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GFDA Top 12 for 3/22/2016

Here's the GFDA Top 12 for last week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward. This month marks the 14th anniversary of the Forward Great Falls movement. GFDA was formed in March 2002, culminating two years of discussions amongst public and private partners in Great Falls, Cascade County and the surrounding region. Leaders back then recognized that in order to change the economic path of our community, we needed a strong, professional public/private economic development partnership. Thank you to our investors, those of you who have been with us from the start and those who have recently joined the team! Without you, everything we've been able to accomplish would not have been possible. On to the future!


1) Construction started on the expansion of AgFertilizers in Manchester. The company is adding a new 15,000 square foot warehouse. We helped finance both their original facility and the expansion with SBA 504 loans. For more info, see Tribune article here

2) Greg Thayer, president and CEO of Montana Milling, has been named Montana's Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Congratulations Greg!

3) Secured market information and other regional resources for an international agri-processing company that is looking at potential in our region. Let the GFDA Team put our resources to work for you. We work discretely behind the scenes to help businesses expand. Call Jeremiah, 406-750-3285, or Jolene, 406-750-4481, to find out what we can do for you!
4) Commercial building permits were issued by the City totaling over $18.6 million for construction of the new east end Walmart, further development by Helena Chemical in the Great Falls AgriTech Park, remodel of the downtown Cenex Zip Trip, and interior demolition in the downtown Rocky Mountain building. We disbursed $633,671 in loan funds to Pacific Steel & Recycling to further support the infrastructure improvements for their new location in the AgriTech Park. 
5) The Great Falls City Commission approved a water rights settlement that will secure a 1906 Missouri River industrial water right of 6,335 acre feet at a flow rate of 6.0 cubic feet per second. This is a significant addition to the City's water rights which are very important for future industrial and residential growth. Well done!

6) Assisted several businesses with bid reviews for solicitations to the US Forest Service, BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and DNRC (Dept. of Natural Resources Conservation) due this month.  Provided information to contracting officers on potential small businesses available for immediate work on projects under the $5,000 threshold.  Worked with a business owner to explore Federal contracting opportunities along with current State contracts.
7) The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that will enable the long-delayed Gibson Dam Hydro Project to move forward. The bill now needs to be approved by the Senate. Thank you to the entire Montana Congressional delegation for supporting this effort! See Tribune article for more details.

8) The Great Falls Parking Advisory Commission is conducting a survey on parking downtown. The six-question survey takes about five minutes and can be done anonymously. Please answer the survey now.

9) This month's SBA 504 rates are 4.553% for a 20 year loan, and 4.333% for a 10 year loan. These rates are fixed for the life of the loan. SBA 504 loans can assist with financing real estate and long term machinery and equipment. To find out more, contact Jennifer Rogers at 1-406-350-1204 or
10) The new Charlie Russell mural was painted on the downtown North Parking garage. The mural is a partnership of the Downtown Development Partnership, Business Improvement District, and the City.

11) Exhibited and networked at the Invest in Success Montana Small Business conference. Paul Leach, president of Great Falls-based Loenbro, gave the keynote speech at the 7th annual event. Nearly 200 attendees participated in more than 20 workshops focused on various ways to start, grow or expand small business ventures.

12) Montana has the third lowest tax rate in the country according to an analysis by WalletHub. Montana also ranked third after adjusting for cost of living.

Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


Connect with me on LinkedIn to connect with other Great Falls business leaders.


To the C.M. Russell Museum and all those involved in a fantastic Western Art Week!


To Dana Leach who celebrated 40 years with Calumet Montana Refinery and is easing his way into retirement! Thank you for your strong community support!

And, to the GFPS North Middle School Science Academic Bowl Team for winning the Regional National Science Bowl competition!

Quote of the Week

"The best way to predict the future is to create it."

Peter Drucker

Upcoming Events

Fire It Up, an event to learn how to make the most of social events, is this Wednesday, March 23 from 5-7 PM. Join your host Embark Credit Union for appetizers and speed networking with pro-tips. Email Jolene Schalper, to RSVP or you can register when you register for The Fire Within!


Great Falls Job Fair will be held Tuesday, March 29th from 11:30 AM to 5:00 PM at the Montana ExpoPark Exhibition Hall. Employer registration is now open. Contact Barbara Hardy of the Great Falls Job Service at 791-5816 or


Understanding Credit Card Processing will be presented by the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce on March 29 at the Chamber 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM. RSVP by calling Chamber at 761-4434 or email Roxy at


The Sixth Annual Fire Within presented by Embark CU is on March 31 at the Meadowlark Country Club starting at 6 PM! Join us to celebrate women business owners, build business connections, and get ideas. Register here or email Jolene Scalper at


Montana Energy 2016 will be held in Billings March 30-31. More info at


Proposed Upper Missouri River National Heritage Area public meeting will be held on April 1st, 5:30-7:30 PM in the Missouri Room of the Great Falls Civic Center. For more info, call 455-8435 or see Tribune story


Workshop regarding New Opportunities for Montana's Food Businesses highlighting changes in the state's food laws will be held in Great Falls on April 15. Registration is free and includes lunch. Register at or contact Corrie Williamson for more info at 1-406-443-7272 or


Montana Technology Innovation Partnership's Innovator Training Tour will be in Great Falls on Friday, April 15 at 3:00 PM, Great Falls College MSU. Learn about intellectual property, funding your innovation and going to market. Free, but must RSVP by emailing


The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering another ExporTech training this Spring.  The nine-week session will feature three-full day workshops: April 13, May 12, and June 14 in Kalispell. Develop your own proactive export strategy and learn how to be successful in global markets.  ExporTech™ clients have seen dramatic increases in sales through exports ($770K on average per company within 6-12 months). For info, contact Jenni West at (406) 994-3876 or


Great Falls AgriTech Park

Manufacturers, 20 or 31.5 acre, rail-served heavy industrial lot in Great Falls AgriTech Park ready for immediate construction start! Gas, electric, water, sewer, fiber, and rail all to your lot line for $30,000/acre. Join Pacific Steel & Recycling, Montana Specialty Mills, Helena Chemical, and Ruedebusch Development in this new industrial park. Contact Jeremiah Johnson at 1-406-750-3285 or



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