Board of Directors
Big Sky Community Housing Trust’s board members believe in the need for a strong and active board to fully realize BSCHT’s purpose. The Board of Directors is composed of community leaders who use their time and skills to be objective decision makers and advocates for BSCHT.
Big Sky Community Housing Trust Leaders
David O’Connor | Executive Director
Executive Director David O’Connor has made his home in Big Sky for over three decades and has been at the helm of the Housing Trust since 2022. David works with the board of directors to set the agenda for the Housing Trust, spearheads new initiatives, maintains close relationships with funders, and manages the team. David advocates for housing equity locally, regionally, and statewide.
Throughout his time in Big Sky, David has gained a myriad of perspectives on what it’s like to live, work, raise a family, and operate a business in this growing community. From line employee to general manager to eventually becoming co-owner, David spent the majority of his career at Big Sky’s Buck’s T-4 Lodge. He’s been a tenant of employee housing, a housing provider, a renter, and a homeowner.
David’s career has also included service with a variety of local groups and nonprofits. The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce, Visit Big Sky, Yellowstone Country Montana, and the Montana Lodging & Hospitality Association are a few of the boards of directors on which he’s served.
David lives in Big Sky with his wife Jennifer and their three children.
Dave Brown, Yellowstone Club Vice President of Residential Services | BSCHT Board Chair
In July of 2019, Dave Brown moved to Big Sky with his wife Paige and their two sons, excited to start his new adventure as the Vice President of Residential Services for Yellowstone Club. After moving to Big Sky, Dave and his family quickly and completely fell in love.
Over the past year and a half, Dave’s department took over all Yellowstone Club employee housing to ensure options exist in the Big Sky area for all levels of Yellowstone Club employees. Each season, this work involves finding and securing over 500 beds. Although COVID compounded the task, it shed even more light on the need for appropriate housing for those who want to live in Big Sky. As a community member with 26 years of experience in business management, new construction building, asset management, and property management, Dave is fully committed to being a part of Big Sky Community Housing Trust.
Rick Simkins, Simkins Holdings, LCC – Town Center Project Coordinator | BSCHT Board Vice-Chair
As Project Coordinator, Simkins is responsible for development and follow-up on major initiatives, particularly those in the Big Sky Town Center area. Simkins graduated in 2015 from Cornell College with a BA in Economics. He has a passion for the issue of workforce housing and has a strong connection to the Big Sky community. His background allows him to represent different segments of the community: real estate developers, homeowners, and young professionals. In 2017, Simkins participated in the many work sessions building towards the comprehensive Housing Action Plan, which led to the recommendation of the creation of the Big Sky Community Housing Trust.
Stephen Brown, Managing Director in Global Wealth Management at UBS | BSCHT Board Treasurer
Stephen has spent almost 40 years in the financial services industry, 30 of which were devoted to providing comprehensive wealth management services to affluent families and the causes that are important to them. Most recently, he has led the efforts of a large global private bank to transform their leadership practices through executive education and individual coaching.
After falling in love with Big Sky on a visit in 2008, Steve and his wife, Lisa, have gone from frequent visitors to seasonal residents. They have two grown sons, the oldest now living here with his wife as they operate a local businesses. While Steve and Lisa continue to actively support a large homeless services organization and a Charter school in Boston, they are excited to be involved in Big Sky and believe that BSCHTs work to provide affordable housing locally is essential to the economic health and diversity of the community.
Mark Dean, Citi Community Capital Retired Managing Director and National Head of Production
Mark Dean is a retired Managing Director and former National Head of Production for Citi Community Capital, which specializes in affordable and workforce multi-family housing and providing construction and permanent financing in addition to LIHTC equity and investment banking services. At Citi Community Capital, Dean’s team averaged over 200 transactions totaling $5 to $6 billion in 30-35 states per year. Dean managed a production team of 32 bankers and worked as a member of the Executive Management Team.
With over 30 years of experience financing multi-family affordable and workforce housing projects, Dean has personally closed more than 300 multi-family housing financings, totaling more than $5 billion. He has served on the Board of Evergreen Impact Housing Fund, a subordinate debt lender for affordable housing in the Puget Sound Area where Dean also owns and operates three apartment complexes. Additionally, Dean personally developed The Fields at Warms Springs in Ketchum, Idaho, a 41-unit condominium project with 14 deed restricted units providing an affordable homeownership opportunity. He also developed The Timbers in Ketchum, a 32-unit market-rate condo project.
