2021 Best of Helena Winners: People of the Year Categories
Winner: Mari Williams (Accounting & Tax Specialists)
3390 Colton Dr. Suite B
Mari Williams prides herself on being part of a local, family-owned firm that provides the kind of customer service not found at big accounting firms. Williams has years of valuable experience to help take the hassle out of your tax returns. Contact her today for your personal or small business tax needs.
Favorite: Joy Kostka (Joyful Services)
Favorite: Kaitlyn Champion (Rudd & Company)
Winner: Jay Crider
732 Knight St.
Jay Crider is a local painter whose interests in subject matter are wide ranging and eclectic. Crider formalizes the coincidental and emphasizes the conscious process of composition that is behind the seemingly random works. His paintings are saturated with a dark humor that can be obvious or obscure. They question the coerciveness that is derived from the more profound meaning and the superficial aesthetic appearance of an image. By experimenting with aleatoric processes, he makes works that can be seen as self-portraits.
Favorite: Deric Miller (DM6 Studio Tattoo and Fine Art)
Favorite: Pamela Lee (The Floral Cottage)
Winner: John Doubek (Doubek, Pyfer & Storrar)
307 N. Jackson St.
John Doubek attended Carroll College and received his law degree from the University of Montana. Out of law school, John Doubek handled some 80 trials and contested cases on behalf of the Montana Consumer Counsel, which represents the interests of the people of Montana against public utilities and railroads. These trials were held before the Montana Public Service Commission the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Civil Aeronautics Board, and the Interstate Commerce Commission. His practice areas include personal injury law, workers’ compensation, products liability, and commercial litigation.
Favorite: Anne Sherwood (Morrison Sherwood Wilson & Deola, PLLP)
Favorite: Harris Law Office PLLC
Best Auto Loan Officer
Winner: Scott Shein (Intrepid Credit Union)
Scott Shein has been helping the members of Intrepid Credit Union with their lending needs since 2003 and currently serves as a lending supervisor. Members enjoy working with him because he prioritizes building relationships and takes the time to get to know each member he serves. As one online customer commented, “Scott is absolutely awesome. We have worked with Scott for many years and he is wonderful to work with. He always goes the extra mile for his clients.”
(Intrepid Credit Union was also the winner of the Best Credit Union category).
Favorite: Roxanne Allen (Valley Bank of Helena)
Favorite: Daysha Detienne (First Community Bank)
Favorite: Lisa Nelson (Opportunity Bank)
Winner: Chance Linkenbach (Capital Hill Barber Shop & Styling Salon)
521 N. Sanders St.
Chance Linkenbach owns and operates Capital Hill Barber Shop & Styling Salon in Helena. As one online reviewer commented, “Chance is an artist. I’ve seen him cut multiple types of hair with confidence. Everyone I’ve seen leave before me looks beyond satisfied on their way out the door. As for myself, I’ve never had to tell him what to do, just sit down and he starts cutting. Looks great every time.” Capital Hill is a full-service salon pampering and styling the people in Helena. Their services include haircuts, therapeutic massages, manicures/pedicures, tanning services and bridal hair services. If you’re looking for a simple cut come visit Chance at Capital Hill Barber Shop & Styling Salon.
(Capital Hill Barber Shop & Styling Salon was also the winner in the Best Barber Shop, Best Hair Salon, and Best Hairstylist categories).
Favorite: Secy Servera (Black Eye Legrand)
Favorite: Saleana Bowen Zarske (Carriage House Salon)
Winner: Adam Imhoff (On Broadway)
106 E. Broadway
(On Broadway was also the winner in the Best Appetizer, Best Place to Enjoy a Cocktail, Best Place to Get Dinner, Best Restaurant, Best Waitstaff, Best Date Night Location, Best Chef, and Best Server categories).
