Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) A business management and consulting firm based in Missoula plans to expand its workforce in the coming months in a push to accommodate its growing base of local and national clients.

Cascadia Management Group on Thursday received approval from Missoula County to apply for a Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund grant with the goal of hiring around 10 employees over the next 15 months.

In the coming years, the firm would like to employ as many as 50 skilled workers in areas of human resources, payroll management, consulting and bookkeeping, among other jobs.

“We believe in systematic and sustainable growth. If we're able to speed up that hiring process, that would be great,” said Cascadia co-founder and president Colleen Rudio.

Cascadia traces its roots back around 15 years when Rudio and co-founder Rennae Miller began working in the industry. Shortly after the pandemic, however, the two joined their organizations.

Doing so marked the first step in the firm's growth, which included a contract to restructure the International Association of Better Business Bureaus in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Rudio said many of Cascadia's clients are associated with that endeavor, and it presents an opportunity for growth.

Along with Montana, Rudio said Cascadia works with firms in Denver and Austin, among other U.S. cities.

“We see that we have a tremendous amount of opportunity,” said Rudio. “Those individuals need continuing expansion and support, not just because the market place is getting to be more competitive, but because they need to spend all their awake hours doing their job.”

Given the firm's mission to help manage and grow other businesses, from mergers and acquisitions to strategic planning and board development, finding the right employees isn't easy.

Rudio said the state's education system doesn't often offer the job training skills Cascadia needs, so the firm may begin to develop its own workforce through an apprenticeship program. She said it's a challenge many growing businesses face in Montana.

“We have some great opportunities coming forward we'd like to take advantage off, but the challenges we face with workforce are the same as everyone else, and that's finding the right skilled individuals,” said Rudio. “We're going to really have to start training our own folks. We want to prepare ourselves for growth, not only from a staffing standpoint, but also a client standpoint.”