UM Alum to Advise Montana Manufacturers in New Role

August 04, 2016

MISSOULA – A University of Montana alumnus has joined the staff of Montana State University’s Montana Manufacturing Extension Center as the new business adviser.

In his new role, Michael Manhardt will advise the west-central Montana region, including Missoula, where he will have an office with UM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

“BBER is a great partner to MMEC, and Michael is a great addition to our organization,” said Paddy Fleming, MMEC director. “We look forward to impressive results from Michael’s work with the manufacturers of Missoula and west-central Montana.”

Manhardt holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Business Administration from UM. His previous experience includes serving as a powertrain development engineer at Waukesha Engine, a powertrain design and development engineer at Harley-Davidson, the motorcycle design program manager at Polaris Industries and the hard goods design manager at Sun Mountain Sports.

 In addition, Manhardt owned two businesses in Missoula: Helix3D, a manufacturer of 3-D printers, and Acuity Design, a product design firm specializing in industrial design and fabrication.

Founded in 1996 and based in the MSU College of Engineering, MMEC provides hands-on assistance to Montana manufacturers in the areas of growth, innovation and profit enhancement. BBER, founded in 1948 and based at UM School of Business Administration, produces research and information on the Montana economy, including annual economic forecasts for manufacturing in Montana.

“Hosting MMEC has proven to be a perfect fit for both our organizations,” said Patrick Barkey, director of BBER.

Established in 1948, BBER is the main research unit of UM’s School of Business Administration. It informs Montanans about the economic climate in which they live and work. In addition to conducting its Economic Outlook Seminars across the state each year, BBER researchers engage in a wide range of applied research projects that address different aspects of the state economy, including survey research, economic analysis, health care research, forecasting, wood products research and energy research.

For more information about BBER, visit or call 406-243-5113.


Contact: Patrick Barkey, UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research director, 406-243-5113,; Michael Manhardt, Montana Manufacturing Extension Center business adviser, 406-218-9910,