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GFDA Top 16 7/20/15


Here's the GFDA Top 16 for the last two weeks, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward. Hard to believe it's 15 days since the last GFDA Top 10 with so much moving forward!
1) ADF International has topped 200 employees in Great Falls and continues to grow!
2) USAF announced the 819th Red Horse Squadron will stay in Great Falls, another victory of the Montana Congressional delegation and the Montana Defense Alliance.
3) Several important projects made progress in City land use approvals, including: annexation for the CHS expansion approved unanimously by the City Commission; Design Review Board approval of the Westwood Plaza shopping center new facade for TJ Maxx; Planning Advisory Board unanimous approval of the tax increment financing agreement for the Great Falls AgriTech Park; and, City Commission unanimous approval of the amended annexation agreement for the Great Falls AgriTech Park.
4) We distributed draft agricultural-processing business cases for Pulse Fractionation, Craft Malting, and Sprouted Grains to our agricultural industry partners and received valuable feedback to help make the most persuasive market-driven pitch for why agri-processors should locate manufacturing facilities in the Great Falls trade area. Contact Rebecca Engum for more info at or 1-406-771-9032.
5) Prepared for an international prospect visit to Great Falls next week. Provided information to a back-office operation prospect considering Great Falls. Worked with a prospect considering onshoring operations for a global corporation.
6) Presented our third Boots to Business workshop of 2015 at MAFB, our first in partnership with the new Veterans Business Outreach Center hosted by Big Sky Economic Development. Fifteen transitioning service members and spouses learned the basics of entrepreneurship. Networked with business owners and partners at Senator Tester's 15th Small Business Opportunity Workshop.
7) Worked with a local business to deal with federal procurement issues in order for the company to receive payment on a contract. Connected a service-disabled veteran business with a prime contractor to sub-contract on a solicitation. Worked with a long-term small business client to refine marketing strategies.
8) SBA approved another of our 504 REAL Advantage loans to help finance a business expansion. SBA 504 loan rates for July are 4.961% for 20 years and 4.326% for 10 years. These are fixed rates including all fees with equity requirements as low as 10%. Contact Jennifer Rogers at 1-406-350-1204 or to see if your project qualifies for an SBA 504 REAL Advantage loan.
9) Our Entrepreneurial Spirit Tour stopped in Browning at Blackfeet Community College, bringing together 17 local business owners, legislators, and community and tribal leaders to discuss the resources available for entrepreneurs to start and expand their ventures. The next Entrepreneurial Spirit Tour events are August 5th in Choteau and Fairfield; Choteau City Hall 10 AM - 12 Noon and Fairfield Community Hall 2 - 4 PM. Register to attend the Choteau event at Register to attend the Fairfield event at Or contact Jason at
10) The SBA, Montana Chamber, Montana Manufacturing Extension Center, and GFDA are teaming up this week to host a Small Business Regulatory Fairness Roundtable in Great Falls, this Thursday, July 23rd, 9:30 AM, in the Absolon Lounge at the University of Great Falls Student Center. Register at
11) GFDA is partnering with Great Falls College MSU to host Websites for Small Business on August 6th. Learn the ins and outs of your digital footprint. Get answers to: Why I need a website? How should I use one? How much financial and human capital will it cost me? Register to attend at or contact Jason Nitschke at
12) Our next CEO Forum is scheduled for August 20th with Clint Peck of Yellowstone Cellars and Winery of Billings. Clint will talk about his innovative sales strategies and how he adds value to his customers. Contact Jason Nitschke at or register to attend at
13) We closed our books on FY 2015 that ended June 30th. With strong support from our wonderful Forward Great Falls Investors, GFDA eked out positive net income of $8,997, despite expensing $191,555 of additional investment in the Great Falls AgriTech Park during the year. Our cumulative net investment in the AgriTech Park at fiscal year end was ($485,707). We expect to recover much of this through lot sales this summer and eventually break even or better on the project. High Plains Financial generated net income of $433.
14) Rebecca Engum became our first team member to earn certification on the Economic Modeling System we use to track what's happening in our regional economy and labor market. The system offers valuable information for our clients and partners as well. The EMSI system is showing 1,357 current job openings in Cascade County. The Great Falls Job Service has 890 job openings for the Great Falls metro.
15) The White House Business Council has invited me back to the annual White House Economic Development Summit next week. The event will offer an opportunity to engage federal leaders to discuss economic development opportunities and challenges in the Great Falls region.
16) We have updated our Great Falls Growth Highlights that details a number of key business and real estate projects helping to grow and diversify the Great Falls economy. Feel free to use this to help in your marketing and recruitment efforts.
More exciting news in the works so stay tuned. Watch for our GFDA Quarter Index later in the week, and Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!

Manufacturers: 19-acre, rail-served heavy industrial lot in Great Falls AgriTech Park ready for immediate construction start! Contact Jeremiah Johnson at 1-406-750-3285 or


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Great Falls, MT 59401
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Great Falls, MT 59403