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GFDA Top 14 July 5 2015

Here's the GFDA Top 14 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.

1) The Great Falls Rescue Mission broke ground on the new Cameron Family Center. Congratulations to all involved in this important downtown project!
2) We opened the rail construction bids for the first phase of the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Congratulations to Shumaker Trucking and Excavating for winning the bid. As it turns out, all three low bidders for the first phase construction (road, water/sewer, and rail) are local Forward Great Falls Investors.
3) Received first drafts of Specialty Malting and Sprouted Grains business cases from our agri-processing industry consultant. These cases detail the competitive business advantages of locating niche agri-processing operations in the Great Falls trade area.
4) Participated in the Resource Fair for Asurion employees potentially displaced by the company's move to home-based representatives. Encouraged interested employees to consider entrepreneurship as a next career move.
5) Moody's has predicted that Great Falls existing home sale average price will increase 5.2% in 2015.
6) Moody's says the rental apartment vacancy rate in Great Falls is just over 2%, compared to 5.5% in Montana and 6.5% across the nation.  Great Falls' rate is considered to be full occupancy.
7) Moody's says office rental rates in Great Falls are just over 40% of the national average.
8) GFDA's Board elected officers for FY 2016: Chair, Spencer Woith of Woith Engineering; Vice Chair, Ted Lewis of First Interstate Bank; Treasurer, Nate Weisenburger of AE2S; and, Secretary, Allan Frankl of Dick Anderson Construction. Joining the officers on the Executive Committee are: Joe Briggs, Cascade County Commissioner; Bill Bronson, Great Falls City Commissioner; Dexter Busby of Calumet Montana Refining who will chair the AgriTech Park Task Force; Bob Butcher of US Bank who is Immediate Past Chair; Jerry Hood of Edward Jones; Mary Jaraczeski of Ugrin, Alexander, Zadick, and Higgins, P.C. who will serve as liaison to the High Plains Financial Board; Kreg Jones of D.A. Davidson Companies; Jason Kiser of The Living Room who will serve as Loan Committee Chair; Glenn Lambert of Cascade Farmers Mutual Insurance who will serve as Public Policy Committee Chair and liaison to the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Board; and, Ron Nelson of Church, Harris, Johnson, Williams, P.C. who will serve as Investment Committee Chair. Len Watkins of Gusto Distributing will serve as liaison to the Montana Defense Alliance.
9) Join us for the Forward Great Falls Investor monthly Development Coffee this Friday, July 10, 7:00 AM, hosted by First Interstate Bank at its 10th Avenue South location.
10) Entrepreneurs, developers, business managers, bankers and all interested in supporting small business development are invited to join us for the next stop of our real Entrepreneurial Spirit Tour on Thursday, July 16th, 10:00 AM at the Blackfeet Community College, Beaver Painted Lodge, in Browning. Contact Jason Nitschke for more information at or 1-406-750-0314.
11) Concerned about a level regulatory playing field for your small business? The SBA, Montana Chamber, Montana Manufacturing Extension Center, and GFDA are bringing a Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Roundtable to Great Falls on Thursday, July 23rd, 9:30 AM, in the Absolon Lounge at the University of Great Falls Student Center. Register by July 15 at
12) Lean Enterprise Certification will be offered by the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center starting August 21st in Bozeman. This is an intensive 80-hour, 10-week structured as one day per week. More details at
13) According to BuzzPro, Gallup recently polled residents from all 50 states asking if their state was the Worst Possible State to Live In. No surprise, Montana came in last with 0% of residents saying we are the worst state to live in. Conversely, when asked if their state was the Best or One of the Best Possible States to Live In, Montana ranked first with 77% of residents saying yes.
14) Think Montana is an expensive place to live? According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, overall prices in Montana in 2013 were only 94.4% of the national average. Goods were 98.7%, Rents 83.3% and Other 95.0%. Cheapest state was Mississippi at 86.8% of the national average. Hawaii was most expensive state, but the District of Columbia had highest prices at 117.7% of national average. Biggest price variable was rents with Mississippi rents 63.8% and DC 157.0% of national average.
Have a great week and watch for some exciting news as the summer progresses! Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


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