Favorite: Gigi Accord (Gold Bar)
Favorite: Kyle Whitney (The Grubstake)
Best Car Salesperson
Winner: Kourtney Koch (Helena Motors)
3365 US Highway 12
Even after over 25 years as a car salesman at Helena Motors, Kourtney Koch still loves what he does. For him, it’s simple. When you enjoy the dealership you work for and love the products they sell, why leave? According to Koch, the real reward in his work though comes through interacting with his customers each day and helping take care of them as they move through the process of purchasing a vehicle. One online reviewer wrote, “I can’t say enough about my experience with Helena Motors and Kourtney Koch. Truck buying can be a painful experience, but everything with Kourtney was professional, pleasant and pressure free…Kourtney and the team at Helena Motors provided a custom, personalized experience. Kourtney was thoughtful, upfront, honest and willing to put in the extra effort to make this sale happen.”
(Helena Motors was also the winner of the Best New Car Dealership and Best Used Car Dealership categories).
Favorite: Andy Petek (Lithia Chrysler Doge Jeep Ram FIAT of Helena)
Favorite: Ryan Nettleton (Placer Motors)
Winner: Andrew Maynard (On Broadway)
106 E. Broadway
(On Broadway was also the winner in the Best Appetizer, Best Place to Enjoy a Cocktail, Best Place to Get Dinner, Best Restaurant, Best Waitstaff, Best Date Night Location, Best Bartender, and Best Server categories).
Favorite: Mike Hyyppa (Lucca’s)
Favorite: Tim O’Brien (Chili O’Brien’s Catering)
Winner: Brandon Blank (Balanced Chiropractor)
800 Lola St.
(Balanced Chiropractor was also the winner in the Best Chiropractic Office category).
Favorite: Dr. Austin Blank (Balanced Chiropractic)
Favorite: Dr. V. J. Maddio (Town Center Chiropractic)
Winner: Michael McCarthy (Stonefly Construction, LLC)
234 Lump Gulch Rd.
Michael McCarthy is the owner and operator of Stonefly Construction. Stonefly is a full-service construction company specializing in new construction and remodeling of both residential and commercial projects. They focus on providing their clients with the best products and services for their needs at the most affordable prices possible. As one online reviewer wrote, “Michael is by far the best builder in Helena and a breath of fresh air when it comes to contractors! Good contractors are very hard to find and he is not only extremely honest and personable, but…he’s ahead of the curve as far as design goes in Montana.”
Favorite: Jace Devine (Devine Design Concrete)
Favorite: Rob Pentecost (Pentecost Builders)
Winner: Dr. Mari Kiesling (Pediatric Dentistry)
3116 Saddle Dr, Suite 1
Dr. Mari Kiesling attended Southwestern Oregon Community College, Carroll College, and Montana State University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in cell biology and neuroscience in 2008. Kiesling then went on to graduate from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in 2012 and completed her pediatric dentistry residency at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. She is a member of the American Dental Association, Utah Dental Association, Montana Dental Association, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Her training includes advanced studies and specialized training in dental care for infants, children, teens, special needs and medically compromised patients.
Favorite: Kevin L. Rencher (Pediatric Dentistry)
Favorite: Dr. Nathan Ahlers (Ahlers Family Dentistry)
Best Dermatology Nurse Practitioner
Winner: Megan Gittings, FNP-C, DCNP (Advanced Practice Dermatology)
55 W. 14th St.
Helena native, Megan Gittings, has been a practicing dermatology nurse practitioner since 2005. She first found her love of dermatology after working as a nurse, which led her back to school to become a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-C). She completed her dermatology certification in 2007. Gittings prides herself on “walking patients through” their procedures and works her hardest to make the experience less scary and pain-free. This makes her an excellent provider for kids and nervous patients. She also has a particular interest in working with alopecia.
