John Trudnowski is a graduate of the Great One Eight Class of Leadership Montana. Leadership Montana has made a huge impact on the way that he engages with his team that he oversees today. The program has reinforced some of the leadership skills that were modeled for John by his parents and late brother-in-law while he was growing up.
John grew up in Helena, Montana. He was the youngest of four children. His dad was a professor at Carroll College and a basketball coach. His mom was a nurse, who worked a variety of shifts to allow her to raise her four children. His mom returned to school to become a teacher realizing that the nursing profession wasn’t as flexible. Both of his parents had a great impact on the style of leadership that he models today. They focused not only on the academic side of their jobs, but encouraged their students to look at the big picture, as well as life lessons. His parents were able to make a difference with their students and had a major impact on John and his friends’ lives as they were growing up. John spent most of his summers with his sister and her husband on the ranch that they owned. It was during those times that John saw his brother-in-law model the principles of Gracious Space. “He was always so accepting of everyone and could find the good in everybody.” “He always looked for the common ground.”
John graduated high school and worked for a short time before deciding to return to school. He moved to Butte in 1993 and graduated from Montana Tech with a B.S. in Geological Engineering. He began his career working for MSE for six years before landing his current role at Water Environmental and Technology in 2004. Today he is licensed as a Professional Environmental Engineer in the state of Montana and has experience working with various private, state, and federal projects. His specific experience includes aquifer testing and characterization as well as mine site characterization and remediation. After seeing first-hand the changes that his boss, Josh Vincent, made after he graduated from LMT, John knew he wanted to attend the program. Currently, John manages an engineering team at WET and utilizes a lot of what he learned at LMT daily.
John values his family and friends. He has 2 children and gained 3 more from his marriage to his wife Amy. He has one grandchild who calls him, Papa T. He loves spending time hunting, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors. To John, “there is no other place he would want to be.”
John shared that LMT has taught him that not everybody is like him; that not everybody is going to process things the same way and that’s ok. LMT has helped him to better manage people and not feel as frustrated when doing so. The personality exercise helped him to understand the difference in how people view things and how they in turn process those things. He has been able to strengthen his personal relationships with his wife and children by practicing what he learned from Gracious Space. It has made him a better listener and has reinforced being present in conversations. He believes Leadership Montana is a grassroots movement that is gaining momentum from the bottom up. “Montana is like one big small town. There are so many common threads: people knowing someone or having something in common”
John hopes that the lessons he learned at LMT will trickle up to the leadership at the state level, local government, school administration, and small businesses. He worries about the political division in the state and the fact that it seems people can’t find common ground. He hopes that people will continue to have hard conversations and that through the practice of Gracious Space, healing will happen.