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GFDA Top 10 4/24/2016

Here's the GFDA Top 10 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.


1) This week we celebrated the largest private investment in Cascade County history, the $450 million Calumet Montana Refining expansion project (by dollar amount), more than doubling the refinery's capacity. The expansion required 1.8 million contractor hours with up to 594 construction workers on site. 50 new permanent jobs were created, bringing the refinery to 170 employees. We were fortunate to have Calumet Specialty Products executives, local Calumet Montana Refining leaders, and private and civic leaders from across the county join us to celebrate this great achievement. Thank you for investing in Great Falls!  

2) Closed a $40,000 loan to finance a downtown start-up business in partnership with First Interstate Bank. Watch for the opening soon of Downtown Dice & Games!

3) Worked with a regional business to look at increasing their government contracting visibility with marketing tools and agency contacts. Worked with a developer studying the feasibility of an upscale downtown redevelopment project.

4) Toured the Great Falls Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana center. What a great employer for Great Falls! Competitive wages and benefits with opportunities to work at home. We are proud they chose Great Falls! Can we tour and learn more about your business? Want to bounce some ideas or frustrations off us? Call Jolene Schalper to schedule 406-750-4481.

5) Want to develop the next hot spot in Great Falls? Is your project the next Celtic Cowboy, Electric City Coffee or Lofts@503? You should be at the 2016 Downtown Showcase, Friday May 13th, 9:00 AM in the Darkhorse Hall of the downtown Arvon Block. Get project ideas and partners while mingling with developers, building, owners, and resource groups. Open your eyes to opportunity! Contact Lillian Sunwall to learn more or RSVP, 406-771-9024, or

6) Attention Non-Profits Board members! Great Falls Development Authority and High Plains Financial welcome our non-profit colleagues and directors to join us for a free Best Practices of Non-profit Boards workshop presented by the Montana Nonprofit Association. May 26 from 2:30-4:30 PM with a reception to follow. Please RSVP here Contact Jolene Schalper with any questions, 406-750-4481,

7) The Great Falls Tourism Business Improvement District committed $6,250 towards development of a Great Falls vicinity wayfinding plan, our first concrete step forward in making this happen. Thank you TBID Board!

8) Employers looking for great workers can sign up for the Job Fair that will be part of the 2016 State Disability Employability Conference in Great Falls on May 11-13 at the Holiday Inn. The Job Fair will be held on May 12. More info at or contact Dave Ketelholn at the Job Service, 1-406-791-5857 or

9) The U.S. Census released county business data this week for 2014. Cascade County had an estimated 2,420 operating businesses with one or more employees (excluding business owners who were self-employed, employees of private households, railroad employees, agriculture production workers and most government employees). This included 352 retail trade establishments, 277 health care and social assistance establishments, 261 in construction, 247 in accommodation and food services, 222 in other services, 200 in professional, scientific, and technical services, 174 in finance and insurance, 124 in real estate and rental and leasing, 119 in wholesale trade, and 66 in manufacturing, amongst many others.

10) We offer a variety of gap and bridge loans to make your project happen, whether it's a business start-up or expansion, commercial real estate development, or housing. Our job is to finance the parts of deals that our bank partners can't. We can finance brownfield clean-up, new construction, renovation, working capital, inventory, and equipment. We lend throughout the Golden Triangle and provide SBA 504 loans statewide. Don't get discouraged, we may be able to fill your financing gap or provide a bridge loan to get your project going. Contact Jill Kuntz at 1-406-771-9026 or


Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


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


To the History Museum's Legacy Award winners City Motor Company, the University of Great Falls, the Great Falls Rotary Club, and Jeanne Kelley Pugh!

To Great Falls College MSU's pharmacy technician program on being named one of the top 10 in the country by!

Quote of the Week

"History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats."

B.C. Forbes

Great GFDA Job Opportunities

We have three great job openings for Loan Portfolio Manager, Business Development Leader, and Loan Officer. Please pass the word to friends and colleagues. Help us find some amazing new team members! GFDA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


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 Brett Doney at 1-406-750-2119 or

Upcoming Events


Join GFDA for a celebratory reception on Wednesday, April 27th, 5:00-6:30 PM at Meadowlark Country Club to honor Greg Thayer, CEO of Montana Milling, the 2016 Montana SBA Small Business Person of the Year! Register to attend.


The Great Falls Area Chamber and The Center for Lifelong Learning at Great Falls College MSU are partnering to offer a training: Building a Culture of Legendary Customer Service. It will be on Thursday, April 28 from 7:30-9:30 AM on our campus in Heritage Hall. It is $30 for Chamber members and $35 for non-members. For more information visit:


Montana International Trade & Manufacturing Day will be held May 2nd in Missoula. More info and registration at Montana Chamber


Montana Equal Pay Summit will be held May 2-3 at MSU Bozeman. More info at


GFDA and partners will host a special Workforce Recruitment Summit the morning of Wednesday, June 29th, prior to our Investors Annual Meeting lunch. The Summit will present ideas of what other communities in Montana and across the country are doing to attract workforce to relocate to their cities. Mark your calendar and plan to join us for this important, lively discussion. We've confirmed some great speakers for the event.


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Great Falls, MT 59401
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