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GFDA Top 16 10/18/2016


GFDA Top 16
Here's the GFDA Top 16 for last week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.
1) Construction started on the 72-unit addition to the Talus Apartment Homes. Construction started on the City Brew project on the west side of town and Teriyaki Madness on 10th Avenue South. West Bank Park improvements to the Rivers' Edge Trail are well underway. We updated ourGreat Falls Growth Highlights, a brief overview of recent exciting investments in the Great Falls regional economy.
2) Congratulations to two startups that have successfully launched. Last week, Great Falls based Eagle Contracting, owned by Dave Gifford, completed the remodel of a three-floor wing of Shodair Children's Hospital in Helena. Dave utilized our SBDC and PTAC services throughout 2016 to start his venture. Jaime Huestis, owner of True North Athletic Therapy, is officially taking clients in the RPP Fitness building at 624 3rd Street South, Great Falls. Jaime is a certified athletic trainer offering orthopedic injury assessment and treatment to athletes and weekend warriors of all kinds. For help turning your business idea into a revenue generating venture, contact Jason at
3The Montana Dept. of Commerce awarded a $120,000 Big Sky Trust Fund Job Creation Grant that will help FCR create primary sector, higher wage jobs here in downtown Great Falls. If they meet their hiring goals, an additional $75,000 will be awarded in the second year. Primary sector jobs bring money into Montana from out of state, growing our economy. Thank you to all who helped expedite this!

4) The City Design Review Board approved plans for Town Pump's renovation in the 400 block of 10th Avenue South and for the new Teriyaki Madness.

5) GFDA's Board strongly supports Initiative 181, Montanans for Research and Cures, that would bolster the McLaughlin Research Institute in Great Falls, the Montana University System, and research at hospitals and private companies across the state. See Tribune editorial and
6) GFDA and our partners were honored with an Innovation Award from the Montana Economic Developers Association at its annual conference in Polson. The award was for our work bringing ADF International to Great Falls, "...demonstrating excellence in economic development, partnership, resilience, and innovation." Key partners included Great Falls College MSU, Great Falls Public Schools, the City of Great Falls, and many local, state and federal individuals, businesses and agencies. Congratulations Team Great Falls!
7) "The type of partnerships between workforce and education that occur here are amazing! We aren't even doing that in the Silicon Valley," commented two executives of a major global technology company who visited Great Falls last week to work on a deal with a Great Falls business. Kudos to leaders of GFPS, Great Falls College MSU, and local businesses who look toward the future and develop partnerships that allow students to receive the training and education they need to thrive after graduation. Also, thank you to Mayor Kelly for welcoming our guests!
8) As part of National Veteran's Small Business Week, we're offering a free introduction to entrepreneurship workshop to veterans, active duty military and spouses called Boots to Business Reboot on November 1st. Great Falls College MSU will host the day-long event. Boots to Business is a national program presented locally by the U.S. Small Business Administration, GFDA's Small Business Development Center and the Veteran's Business Outreach Center. Lunch is being donated by O'Haire Motor Inn. For more info or to register, contact Jason,
9) Worked with a Great Falls business to apply for a $89,000 Primary Sector Workforce Training Grant. These funds are used to help train new primary sector employees who are working on projects that generate at least 50% of income from outside of Montana.
10) Great Falls and I-15 is an important connection between Canada and the United States. FedEx Ground will be sharing their facility and how leveraging this interstate has given a unique advantage to increase capacity and serve local businesses faster at its grand opening. It will be held this Friday, October 21st from 11a-1p at their brand new location at 4821 18th Ave. N. in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Austin to RSVP.
11) Glacier National Park broke its annual visitation record for the third year in a row, with more than 2.7 million people entering the park in 2016.
The National Park Service says this year's total has already surpassed the number of visitors for all of last year by more than 370,000.
12) Began underwriting a loan that will help a Great Falls business expand its operations. Great Falls Development Authority works with local banks to offer SBA 504 Real Advantage Loans which can be used to purchase commercial real estate, fixed assets, and refinance debt. Terms are for 10 or 20 years, fixed interest rates for October are at 4.29% for the 10 year note and 4.26% for the 20 year note, with down payments as low as 10%. If you are interested in learning more about SBA 504 Real Advantage loans or about any of our other gap or bridge financing options, please contact Mike Archer at
13) The City Parks Department issued a draft Park Great Falls Park and Recreation Master Plan. We encourage you to read the draft plan and let City leaders know your thoughts. Parks and recreation are critical to our efforts to retain and attract talented workforce. The plan includes survey results which show that 89% of residents support repairing neighborhood parks, 82% support improving existing playgrounds and our trail system, and 80% support improving outdoor pools and water park. 74% of residents would like to see more trees and shrubs in parks, along streets and other public places in the community. The document is too large for me to provide a link to, but you can download a copy from the City's web site on the Planning Advisory Board meeting agenda page here.
14) You might wonder how we pitch Great Falls to prospective companies. For Agri-processing companies, our selling points include world-class ingredients, competitive operating costs, shovel-ready rail served sites, clean and abundant water supplies, and low-cost energy. To learn more about value added Ag businesses that would thrive in the Golden Triangle, contact Jolene Schalper at 406.750.4481.
15) We are participating in three site selection consultant networking events this fall, starting next week. We just signed up for a winter Site Selection Guild networking event. This is part of GFDA's effort to diversify our regional economy by attracting higher wage, primary sector companies. Thank you to our public and private investors who make these efforts possible! Here is our current Investor Honor Roll.
16) GFDA joined the Montana Infrastructure Coalition to support statewide efforts to address our critical infrastructure deficiencies. Here is an Update from the Coalition. I plan to attend its general meeting this Friday.
Congratulations to Crooked Tree Coffee & Cakes in downtown Great Falls on being voted best coffee house in Montana for the 3rd year in a row!
Untame Your Spirit in Great Falls, Montana!

Brett Doney
President and CEO
Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month."
Theodore Roosevelt

GFDA Job Openings
We're looking for two great team members. Openings for Development Director and reposted Commercial Loan Portfolio Manager. We offer competitive salaries with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and a flexible work environment. Work with a great team, help us move Great Falls Forward, and make a difference in people's lives! GFDA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Cost-Effective Industrial Sites Available
If your company needs a rail-served, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Brett Doney at 1-406-750-2119 or 
FedEx Ground Grand Opening, 4821 18th Avenue North in the Great Falls AgriTech Park, this Friday, October 21, 11-1.
Senator Jon Tester's 17th Small Business Opportunity Workshop: Helping Vets and Business Connect, Thursday, October 27, 8:30-12:30, Great Falls Civic Center in the Missouri Room. Agenda and registration here.
USDA Rural Development workshop for rural agricultural producers and small business owners to introduce and familiarize you with the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Get info on how to apply for REAP grants and guaranteed loans for your renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 1:00-3:30 PM, Moose Lodge, 617 South Main, Conrad. RSVP by October 28th to Lea McGiboney at 406-727-7580 ext. 4 or
Constant Contact Workshop: Grow Your Business with Email and Social Media will be held Wednesday, November 16, in Heritage Hall at Great Falls College MSU from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM. To register, contact the Center for Lifelong Learning at Great Falls College MSU by calling 406.268.3734, or visit and click on the link for upcoming events.


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