The student chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) at Montana State will host its first ever spring conference, presented by Prime Incorporated, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MST) on Friday, March 12, and is available to students nationwide. Speakers from Google, MRM, Kimberly-Clark, Tadpull, and Fangage will offer guidance, tips, and direction for attendees. In addition, there will be three competitions that students can participate in to gain experience and win prizes.

“It is an honor to put on the first ever spring conference for AMA here at Montana State,” said Aliina Gregerson, a senior from Whitefish, Montana and Director of Conference Events for AMA. “We’ve put in a lot of hard work and effort to make this happen and I am really looking forward to seeing the turnout.”

The first competition will be the “Creative Sprint.” Students can experience a fun and stress-free way to gain experience by creating an idea for a brand based on a scenario given to them. Judges will score based on ideas generated rather than artistic abilities. The second competition is the “Big Idea” entrepreneurial challenge. This competition requires students to come up with an idea for a new business and then pitch it to judges acting as potential investors. The final competition is a “Crisis Management” event in which students will form teams to deliver effective brand communications while working through a crisis situation that they are given. They will present to the judges as if it’s a press conference and the team that communicates best will be named winner.

Speakers at the conference will include: Terry Balluck, director of global communications for Kimberly-Clark which markets brands such as Kleenex, Huggies, Kotex, Depends, and Cottonelle; Josh Bryant, Founder of Fangage, a startup company that creates virtual autographs of professional athletes for sports fans; Jake Cook, president of Tadpull, an e-commerce software company with clients such as Jackson Hole Resort and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals; Michael Piccuirro, senior UX engineer, from Google; and Brian Renaud, senior vice president and director of business leadership for global agency MRM, which handles marketing communications for major brands such as General Motors, Microsoft, Panasonic, Verizon, and the U.S. Postal Service.

“This conference is going to be such a great experience for everyone involved,” said Renaud, who has more than 20 years experience in marketing, advertising, and branding. “As a professional, getting the chance to speak to the future generation of business people is something I enjoy doing, and every student should take advantage of this opportunity.”

Montana State AMA Conference Event Schedule:

- 10:00am - 10:30am

- Kickoff Speaker: Brian Renaud (MRM) on the changes in the marketing industry post-pandemic.

- 11:00am - 12:30pm

- Event: “Creative Sprint” Competition for best branding ideas.

- 1:00pm - 1:30pm

- Speaker: Josh Bryant (Fangage) on how to launch a startup.

- 1:30pm - 3:00pm

- Event: Big Idea Challenge with the Blackstone Launchpad for best entrepreneurial idea.

- 3:30pm - 4:30pm

- Event: Crisis Management Competition / Terry Balluck (Kimberly-Clark) on how to handle a crisis with your brand.

- 4:30pm - 5:00pm

- Keynote Speakers: Michael Picciurro (Google) and Jake Cook (Tadpull) on designing emerging and AI technologies for companies big and small.

“I encourage everyone to come join us for this conference,” said Kaitlin Lane, president of the Montana State AMA chapter. “We like to do things big here at Montana State and it would be great to show that to other AMA chapters and students around the country.”

To register, please visit:

Thank you to the sponsors for this event -- Prime Incorporated (presenting sponsor) and Brickhouse Creative.