As interviewed by Bria Farren, Class of 2017
Amy Kellogg and her husband, Fred, live in the Flathead area. Amy has three grown step-children and a crazy cat named Princess Noelle. Amy is a frequent passenger on the 6:00 am flight out of Kalispell as she travels often for business and pleasure.
Amy and Fred own a food manufacturing company located in Polson. Their family-owned business ships pasta all over the county and chai tea all over the world. They’ve owned the business for the past six years.
Amy is a member of the class of 2013. Her favorite memories bring her back to watching the personal growth and development of her classmates and of herself.
Leadership Montana brought Amy back in touch with some important aspects of her life, both personally and professionally. From a personal perspective, Leadership Montana helped Amy see that she had lost touch with the fact that she loves people. Professionally she realized that she lost touch with the fact that she is a leader.
Amy believes Leadership Montana’s role is to model civility – a big role for our 500 alumni. As members of the group, she feels we are responsible for facilitating open discussion and trusts we are connected by our desire for a better Montana. She knows change won’t happen overnight but offers three ideas for strengthening our conversations; take perspective, practice empathy and remove the noise and interference.
Amy appreciates the beauty and mountains of Montana, especially Flathead Lake in July. But beauty aside, Amy appreciates that in Montana anyone can truly have an impact on what is important to them. She recognizes that in other states it can be hard for individuals to get connected to decision-makers.
For Amy, the business climate in Montana is great. She comments that taxes and regulations aren’t bad but the labor market is challenging. One way she is overcoming this challenge is by offering employees, in some positions, the ability to work remotely. Because of the location of her business, Amy faces trucking and transportation issues as well as tribal issues.
To Amy, her employees are an important part of her business strategy. Because finding talent is challenging, retention is critical. She strives to build an environment where her people want to stay working for her. Benefits are one part of the equation. Amy offers competitive salaries, frequent wage reviews, profit sharing and 401ks plus on-time and end-of-season bonuses. Culture is another part of the equation. Thus, employees have a voice at the table. Amy engages her employees and asks them to “push our minds” to generate new ideas and improvements in their jobs and for the business.