Idaho Business Now Webinar Series

Idaho Business Now is a webinar series that offers lively conversation on a variety of topics that affect the local business community. From remote work trends to commercial real estate and agriculture, we will bring you experts who have the knowledge and experience to boost your business. This webinar series is being temporarily suspended.

10/1 Idaho’s entrepreneurial community

Technology has been a bright spot in Idaho’s economy, with a number of companies starting or moving here, and investment money flowing in. What effect will the COVID-19 pandemic have on this trend, and what does Idaho’s entrepreneurial community need to build on its success?

Nick Crabbs, partner and founding member of Vynyl

Vynyl is a product development firm that works with corporations, institutions, and investors to build unique mobile, web, applications that are technically excellent, visually appealing, and create real & measurable business value. Prior to his work with Vynyl, Crabbs spent nearly a decade working for some of the nation’s largest banking institutions, local municipalities, and large enterprise environments as an IT specialist and manager. Embracing his more entrepreneurial endeavors, community engagement and tech evangelism Crabbs has worked with several start-ups, local community organizations and leadership with large-scale events to leverage his knowledge and expertise in technology, management and recruiting to judge events, offer mentorship, speak on panels, and contribute to a growing tech and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Dr. Norris Krueger, Founder, Entrepreneurship Northwest

Dr. Krueger has worked for and been honored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and its landmark ESHIP program, the International Council for Small Business, Academy of Management, OECD, EU, ILO, UN, and for cities, states and countries worldwide. Locally, he proudly champions the Idaho Women’s Business Center, VentureCapital.Org, the Idaho Rural Growth Initiative and more. Learn more at www.norriskrueger.com and on social media.


9/17 – A look at how Idaho’s tourist season went

This summer was unlike any other. People couldn’t travel, and many outsiders couldn’t or wouldn’t visit, but Idahoans took to the great outdoors in record numbers. What did the 2020 tourism season look like?

Diane Norton, Tourism Manager, Idaho Department of Commerce

Norton joined the Idaho Department of Commerce-Tourism Development in 2007 and became the Tourism Manager in 2013.  In her role as Tourism Manager, she has the privilege of working with six tourism specialists who are responsible for Idaho’s marketing programs to increase visitation to the state.

Carrie Westergard, executive director of the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau

Westergard, who has served in her position for five years, is responsible for overseeing, planning and directing the operations and programming for the Boise CVB, whose mission is to enhance Boise’s economy through the marketing,promotion and selling of the city and region as a site for conventions, corporate meetings, trade shows, leisure travel, cultural, sports and special events. 

9/3 – Back to school. How education is handling funding

With school district patrons voting down levies and bonds, the state cutting education funding, and with new requirements to deal with COVID-19, how are Idaho schools managing?

Marilyn Whitney, Deputy Superintendent for Communications and Policy, Idaho State Department of Education

Whitney oversees the Superintendent’s and Department’s communications including media relations, events and information updates to Idaho’s school districts and charter schools. She is also Superintendent Ybarra’s liaison with the Idaho Legislature and other elected officials and policy makers. Prior to joining the Department of Education, Marilyn served Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter as his education policy adviser and deputy chief of staff handling education issues kindergarten through career. Before working on the Governor’s staff, she was chief communications and legislative affairs officer for the Idaho State Board of Education. Marilyn earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in education from Boise State University.

Jonathan Gillen, CFO, West Ada School District

Gillen has held the CFO role since 2017.  Previously,  he worked as a director of finance for a startup charter network, and as the CFO for a community college.  He is a licensed CPA, earned an MBA and recently completed his Ed Specialist at Northwest Nazarene University.

8/27 – Commercial real estate trends

Lew Manglos, Partner, Colliers

Manglos joined the Colliers International Boise team in 2005, and specializes in investment services. Since joining Colliers, Manglos has consistently been among the top performing brokers in Idaho. Manglos graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Stout in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He received his MBA from Georgia Southern University in 2005. He has served as an Adjunct Professor  for Boise State University, as a member of the Board of Directors for the College of Western Idaho Foundation, and as a Board Member of the CCIM Institute. He is a graduate of Leadership Boise.

Bill Beck, founder of Tenant Realty Advisors

Bill Beck is a recognized and respected commercial real estate thought leader with 40+ years of tenant advocacy experience. In 2000, he founded Tenant Realty Advisors (TRA) to exclusively serve commercial tenants and buyers in the Boise metro area. Before TRA, he served in various leadership roles at the industry’s top firms, including CBRE, Colliers International, and Daum. Prior to that, Bill was commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps.

8/13 – The business of parking

Catherine Smith, executive director, Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation

Smith is a fifth-generation Idahoan and spent most of her childhood in Swan Valley on her grandparent’s ranch as a young girl. She attended the Art Institute of Portland where she earned her bachelor’s degree. She is the executive director of the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation. Previously she held the position of eastern region development officer for the Idaho Community Foundation and worked with individuals, families, businesses and other community-minded people to establish charitable funds, and direct grants. She also worked for Idaho Falls Arts Council and the Idaho Commission on the Arts as a regional public art advisor focusing on the eastern region of Idaho. She is an active member of the nonprofit community and serves on a handful of local nonprofit boards and volunteers regularly for the Idaho Falls Zoo. She was named Distinguished Under 40 in 2014 and is a Graduate of the Chamber Leadership Idaho Falls program. She is the mom of two boys, two obnoxious black labs, and a wife to her high school sweetheart. If she’s not riding her bike or skiing with her family, she’s riding her horse somewhere in Swan Valley enjoying all Idaho offers.