Favorite: Elizabeth McCarthy, Opulence Health Primary Care, Women’s Health & Medical Aesthetics
Favorite: Jody Isbell, PA-C, MPAS – Associated Dermatology & Skin Cancer Clinic of Helena
Winner: Dr. Jeffry Goldes, M.D. (Associated Dermatology & Skin Cancer Clinic)
50 S. Last Chance Gulch
Dr. Jeffry Goldes is board certified in general dermatology, anatomic pathology, and dermatopathology Sub Specialty Fellowship. He graduated from Boston University School of Medicine. He received training in Anatomic Pathology, Dermatology and Dermatopathology, both at the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota. He is a member of numerous specialty societies including the American Academy of Dermatology, and Montana Academy of Dermatology, Montana Medical Association and American Society of Dermatopathology. Goldes has been a member of the Test Committee for Dermatopathology for the American Board of Pathology. He has published numerous research articles and contributed to many textbook chapters about dermatology and dermatopathology topics.
Favorite: Dr. Sri Vellanki (Helena Dermatology)
Favorite: Dr. Logan Skelley – Guardian Dermatology, P.C.
Winner: Brad Boettcher (406 Electric)
1018 W. Custer #16
As an electrical contractor with 406 Electric, Brad Boettcher is there to help with all commercial, industrial and residential electrical work. Their services include remodels, new construction, and alternative power. Boettcher and the rest of the 406 Electric team always operate under strong values aimed at exceeding client needs. Their communication channels are always open and their relationships with their clients begin on the first day of contact and only ends once they’re fully satisfied with the work.
Favorite: Craig Martin (Gold Rush Electric)
Favorite: Zach Bushilla (Integrity Electrical Contractors)
Winner: Amy Johnson (Opulence Health Primary Care, Women’s Health & Medical Aesthetics)
251 Saddle Dr.
Amy Johnson has been working as an esthetician and laser specialist since 2010 in Montana and Colorado. Helping people achieve their skin care goals and needs is her primary focus and true passion. She attended the Concentric Healing Institute in Boulder, Colorado where she received her certification for esthetics. She also attended the Rocky Mountain Laser College in Colorado and specializes in many advanced laser treatments and techniques and has in-depth experience in advanced chemical peel treatments, microneedling, dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, microblading and various facial services.
(Opulence Health Primary Care, Women’s Health & Medical Aesthetics was also the winner in the Best Spa category).
Favorite: Raeann Hoveland (Skin Esteem)
Favorite: Josie Griffith (Crafted Aesthetics)
Winner: Rob Pentecost (West Valley Volunteer Fire Department)
Rob Pentecost has been a volunteer firefighter with Helena’s West Valley Volunteer Fire Department for the past nine years. He currently serves as a captain on the department. West Valley Fire Chief, Jerry Shephard, noted that he is a “good leader and is always willing to help out when needed.” The West Valley Volunteer Fire Department proudly protects approximately 20,000 people living in an area of 55 square miles.
Favorite: Wally Jester (Lewis & Clark County Volunteer Fire Department)
Favorite: Steve Finstad (City of Helena Fire Department)
Best First Responder
Winner: Andy Newman (IBEW Local 44)
1901 S. Montana St.; Butte
Andy Newman is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 44 based in Butte. The IBEW is composed of members that are employed in Montana’s utility, utility locating, outside line construction, radio, television broadcasting, shopmen, and Line clearance tree trimming and motor shop work. IBEW 44 has a territorial jurisdiction of 94,000 square miles and represents employees of over 35 different employers. Members like Newman are committed to the principle that “An injury to one is an injury to all,” and they strive to be an effective voice for those who seek their assistance.” Today the IBEW 44 works with its industry partners to make Montana one of the safest places to live and work.
