statistics, and Computer science programs on campus. A number of our employees received advanced degrees from MSU and have spent some time teaching classes for the university. We maintain close ties to the university and continue to provide employment opportunities to both current and graduated students.

When will Atrium be the largest employer in Bozeman?
The University is the largest employer in town followed by the hospital. Oracle (formerly RightNow Technology) is the 3rd largest employer in town with around 500 employees. We have a little ways to go but RightNow demonstrated that a cutting edge technology company can thrive in Bozeman.

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