Max Clark, director of Parking & Mobility, Capital City Development Corp.

Clark manages physical assets owned by CCDC, including six public parking garages in downtown Boise and several other structures and parcels of land. He’s also responsible for installation and maintenance of many sidewalk amenities and the cleaning of some downtown streetscapes. Clark has been with CCDC for over 19 years. Prior to joining CCDC, Max worked for the City of Bellevue, Washington for nearly 20 years. He is a founding member of the Northwest Parking Association and served on the NWPA Board of Directors for five years. He previously served on the BOMA Idaho Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Max holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Washington State University, a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington, and received his “Certified Administrator of Public Parking” certificate in June of 2007.

7/30 – Idaho’s transportation future

Vanessa Crossgrove Fry, Interim Director, Idaho Policy Institute, Boise State University

Fry is Interim Director and Assistant Research Professor at the Idaho Policy Institute (IPI) at Boise State University. She also serves as Adjunct Faculty Member at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. Fry has focused both her work and education on utilizing multi-sector, evidenced-based solutions to address persistent social, environmental, and economic issues. At IPI Fry has led projects focusing on a number of issues including education, workforce development, housing and homelessness. She has also served as the lead researcher on multiple projects addressing Idaho’s transportation infrastructure. Fry holds a BA in Biology and Fine Art from Wittenberg University, an MBA from Presidio Graduate School, and a PhD in Public Policy and Administration from Boise State University.

Laila Kral, Deputy Administrator, Local Highway Technical Assistance Council

Kral grew up in Troy, Idaho before moving to Boise to attend college. She graduated from Boise State University with a degree in Civil Engineering. She worked in the private industry for close to 10 years before joining the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council. She is currently the Deputy Administrator while also managing the T2 Training Center and several grant programs. She has a strong passion to serve all 288 Local Highway Jurisdictions across the state of Idaho. She is married with two young daughters, Faye (6) and Halle (4).

7/23 – Keeping urban Idaho green

Lance Davisson, Coordinator, Treasure Valley Canopy Network

Davisson resides in Boise, where he has operated an urban and natural resource planning firm, The Keystone Concept, since 2011.  Prior to that, he worked in the public sector in several western states as a land manager, forester, commercial leasing professional and wildland firefighter. 

Throughout his career, Lance has proven to be a powerful leader, speaker and facilitator of positive change.  As Council Member and Chair for the National Urban & Community Forestry Advisory Council from 2012 to 2017, Davisson guided a diverse team of leaders and industry professionals to create a National Urban Forestry Action Plan. This plan and the resulting relationships built during his tenure have facilitated an increase in congressional funding allocations that are raising the standard of tree care and infusing resources into states and communities nationwide.

 In 2013, Davisson collaborated with Idaho Department of Lands, the USDA Forest Service, private businesses and public agencies to create the Treasure Valley Canopy Network (Network).  To date, the Network has proven to be an innovative and impactful public-private partnership organization that is helping cities develop healthy and thriving landscapes that return immense benefits to the local economy & health of citizens.

When not at work, Lance enjoys spending time with his family camping, whitewater

Joe Gruber, Maintenance Sales Manager at Franz Witte Landscape Contracting

Gruber started doing landscape maintenance in college at Ball State University, where he graduated with a degree in marketing. In 1995, he began to work with a landscape business called Lawn Co., where he worked his way up to account manager. He started his own landscape business in 2002 in Michigan, and moved to Boise in 2005, where he rejoined Lawn Co. as an account manager.  In 2005 we decided to move back to Boise to raise our kids.  Too long of winters in Michigan!  I took a job back with Lawn Co as an account manager.  After taking another job, he missed being in the lawn care business and joined Franz Witte as a partner in 2016, growing the maintenance division more than 300% since then.

7/9 – Vacations, flexible hours, and working from home

Amy A. Lombardo, shareholder at Parsons Behle & Latimer

Lombardo is an experienced trial lawyer and a shareholder at Parsons Behle & Latimer. She advises clients on employment law statutes and regulations, and is currently serving on the firm’s interdisciplinary Covid-19 Response Team, providing up-to-date information to clients in a rapidly changing legal environment. 

While working exclusively from home, Lombardo has successfully advised countless employers on pandemic changes to the EEOC, CDC, and OSHA regulations.  She has continued to advocate for clients during this time, including a virtual appearance before the Idaho Supreme Court in an unemployment benefits appeal.  Her team also recently obtained a victory in an election case, securing a preliminary injunction in federal court to extend the time for 14,000 Idahoans to return absentee ballots.

Tiam Rastegar, Executive Director, Trailhead

Born in Iran and raised in Germany, Rastegar came to Boise in 2000 and lives there with his wife and two children. Rastegar received both his undergraduate and Executive MBA from Boise State University. He has wide-ranging experience in sales, marketing, product and program management, mergers & acquisitions, and other areas at Boise startups since the early 2000’s. He currently leads Trailhead as its Executive Director, Boise’s nonprofit hub for entrepreneurship and startup incubation.