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Top 15 for 6-23-2013


1) We closed on the sale of the first lot in the Great Falls AgriTech Park! Pacific Steel & Recycling purchased the 57-acre lot 1 in the Park to expand their operations in Great Falls. As part of the transaction, we made a $14,466 donation to Recreational Trails, Inc. to support ongoing maintenance of the River's Edge Trail system.
2) Met with one of our leads from last week's Gas & Oil Show in Calgary who visited Great Falls this week. Worked with a Canadian industrial manufacturing firm looking at possible US expansion and worked with a site selector with a warehouse prospect.
3) GFDA's Loan Committee approved a $855,000 bridge loan and a $128,000 brownfield clean-up loan for the Arvon Block historic redevelopment project in downtown Great Falls.
4) GFDA's Loan Committee also approved a $1,111,000 loan for a business acquisition and renovation in Great Falls.
5) Delivered Thought Patterns for High Performance, a 2-day leadership training course, for 8 growth-focused business leaders. This unique training will be offered again in the fall. Contact Rebecca Engum at or 771-9032.
6) Assisted a local contracting supply business with certification issues to enable the company to accept a federal contract award. Met with two aspiring entrepreneurs to discuss services and financing products available to support their ventures.
7) The Great Falls Metro Area unemployment rate dropped to 4.6% in May, our lowest month since the spring of 2009. Before we get too excited, that still means we have 1,836 people to put to work!
8) Norstra Energy, a Texas-based oil exploration company, released estimates of its South Sun River Bakken project west of Great Falls in Lewis & Clark County. The report indicates reserves of between 9.5 and 16.7 million barrels of oil per section across 19 sections.
9) GFDA's Board held a second strategic planning session to develop our priorities for the next two years.
10) We participated in the City's kick-off to update the Long Range Transportation Plan. We encourage you to get involved in this process, starting with two surveys at
11) GFDA investor votes are in and counted. Congratulations to new GFDA Directors Amy Beames of Benefis Healthcare System, Julie Duffy of Stockman Bank, Jason Kiser of The Living Room, Paul Leach of Loenbro, Jeff Millhollin of Pacific Steel & Recycling, Ron Nelson of Church, Harris, Johnson & Williams, P.C., Len Watkins of Gusto Distributing and Nate Weisenburger of AE2S Engineering. Congratulations to re-elected Directors Bob Butcher of US Bank,  Kreg Jones of Davidson Companies, Glenn Lambert of Cascade Farmers Mutual Insurance, Gene Thayer of Montana Milling and Spencer Woith of Woith Engineering.
12) High Plains Financial members have elected two new Directors. Congratulations to Todd Hanson of Norsman Group and Mike Hawthorne of First Montana Bank.
13) We submitted a grant application to the U.S. Economic Development Administration's Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership, seeking funds to support our efforts to grow agri-processing, energy and entrepreneurial manufacturing operations in the Great Falls trade area in partnership with Great Falls College MSU.
14) We've scheduled a planning meeting for Great Falls area agri-processors, and GFDA investors and partners, to prepare for our exhibiting at the Institute of Food Technologists Expo in July. Help us identify types of manufacturing operations that would compliment your operations, new opportunities for our region or what we can do to strengthen your existing operations. The planning meeting will be July 1, 10:30 AM at GFDA. RSVP to Jolene Bach at or 771-9023.
15) Need help training your employees? The state is offering grants to train existing workers for companies with no more than 20 employees in one location and 50 employees statewide. Up to $2,000 per full time employee and $1,000 per part-time (minimum 20 hours a week). Contact Rebecca Engum, our Small Business Development Center Director, at or 771-9032.


Find that ballot you set aside, vote to support the school levy and drop your ballot off at the Expo Park on Tuesday! Great economies require great schools!


Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


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Great Falls, MT 59401
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Great Falls, MT 59403