My name is Nick Shontz and I’m running for City Council in Ward Six in Missoula in 2019.
I’ve lived in Missoula for 17 years and am a native Montanan, growing up in Helena and moving to Missoula for college. Montana has been good to me; a great place to grow up, and a great place to raise a family. As a kid, I was very active in Scouting, earning Eagle Scout in 1999. I staffed at a summer camp as my first job.
I met my wife Jessica while we were in high school. We met at a mutual friends’ wedding, that was in Missoula. We dated through high school and both moved to Missoula for College; me in 2002, and her in 2004.
Finding our place
After high school I came to the University of Montana in 2002, initially studying creative writing, specifically poetry. I changed my major several times, taking classes in education, computer science, and business. Jessica came to Missoula in 2004 to study dance at the University. In 2005, our son was born while we were both in school. Our community rallied around us and made Missoula a wonderful place for my family to grow and I couldn’t be more thankful for our community. When my son was born I was 21 and my wife was 20.
When we found out we were going to be parents, we were both in school and working multiple jobs to make ends meet. While we were incredibly lucky to have a good support network of friends in Missoula, without services like Medicaid and WIC I don’t know what we would have done. Organizations like Childcare Resources and the County Health Clinic helped us make sure our son was healthy and cared for. At this time, we lived on the Northside of Missoula and commuted by bus and bike to save money, worked odd jobs and saved. With the help of our community, we worked our way out of poverty.
I began my career in the public sector working at the University of Montana for over ten years. While at the University, I was a dues-paying member of the Montana Public Employees Association and learned to appreciate the benefits of collective bargaining and being part of a Union. I left the University at the end of 2017 when the Voluntary Severance Package was offered. It hadn’t been my intent to leave, but the offer was too good to pass up. For the past 5 years, I have been a part of my neighborhood leadership team, Community Forum, and have volunteered with the Missoula Food Bank, and with Scouting BSA.
Today I work at GeoFli, a company I co-founded here in Missoula. We employ eight Missoulians and serve clients all over the world. GeoFli is a content management overlay allowing website creators to personalize their websites for different geographical areas. We do this in a way that doesn’t collect any personally identifiable information or track users in any way. Our goal is to make browsing the web a better experience for both the website visitor and the content creator.
Today, my wife Jessica works for the University Faculty Association at UM. She graduated with a BFA in Dance and is a modern dancer with Bare Bait Dance in Missoula and volunteers for Morning Moves. My son Collin will be heading to Hellgate in the fall for his freshman year of high school. He is currently active in Scouting and enjoys graphic design and outdoor adventures.
My mom recently retired from a career in marketing and my father is a retired attorney, turned railroad expert. Growing up I heard tales of my grandmother as a justice of the peace in rural Minnesota and of my father and his time in the Montana state legislature in the ’80s. Their example and my time in Scouting instilled in me a spirit of service, and this has compelled me to run and serve my community.
For the past five years, I have been a part of my neighborhood leadership team, attending and moderating meetings. I’ve been a part of Community Forum where all of the neighborhoods get together and discuss issues. Recently I have started volunteering with the Missoula Food Bank, and re-engaged with Scouting BSA.
During my time at the University I felt like I was really able to make a positive impact on the University community. I appreciated the opportunity to make a difference for students, faculty and staff and want to continue to make a positive impact in Missoula.
Now, I’d like to do more, and I’d appreciate your support and your vote on election day.