About Us

Our Team

The experienced and professional team of Sweetwater Ranches is ready and able to help you find the perfect place for your investment and personal needs. That is why when you decide to work with Sweetwater Ranches, you will have the opportunity to work with all of us. We work together on all inquiries. We are dedicated to finding properties that have agricultural production coupled with superior recreational amenities such as fishing and hunting.  The public and traditional private equity markets can be volatile, and now may be a good time to consider diversifying your portfolio into western real estate. Conservation properties are key to sustaining wildlife, good land stewardship, and habitat restoration and enhancement. Conservation as a whole is becoming a bigger focus within our ever-changing world. Now is a great time to find a piece of property that befits your needs for this generation and for generations to come. Please feel free to contact us. Let our local knowledge and real estate expertise go to work for you.

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce was born and raised in Maine where hunting and fishing and a love for the outdoors was instilled in him early on. He attended Dartmouth College and spent summers guiding fly fishermen in Alaska. Ben helped his family buy and manage several large ranches in Montana starting in 1985. Ben has a master’s degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Washington and completed the Stanford Executive Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. After a brief tour in commercial banking and investment management he settled into a 25-year career in leadership positions with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the Northern Rockies.

As a Director with TNC in both Montana and Wyoming, Ben’s specialty was completing large, creative conservation real estate transactions and he successfully completed hundreds of land deals and conservation projects. Ben also led a nationwide conservation buyer program for TNC where he matched important properties with caring buyers. Ben knows the geography and the unique biological niches and landscapes of the Northern Rockies where he has traversed the terrain by Cessna aircraft and car for the past 30 years.

Ben has a deep passion for helping interested investors find unique properties that match their goals, acquire them at the right price, and then enhance their value. Most recently, Ben has helped the presidents of two large asset management firms acquire and improve unique ranches in Montana.

Ben can be reached at the following:
406-579-1090 (Cell)

Bob Kiesling

Pursuit of higher education and better jobs lured Bob’s parents out of his hometown of Havre, Montana to Bozeman, Great Falls, Billings then back to Havre. While the family was in Billings, Bob spent a year in New Zealand as an American Field Service exchange student. He then went on to the University of Chicago for a B.S. degree, following that with an M.S. in Environmental Sciences at the University of Montana. Since the early 1990’s he has been adjunct faculty at the U. of Montana, teaching a course in Conservation Strategies to master’s students in Environmental Studies.

The arc of Bob’s career(s) began working on environmental and natural resource policy issues, then into creating nature sanctuaries and conserving natural areas as founding executive director of the Big Sky (Montana/Wyoming) office of The Nature Conservancy.

It is impossible to do such work without becoming a land junkie. To support the land habit after his work in the non-profit field, Bob continued his life-long fascination with conservation by co-founding a for-profit real estate brokerage specializing in conservation quality land transactions. A few years later in the early 1990s he established another private company that provided real estate brokerage and conservation consulting services, with the northern Rockies and plains as the geographic epicenter of the business.

With a working lifetime spent addressing land and water conservation, Bob has the experience, the human networks, and the savvy to guide clients in the search for land. He regards the partnership with Dan Vermillion, Ben Pierce and Robert Keith as the apex of a long career arc in land transactions. With many skill sets in common and many others providing complimentary, this close cadre of friends constitutes a business alloy whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Bob can be reached at the following:
406-459-4036 (Cell)

Dan Vermillion

Dan Vermillion was raised on the banks of the Yellowstone River in Montana. After spending years guiding some of the world’s most exotic and famed fisheries, Dan formed Sweetwater Travel with his brothers, Jeff and Pat Vermillion. Sweetwater Travel is based in Livingston Montana and owns and operates fishing camps in Alaska, the Bahamas, Brazil, British Columbia, Montana, and Mongolia. Sweetwater’s camps have established the standard for high level of service in remote, wilderness settings.

Dan has lived in Montana most of his life and has spent his free time hunting and fishing the west. Whether searching for a ranch with ample aquatic resources, a ranch with high quality hunting, or a ranch that offers high quality recreational values near Montana’s urban centers, Dan and his partners at Sweetwater Ranches can use their local knowledge and their real estate expertise to help you find a ranch whose economic and recreational values withstand the test of time.

Dan has served on Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Commission since 2007. He is presently the Chairman of Montana’s Fish and Wildlife Commission. As a commissioner, Dan has developed an in-depth knowledge of Montana’s fish and wildlife resources as well as the licensing requirements which govern a non-resident’s ability to hunt and fish on their property. This regulatory expertise is critical for the recreational buyer seeking to hunt and fish on their new property.  Dan also serves on the national Trout Unlimited board as well as the board of the Montana Land Reliance.

Along with his law degree and legal experience which included drafting of conservation easements and complex transactional documents, Dan’s combination of skills allows him to provide quality advice to buyers searching for the perfect mix of quality recreational resources, long-term sustainability of recreational resources, and opportunity for real estate appreciation.

Dan can be reached at the following:
406-223-0066 (Cell)

Robert Keith

Robert is the Founder and Managing Principal of the Beartooth Group (www.beartoothgroup.com). Beartooth operates three inter-related business lines designed to connect ranch buyers with one-of-a-kind properties: (1) discrete buyer-side ranch brokerage for discriminating clients, (2) large restoration project management, and (3) management of a series of investment vehicles generating financial returns for investors through the restoration and protection of ecologically important ranch and farmland in the American West. The firm is based in Bozeman, Montana.

Prior to Beartooth, Robert served as the investment partner at Greenbridges, a firm investing in agricultural and ranch properties throughout the West. Before Greenbridges, Robert was at Trident Capital in Palo Alto, California, a private equity and venture capital firm focused on the information technology industry. Robert previously worked at Morgan Stanley in New York City. He grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Cody, Wyoming. He received his BA in Economics from Yale University and earned his MBA and certificate of Public Management from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Robert is a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and is President of the Yale Club of Montana.

Robert can be reached at the following:
406-581-2513 (Cell)

General Info: Info@sweetwaterranches.com

Dan Vermillion (406) 223-0066
Ben Pierce (406) 579-1090
Bob Kiesling: 406-459-4036
Robert Keith:  (406) 581-2513