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GFDA Top 21 9-22-13

1) Health Care Service Corporation announced that it will open a 100-150 person operations center in Great Falls! The center will occupy part of the old Blue Cross Blue Shield building on 10th Avenue South. Renovations will start soon with the center opening in early spring 2014.
2) Great Falls College MSU won a fantastic federal grant that will boost career-focused training and education at two year colleges statewide! The grant will help insure high wage manufacturers have the skilled workers they need to fuel growth. The Montana University System's Board of Regents this week also approved acceptance of an EDA grant for the College's welding program. We still have to fill a critical funding gap in the College's rapid expansion of welding and associated skills. Congratulations to the entire Great Falls College and community Team!!
3) Pacific Steel & Recycling cut the ribbon on its beautiful new headquarters in downtown Great Falls! Congratulations to Pacific Steel, L'Heureux Page Werner, Dick Anderson Construction and others for this very cool renovation!
4) Worked with the Montana Board of Investments, the City of Great Falls and ADF on important development aspects of the ADF Great Falls project. ADF is making tremendous progress and plans to commission the new plant before the end of the year. ADF already has 50 people on payroll and working at the site!
5) The Great Falls Metro Area unemployment rate dropped to 4.5% in August, hitting our lowest rate since April, 2009. Now that we're getting unemployment back under control, we need to continue to work on growth and higher wage jobs.
6) We closed the second loan from our new Enterprise Fund, an $85,000 loan to Hook's Hideaway to complete expansion of their new hotel and RV Park in Babb. If you need a place to stay or grab a meal in Babb next season, stop by and say hello to entrepreneur Bill Powell!
7) GFDA's Loan Committee approved a $500,000 loan to help a local business expand their manufacturing operations with a new facility downtown. Our financing is in partnership with Stockman Bank.
8) Exhibited and networked at the Montana Economic Development Summit in Butte hosted by Senator Baucus. Over a dozen Great Falls business leaders were presenters at the Summit and many GFDA investors participated in this great event.
9) Rebecca Engum, our Small Business Development Center Director, spoke on an export panel at the Summit. If you've been considering export as a strategic move for your business and couldn't make it to Butte, contact Rebecca at or 1-406-771-9032.
10) We signed up to exhibit at next year's Oil Sands Trade Show & Conference in Ft. McMurray, Alberta, September 9-10, 2014. Next year we'd like to invite interested GFDA investors to join us for networking at the Show and a follow-on trade mission in Alberta. More info to follow.
11) Worked with a growing Great Falls business to develop a plan of attack based on their Strategic Organizational Assessment; connected the company with a resource partner to begin strategic planning.
12) Assisted a local business to resolve payment issues on a government contract. Researched options for a business in the region looking at contracting opportunities with the US Forest Service. Discussed the advantages of SBA 504 financing with a hotel developer considering projects in several Montana communities.
13) Held a Targeted Brownfields Assessment kick-off meeting for the Great Falls Medical Building on Central Avenue downtown.
14) Provided Thought Patterns for High Performance training for some growing businesses that want to enhance their team leadership. Attendees left with tools to continually improve their performance by unlocking their full potential. The next session will be offered in 2014, but we can deliver this powerful program at any time just for your team. Contact Rebecca Engum at or 1-406-771-9032.
15) We've been working with the downtown Rocky Mountain Building development team to get this important historic renovation project into construction. If your company is interested in leasing unique energy-efficient office or retail space next year, let us know and we'll put you in touch with the developers.
16) We're helping to present a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Self-Certification Workshop in Great Falls on October 9th from 8:30-11:30 AM at Great Falls College MSU. Attendees will receive hands-on assistance with SBA certification and leave with their WOSB status. Cost is only $35. Registration is required by October 1st. Contact Rebecca Engum at or 1-406-771-9032.
17) Rural Dynamics is hosting its Mobilizing Rural Communities conference in Great Falls on September 25-26 at Best Western Heritage Inn. The conference focuses on improving the economic opportunities of rural families. Info at
18) The City of Great Falls is wrapping up its Long Range Transportation Plan and invites GFDA investors for a dialog with consultant Jeff Key this Tuesday, September 24th, 4:00 PM at GFDA. Please RSVP to Jolene Bach at or 1-406-750-4481.
19) The Montana Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation is holding important meetings about updating the State Water Plan for the Upper Missouri Basin: in Great Falls, September 30th, 6:00 PM at Mountain West Bank, 12 Third Street NW in the downstairs conference room; and, in Conrad on October 1st, 6:00 PM at Pondera Golf and Country Club. Contact Ann Schwend, 1-406-444-1806, or Kathleen Williams, 1-406-570-1917 for more info.
20) Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen is holding an informational session in Great Falls about the Affordable Care Act for business owners and managers on October 1st, 6:00 PM at Benefis Hospital in the Cameron Room.
21) Upcoming Start-Up Spark! sessions we offer weekly for new entrepreneurs will be held at noon at GFDA on Wednesday September 25th, Thursday October 3rd, Monday October 7th and Tuesday October 15th.

Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


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300 Central Ave. Suite 406
Great Falls, MT 59401
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PO Box 949
Great Falls, MT 59403