Headwaters Economics is an independent, nonprofit research group that works to improve community development and land management decisions. We inform community decision-making and identify practical solutions by making complex data understandable, beautiful, and interactive, helping develop solutions to some of the most urgent and important issues that communities face.
Based in Bozeman and Helena, Montana, Headwaters Economics receives funding from a wide variety of sources as part of our mission to improve community development and land management decisions. Our revenue comes from numerous places, including contracts with federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service; charitable foundations; and contract work for partner organizations.
Where we work
Headwaters Economics’ tools and data are used by federal and state agencies, local governments, nonprofits, and charitable foundations. Our work spans the country, from rural counties to large metropolitan cities.
Our Products & Services
We inform community decision-making and identify practical solutions by making complex data understandable, beautiful, and interactive.
We synthesize our economic analyses in easy-to-read, beautifully laid out reports.
A new home built to wildfire-resistant codes can be constructed for roughly the same cost as a typical home.
Our tools provide customized reports of key demographic and economic indicators.
Download socioeconomic reports for states and counties near Bureau of Land Management units.
We create interactive dashboards and visualizations to tell a socioeconomic story.
Outdoor recreation and the economic impact of Whitefish Trail use in Whitefish, Montana.
Headwaters Economics’ team brings decades of expertise, a commitment to rigorous research, and a deep dedication to helping communities thrive in a changing world.
Patty Hernandez is co-founder and Executive Director of Headwaters Economics. Patty has 18 years of experience in researching economic development, building partnerships, and developing technology solutions to help communities plan and adapt to a changing world.
Kelly is Associate Director of Headwaters Economics. With more than a decade of experience in nonprofit leadership, she oversees operations and quality control, tracks national policies, coordinates communications, and manages programs to meet organizational goals.
Kimi is the wildfire research and policy analyst at Headwaters Economics. She works with communities on-the-ground to inform national wildfire policy, academic collaborations, and scientific outreach.
Dan oversees Headwaters Economics’ finances and contracts and contributes to research on community development, land management, and outdoor recreation. Environmental stewardship and livable communities have been common themes in his two decades of professional experience.
Janet supports the entire team at Headwaters Economics with experience in program management, public policy, grant writing, and editing.
Bill is Headwaters Economics’ lead software developer and programmer, helping design and build the team’s data tools and visualizations. He holds a M.S. in Biology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Doug manages Headwaters Economics’ Community Assistance for Wildfire program. With more than two decades of professional experience in fire departments and as a land use planner, Doug brings practical insights to communities working to reduce risks from wildfires.
Nate leads communications and media relations at Headwaters Economics. With more than two decades of experience in nonprofit, government, and corporate environments he is helping bring Headwaters’ research and expertise to those that need it most.
Megan leads Headwaters Economics’ research in outdoor recreation, economic development, and demographics. She has more than 20 years’ experience as a quantitative economist analyzing policies and trends for communities, governments, and nonprofit organizations.
Bridget leads flood mitigation technical assistance at Headwaters Economics’ FloodWise Community Assistance program. She is a professional engineer with more than 20 years of experience working with communities to provide permitting, design, planning, and construction services.
Brent leads Headwaters Economics’ web and media development, providing support with website management, photography, videography, and graphic design. He holds a B.S. in Technology Education from Montana State University.
Tara collects, updates, and helps analyze the data that feed all of Headwaters Economics’ online socioeconomic tools and products. An insightful data engineer, she knows that good stories can be found in data.
Kris is an applied researcher with a unique ability to understand the connections between public finance, natural resources, and economic development. As part of Headwaters Economics’ FloodWise Community Assistance team, Kris works with local governments and technical experts to help communities reduce flood risk.
Scott is the team’s lead GIS analyst, database manager, and data engineer. He coordinates and updates the data behind all Headwaters Economics’ tools and data visualizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Biology from Montana State University.