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October 5 2014 Top 20

Here's the GFDA Top 20 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward!
1) Presented to 8 Site Selection Consultants in downtown Chicago with a team from the Governor's Office of Economic Development, Big Sky Economic Development and the Missoula Economic Partnership. This was an excellent opportunity to educate and showcase opportunities and recent highlights in Great Falls, as well as to continue to strengthen our site selector relationships and demonstrate Montana as a serious economic development player that works as a team!
2) Closed a $235,000 SBA 504 loan to AgFertilizers to finance the company's new facility on Manchester Road in partnership with Valley Bank of Ennis. Contact Jennifer Rogers to find out how you can finance commercial real estate purchases or new construction and machinery/equipment purchase with fixed low interest rates and very low equity requirements, 1-406-350-1204.
3) Lincoln Properties paid off our loan used to help finance the successful redevelopment of the historic Montana Building, creating the Lofts @503. This was the first downtown revitalization loan we made. Congratulations to Lincoln Properties and to project lead lender Stockman Bank!
4) Great Falls College MSU will receive $637,940 to expand healthcare industry training and education, part of the $15 million grant awarded to Montana two-year colleges by the U.S. Department of Labor.
5) Worked with an out-of-state consulting firm that is working on the feasibility of an agri-processing expansion in Great Falls.
6) Launched the next phase of our Manufacturing Partnership with team member Rebecca Engum starting her new position as Director of the effort. Rebecca will be working on manufacturer expansions, start-ups and attraction. Our expanded efforts will enable us to focus more on market research and developing business cases customized to targeted companies that demonstrate why the Great Falls region is the most competitive location for the companies' investment.
7) Manufacturing employment in the Great Falls metro area grew 14.9% from July 2013 to July 2014, according to Moody's Analytics.
8) October 15th is the next gathering of the Great Falls Area Food Manufacturers Network. This group has a mission to engage regional food manufacturers to effectively share resources, experience, ideas and solutions. For more details on how any Food Manufacturer can join this group, please get in touch with Rebecca at
9) Rob Cook, a native Montanan who grew up in Conrad and former Managing Partner of Intercontinental Truck Body of Conrad, has accepted the position of Manufacturing Business Specialist - Central Montana with the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center out of MSU's College of Engineering. Rob graduated with honors from MSU in 1988 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Prior to working with Intercontinental Truck Body, Rob worked for Texas Instruments, Boeing Defense and Peterbuilt Motors where he holds 10 patents. Rob brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in business growth, new product development, supply chain management, Department of Defense contracting and value-added agriculture. Rob begins work on October 13th and will work closely with GFDA and the MT Department of Commerce to help manufacturers grow and become more efficient and profitable. Welcome Rob!
10) The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center's Compete Smart conference happens this week on October 9-10. There's still time to register for this high value conference geared toward keeping manufacturers at the top of their game. Register NOW at
11) Visited with an aspiring entrepreneur regarding how to determine the feasibility of a concept. The entrepreneur attended one of our Spark! sessions. If you have an amazing idea for a business, join a Spark! open office hour session, noon at GFDA, 4th floor of the downtown US Bank building, 300 Central Avenue on Tuesday October 14th, Wednesday October 22nd or Thursday November 6th.
12) Calling architects and professional designers! We're moving into the design phase of the Great Falls Visitor Center Makeover Project and need lead designer(s). Click here for additional information. Contact Jolene Bach if you're interested in helping with this exciting project, 1-406-750-4481 or
13) We won a $6,000 grant from the MT Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to help us plan for expansion of our successful Brownfields redevelopment program.
14) GFDA's Board decided to commission a Labor Demand survey study to help identify the hardest to fill positions and skills/expertise needed in the Great Falls labor market. The study will help us plan recruitment and workforce development efforts. We're looking for $5,000 in sponsorships in order to undertake the project. Contact me if you'd like to help make this happen. We can add customized questions to drill down into specific job areas your company would like more detail about.
15) We're seeking input from past GFDA Board Members. Join us this Thursday October 9th. Past Board Chairs are getting together this Wednesday October 8th. Contact me or Jolene Bach for info, 750-4481 or
16) Register here for the MT State Procurement Bureau 2014 Vendor Workshop, October 30th, 9:00 AM - Noon at the Great Falls Clinic.
17) Mark you calendar to attend the TBID's Events Facility consultant briefing on October 17th, 9:00 AM at the Holiday Inn.
18) Moody's Analytics forecasts that the Great Falls metro area will continue and strengthen growth with banner years in 2015 and 2016. Gross Metro Product is forecast to grow 5.1% in 2015 and 5.3% in 2016. Personal Income is projected to grow 4.7% in 2015 and 4.5% in 2016. Employment is forecast to grow 2.4% in 2015 and 2.2% in 2016.
19) Thinking about buying a house? Moody's forecast Great Falls home prices will continue to increase by 3.4% in 2015 and 3.5% in 2016.
20) Personal Income in Montana grew 1.8% in the 2nd quarter, ranking 10th among U.S. states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Congratulations to the downtown Business Improvement District and Great Falls Public Schools welding students for the growing number of creative, great-looking bike racks downtown!
A shout-out to the Governor's Office of Economic Development, Billing's Big Sky Economic Development and the Missoula Economic Partnership for partnering on business attraction efforts!
A shout-out to team member Rebecca Engum who transitioned from being our Small Business Development Center Director this week. In the 8 years that Rebecca has led our efforts to support existing businesses and new entrepreneurs, Rebecca worked with 532 clients, helping them secure $15,856,421 in capital investment. She delivered 129 trainings with 1,476 participants. Her client satisfaction rate was always above 95%, ending this year at an amazing 100%!
Have a great week and Untame your entrepreneurial spirit! 


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