Michael “Mick” Blodnick, longtime president and CEO of Glacier Bancorp, was honored with the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce’s Great Chief Award on Nov. 16 during the organization’s annual banquet and auction.
Blodnick, who retired in 2016 after nearly 40 years with the bank, is the 47th person to receive the chamber’s annual award, which recognizes those who have given back to the local community throughout their careers.
When Blodnick, an Anaconda native, arrived as a teller at Glacier Bank in 1978 — then called First Federal Savings and Loan — it was a much smaller operation. As Blodnick rose through the ranks, the bank continued to grow, acquiring other community banks in seven states across the region. Glacier Bancorp is the holding company of Glacier Bank and a number of other banks.
In the 1990s, Blodnick told current Glacier Bank President Bob Nystuen that he dreamed of Glacier Bancorp someday becoming a $2 billion bank. Today, the company has assets in excess of $12 billion.
But Blodnick’s reach has gone far beyond the banking world. Blodnick has served on boards for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, the University of Montana’s Grizzly Athletic Association, the University of Montana’s School of Business Advisory Board, the Flathead Valley Community College Foundation and, more recently, was the co-chair on the board that oversaw the $14 million expansion of Kalispell Regional Healthcare’s Emergency Room Department.
In his letter nominating Blodnick, Nystuen said the former Glacier Bancorp CEO has never liked to hog the spotlight and has always tried to pass on credit to his colleagues. Despite that aversion to the spotlight, Nystuen said every Glacier Bancorp employee appreciated his hard work.
“Every employee knew how hard he worked for us and for our shareholders,” he wrote. “He always remained true to himself; always approachable and available. No one can look you in the eye and make you feel like you have their complete attention like Mick does.”
In additional chamber awards, Debbi and Dave Waldenberg were named businesspeople of their year, and Clint Ekern was named chamber member of the year. The Waldenbergs own Central Heating, Plumbing, Cooling and Electrical and have been involved with a number of local nonprofits over the years. Ekern owns SkyVault, a local videography and marketing company.