BOZEMAN, Mont. -

What things help and hurt the Bozeman economy? Since an economic summit in March, local business leaders have been collecting community members' answers to those questions and they say most people agree about Bozeman's greatest strength.

"I think quality of living was one of the number one things that brought a lot of us here, but we also come with ambitions and desire to grown and thrive," said Christophe Lambert, CEO of Golden Helix.

At another summit Thursday night, the group reconvened to talk about a five year economic plan.

Lambert's company, Golden Helix, is a genetic analytic software and services company, just one of many high tech businesses that are thriving in the local economy.

"We have industry sectors right now that I think people would be surprised about in the photogenics, in terms of very sophisticated laser measurements. We're growing a lot of depth in our economy in very specialized high tech industries," said Rob Gilmore, the Executive Director of the Northern Rocky Mountain Economic Development District.

But the average income for someone working in Gallatin County is just over $34,000 annually, and has dropped consistently since 2007. That leaves folks at the economic summit with questions on how to bounce back.

"The thing I'm looking for is what is the leverage point that's going to bring the biggest impact to the economy and often it's the smallest things that you have the vision and foresight to do. All the rest can be noise if you have the right levers in place," said Lambert.

"We're definitely beyond the lowest point. Surveys taken around the area would seem to indicate that by December of last year, most of the companies had turned a corner. We still have a ways to go, we're not back to where we were prior to the 2008 economic downturn, but overall I think that there's reason to be hopeful," Gilmore said.