Cathy Costakis



Cathy grew up in Chicago and other than riding her bike around the neighborhood had little contact with nature and the outdoors. After graduating from the University of Illinois in finance she pursued a 12 year career in the private sector, working for IBM and large financial institutions. In her mid-30s she had an early mid-life crisis and quit her job to pursue her goal of visiting as many national parks as she could in the course of six months. During that trip she visited Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks and fell in love with Montana. She moved to Bozeman in 1991 and after attaining a master’s degree from Montana State University, pursued a career in public health. She now works for MSU and is a Senior Consultant to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services’ Nutrition and Physical Activity program (NAPA). NAPA is a statewide obesity prevention program, funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the past 13 years Cathy has worked on statewide initiatives focused on the connection between public health and community design. In partnership with statewide advisors and mentor counties, Cathy developed the Montana Building Active Communities Initiative (BACI) and works statewide to provide technical assistance and training to cities and towns working to build better places for walking, bicycling and transit. The BACI project also works to increase access to healthy local food through farmers markets, community gardens and healthy food retail.