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GFDA Top 15 July 27, 2014

Here's the GFDA Top 15 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward! 


1) BE Aerospace (new owners of EMTEQ) has increased employment to 130 in Great Falls and has 31 new job openings. The company plans to grow the Great Falls operation into a stand-alone business unit and has relocated a Vice President and General Manager to oversee the facility. Job openings are listed at

2) Bullhook Community Health Center opened its new facility in Havre. GFDA is proud to have supported this important project with a bridge loan.

3) Worked with the buyer and seller of an area business on the terms of the business purchase. Found a structure agreeable to both parties that will also aid in the company's future growth. Worked with an expanding business to identify resources that will help develop an action plan to sustain growth. Started work with a new agri-processing prospect.

4) The Great Falls Job Service topped 900 job openings this week for the first time. 122 new jobs were posted since last Sunday. has 268 Great Falls job openings.

5) Bill Johnstone, D.A. Davidson Companies CEO, described details of the Main Street Montana Project and encouraged local business leaders to get involved at our Forward Great Falls GFDA Investors annual meeting. We presented plans for our new fiscal year that started July 1st, including: 1) keeping the positive momentum going by sustaining our current efforts that are helping to produce new deal announcements and getting announced projects into construction; 2) launching our new Great Falls Regional Manufacturing Partnership; 3) launching a new digital marketing effort to pitch Great Falls; and, producing a new Untamed event celebrating entrepreneurship. If we raise more investor support, we also plan to expand our workforce development and recruitment efforts.

6) In the first six months of 2014, Great Falls metro area employers have added 1,262 jobs, an annual growth rate of 6.4%. The labor force grew by 1,035, an annual growth rate of 5.0%. By comparison, from 1990-1999, the metro area added 399 jobs, an annual growth rate of 0.13%; from 1980-1999 employment decreased by 70. From 1990-1999 the labor force grew by 425, an annual growth rate of 0.13%; from 1980-1999 the labor force shrunk by 479.

7) GFDA's Board elected officers for FY 2015: Chair, Spencer Woith of Woith Engineering; Vice Chair, Ted Lewis of First Interstate Bank; Treasurer, Jeff Millhollin of Pacific Steel & Recycling; and, Secretary, Allan Frankl of Dick Anderson Construction.

8) Elected to the Executive Committee, in addition to the officers, are: Immediate Past Chair, Bob Butcher of US Bank; AgriTech Park Chair, Dexter Busby of Calumet Montana Refining; Finance Chair, Deb Evans of Embark Federal Credit Union; Business Strategy Chair, Jerry Hood of Edward Jones; Business Development Chair, Kreg Jones of D.A. Davidson Companies; Loan Chair, Jason Kiser of The Living Room; Public Policy Chair, Glenn Lambert of Cascade Farmers Mutual Insurance; Investment Chair, Ron Nelson of Church, Harris, Johnson, and Williams, PC; City Commission, Bill Bronson; and, County Commission, Joe Briggs.

9) Signed an agreement to renew our Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) for another year to continue to assist businesses throughout the region to compete for government contracts. Thank you to Big Sky EDA of Billings for managing the statewide PTAC program!

10) Published our Quarterly Index for 2nd Quarter 2014.

11) There's still time to register for the Mid-Year Economic Outlook "Manufacturing a Greater Montana" being presented in Great Falls on Thursday, August 7th at 7:00 AM by the Montana Chamber and the University of Montana Bureau of Business & Economic Research. Register here.

12) Don't forget the Main Street Montana Project Great Falls regional meeting on August 19th 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Register at

13) Our next CEO Forum will be held August 13, 2:00-4:00 PM at the University of Great Falls Student Center in the Absolon Lounge. The Forum will feature Courtney McKee of Headframe Spirits who will talk about Creating Evangelists for your business. Email Rebecca Engum at

14) Montana State University is establishing a new Pulse Crop Regional Lab to diagnose insects, diseases and weeds in pulse crops.

15) Texas-based global oil and gas giant Anadarko Petroleum has permitted two wells in the Great Falls trade area near Sunburst.


Congratulations to Benefis on being awarded the 2014 Community Value Leadership Award, ranking as one of the Top 100 hospitals in the country for producing community value!


I would like to thank Gene Thayer and Steve L'Heureux who stepped down this month from GFDA's Board after years of service and leadership to the Forward Great Falls effort, including serving as Board Chairs!


Enjoy the Montana State Fair and Untame your entrepreneurial spirit! 



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