Meet SWAE: A proud Gold Sponsor of our Columbia Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.
We may be new to this community, but this community is not new to us. We know the people, businesses, backroads, and hidden gems of the Valley thanks to the decades spent living and working in the community. That’s why we are beyond excited to be the newest addition to the Columbia Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and to have our offices here in the region that raised us.
SWAE is a skunkworks and exploration company focused on innovation in the automotive, apparel, and material science spaces. In pursuing our passion for innovation, we hope to inspire others to follow their dreams and seek out their own passions as well. With a motto of “lift all boats,” we work with companies and individuals to help them achieve their dreams and further their lives, careers, and interests.
We get asked a lot, “what is SWAE?” And typically, our answers lack the shine and polish you’d expect from a member of this chamber. The simple answer is that we are a brand that produces content, product, and projects for people to follow, buy, and experience – but we are also so much more. We are a skunkworks first and foremost, which means we dabble in cutting-edge technologies and innovations. But it also means that we retain the freedom to allow our varied interests to guide us in the projects we take on.
One day we may be working on custom supercars – The next, robotics and 3D printing. Last month we may have explored the capabilities of experimental fabrics in constructing the most water-resistant jacket possible. This month we are considering how to create a new kind of digital experience that can free people from the tethers of social media. Throughout it all, we seek out partners and followers that want to join us on the adventure of a lifetime.
SWAE was started in the Flathead Valley and is proud to have constructed our first research and development facility in Columbia Falls. Many of our members grew up here in the Valley, and as locals, we are excited to invest back into the community with the hope of creating opportunities for both people and industry. By establishing a strong community, diverse industry, and competitive workforce here at home, we hope to see the region continue to flourish.
In line with our mission to “lift all boats,” we believe that as the region grows and succeeds, so do we. The more businesses and industries that thrive here, the more partners we have to collaborate with and explore new opportunities. With that comes a more significant and more qualified labor force, which we hope to contribute to by attracting technical, skilled, and creative talent.
The truth, however, is that we will never be able to bring in enough outside talent to achieve all we hope to do and that imported resources are often not the most effective solution. It’s critical then that we invest in the people who already live here to help them achieve the skills and qualifications needed to have the workforce the community deserves. We need to invest locally to grow talent and opportunity in the Valley to ensure that our best and brightest can thrive here at home.
Already, we have plans to work with the local community colleges and high schools to identify students interested in web development, robotics, engineering, and mechanics to provide opportunities for them to learn alongside us. Likewise, we hope to partner with like-minded businesses to help them grow by exploring innovations within their own sectors. As SWAE continues to grow, we will continue to sow deeper roots in the community and encourage you all to reach out to us with any ideas on how we can work together.
We are still a young startup, but we are proud to share the projects we have in the works. We have completed several eye-catching vehicles you may have seen driving around the Valley, but the most noticeable is likely our three 14,000 square foot shops off of Highway 2 in Columbia Falls. We recently completed work on the first building, which will house the SWAE research and development facility, and we are near completion of the second. That building will be home to our partner company 12ozProphet Collective, a screen printing and brand consultancy studio capable of producing some of the highest quality apparel and printing in the United States.
While these facilities will typically be closed to the public, please feel free to reach out anytime, and we would be happy to give you a private tour as members of the Columbia Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. We are proud to be members of this community and hope to work with you on many projects and initiatives in the years to come.
Written By: SWAE