Steve Shope is a Technical Assistance Provider (TAP) for the Midwest Assistance Program. A fourth generation (born) Montanan, he grew up with strong ties to the cultures, people and land of the State and understands the issues faced by many rural Montana communities today. As a TAP, he will be able to draw on his upbringing and experience to help address these issues. His professional life began with a graduate degree focusing on environmental microbiology with an emphasis on public health. This degree took him directly into a tenure as a laboratory processes designer and manager focusing on the commercial production of an environmental bacterium and into the position of environmental health specialist. From that point on, Steve has experienced many aspects of public and environmental health both as a regulatory official and as a design professional, including: state licensed facility permitting, wastewater treatment system review, inspection and design, and teaching nationally accredited classes in foodborne (water) illness prevention.