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Top Twenty One 2/2/15

Here's the GFDA Top 21 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward!
1) Closed loans totaling $158,469 from GFDA and HPF to finance a new sawmill operation in Babb. Bill Fenner and family plan to expand their long-time logging operations, and to start to process timber on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, creating 3 new primary sector jobs. We help finance rural businesses throughout the region. For more info, contact Jennifer Rogers at 1-406-350-1204 or
2) Secured a $150,000 Big Sky Trust Fund grant to support the creation of 20 new primary sector, high wage jobs at Calumet Montana Refining in Great Falls.
3) Worked with an early-stage startup on pricing, marketing and distribution concerns. Discussed brand identity and the integration required in all levels of operation. Visited with an established, growing manufacturing company to discuss opportunities and threats facing their business and industry. Worked with our Manufacturing Partnership partners to begin to pursue new resources to continue and expand our successful manufacturing growth and diversification efforts.
4) Attention Manufacturers! We have access to grants of up to $75,000 to help you address impacts from slowing global markets. If your export efforts are threatened, contact Rebecca Engum at 1-406-781-6832 or for more info.
5) Exhibited and networked with agricultural processing companies at the Northern Pulse Growers Association annual conference in Minot, ND.
6) Submitted a Growth Through Agriculture grant application to the MT Department of Agriculture to try to secure funds that would enable us to develop competitive business proposals in 4 additional agri-processing industry niches. We've already contracted for the first 3 using funds we won from EDA. Once completed, we will present the data to existing businesses, startup entrepreneurs, and out of state companies to convince them that it makes good business sense to start, expand or locate agri-processing operations in the Great Falls region and elsewhere in Montana. For too long, we've been shipping the majority of Montana's agricultural product out of state for processing, letting other states and countries benefit from manufacturing jobs and tax base. We're determined to change that by expanding and diversifying our existing world-class agri-processing industry!
7) Worked through first quarter marketing goals with a long-term coaching client; identified point of sale strategies to target sales of specific items. To find out how to better strategize to meet your sales goals or identify ways to sell more at your cash point, contact Jason Nitschke at or 1-406-750-0314.
8) Contracted with the Growth Services Group (GSG) to conduct a Labor Demand Certification Report that will involve an extensive survey of 100 high wage employers in the Great Falls metro area. GSG is a workforce intelligence research and consulting firm that helps communities address workforce needs of both existing and prospective businesses to promote investment within their region.
9) Attended the Talus Apartments VIP leasing day. These are going to be fantastic apartments and an incredible housing addition to our community! Reserve your new apartment at
10) Testified before the Montana Legislature in support of efforts to return the Cascade County two-year college mil levy back to Great Falls College MSU where it belongs, and where it's needed to enable the college to meet the needs of students and growing businesses. Since 1987, our local tax dollars have been diverted to the state general fund, rather than going directly to our local community college as supplemental funding to help the college address local needs, AS WE WERE PROMISED WHEN VOTERS APPROVED THIS LEVY! Cascade County taxpayers share this unfairness with taxpayers in Lewis & Clark, Missoula, Silver Bow and Yellowstone Counties.
11) The Great Falls STEAM Expo will be held on April 11th featuring student projects in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. If you're interested in being a judge, having a booth, or learning more, contact Luke at Shout out to the Junior League of Great Falls for making a strong commitment to STEAM for the next 5 years!
12) Participated in the local National Heritage Area workshop. This is a great opportunity to grow the Great Falls Tourism industry and support attraction of new residents and entrepreneurs. Stay tuned for an invitation to special meetings of economic and tourism industry boards to further discuss this. Kudos to the City Planning & Community Development Department and all involved in organizing this effort!
13) Published the GFDA Index for the 4th Quarter of 2014.
14) Participated in the International Economic Development Council's Leadership Summit and gave an Ignite presentation about Great Falls' recent successes.
15) Gave the local report at the annual Economic Outlook event in Great Falls. Here's a condensed version of the local report with photo slides removed to make it a smaller file.
16) At the Outlook event, the University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research forecasted that the Great Falls metro area would see an increase in non-farm earnings of 2.2% in 2015, 2.2% in 2016, 2.1% in 2017, and 2.1% in 2018, faster growth than the last 7 years.
17) The December unemployment rate in the Great Falls metro area was 3.7%. Employment set another monthly record. We set employment records every month in 2014!
18) Thought Patterns for High Performance is your opportunity to join growth-focused business leaders in a two-day live facilitated training where you will get the tools to eliminate negative and unproductive behaviors, uncover habits that hold you back, and stop sabotaging your success. Register now for the February 24-25 training in Great Falls by contacting Rebecca at or 1-406-771-9032. The $540 registration covers breakfast, lunch, all materials, expert facilitation, and a four week reinforcement program.
19) Downtown Great Falls racked up some pretty amazing numbers in 2014: 17 new downtown businesses, $5,056,509 in renovations, and 26,972 volunteer hours!!
20) Come on out this Friday evening, February 6th, to enjoy great food, drinks and art at the monthly Downtown Great Falls First Friday Art Walk. Watch the Great Falls Tribune for more details.
21) GFDA Forward Great Falls Investors and those interested in becoming investors are invited to our monthly Development Coffee this Friday, February 6th, 7:00 AM at the Great Falls Clinic Specialty Center conference room. Contact Jeremiah Johnson for more info at
Enjoy the game and Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


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Great Falls, MT 59401
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