We, Montana! was founded by Jack Pelham, who is its Executive Director and a Permanent Director on the Board. At present, Jack is the primary teacher for our courses. Jack and his wife, Kay, live in Laurel, MT, where Kay teaches about 40 piano students and and where they homeschool their 17-year-old son, James. Meanwhile, Jack does his best to balance a writing/podcasting career while also working primarily in Paintless Dent Repair as a subcontractor for Montana body shops as needed for automotive hail damage repair.
Jack studied music at The Florida State University, with a heavy emphasis in both choral and instrumental music education, as well as in voice, in which field he acquired a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association. His earlier musical experience included directing two Barbershop choruses and extensive work in church music, directing ensembles from 2 to 80 in size. He plays several instruments and has done a fair amount of arranging and composing as well–particularly for vocal ensembles. In the 1990s, Jack developed his own curriculum for teaching singing in a class setting of 10-12 students, which not only costs less than traditional voice lessons, but also offers each student valuable opportunities to learn from seeing his or her fellow students as they are being coached. (See his arts bio here.)
Jack is a high-output individual whose career has been varied, giving him a wide field of experience. By way of example, in his 55 years, he has worked as a law clerk, a salesman for Steinway Pianos, a private music teacher, and an entrepreneur in various web-related projects. He has designed and built over 30 websites and for various purposes. Among these are a website that sends alerts when it hails, and a mobile app for estimating Paintless Dent Repair (PDR). In the last 11 years, he has worked as a Paintless Dent Repair technician, which job brought him to Billings after the 2010 Father’s Day tornado and hail storm in The Heights. He and his family loved Montana so much that they asked their family back East to pack up their things and ship them to Billings! Since then, his PDR work has taken him all over Montana, working in body shops as a subcontractor, fixing hail damage on cars in such towns as Billings, Laurel, Columbus, Big Timber, Roundup, Butte, Shelby, Kalispell, Malta, Jordan, and Glendive. Meanwhile, in 2015/2016, Jack and a business partner conducted an 8-month comprehensive marketing analysis for a Laurel manufacturer with an innovative product.
Jack’s entrepreneurial work has been extensive, but he also has strong philosophical interests. Since 2012, Jack has made a study of cognitive science, having read over 25 books related particularly to the psychology of rational thinking. He is currently authoring a nonfiction book promoting honesty, rationality, and responsibility as a deliberate and sustainable way of life, and is the founder of the informal Society for Reality-Based Thinking, where he has published hundreds of educational/philosophical memes nearly every day on the Society’s Facebook page. He has also published a novel about American reform. More recently, Jack has begun a Bible-related podcast.
One of the persistent theme’s in Jack’s life has been, “Life is short; why not do something extraordinary while we are here?” And this is the spirit he brings to the We, Montana! project, where an underlying goal is to create many win/win opportunities to facilitate the quality of life for Montanans.
Jack Pelham can be reached through our contact page.