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GFDA Top 22 2/2/14

Here's the GFDA Top 22 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward!

1) Great Falls metro area employers created 733 new jobs from December 2012 to 2013 according to data released this week by the MT Department of Labor.
2) Blue Cross Blue Shield Montana began hiring the first of its projected 150 employees for its new Great Falls processing center that will open this spring.
3) Monsanto announced its bringing a non-GMO wheat research support center to Great Falls to test new wheat varieties in the Golden Triangle.
4) GFDA's Loan Committee approved a $3 million bridge loan to The Farran Group for development of the 216 unit Talus apartment complex in Great Falls. GFDA will participate out $2 million of the loan to two of our Montana community development lending partners. Our bank partner in the project is Stockman Bank.
5) The City of Great Falls, Montana Department of Transportation and Recreational Trails, Inc. are partnering to invest a half million in two key improvements to the Great Falls River Trail system, adding a connector trail from 10th Avenue South to Warden Park and upgrading the trail in West Bank Park.
6) The University of Great Falls has grown 59% in the last 5 years. This year UGF has brought students from 16 countries to study in Great Falls.
7) Food and retail sales at GTF increased 73% in the first month after the opening of the airport terminal expansion.
8) We exhibited this week at the Northern Pulse Growers Association annual conference in Minot and networked with agri-processing companies. Had the opportunity to discuss potential projects with existing primary sector companies already in our market as well as to discuss new projects with companies that are looking at Great Falls as a potential location for future expansion.
9) Continued discussion on potential restaurant/retail projects with two separate site selectors from the northwest region of the U.S. Discussed potential financing with a regional food manufacturer. 
10) Worked with a client on a proposed multi-location business purchase, finalizing market analysis and cash flow projections to complete a financing package that will soon go out to banks. Held a cash flow work session with an entrepreneur looking to expand operations in preparation for seeking bank financing. Worked with a client to determine whether their business has the capacity to succeed in government contracting.
11) We are honored and excited that Embark Credit Union is sponsoring The Fire Within this year, celebrating and inspiring woman entrepreneurship. Mark your calendars for the 2014 The Fire Within Celebration on March 27th!
12) Great Falls metro area (Cascade County) manufacturing earnings grew 7% from 2010 to 2012.
13) To continue to grow our manufacturing industries, EDA has awarded a $200,000 Manufacturing Partnership grant to GFDA. This will enable us to create a new manufacturing business development position to work on business start-ups, expansions and attraction. It will also enable us to retain an agri-processing industry consultant to help us package proposals to targeted companies to build new facilities in the Great Falls trade area. The effort will include continued work with Great Falls College MSU to create technical training and education opportunities for high wage manufacturing jobs. Thank you to GFDA investors! Your investment provided the match that made the grant possible. We'll post the new position soon, but if you know of a dynamic, creative, self-motivated, positive-thinking individual, especially with agricultural production, manufacturing, business and/or international travel experience who would make a great addition to the GFDA Team, please send them my way: or 1-406-750-2119.
14) EDA has selected our AgriTech Park infrastructure grant application for the next level of review. This doesn't guarantee us an award, but we made the first cut. Thank you to TD&H Engineering for their excellent work on this and all aspects of the AgriTech Park!
15) The U.S. Treasury this week re-certified GFDA as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) for another 3 years.
16) We published the GFDA Index for the 4th Quarter of 2013 and an updated GF Growth Highlights. Feel free to use these in your marketing efforts if you think they will help. We're always happy to customize Great Falls factoids to help GFDA Investors in their business development. Just contact Jolene Bach at or 1-406-750-4481.
17) The median home sales price in Cascade County grew 7.2% from 2008-2012 according to the University of Montana's Bureau of Business & Economic Research. The BBER projects that non farm earnings in Cascade County grew 2.0% in 2013 and will grow 2.4% in 2014. The 2014 projection does not include hiring plans announced by ADF, Blue Cross Blue Shield, EMTEQ and others so this number will likely end up being higher.
18) We spoke at a Great Falls Public Schools budget meeting about the importance of investment in dual credit, technical and entrepreneurship programs, and the direct tie between world-class education and our competitiveness to attract entrepreneurs and corporate investment.
19) Participated on the accreditation team of the International Economic Development Council on a site visit in Denver. GFDA was the first economic development organization in the Rocky Mountain West to earn accreditation and this has proven to be very valuable in connecting us with the highest-performing economic development groups around.
20) Northwestern Energy is seeking to fund cost-effective carbon offset projects in Montana. Applications are due by February 28th. For more info, visit
21) We surpassed the 75% goal milestone this week in GFDA's Forward Great Falls investment campaign! Thank you GFDA Investors for your support! If your company is ready to join the top Great Falls businesses and organizations who are investing in the future of our City and entire trade area, contact Jolene Bach at 1-406-750-4481 or
22) Gave a presentation to the First Interstate Bank Board of Directors. This was a great opportunity to share strategies, results and opportunities for our market. If you are interested in scheduling a presentation for your company, club or organization, contact Jolene Bach at or 1-406-750-4481.
Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


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Great Falls, MT 59401
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Great Falls, MT 59403