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GFDA Top 12 9/11/2016


GFDA Top 14
Here's the GFDA Top 14 for the week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.
1) Celebrated the grand opening of the Great Falls AgriTech Park with our investors, partners and friends who made the project a reality. BNSF ran the first train into the Park. The Great Falls region now has shovel-ready heavy industrial sites that offer rail and all municipal and utility services. Lots available for immediate construction; contact Brett Doney at 1-406-750-2119 or

2) FedEx Ground opened the AgriTech Park's first facility, a 58,000 square foot distribution center with 20 employees. The new facility is part of a nationwide network expansion to boost daily volume capacity and further enhance the speed and service capabilities of the FedEx Ground network. FedEx Ground said, "The site was chosen because of its ease of access to major highways, proximity to customers' distribution centers and a strong local community workforce for recruiting employees."

3) Great Falls was named the 4th Best Small City in the U.S. for Prime Workforce (under 160,000 population) and 14th amongst all size cities nationwide by Area Development magazine. According to Area Development, "A high ranking in Prime Workforce indicates that the area has a strong and growing nucleus of well-educated and qualified 18-44-year-olds in the workforce."

4) The Great Falls region accounted for 73% of all the barley grown in Montana in 2015; 30.94 million bushels! While beer may be our favorite, there are many other uses for barley. This is why we worked with an industry specialist to publish a business case for Barley Ingredient Processinghere in the Golden Triangle. If you'd like to discuss this or any of our other agricultural processing business cases, contact Jolene Scalper at 406.750.4481
5) GFDA's Loan Committee approved a $2,123,310 bridge loan package for an exciting Great Falls riverfront development and a $35,300 gap loan for a retail start-up that will be located on 10th Ave South. Received approval from the SBA for a 504 Real Advantage loan to help a Kalispell start-up purchase commercial real estate. If you need help securing financing for your business or development, contact Mike Archer
6) The Great Falls Tribune endorsed the Great Falls Public Schools' proposed bonds to repair and improve schools citywide; see Tribune's endorsementand a great article detailing the needed repairs. GFDA's Board unanimously voted to endorse the bonds. The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, NeighborWorks Great Falls, and Cascade County United Way also endorsed the bonds. Vote YES to support our economy, our tax base, our home values, and our kids!

7) NeighborWorks Great Falls and Great Falls Public Schools students broke ground on the 38th and 39th high school houses. Congratulations on the 20th anniversary of this amazing partnership!

8) Electric City Coffee received its beer and wine license. Dinners with your favorite adult beverage begin Friday, September 16th! Connect with Electric City Coffee on Facebook or at Entrepreneurship continues to flourish throughout the region, so fast it's hard to keep track! New businesses include Innovative Pain Management Clinic, Food Frenzy Catering, Choteau Spice Company, Oriental Health Spa in the Holiday Village Mall, and Dance Design Studio at Thank you to theGreat Falls Tribune for featuring new entrepreneurs in Great Falls Business.

9) Held a pre-planning meeting with city staff to discuss a potential new multi tenant development on a currently vacant, but prominently located parcel of land. We highly recommend early project pre-planning meetings because they help to avoid surprises later in the development process. At these meetings we discuss water/sewer, zoning, plat, landscaping, transportation, lighting, timeline, signage, and more. Contact Jolene Schalper with GFDA at 406.750.4481 to learn more. 

10) After 8 months of research, testing and hard work, GFDA received the completed Brownfields Assessment Phase 2 report on West Bank Landing. Assisted a local business with WAWF (Wide-Area Work Flow) so they could invoice on a contract with Malmstrom Contracting.
11) Hosted a group of six at the September LaunchPoint workshop for pre-venture entrepreneurs. The October LaunchPoint is scheduled for Tuesday, October 4th from 4-5pm at GFDA. Contact Jason to reserve your space. 
12) GFDA's Board elected officers for the new fiscal year: Chair, Ted Lewis of First Interstate Bank; Vice-Chair, Allan Frankl of Dick Anderson Construction; Treasurer, Nate Weisenburger of AE2S Engineering; and, Secretary, Ron Nelson of Church, Harris, Johnson and Williams P.C.  

13) Committee and task force chairs appointed include: Loan Committee, Bob Butcher of US Bank; AgriTech Park Task Force, Glenn Lambert of Cascade Farmers Mutual Insurance; Investment Committee, Jerry Hood of Edward Jones; and, Advanced Manufacturing Center Task Force, Errol Rice of Transystems. Joining the officers and committee chairs on the Executive Committee are: Len Watkins of Gusto Distributing, representing the High Plains Financial Board; Commissioner Joe Briggs, representing Cascade County; and, Mayor Bob Kelly, representing the City of Great Falls.

14) The Board re-appointed GFDA's Loan Committee for the new fiscal year. Joining Chair Bob Butcher are: Jason Kiser of DA Davidson, Vice Chair; Teri Anderson of Stockman Bank; Scott Blumfield of Catalyst Commercial; Tim Culliton of Pacific Steel & Recycling; Mark Mehta of Mehta Properties; Craig Raymond of the City of Great Falls; Sheila Rice of NeighborWorks Great Falls; and, Chad Simonson of First Interstate Bank.

A shout out to the Berlin Airlift veterans who gathered in Great Falls this weekend!

And, a shout out to Mike Tobacco of Guy Tobacco Construction for his work in getting the Montana Eggs expansion into construction!

Untame Your Entrepreneurial Spirit!

Brett Doney
President and CEO

"There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about."
Margaret J. Wheatley

Upcoming Business Events

The Compete Smart Montana Manufacturing Conference will take place October 5-7 at the Fairmont Hot Springs. Celebrate 20 years of the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center: 25+ sessions, 3 multi-plant tours and networking with manufacturers from across the state. Learn more and register:


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