by staff writer, Dennis Gaub
Montana IT provider gives $5,000
to become a corporate member of Billings TrailNet
Corey Jensen’s Billings TrailNet epiphany occurred in 2000 when he and his wife moved to Billings.
“Our house backs up to the Big Ditch Trail,” said Jensen, chief executive officer of VisionNet, a Great Falls-based telecommunications provider.
“I didn’t know anything about (Billings TrailNet) funding. I was curious about this amazing trail, which was called BikeNet then.”
Jensen became involved in BikeNet and started to help raise money for what has become Montana’s premier trail network – and a network that has helped Billings consistently rank among the top cities in the nation for non-motorized trail systems.
Jensen joined committees to help organize and put on Ales to Trails, Billings TrailNet’s annual fund-raiser at the Billings Train Depot. (The September event went virtual last fall because of the pandemic.)
As time went on, Jensen and his wife started a family, and he continued to donate to the trail program. His enthusiasm spread within company ranks.
“All of our people take advantage of the trail. Throughout the 20-some years I’ve been associated with organization, we’ve done all kinds of different things, from fund raising to cleanup,” he said.
“I guarantee everybody uses them (the trails) in some form or fashion.”
Jensen started with VisionNet, founded in 1995, as a consultant. After five years in that role, he became a full-time employee. The company has offices in Great Falls, Billings, Helena and Missoula and employs about 60 people. It provides broadband and IT services throughout Montana.
Jensen envisions a bright future for the Billings trail system.
“They’re already working (to add a bike lane) down Zimmerman Trail, so someone on the West End can get up to Highway 3 and then on to the Heights.”
Jensen described Billings’ trail plan as “wonderful,” with its emphasis on connecting trail segments throughout the city to one another and thus adding to the synergy of the entire network.
“The new interchange in Heights (linking the Johnson Lane I-90 interchange to Wicks Lane with a new bridge over the Yellowstone River) will create an amazing opportunity to go from river to the airport, then to Zimmerman Trail and down to Rimrock (Road) – that’s powerful,” he said.
Replying to the question of why other Billings businesses should consider becoming Billings TrailNet sponsors, Jensen said, “The easy (answer) obviously is recruitment and quality of life for employees.
“In the IT space, human relations are very competitive. A lot of those people like to be outdoors. Billings TrailNet is very fulfilling. It helps us recruit top-notch talent to our company because Billings has a trail system.”