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GFDA Top 11 for June 30, 2015

Here's the GFDA Top 11 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.
1) Talus Apartment Homes held its grand opening celebration. Congratulations to The Farran Group and all involved in this important development.
2) The Cascade County Commission finalized its sale of the west bank riverfront redevelopment site to local developers West Bank LLC. Congratulations to County officials for working over the past 10 years to make this possible and to the great development team that has exciting plans for mixed use development of the site.
3) We published the Great Falls Labor Demand Certification that tallies survey results of 60 leading employers across most industries and business sizes. I encourage all employers to download a copy and study its findings. The Great Falls Tribune ran two lengthy stories about the report at
4) Worked with three small business clients on strategic planning to assess potential business purchases and expansion.
5) Senator Tester is hosting a Small Business Opportunity Workshop on July 17, 8:00 AM, at the University of Montana's University Center Theater in Missoula. RSVP at
6) Forward Great Falls private investors have re-elected to 3 year terms on the GFDA Board current Directors Amy Beames of Benefis Health System, Jason Kiser of The Living Room, Ron Nelson of Church, Harris, Johnson, and Williams, P.C., and Nate Weisenburger of AE2S. Newly elected to the Board for 3 year terms are Errol Rice of Transystems LLC and Randy Williams of Stockman Bank. At our annual meeting, Board Chair Spencer Woith of Woith Engineering thanked Julie Duffy of Stockman Bank for her service on the GFDA Board.
7) At its annual meeting, the High Plains Financial Board re-elected to 3 year terms current Directors Amanda Boutilier of JCCS, Robert Carette of Marina Cay Resort, and Erin Townsend of Wells Fargo. Newly elected to the Board for 2 year terms were Mary Jaraczeski of Ugrin, Alexander, Zadick, and Higgins, P.C., Ryan Smith of Nelson Architects, and Rich West of Dowl HKM. The Board elected Robert Carette as Chair, Erin Townsend as Vice Chair, Wendy McKamey as Treasurer, Amanda Boutilier as Secretary, Ryan Fritz as Assistant Treasurer, and Todd Hanson as Assistant Secretary for FY 2016.
8) As we close our our fiscal year, we shared several statistics at yesterday's annual meetings. In FY 2015 we closed $4,087,000 in loans and approved $939,000 in loans that will close in FY 2016. We put 3 AgriTech Park lots totaling 35 acres under agreement to sell to two global companies that plan to start construction this year on over 125,000 square feet of facilities. We won $656,000 in state and federal grants to leverage our local Forward Great Falls investor dollars in implementing our strategic plan. We secured a $150,000 state grant to support Calumet Montana Refining's expansion. We secured 3 Targeted Brownfield Assessments from the EPA for proposed downtown redevelopment projects. We travelled to 12 states and provinces to pitch the Great Falls region, visiting some multiple times. Private investors increased their support of the Forward Great Falls effort by 7%, setting another record.
9) In FY 2016, we launched several new efforts including the Great Falls Regional Manufacturing Partnership, our rural Entrepreneurial Spirit Tour, the first Downtown Investment Showcase, and the Great Falls Visitor Center partnership. High Plains Financial earned its permanent CDC status from SBA and GFDA was certified as a New Markets Tax Credit CDE.
10) A number of the projects we've worked long and hard on achieved milestones including the Great Falls AgriTech Park, East End Retail Center, Talus Apartment Homes and West Bank Redevelopment. A sampling of client achievements include the Great Falls Homebuilders Association launched the new relocation web site, Easter Seals Goodwill opened its renovated facility at 4400 Central Avenue, the Bullhook Community Health Center opened, the Darkhorse Wine Snug and Darkhorse Hall opened, and The Front Brewing Company and Might Mo Brewing started canning beer!
11) The International Economic Development Council announced at our annual meeting that GFDA has earned reaccreditation as an Accredited Economic Development Organization, one of only 45 economic development organizations in North America to achieve this peer-review recognition.
THANK YOU to our Forward Great Falls Investors, partners, volunteers and staff for making FY 2015 a great year for Great Falls! FY 2016 will be even better!
Happy Independence Day and Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


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