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Five Under 35: Kellie Pierce, Downtown Great Falls Association - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Five Under 35: Kellie Pierce, Downtown Great Falls Association

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Kellie Pierce, the director of operations for the Downtown Great Falls Association Kellie Pierce, the director of operations for the Downtown Great Falls Association
GREAT FALLS -

Four years ago, KRTV anchor Shannon Newth started the "Five Under 35" awards as a way to encourage the community through recognizing those whose attitudes and actions are helping Great Falls grow and improve. As journalists, we want to be part of facilitating change and finding solutions for community issues, one of those being attracting and retaining young professionals. 

More than 50 people submitted nominations this year. A committee narrowed the nominees down to the final five who not only are doing great things, but also have an infectious spirit and positive attitude about living and working in Great Falls.

Our first recipient this year was Nichole Griffith, the director of Victim-Witness Assistance Services (click here for article/video).

Our second recipient is Kellie Pierce, the director of operations for the Downtown Great Falls Association.

Downtown Great Falls has seen growth in recent years with new shops, restaurants, and living spaces. That growth excites 2017 "5 Under 35" award recipient Kellie Pierce.

"There's constantly something new popping up and we are really excited it's drawing a younger crowd and the night life is getting better with new restaurants opening, just different things to do," said Pierce, 34 years old.

Kellie was born and raised in Billings.  She spent time in Kalispell and graduated from Montana State University.  In 2009, she moved to Great Falls.

"Never thought I'd live in Great Falls, but here we are.  I absolutely love it and it feels like home," said Pierce.

The wife and mother of three boys got involved with the "Downtown Chicks" group. She credits the group with igniting her passion and getting her into the position she has today.

For the past two years Kellie has served as the director of operations for the Downtown Great Falls Association.

"Basically the marketing arm of downtown Great Falls, so we work to promote downtown as a destination for people to live, play, stay, eat, all of the above."

Kellie believes there's been a mentality for quite a while that there isn't anything to do downtown, which she argues simply isn't true. Her goal is to motivate that momentum and keep bringing new life to the oldest part of the city.

"Downtown is the heart of any community, so the more you can get your heart beating, the pulse of the community is going to thrive off of that. So if we can keep the positive energy going downtown, it's just going to spread throughout the community," said Pierce.

Kellie says although options can be limited in Great Falls, there is a lot of room for growth, including open spaces downtown. She believes people need to be willing to take ownership and get involved.

"Great Falls has the connotation of being an older community, that's not the case.  My age group, the 32 to 34's are basically the median age in Great Falls, so I think we have this connotation it's this older retired community and it's really not. So if we can get young professionals to come back and work and stay in Great Falls, it'll lend itself to more improvements."

ONLINE: Downtown Great Falls AssociationDowntown Chicks

We will unveil a new Five Under 35 recipient each night on the 10pm news through Thursday.

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