The president of D.A. Davidson Co., Larry Martinez, shared what the company is seeing in market themes and why businesses should be headquartered in Montana on Oct. 26 at the Montana Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn in Great Falls.

Martinez, who was the keynote speaker and titled his speech ‘Montana —The (Last) Best Place— for Business,’ emphasized why businesses should call Montana home.

“On a personal level I think there is no better place to work,” Martinez said. “I think Montana gives us the opportunity to have a balanced work life. I think the quality of our workforce is terrific. The students and workers in our state have great work ethics.”

While Martinez touched on several national numbers, like the U.S. GDP Growth and major market equity returns, he dived into how Montana fares. According to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, the unemployment rate in Montana is better than the U.S. average. Montana sits at 3.9 percent while the U.S. average is 4.4 percent.

Martinez also cited that the Kaufmann Institute ranks Montana as fourth in startup activities. In the 18-years the measurement has been conducted, Montana has been in the top-five every year.

“I think it aligns with the independent spirit of the West,” Martinez said. “In Montana, people like to be their own bosses. They like to do things on their own and I think that spirit helps.”

During the Annual Meeting, Greg Thayer of Montana Milling in Great Falls was elected as the Montana Chamber’s board chair. The Montana Chamber also gave an update on its 10-year strategic plan, Envision 2026.

“With one year behind us in implementing the plan, we are delighted with the progress and excited with the promise of the future,” said Webb Brown, Montana Chamber of Commerce president/CEO. “As an investor himself, Greg will do a great job leading implementation of Envision 2026 in the coming year.”