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GDDA Top 16 5/1/16

Here's the GFDA Top 16 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.


1) Local developers announced plans for a major 12.5 acre riverfront mixed use development that will be anchored by a 132-unit Marriott Springhills Suites hotel. The West Bank Landing development will include six new buildings offering a mix of retail, restaurant, office and residential uses. An existing 1940-vintage brick barrel vaulted building will be renovated for restaurant and retail use. The entire project will be LEED certified. Construction on the hotel is planned to start late this spring. For more details on this exciting Great Falls development, see story in today's Tribune.

2) As local businesses ramp up for the summer season, job postings at the Great Falls Job Service climbed to 888 this week.

3) Reviewed two business plans: one for an entrepreneur who's invented an innovative product and is looking to address patent and commercialization issues; and the second for a startup service provider. Worked with two new clients and two existing clients addressing startup and marketing questions.  Need someone to play devil's advocate for your entrepreneurial efforts? Contact Jason Nitschke at

4) The new U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management complex has opened in Great Falls.

5) The downtown Business Improvement District this week released downtown revitalization stats for the first quarter of the year. 25 building permits were issued during the quarter for downtown projects with a total value of $2,644,308. Two new downtown businesses opened. Volunteers donated 9,532 hours on downtown efforts.

6) Demolition is well underway on the historic downtown Rocky Mountain Building in preparation for redevelopment by a local development team.

7) We approved providing a Phase 1 for a proposed downtown upscale historic redevelopment project. For more information about GFDA's Brownfields Program, contact Lillian Sunwall at (406) 771-9024 or 
8) Great Falls entrepreneurs Josh and Trevor Hughes, founders of Kaizen Games, have been named semifinalists in the XQ Institute's XQ Super School competition. The brothers propose to create an innovative high school built around kids' interest in video gaming, in partnership with Great Falls Public Schools. More details in Tribune.

9) Over community leaders attended GFDA's reception honoring the 2016 Montana SBA's Small Business Person of the Year, Greg Thayer of Cascade County-based Montana Milling. Governor Bullock will present Greg with the SBA's premier award at Manufacturing and International Trade Day in Missoula this Monday, May 2nd. 
10) Welcome Anthony Aretz, named this week as the next President of the University of Great Falls. Dr. Aretz will assume office on July 1st. More details in Tribune.

11) Volunteers Needed! Great Falls Montana Tourism is looking for passionate Great Falls Champions to share their enthusiasm with guests to our community, and new and current Great Falls residents for just 3 hours a month. Training is provided, you will always be accompanied by a seasoned volunteer. Weekday and weekend shifts are available. To learn more, connect with Vanessa at 406-761-4436 or
12) GTF had the lowest average airfares in Montana for the third year in a row in 2015, according to data released this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Check out the airport's fun low-fare challenge at

13) Kelley Aline started work this week as our new Director of Development. Kelley will be leading our local community investment in economic development efforts. You can reach her at or 1-406-771-9023.

14) Jeremiah Johnson and Jennifer Rogers left us this week to pursue new opportunities. Please join me in thanking them for their outstanding service to GFDA, Great Falls and the surrounding region! Our GFDA staff team works incredibly hard to generate the greatest possible return on investment for our public and private Forward Great Falls investors. We look forward to working with Jeremiah and Jennifer in their new endeavors.

15) Join Forward Great Falls Investors for our monthly Development Coffee this Friday, May 6, 7 AM at L'Heureux Page Werner. Contact Jolene Schalper for more information,

16) Montana's median property tax rate, as a percentage of property value, is 1.22%, according to an analysis released this week by CoreLogic. That ranks Montana in the middle of the pack with the 22nd highest median rate.


It's going to be a beautiful spring week to Untame your entrepreneurial spirit! More exciting announcements are in the works.


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


To Dr. Brenda Canine, NANSLO Lab manager and instructional designer at Great Falls College MSU on being named Educator of the Year by the Montana Association of Gifted and Talented Education!


To Jeff Van Pevenge on being named CEO and President of Columbia Grain!


To the Great Falls Symphony on another excellent season of outstanding live music!

Quote of the Week

"If not us, who? If not now, when?"

Hillel the Elder

Great Job Opportunities

GFDA has 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 Tourism Seeks Sales Manager

Passionate, creative, self-motivated, energetic Great Falls Montana Champion sought to join our forward-thinking, hardworking and resourceful tourism team as a Sales Manager. This position is relied on to be productive, detailed, and focused on building relationships that will result in conference, meetings, events and group commitments to the Great Falls Montana market. This position is expected to solicit planners and organizers of meetings, conventions, trade shows, seminars, and training sessions in a variety of industry sectors; submit leads to area hotels; assist in convention follow up and services; research and contact local individuals who are members of, or are affiliated with national or regional organizations, to gain information on and garner support of bidding for future meetings; prepare and present formal bid presentations to organizations; represent Great Falls, Montana at trade shows to distribute information to future visitors; develop and maintain close working relationship with all hotel/motel/public facilities management; sales and services personnel. Great Falls Montana Tourism is looking for the right team member who demonstrates taking initiative, adding value, and solving problems. Anticipated salary $40,000 with health insurance stipend. EOE. Apply to Rebecca Engum, with a cover letter and resume.


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

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


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


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,


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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Physical Address
300 Central Ave. Suite 406
Great Falls, MT 59401
Mailing Address
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Great Falls, MT 59403