Historic, rugged, and gritty come to mind when reflecting on our Leadership Montana class visit to Butte-Anaconda this past October.
Literally, Butte’s history is deep and rich. Butte is a community built on hard work, determination, blood, sweat, and tears. There really is no other city like it in Montana. Anaconda, exudes a tough and tumble exterior and is tied to the mining legacy of the region processing ore to grow a developing Montana, America, and the world.
While both communities are proud of their traditions and mining legacies, the communities seek to build a new future. The entrepreneurial drive is high in both Butte and Anaconda with a new conference center/ hotel, a new copper mine, a busy foundry, new restaurants, a power generation facility, and distilleries. The business owners and residents met by the class were highly optimistic about the days ahead. Knowing where they came from, the people of both communities are using their collective strengths together. They seek to build enduring and vibrant communities while maintaining a “work hard and play hard” vibe.
In Anaconda, one unmistakable landmark is the Washoe Stack. Constructed in 1919, the 585-foot-tall smokestack towers alone above the region. As the Flagship Class of 2023 wrapped up its second session, we are reminded that we are not alone on this new journey together. With our shared experiences, we never will be. All of us are learning what it means to exercise gracious space, to really listen to one another, and to provide needed encouragement. The old sentiment “it’s lonely at the top” is only true if you choose to make it that way. Like the people we visited during this session, we look for the good things in our future, as well as make Montana a better place together.