Favorite: Rebecca Brelin (St. Peter’s Ambulance)
Favorite: Jason Niemeyer (St. Peter’s Ambulance)
Winner: Chelsey Lundin (Capital Hill Barber Shop and Styling Salon)
521 N. Sanders St.
Chelsey Lundin, hairstylist at Capital Hill Barber Shop and Styling Salon, is ready to help you revamp your hairstyle for a new and improved you. One online reviewer wrote, “Chelsey is freaking amazing. I haven’t felt so confident and pretty in so long. As soon as I leave her chair it’s like I’m walking out a new person. I get compliments left and right about my hair. If you are hesitant to try a new stylist, definitely give Chelsey a chance, she’s amazing!” A specialist in coloring, Chelsey’s clients leave their hair appointment feeling confident and beautiful. For fantastic haircuts, expert coloring, and a master stylist, schedule an appointment with Chelsey Lundin at Capital Hill Barber Shop and Styling Salon today.
(Capital Hill Barber Shop was also the winner in the Best Barber Shop, Best Hair Salon, and Best Barber categories).
Favorite: Shelby Novak (Euclid Avenue Salon)
Favorite: Megan Winfield (Magnolia Salon)
Best Insurance Agent
Winner: Joe Mitchell (State Farm Insurance Agent)
601 Euclid Ave. Suite D
Joe Mitchell started his career with State Farm in 2010 at an agent’s office in Moorhead, Minnesota. During his time with State Farm, he has qualified for the State Farm Honor Club multiple times, graduated from the Agent Aspirant program, qualified for State Farm Ambassador travel several times and received the Team Member Hall of Fame award — granted to team members for helping families with life insurance — five times. Primarily serving Lewis and Clark County, Jefferson County, and the surrounding area, the Joe Mitchell State Farm Agency takes tremendous pride in helping customers with life insurance, renters insurance, home insurance and auto insurance as well as fulfilling small business insurance needs.
Favorite: Jon Miller (State Farm Insurance Agent)
Favorite: Tom Clinch (State Farm Insurance Agent)
Best Law Enforcement Officer
Winner: Leo Dutton (Lewis and Clark County)
Leo Dutton was first sworn in as sheriff of Lewis & Clark County in September 2008 and took on the additional role of coroner in January 2019. He strives to lead others in a combined vision to meet a common mission and uphold the core values established by the Lewis & Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Dutton has had extensive training in the National Incident Management System and attended the F.B.I. Command College. He is also a member of the Critical Incident Debriefing Team and completed the National Institute of Corrections course on Planning of New Intuitions and the Sherriff’s Institute program in Colorado. Dutton serves on several governor-appointed boards, including Montana Public Safety Radio Board, Montana Police Officer Standards and Training (POST), and the Montana Board of Crime Control.
Favorite: Jordan Chriske-Hall (Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office)
Favorite: Assistant Chief Curtis Stinson (Helena Police Department)
Winner: Ken Iwen (Iwen Automotive)
10 Market St.
Ken Iwen started his independent and family-owned auto repair shop, Iwen Automotive, in Montana City in 2010. His assembled team is dedicated to providing the best workmanship and customer service possible, with ASE-certified technicians on staff to service your vehicle. From automotive repairs, preventative maintenance, and national warranty, Iwen offers comprehensive automotive services at his shop. One online reviewer wrote, “Iwen Automotive is truly a hometown repair with high quality service. Ken and his staff bend over backwards for the people in the community. Won’t take my rig anywhere else!”
Favorite: Joe Miller (Point S J&J Tire and Auto Service)
Favorite: Kevin Kerker (Helena Motors)
Best Mortgage Loan Officer
Winner: Crystal Eckerson (Opportunity Mortgage)
1400 Prospect Ave.
Crystal Eckerson, Mortgage Branch Manager at Opportunity Bank, has over 10 years of experience lending in Helena and over 20 years of experience in finance. With the industry and market changing every day, her philosophy remains the same: to treat each client like she’ll be working with them for life, and not just on one transaction. She educates her clients about different options so they can make informed decisions that will give them the financing tailored to their needs. She has in-depth knowledge of VA, FHA, Conventional, Jumbo, USDA Rural Development, and Portfolio lending products. She specializes in customizing mortgage solutions and working with borrowers to find the best options for each unique situation.
