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Top 12 for the week of June 8th

1) Enjoyed the honor of joining Mayor Mike Winters and City Manager Greg Doyon as Great Falls received the Montana Small Business Community of the Year award and the Bennett family received the Montana Family Owned Business of the Year award at the SBA annual ceremony.
2) Travelled to DC with one of our large industrial prospects and had very positive meetings with EPA and the Department of Energy.
3) Our High Plains Financial Board approved a $1,193,000 SBA 504 loan to help finance, in partnership with Mountain West Bank, local entrepreneurs to purchase and renovate an existing Great Falls business.
4) Prepared a proposal for another large industrial prospect and made plans to travel to Quebec this coming week to visit the company. Worked with a developer on a potential Great Falls commercial development. A franchise owner decided to go ahead with its 3rd Great Falls location on the west side of town.
5) Held a pre-bid meeting with 9 contractors bidding on construction of the sewer line that will serve the first lots in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. The City has scheduled a public hearing on our annexation, zoning and subdivision application before the Planning & Zoning Advisory Board on Tuesday, June 26th at 3:00 PM at the Civic Center. We need your support at the hearing! If you support growing the Great Falls economy, building our industrial base and creating high wage jobs, come to the hearing and testify!
6) We're averaging 4 new leads or prospects a week which is great, but not enough. This week we worked on plans to launch a new agri-processing lead generation campaign this summer using Economic Development Marketing out of California. The campaign will focus on California, mid-west and Canadian agri-processing companies. We also made plans to network with companies at the Institute of Food Technologists annual trade show later this month, and the Oil Sands Show in Ft. McMurray and the International Council of Shopping Centers Western Division conference in September.
7) Signed up our first high-growth business client to beta test one of our new business strategy tools, the Five-Point Dashboard. The Dashboard monitors 5 key risk mitigating areas of operations for high growth companies and is supported by monthly coaching focused on achieving specific growth milestones. If you want to learn more about our new high-growth strategy tools, contact Rebecca Engum at REngum@GFDevelopment.org
8) Budget Travel magazine named Great Falls as one of America's "stunning riverfront towns," confirming what we already know -- we have a great product to sell! This week we wrapped up the written creative positioning for the Great Falls brand effort and will start right away on the graphic creative work.
9) At times, economic development in Great Falls has reminded me of Prometheus struggling to roll a boulder up a steep hill, but lately the hill has begun to flatten out. "Team Great Falls" is working well together and our combined efforts are producing results! Policom, an economics firm that issues an annual ranking of the economic strength of all 366 US metro areas, documented our progress in its just released 2012 rankings. I believe their ranking to be one of the best indications of metro area economies because they include 24 measures, 10 looking at job growth and quality, 10 looking at small business, construction and retail, and 4 negative measures looking at dependence on welfare and Medicaid. The Great Falls metro area climbed 50 positions in the last year. We have climbed every year since 2006, from 308th in 2006 to 123rd in 2012, tying for 4th most improved metro area in the last 6 years. Now, even in these days of "everyone gets a trophy just for showing up," no one gets an award fro 123rd place -- we're not going to stop until we're at the top -- but let's take a moment to celebrate everyone's hard work to climb so high so fast!
10) Sent out invitations to the annual meetings of GFDA and High Plains Financial, Wednesday, June 20th, 10:00 AM, at the Great Falls Clinic Specialty Center conference room.
11) Hosted our monthly Development Coffee. These happen the first Thursday of each month, 7:00 AM, at the Tap House Grill downtown. The Coffees are an open conversation amongst public and private GFDA investors and partners regarding real estate and economic development projects and processes. Next coffee will be Thursday, July 5th. Hope you can join us.
12) One of our team members was out of state this week beginning training to become certified as an Economic Development Finance Professional. Two of us participated in the statewide Small Business Development Center Network strategic planning meeting, though I raised a ruckus because the proposed 3 year strategic plan set 80% goals. Can you imagine prospering in business over the next 3 years striving for 80%? We urged them to set 110% goals.
 
Congratulations on the summer start of the Farmers Market and Alive at 5 downtown!
 
Congratulations to the Great Falls Symphony for attracting talented new musicians to our City!
 
I was over at Centene Stadium buying Voyagers tickets and was excited to see the progress on the stadium landscaping and expansion of the Great Falls Veterans Memorial.

 

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