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Economic Diversification Project

The Great Falls Development Authority is administering an Economic Diversification Project on behalf of Cascade County and the Sweetgrass Region.  This study is funded by grants obtained from the Secretary of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment and the Montana Department of Commerce.  The entire project was funded at $564,000 and will benefit the five counties of Montana’s Sweetgrass Economic Development Region – Cascade, Glacier, Pondera, Teton and Toole.  

Praxis Strategy Group of Grand Forks, North Dakota was hired as the lead firm to conduct the multi-faceted strategy development project.  They formally kicked off their work the week of September 15-19 which included initial one-on-one interviews throughout the region, a driving tour, and a public kickoff meeting held on September 16 at the Cascade County Commission’s Board Room.  During that meeting, Praxis discussed the entire project and answered questions.  In addition to Praxis as the lead consultant focusing on overall project leadership and entrepreneurial/small business strategy, the following firms will be doing work as part of their team:

  • Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson Engineering (Energy Strategy)
  • Neil Doty & Associates (Agriculture Strategy)
  • HB&A Consulting (Economic Impact & Project Management)
  • SSRI (Work Force Development Strategy)

Recent work has included another two visits to the region by the lead from Praxis, HB&A and Neil Doty.  These visits have continued their work to gather initial impact data, conduct primary interviews, and begin the formulation of recommended strategy development.  Doug McDonald from Praxis Strategy will be the featured speaker at the Investor Luncheon on November 19.  

The project is expected to be completed sometime in April, 2009.  GFDA will post regular updates on the site as the project moves forward including preliminary reports and meeting dates.  The project currently is in the initial phases of fact gathering which includes interviewing local leaders, business and individual members of communities.  If you are interested in participating or want more information on this project, contact
Kim Thiel-Schaaf or Lillian Sunwall at GFDA. 


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