Favorite: Corey Hill (Mann Mortgage)
Favorite: Katie Lawler – Stockman Bank
Winner: Tara Wells (Wells Wellness)
39 Neil Ave.
Tara Wells has been a family nurse practitioner since February 2018. In November 2018 Tara added Botox and filler injections to her list of services. A year later, she began offering classes to teach other healthcare professionals how to inject. In January 2021 Tara opened her own brick and mortar clinic, Wells Wellness (formally Skin Esteem) and has a built a strong team alongside her. Wells Wellness offers a variety of skin care treatments, including Botox and fillers and laser treatments.
Favorite: Orpha Montgomery (St. Peter’s Health)
Favorite: Jeff Radke, ER (St. Peter’s Health)
Winner: Dr. Bill Simons (Montana Eyecare)
550 N. Montana Ave.
Dr. Bill Simons graduated from Carroll College and continued his education at Southern California College of Optometry, receiving his doctorate degree in Optometry in 1982. He began his optometric career practicing privately in Cut Bank and at the IHS in Browning. Simons has been a leader in optometry both locally and regionally throughout his career and is past president of the Montana Optometric Association and the Great Western Council of Optometry. He has been named Optometrist of the Year three times and continues to be active in promoting the profession he loves. He was awarded the 2011 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award by the Southern California College of Optometry. Simons is board certified by the American Board of Optometry and has dedicated himself to delivering the very best optometric eye care to each and every patient he serves.
Favorite: Dr. Bill Hasquet (Montana Eyecare)
Favorite: Dr. Nicole Henriksen (Helena Vision Center)
Winner: Jeffrey Foster (Helena Orthodontics)
900 N. Last Chance Gulch
For Dr. Jeffrey Foster there is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone smile confidently after a treatment well done. Foster graduated with a doctorate of dental medicine from Oregon Health and Sciences University and received an Advanced Certificate in Orthodontics from Nova Southeastern University. At Helena Orthodontics, he uses his skill and experiences to bring the highest quality orthodontic care to his patients. At Helena Orthodontics Foster offers comprehensive orthodontic services for children, teens, and adults, including WildSmiles, ceramic and metal braces, and Invisalign clear aligners.
Favorite: Dr. Kyle Jackson (Jackson Orthodontics)
Favorite: Dr. Cory Wood (Helena Orthodontics)
Winner: Dr. Tom Strizich (Partners in Pediatrics)
2525 E. Broadway #201
A Helena native, Dr. Tom Strizich completed his undergraduate studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane. After receiving his medical degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Strizich completed his internship and Pediatric residency at the University of Utah. At Partners in Pediatrics, Strizich and the other providers pride themselves on providing comprehensive, family-centered pediatric care from birth through 18 years.
Favorite: Dr. Michelle Danielson (Partners in Pediatrics)
Favorite: Dr. Callie Riggin (Helena Pediatric Clinic)
Winner: Kevin League (Kevin League Photography)
330 N. Jackson St.
Kevin League is a Helena-based, award-winning professional landscape, lifestyle and wildlife photographer capturing Montana and the western United States. His photography has been described as “transporting the viewer into a transcendent moment of awe” and having “a distinctive style, and eye and way of painting with light.” In 2019 and 2021 he was awarded the grand prize of the Picture Wild Montana Photo Contest. In 2019 he was awarded honorable mention in the Best of Show Photography Contest. His work has been published in the pages and on the cover of Montana Outdoors’ photo issue and has been featured commercially, online, and in several regional travel and tourism publications, including a national billboard campaign by the State of Montana Tourism Office in the summer of 2019. Inspired by early conservation photographers, League believes his ability to share the beauty of our last best places will inspire others to respect, protect, and enjoy them.
