Friends of Park County Welcomes Randy Carpenter as its First Executive Director

He brings more than two decades of experience helping Montanans to meet the challenge of growth and development

Personnel decisions are supposed to be confidential, but this supporter update is going to violate that rule by quoting from Randy Carpenter’s application to become the first Executive Director of Friends of Park County:

“I firmly believe that managing growth in a way that builds strong communities while protecting the spectacular, wholly unique, and precious natural assets we have been endowed with is the challenge of our time in Park County.”


 . . .managing growth in a way that builds strong communities while protecting the . . . precious natural assets we have been endowed with is the challenge of our time in Park County.


He chose to do that working for nonprofit organizations – instead of cashing in as highly paid consultant for real estate development interests specializing in high-end rural sprawl.

In 2001 after the Sonoran Institute opened an office in Bozeman, he co-created and co-managed the Institute’s Community Builders initiative, which helped communities make decisions about how they grow. The initiative provided trainings and technical assistance to elected officials and planning boards throughout the Northern Rockies.

In 2015 he joined long-time Livingston resident Dennis Glick at Future West, which was created to help communities and citizens in the Northern Rockies communities understand the trends affecting their economy and growth and create a vision and action plans for the future.  At Future West he worked with local partners in Gardiner in development of a community plan that helped residents better understand the challenges they are facing – especially housing – and layed out several options for meeting their growth challenges.

At Future West he also worked on a housing assessment and Regional Housing Coalition in partnership with the Bozeman Area Community Foundation and the Gallatin Ahead project, which brought community residents together to advocate for smart planning for the Gallatin Valley.

His experience with the occasional successes and many failures and lost opportunities in stopping sprawl in Gallatin County will be invaluable to his work in Park County. According to Randy, “the most important lesson I’ve learned in planning is that community-based conservation is the most effective approach because it brings better ideas to the table and because it produces the most accepted – and therefore enduring – outcomes.”

Most recently he was the Executive Director of the Headwaters Community Housing Trust in Bozeman, which reflects his continuing interest in finding ways of keeping housing affordable in the face of rising demand created by Montana’s development boom.

Carpenter couldn’t have picked a better – or perhaps more challenging – time to start work for FPC.   He has already plunged into the organizing work of educating Park County residents to the importance of keeping the County Growth Policy instead of repealing it.

Even before starting work as Executive Director, he led an educational tour to Gallatin County to view an example of a successful resident-initiated rural conservation zoning district (photo at right.)

The Friends of Park County Board of Directors is delighted that they finally have permanent staff to help them.

“Friends of Park County, in fact everyone in Park County, is extremely lucky to be able to have Randy’s help in tackling the complex and contentious issue of managing development.” Ken Cochrane, Board President, Friends of Park County.