Michael Sanderson has worked for Sanderson Stewart, a company his father and partners founded, for 30 years. The company’s beautiful building, located in the Transtech Center off of Gabel Road, tastefully displays an impressive array of bicycle/pedestrian projects and other works, which the company has completed both in Billings, in Bozeman and throughout the northwest.
The Skyline Trail is one project being engineered by Sanderson Stewart, and depending on certifications and approvals coming from the feds, the landmark trail could be started as early as this summer.
Another exciting project coming from Sanderson Stewart is the feasibility study they conducted for the City of Billings on the “Fifth Avenue Corridor.” This bicycle/pedestrian route would begin at North 32nd St. and traverse downtown Billings all the way to MetraPark.
Says Michael, “this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to develop a great non-motorized corridor through the heart of our urban center. We have the chance to create a transportation corridor that is also a destination in itself; our own version of the Riverwalk. A Railwalk, how cool would that be?”
In 2019, Michael added another job to his already busy life, serving as an adjunct professor of Transportation Engineering at MSU. Now as both President/CEO of Sanderson Stewart and Transportation Engineering instructor in his Bozeman classroom, Michael amazingly, manages to continue running daily and being a loving father and husband to his family.
Michael was involved at MSU on the College of Engineering Advisory Board for many years prior to his relatively new job as an instructor, and enjoys meeting engineering students as they enter the prerequisite class he teaches. In fact, Sanderson Stewart has hired six students from MSU who have come through his class, with several more on the way. “It helps me know who I want to keep an eye on, because qualified transportation engineers are hard to come by.”
Why is it so hard to recruit engineers, especially to Billings?
“Billings is not seen as a Bozeman or Fort Collins- famous for outstanding recreation,” he says. Those towns are famous for extensive trails right out their back door, where the mountains are close to town, and people can access rock climbing, ice climbing and groomed Nordic ski trails right from town.
“But Billings has a lot going for us,” Michael says, “and we need to do a good job of showcasing it. We need to invest in our curb appeal. We need to invest in ourselves and decide this is a priority.”
This is why Sanderson Stewart is a corporate member of Billings TrailNet, and has invested many thousands of dollars and time into helping the vision for Billings as an outstanding recreational town come to fruition.
“Groups like Billings TrailNet and YRPA have made our vision move forward faster,” he observes.
Billings TrailNet and Sanderson Stewart will be hosting a bike ride in late summer 2022, where members will be invited to enjoy refreshments at their beautiful building which happens to be right on the trail next to the BBWA Canal.