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Top 20 for August 2, 2015

Here's the GFDA Top 20 for the last two weeks, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.
1) The Great Falls City Commission unanimously approved the tax increment financing agreement for the Great Falls AgriTech Park. We issued notices of award to the contractors that will build the Park infrastructure this fall.
2) The City Commission approved the Thaniel housing subdivision. The City Planning Advisory Board unanimously approved the final plat of the West Ridge housing subdivision.
3) It's clear we need more housing! According to Zillow, single-family home rent costs in Great Falls increased 13.4% in 2014. The Great Falls metro area June unemployment rate was 3.9%, a bit of a respite from May's 3.2%. Our labor force grew by 510 people from May to June -- the annual just out of school bump.
4) GFDA's Loan Committee approved a $2 million loan to Pacific Steel & Recycling to help finance infrastructure in the Great Falls AgriTech Park, enabling the company to move forward with its expansion.
5) The High Plains Financial Board approved a $590,000 SBA 504 loan to assist in financing a $1.4 million business expansion in partnership with Prairie Mountain Bank.
6) We published our GFDA Quarter Index for the 2nd quarter of 2015. And, if you missed the Top 10 two weeks ago, here's our updated Great Falls Growth Highlights.
7) Hosted an international prospect that has short-listed Great Falls for a future expansion into the U.S.
8) Discussed opportunities in Great Falls with an out-of-state manufacturing target. Met with a local manufacturer planning strategic growth. Discussed workforce training and potential financing tools available to support the company's expansion. If your manufacturing company is planning growth and you would like to learn more about the resources available to help, contact Rebecca Engum at or 1-406-771-9032.
9) The EPA awarded a phase 1 and 2 Targeted Brownfields Assessment to GFDA  for a building that a local business is looking to purchase for expansion.
10) The Cascade County Planning Board approved a 3 year extension of the special use permit for Invenergy's proposed 24 megawatt Big Otter Wind farm just south of Belt.
11) Two steps forward at Great Falls College MSU. Construction is underway on expansion of the welding, fabrication, and industrial trades program spaces at the College. And, the first group of truck driving students has begun truck driving. The Tribune ran great stories on both: Welding story here and Truck driving story here.
12) The City has awarded construction contracts for the next phase of improvements to the West Bank Park, supported by tax increment financing funds generated by the West Bank One mixed-use development.
13) Looking decades into the future, here's some good news about early planning for the Minuteman IV missile system that will replace the current Minuteman III. According to an article in Air Force Magazine, the next generation ICBM will retain commonality with Minuteman III to control costs, including current operating locations, launch control facilities, silos, and command and control.
14) I travelled to DC to participate in the annual White House Economic Development Summit, meeting with leaders of the White House staff, National Economic Council, Economic Development Administration, SelectUSA, National Science Foundation, and Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, State, Transportation, and Treasury.
15) Welcome to Senator Brian Hoven who has joined the GFDA Board as a representative of the Cascade County state legislative delegation!
16) Our next Entrepreneurial Spirit Tour events are this Wednesday, 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
17) 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
18) A free seminar on Small Business Health Insurance Options under the Affordable Care Act is being offered this Thursday, August 6th, at 10:00 AM - Noon or 5:00-7:00 PM at the Planned parenthood Clinic in Great Falls. RSVP to Rhiannon Simon at 1-406-770-3293 or
19) GFDA Investors are invited to our monthly Development Coffee this Friday, August 7th, 7:00 AM at First Interstate Bank's 10th Avenue South office. Join us for coffee, refreshments, and a robust discussion regarding local and regional development.
20) 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
Congratulations to the TD&H Engineering team on their 50th anniversary!
Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


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Great Falls, MT 59401
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Great Falls, MT 59403