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Bill Simkins, of the Family Simkins

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By Taylor Anderson Big Sky Weekly Assistant Editor

When Bill Simkins was younger, he wanted to become an international businessman, and then a lawyer. So he did.

Simkins finished business school, then international business school and worked at Continental Illinois Bank in Holland (where his wife Erna is from). Then he returned to the states and started law school in Tacoma, Wash., where he graduated in 1982 and practiced law for 14 years before returning home to Montana.

Now, he’s part of one of the largest family landowners in Big Sky, and he’s the man with a single development plan for the area the family helped name, the Big Sky Town Center.

The family started developing that ranch—along with the nearly 500 acres of land known as the Uplands, in 1997, and soon put in houses, restaurants, retail and park space.

He, along with his brothers Tom and Mitch, and sister Janet, has a master plan that would fill the 165-acre meadow. The full plan sits today on a 4-foot by 3-foot poster that marks the future of the Town Center, equipped with full-service grocery store, hotel, more bars and entertainment, and neighborhoods.

The poster acts as a dream at current, as the 2001 and 2008 recessions threw wrenches in the development process. Most of the land already developed runs from the movie theater, Grizzly Outfitters, Big Sky Western bank, Choppers and Hungry Moose, and homes running south along Ousel Falls road.

The town is years away from seeing the plan completely developed, but Simkins is confident the economy is on the upswing, and the plan will soon return in full force.

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