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GFDA Top 21 3/5/14

Here's the GFDA Top 21 for last week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward!
1) Diversified Screening of Great Falls signed a purchase agreement for Lot 3 of the Great Falls AgriTech Park. The company will provide toll processing, upgrading and packaging lines for agricultural and other commodities at the 10.6 acre site.
2) We secured approval from SBA to close a 504 loan for Bullfrog Spa's new store in Great Falls. Thank you to all who helped us convince SBA that the environmental clean-up was done well, especially Joe Murphy of Big Sky Civil & Environmental and William Bergum of MT DEQ!
3) Networked with 34 leading site selection consultants at the Site Selectors Guild annual conference in Denver.
4) Networked and exhibited at the International Council of Shopping Centers' Mountain States Idea Exchange with developers, commercial brokers and site selectors, and met with others in the Salt Lake area. This has proven to be a very effective event for us to showcase the Great Falls region and provide an update on Great Falls economic growth and development opportunities.
5) The Montana Air National Guard received the first of its C-130 planes, marking the start of what we believe will be a long-term mission for the Great Falls-based unit.
6) The Montana Farmers Union announced it has purchased and plans to redevelop the Times Square Building in downtown Great Falls.
7) Great Falls College MSU was awarded $414,031 in state incentive funds, the second most of any two year college in the state. The 2013 Montana Legislature created the fund to reward state campuses that graduate more students and reduce dropouts.
8) We facilitated another amazing session of Thought Patterns for High Performance. This premier 2-day event helps participating business leaders to uncover habits that hold them back, eliminate negative and unproductive behavior and provides tools to stop sabotaging success. We will be offering Thought Patterns again on June 18-19. Connect with Rebecca Engum for additional details at or 1-406-771-9032. Register now at GFDA is the only economic development organization in Montana to offer this exclusive training and seats are limited to the first 12 registrants.
9) Presented Great Falls successes on a national EPA Brownfields webinar.
10) Posted our new Manufacturing Partnership Director position. If you know of someone who you think would make a great addition to our GFDA team and help grow and diversify manufacturing industries throughout the Golden Triangle, please let them know about the opening.
11) GFDA's Team unanimously adopted a Commitment to Client & Partner Service to mark our commitment to providing excellent professional service to, and communication with, our clients and partners.
12) Start-up Spark!, an open office hour session where you can get all your questions answered about starting a new business and get a free Business Start-up Kit, will be offered at GFDA's SBDC Training Center in the downtown US Bank Building, 300 Central Avenue, Suite 406, at 12 Noon on March 6th, March 10th, March 21st and March 26th. If you are in the beginning stages of entrepreneurship or just want to connect with our team, join us for one of these fun sessions!
13) We're once again offering low interest loan participations to expanding businesses statewide, but the funds are very limited. Contact Tamariel Christopher at or 1-406-771-9026.
14) Great Falls College MSU is offering a Welding Supervisor Course next week, starting March 10th. The College has scheduled a number of Canadian Welding Bureau classes for the summer and fall. Call 1-406-771-5139 for more info.
15) Senator Tester is hosting a Manufacturing Small Business Opportunity Workshop this Friday, March 7, in Helena. Connect with other manufacturers, national manufacturing leaders, MT Manufacturing Extension Center, MT Export Assistance Center, Montana Tech's Materials Testing Lab, and, of course GFDA! RSVP to
16) Did you know GFDA can help reduce your equity to as low as 10% and lock in 20 year low interest rates on up to 40% of your real estate and long-term equipment needs? Contact Jeremiah Johnson to learn more about SBA 504 loans, or 1-406-750-3285. We're in the business of helping make your projects happen!
17) The Montana Artrepreneurship Program is looking for artists who want to improve their business skills. Contact Cindy Kittredge of the Montana Arts Council for more info: or 1-406-468-4078. An application form is available at
18) Save the date: June 19th! We're working with the Great Falls Realtors and other partners on a Great Falls Workforce Housing Summit. Details to be announced soon. Contact Jolene Bach to get involved at or 1-406-750-4481.
19) The Montana Equal Pay Summit will be held at MSU Bozeman on March 31-April 1. Free registration at
20) Montana continues to rank well in the annual Achieving the American Dream survey conducted by Xavier University and the Strengthening Brand America Project. In the 2013 survey, published last week, Montana ranked 5th overall, 5th in economic conditions, 1st in well being and 2nd in healthy environment! We also made the top 3 in home ownership, job environment, freedom of expression, fruits of my labor, Entrepreneurial Spirit!, social status, satisfaction with residence, and optimism. Get a free copy of the report at
21) Montana also ranked well in a New York Times analysis of how the states rank in recovering from the Great Recession, based on jobs, home prices and highway miles driven. Montana ranked 9th overall with 0.4% more jobs than at the start of the recession, home prices 2.0% higher, and highway miles driven 2.7% higher. It's no surprise that neighboring North Dakota ranked 1st overall and 1st in all three categories.
Congratulations to the University of Great Falls and the 22 companies and organizations that participated in an internship fair hosted by UGF. Let's keep these great future leaders in Great Falls!
Rebecca has a shout out thanks to Erin Townsend of Wells Fargo Bank for the referral of a potential business purchase in our region! 
Tamariel says thank you to Ryan Fritz of Prairie Mountain Bank for SBA 504 loan referrals!
Have a great week and Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


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Great Falls, MT 59401
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Great Falls, MT 59403