MSUB Alumni selected as 2016 40 Under Forty

Krista Montague

BSBA Marketing 1999
MS Public Relations 2015

 athletics Director, MSU Billings


Krista Montague

Montana State University Billings has always played a big role in Krista Montague’s life. As a member of the 1998-99 Yellowjackets basketball team, Montague, (formerly Fjelstad) was part of a squad that advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight tournament. A four-year letter winner, she also was the team’s career leader in free throw percentage when she graduated.


Her husband, Brent, was also an MSUB basketball player. They met in the residence halls, just like her parents, Bob and Adele Fjelstad. Her grandfather, Bob Miller, also played basketball for Eastern Montana College, the predecessor of MSUB. “Even my great-grandfather went there. It’s been a good fit for our family,” she said.


Montague was named athletic director in 2013, and looks at the job as an opportunity to give back to an institution that has given her so much.


“I want to see other student-athletes have a positive experience like I did,” she said.

MSU Billings and Rocky Mountain College both recruited Montague, who played high school basketball in Hysham. “I knew I wanted to study business, and I just really fell in love with MSUB,” she said.


After graduating with a business degree, Montague went to work for Norwest Bank. She took a part-time job for DD Marketing, which contracted to sell corporate partnerships for the MSUB athletic department. That was a springboard to her career as AD.


What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job? Trying not to get trapped in either long-term dreaming or short-term vision. It is important to have a mix of both to succeed. Also, it can be tough to stick to your decisions under criticism. I always try to consider all options and am never afraid to sleep on it.


What’s the best business advice you have received? Always do the right thing and find your balance. Balance is different for everyone so respect that and ensure those working with you find their balance too.


Who gave you that advice? Sue Willey, athletic director at the University of Indianapolis.


Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: Having the confidence or knowledge to step up and help people in need. Being kind and treating all with respect.


The MSUB Athletic Department (coaches, staff, and student-athletes) takes pride in giving over 1,000 hours of service to the Billings community each academic year.


Outside of work, my biggest passion is: My kids: 14- and 12-year-old girls.


Which living person do you most admire? I have had many mentors and people I admired through my life. Most recently, I have learned of the details of my grandfather, Dale Fjelstad's, service and sacrifice serving in the Korean War. He enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of 17 and was part of a ground troop for 18 months. No doubt this shaped his life in many ways, and none of us could ever repay the debt owed to my grandfather and the thousands of other U.S. veterans.


Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? When I see an MSUB student have a positive or successful experience.


What do you consider your greatest achievement? To date, probably being selected as the first female AD at MSUB. I am proud because I was the right fit at the right time regardless of gender, and hope I set an example for other women out there trying to balance work, family, life. What is most important is that I am not the last qualified female to have an opportunity such as this.


I’m happiest when I’m… spending time with my family, especially at my childhood home on Sarpy Creek.


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Article & Photo credits: Billings Gazette


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