Favorite: Alesha Ayers (Precious Moments Photography)
Favorite: Misty Boles (Misty Boles Intimate Photography)
Best Physical Therapist
Winner: John Harrington (Harrington Physical Therapy)
2525 Colonial Dr. Suite B
John Harrington is the owner of Harrington Physical Therapy in Helena. He received his master’s in physical therapy from Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. Upon returning to Helena, he worked at St. Peters Hospital and then opened up Manger-Harrington Physical Therapy in 1997 along with Mike Manger. Currently, he is the sole owner of Harrington Physical Therapy. He specializes in orthopedic and sports physical therapy, foot and ankle rehabilitation, foot orthotic evaluation and intervention, golf and shoulder rehabilitation, mechanical diagnosis and treatment of cervical and lumbar spine, and total joint replacement rehabilitation.
Favorite: Kailey Edgar (Optimal Sports)
Favorite: Lauren M. Pierce (Encompass Health / Home Health)
Winner: We Stand with Dr. Thomas Weiner
Dr. Thomas Weiner is a medical oncology specialist. He received his medical degree from Hahnemann University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Weiner completed his residency in internal medicine at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pennsylvania, where he was chief medical resident. He went onto complete his Fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. He previously worked for St. Peter’s Health for nearly 25 years in their Cancer Treatment Center.
Favorite: Dr. Earl Book (St. Peter’s Health)
Favorite: Dr. Jenifer Dodge (St. Peter’s Health)
Winner: Luke Campbell (Shedhorn Plumbing)
1410 Orange St.
Locally owned and operated, Shedhorn Plumbing offers full-service plumbing and heating sales, service, and repair on residential and commercial projects. As part of the Shedhorn team, Luke Campbell strives to go above and beyond for his customers. As one online reviewer wrote, “Luke did a great job. It looks so clean, neat and accessible! It’s obvious he takes pride in his work. He thinks out of the box and is efficient and knowledgeable. He arrived on time and even called to say he was on his way.”
Favorite: Matt Losey (City Plumbing & Heating)
Favorite: Kyle Hedden (Montana City Plumbing and Heating)
Winner: Sassion Beckman (EXIT Realty)
849 Great Northern Blvd.
Sassion Beckman is a Montana native and new Realtor to the Helena area at EXIT Realty. She fell in love with real estate after obtaining a degree in accounting from Montana State University Billings. She has been harnessing her skills with real estate training from some of Helena’s top Realtors. Beckman enjoys working with and educating first time home buyers as she helps them land their dream home. She credits her patience and negotiating and analytical skills with helping get her clients the best listing and selling price.
Favorite: Tobie McDonnell (NorthStar Real Estate)
Favorite: Kacie Damon (Uncommon Ground)
Winner: Sean Kelly (On Broadway)
106 E. Broadway
Sean Kelly is one of On Broadway’s most experienced servers and has been working there since 2001. Kelly loves his job and it really shows in his attitude, work ethic, and customer service. What he loves most about On Broadway is the consistency over the years – the kind, loyal customers and the hard-working staff. His customers love his attention to detail, his authenticity, and his million-dollar smile.
(On Broadway was also the winner in the Best Appetizer, Best Place to Enjoy a Cocktail, Best Place to Get Dinner, Best Restaurant, Best Waitstaff, Best Date Night Location, Best Bartender, and Best Chef categories).
Favorite: Shayna (Shellies Country Café)
Favorite: Samantha Reiter (Brewhouse)
Winner: John Michelotti (Helena Orthopaedic Clinic)
Dr. John Michelotti earned his medical degree from the University of Washington in Seattle and completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at their affiliated hospitals. Afterward, he was selected for advanced fellowship training in sports medicine at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colorado, where he worked with the Denver Broncos, the Colorado Rockies, and the United States ski team. Michelotti brings his love of sports to his practice of sports medicine. He thrives on the care of athletes of all ages. He is the team physician for Carroll College, the Helena Brewers and the local high schools. He also is a team physician for the United States ski team. Dr. Michelotti is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Sports Medicine.
Favorite: Dr. Erik Bergquist (Helena Orthopaedic)
Favorite: Dr. Kerry Hale (St. Peter’s Health)