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4 inducted into Montana Business Hall of Fame

BILLINGS- Passion, perseverance, humility.

These are some of the traits shared by the four people inducted into the Montana Business Hall of Fame at the Northern Hotel Thursday night.

The Hall of Fame is part of the MSU Billings College of Business.

This year’s inductees include:

  • Dr. Bill Ballard, who started Balcron Oil in 1963 and Ballard Petroleum in 1992.
  • Sarah Calhoun, founder of Red Ants Pants in White Sulpher Springs  in 2006.
  • Bob and Penni Nance, who started in Billings in 1966 and founded Nance Petroleum in 1970.

Before the ceremony, the Nances and Calhoun talked about lessons they can pass on to aspiring entrepreneurs.

“We’ve learned to never give up,” Penni Nance said. “If you have a passion, you know where you’re going or where you want to go, you can fall down but you can always get back up and succeed.  We’ve been so blessed and fortunate that we feel it’s an honor for us to give back to the community. ”

“Well, I think Penni hit it when she said, ‘don’t ever give up, don’t ever stop,’” said Bob Nance. “If you’ve got a goal, you can be whatever you want to be, if you decide you want to be it. So just don’t ever give up.”

“I’d love for the younger generations to come up and realize that anything is possible,” Calhoun said. “Especially for rural Montana. Especially for women.  Small business is truly the backbone of America and I want to see more of that.”

Jeff Holsinger, Volunteers of America Northern Rockies CEO, was the featured speaker.

He said the inductees show vision, strong leadership, passion, innovation and assess risk.

“When you think about people that grow their own businesses and are successful and foster so much good value, good work that they’re being represented tonight,” Holsinger said. “At some point, they had to really lay it on the line and I just find it awesome.

The Montana Business Hall of Fame at MSU Billings’ College of Business banquet also raises money for scholarships.

David Jay

David Jay

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