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Gianforte Announces Spirit of Montana Recipient: Jim Markel and Perry Jones of Billings

July 20, 2018
Press Release

Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte recognized Jim Markel and Perry Jones, owners of Red Oxx Mfg. Inc. in Billings, with his Spirit of Montana commendation for their service to our country, entrepreneurship, and dedication to their community.

Gianforte’s Spirit of Montana is a weekly recognition of Montanans for their accomplishments, dedication, or service. Gianforte highlights the recipient in the U.S. House of Representatives and personally contacts the honorees.

Gianforte encourages anyone to nominate Montanans for the Spirit of Montana award by contacting his office at 202-225-3211 or by e-mail at

Gianforte’s statement in the Congressional Record about Markel and Jones is available HERE and follows:



Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor two Montana veterans and entrepreneurs committed to creating good-paying Montana jobs and revitalizing their community.

Jim Markel and Perry Jones own Red Oxx Mfg. Inc., a producer and retailer of durable travel bags. Their award-winning products are handcrafted in Montana, have nationwide recognition, and account for over $2.5 million in annual company sales.

The U.S. Small Business Administration named Red Oxx Montana’s Veteran-Owned Business of the Year in 2016. CEO Markel served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and company president Jones in the U.S. Navy. 

The Red Oxx factory and retail store are in a commercial and industrial area east of Billings’ vibrant downtown. Looking to reenergize the neighborhood instead of relocating the business as it grew, Markel served on an advisory board of the Billings Industrial Revitalization District. 

Improvements guided by the district are attracting new businesses, renewing the area, and creating greater opportunity and more jobs.

This spring, Markel and Jones broke ground on a project that will transform about half a city block into a large outdoor event center, turning broken asphalt and recycled metal into an open, green space with ornamental fencing, sculptures, and park benches.

The event center will host community activities, feature performances, and be available for local nonprofit organizations to hold benefit events. Several years in the making, the event center will play a critical role in further rejuvenating the neighborhood.

Mr. Speaker, for their service to our country, entrepreneurship, and dedication to their community, I recognize Jim Markel and Perry Jones for their spirit of Montana.