Laura Orvidas spent 19 years helping build Amazon— the company that has forever revolutionized online retail—into a global tech giant. In 2018 she seized an opportunity to direct onX’s meteoric growth from Bozeman, Montana.
Laura started at Amazon as a Senior Financial Analyst in 1999, just four years out of college. By 2014, she had ascended to Vice President of Consumer Electronics —one of the largest product categories for the online retailer. In 2017 alone, her division brought in billions in sales.
At Amazon, Laura discovered she loved working on businesses poised to scale with significantly high growth. After nearly two decades directing several divisions, she arrived at a crossroad: deciding to stay at Amazon for the remainder of her career, or making the leap elsewhere. She’d long known she desired to be a CEO someday, working with a smaller company with a great product and great market fit.
onX Maps offered the best mix of career opportunity and quality of life for a seasoned executive looking to make an impact and find a better work/life balance.
In late 2017, in the midst of considering what might be next beyond Amazon, Laura was contacted by a recruiter. The role being pitched was CEO of onXmaps, Inc., based in Missoula and Bozeman, Montana. She wasn’t planning on moving immediately; she just wanted to see what was out there and what might be interesting. In the end, onX and Montana proved to be too good to turn down.
On personal level, Laura was ready to ditch the hour-long commute she’d been dealing with in the Seattle area. Her husband had grown up in the mountains of Montana and had wanted to return to Big Sky Country for years, and her kids were happy outdoors, exploring trails and learning about nature. For years, she’d been checking out Outside Magazine’s best places to live list, and daydreaming about living in a community where her family could spend more time outside together.
It didn’t take long to decide to take the top leadership role with a company fresh off a $20.3 million investment round led by Summit Partners.
Now it’s 15 minutes from her front door to the local ski area, Bridger Bowl. Instead of the stress of packing the kids up and driving them over an hour, she and her husband can sign the kids up for a morning ski lesson, take some fun laps, and get everyone home before they’re cranky.
Montana rolled out the welcome mat for the newest member of its growing tech community.
From day one in Bozeman, Laura has found the Montana tech community and leadership to be very welcoming. She’s found that she has access to key decision makers working to advance economic development in the state, and leadership at both the University of Montana and Montana State University has been incredibly helpful in shaping the programs that provide the workforce needed at onX and other fast-growing tech companies.
Bozeman isn’t just another great lifestyle town. Access to outdoor recreation and quality of life is shaping the onX brand, product development and company culture.
One of onX’s company values is passion. The company has built a team of people with who love what they do every day because their collective mission is to empower people to enjoy the outdoors and public lands. As a whole, onX employees are incredibly passionate about enabling customers’ outdoor pursuits and protecting public land access. It is this connection to outdoor recreation and access to open public lands translates to great customer service. The ability to get outside together makes onX a fun place to work, keeping the team excited and engaged.
A great product-market fit and a talented team are driving onXs’ growth from Montana; giving outdoor enthusiasts across the country the chance to increase their own exploration.
onXs’ ultimate goal is to empower outdoor enthusiasts to get out and do what they love. The brand is continuing to add more features to its core product and recently launched onX Offroad, focused on the needs of motorized enthusiasts. Moving forward, onX will continue to release advanced mapping and GIS apps that meet new recreation niches—creating new jobs in Montana’s rapidly-growing tech scene.