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GFDA Top 17 11/23/14

Here's the GFDA Top 17 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward!
1) ADF Group announced it has hired a recruiter to find 130 more employees for its Great Falls operations in the next 6-12 months!
2) The Great Falls metro area unemployment rate went down to 3.3% in October as employers added 235 jobs, according to data released this week by the MT. Dept. of Labor.
3) The proposed addition of 16 apartments to the beautiful cascade Ridge Senior Living facility received a boost as the Montana Board of Housing voted unanimously to award Low Income Housing Tax Credits to the project! The development is a partnership of Benefis Health Systems and Mountain Plains Equity Group.
4) Feeling smarter? Great Falls was ranked 36th out of all 380 metro areas in the U.S. in NewGeography's Smartest Cities in America ranking that measures the increase in residents with bachelor degrees 2000-2013. We ranked 2nd amongst the 11 other metro areas we benchmark against, behind Missoula that ranked 26th. We beat a number of big metro areas including Salt Lake City 185th, Minneapolis 45th, and Denver 37th.
5) We issued a $450,000 loan commitment to the Animal Foundation of Great Falls to help finance completion and opening of the Margaret J. Maclean Animal Welfare Center.
6) Zpizza opened its new Great Falls restaurant.
7) Northwestern Energy completed its purchase of hydroelectric dams from PPL. Welcome Northwestern Energy! Thank you to PPL for its many years of excellent stewardship and significant investment in our local dams, and support of the River's Edge Trail and many other river improvements!
8) Met with site selectors in Southern California to discuss a prospect they are working with that has marked Great Falls as first choice for siting a major manufacturing plant in 2016-2017.
9) The City Commission approved a Big Sky Trust Fund application for Calumet Montana Refining's expansion.
10) Hosted a meeting of the North Industrial Area Task Force to discuss development that has occurred in the area, the updated Great Falls Long Range Transportation Plan, and the 33rd Avenue, US 87 and Bootlegger Trail intersections.
11) Met with a BNSF team to finalize plans to construct the rail line next season to serve the first lots of the Great Falls AgriTech Park.
12) Exhibited and networked with agriculture processors, producers and industry resources at the Harvest Montana Conference in Great Falls, an event organized by the Montana Farmers Union to promote growth of the regional grain community. The event included the Harvest Montana Brewfest that featured over 40 Montana brewers.
13) Met with an area ag-processor poised for more growth in 2015 by expanding domestic distribution; discussed training grants and leveraging capital for additional equipment investments. Met with a property owner interested in developing property south of the city. Continued assisting three local entrepreneurs with their business planning to strengthen their financing proposals. Contact Jason Nitschke at for assistance beefing up or streamlining your financing package.
14) Networked with investment banks, bond investors, EB-5 centers, tax credit packagers, banks and foundations at the National Community Development Finance Summit organized by the Community Development Finance Association. Presented pitches to use our loan equity to leverage long-term loan capital to help us keep up with local gap and bridge financing needs.
15) Registered to exhibit and participate in the SelectUSA Investment Summit next March in DC. This is an international event organized by SelectUSA, part of the US Dept. of Commerce charged with attracting foreign companies to build new and expand existing operations in the US. Great Falls is proud to be a successful Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) location, having attracted operations from Canada, France, Japan and other countries.
16) Scheduled our next CEO Forum: Making the Transition featuring Tom and Katie Spika who will discuss the growth of their Lewistown fabrication business, December 11, 2-4 PM, University of Great Falls' Student Center in the Absolon Lounge. Our CEO Forums are free events presented by GFDA and our Small Business Development Center to showcase innovative efforts by peer CEOs across Montana.
17) HHS is holding an interactive online meeting this Tuesday, November 25, 2:00-3:00 PM for companies and organizations to learn more about SHOP and the health exchange markets open enrollment period. Here's your opportunity to get your questions answered by Kim Gillan, HHS Region VIII Director. Call in 1-877-931-0922 Passcode 6023644, web link
Congratulations and THANK YOU to Warren Wenz on his well-earned lifetime achievement award from the Montana Defense Alliance!
Congratulations to US Bank on winning the Chamber's quarterly business award!
Congratulations to the Sip N' Dip for making USA Today's TOP 10 Tiki Bar list!
Shout-outs to Ryan Fritz of Prairie Mountain Bank and Chad Simonson of First Interstate Bank for referring clients to us to help with financing!
Happy Thanksgiving!!!


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Great Falls, MT 59401
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