Kenny Holtz, Real Estate Developer
After a 10-year career at Yellowstone Club, Kenny Holtz and his family moved to California in 2016 but returned to Big Sky in 2020 to pursue real estate development opportunities. Previously, Holtz served the Big Sky community by serving on the BSOA Architectural Review Committee, Big Sky Advisory Committee to Gallatin County Planning and Zoning Commission, and Big Brothers Big Sisters Board of Directors.
Holtz has also actively been involved in establishing workforce housing. In 2015, he played a leadership role in the development of operational and business plans to transform the historic Gallatin Gateway Inn into a workforce housing solution with 115 beds. In 2016 on behalf of Randall Realty Group, Holtz sourced the Spruce Cone development, conceptualized the design, and developed the operating plans for the first new Big Sky-based employee housing solution in decades encompassing seven units, 28 rooms, and 56 beds.
Michelle Frederick, Vice President of Lodging at Big Sky Resort
Michelle joined the Big Sky Community Housing Trust board in January 2023. As Big Sky Resort’s Vice President of Lodging and as a local resident of nearly twenty years, Michelle brings with her a commitment to helping Big Sky continue to grow in a sustainable manner to ensure generations to come can enjoy the outdoor recreation offered here.
Raised in Minnesota in a skiing family, Michelle headed west after graduating from the University of St. Thomas in 2004. Almost immediately, Michelle fell in love with the mountains and began setting down roots. After nine years working in marketing and events roles at Moonlight Basin, Michelle joined the Big Sky Resort team in 2013. In her current role leading Big Sky Resort’s lodging operations, she has experienced firsthand the challenges of hiring a large seasonal workforce without adequate and affordable housing in the community. The Big Sky community is ever growing and has more development on the horizon. This growth will simply not be possible without direct attention to developing workforce housing.
Michelle lives in the meadow, where she loves playing in the outdoors with her husband Brian, two boys, and two dogs.
Mia Lennon, Big Sky Real Estate Co.
Shannon Sears, First Security Bank Branch President
As the Branch President of First Security Bank in Big Sky, Shannon has established strong relationships with the real estate and lending community. She is highly educated on development projects in Gallatin and Madison County and played an integral role in the transactions for Meadowview Condos and the Good Deeds Program. Shannon currently serves on the Big Sky Chamber Board of Directors, and she thoroughly enjoyed her contribution to the creation and success of Leadership Big Sky.
As a participant in the Rent Local program, Shannon utilized her relationships with the Housing Trust to purchase her home in 2022, and she is highly committed to giving back to the community through enhancing affordable housing solutions.
Lindsey Putnam, Yellowstone Club Community Foundation Administrative Coordinator
Lindsey moved to Big Sky in 2010 to enjoy a winter season and decided to make it her home. Equipped with a Community Health degree from Montana State University and an extensive history in childcare, Lindsey aspires to create a brighter path for the children and families of Big Sky. As the Administrative Coordinator for the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation, she plays a role in advancing the Foundation’s endeavors through supporting donor relations, community partnerships and scholarships, and Foundation programming.
Brad Niva, Big Sky Chamber of Commerce CEO
With a degree from Western Washington University in public relations, Brad has kept his focus on the outdoor recreation industry throughout his career. With previous experiences in ski area marketing, outdoor retail, and, most recently, owning three tourism-based companies in Oregon, Brad brings many years of experience to Big Sky. Understanding the challenges of the tourism economy as well as the cash flow cycles in a resort community, are all too familiar. At the same time, Brad’s mantra of “being of service” and “getting things done” have been hallmarks of his career. In his leadership role at the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce and Visit Big Sky, Brad is focused on community engagement and facilitating meaningful problem-solving for the community as well as the businesses that make up the Big Sky economy. Brad’s favorite activity is working with business owners and supporting them and their businesses. “So often a business owner is alone and doesn’t have a resource just to talk things out. I hope in my role I can be a friend, an advocate, and a sounding board to our business community.” Brad lives in Big Sky with his wife, Babs, and their two teenage kids, Piper and Riley.
Cryder Bancroft, Lone Mountain Land Company Director
Cryder Bancroft serves as a Director at Lone Mountain Land Company, primarily focused on community housing development in Big Sky. Prior to joining Lone Mountain Land Company in April 2020, Cryder spent ten years working in commercial real estate investment and leasing in New York.
Cryder lives in Town Center with his wife and daughter and loves the year-round access to outdoor recreation that Big Sky has to offer. He is intimately familiar with the challenges of creating affordable housing in Big Sky and is passionate about identifying and executing on a variety of solutions.