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GFDA Top 20 2/10/2017


GFDA Top 20
Here's the GFDA Top 20 for last week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward. Finally getting this out to you.
1) Mitch Stelling announced plans to build two professional office buildings on 2nd Street South downtown. Congratulations Mitch! See more details in Tribune
2) Closed our SBA 504 loan to AgFertilizer. This loan helped AgFertilizer purchase land and construct a new warehouse at 5 N. Manchester Road, representing a total investment in Cascade County of $670,000. This is the second 504 loan we've done for AgFertilizer and we hope it's not the last! If you would like to find out how the SBA 504 program can help you grow and expand your business, please contact Mike Archer at or call 406-284-1789.

3) Met with a team from Lockheed Martin regarding their proposal for the $60 billion USAF missile silo upgrades over the next twenty years. Late this summer the candidates will be narrowed to two companies who will then put together their detailed plan and costs. We expect that both companies will want to rely on local contractors to keep costs down. According to Lockheed Martin that will be pipe fitters, concrete, electricians, HVAC, and laborers. To be kept in the loop as we move forward, email Jolene Schalper at 

4) Worked with MT DEQ Brownfields division on a potential petroleum site redevelopment to see if the property qualifies for Brownfields assessment and cleanup.  If you have a site that is being complicated by contamination or perceived contamination, call Lillian Sunwall at (406)750-1253 

5) The Army Corps of Engineers approved the Keystone pipeline that will include an on-ramp for Montana oil. This is another step forward in developing critical infrastructure to support higher wage growth of Montana's economy. Several key projects in the Great Falls trade area totaling $4,625,000 are before the Montana Legislature for funding from the Treasure State Endowment Program, including a water project in Cut Bank, the South Wind water and sewer project in Cascade County, the Simms wastewater project, a wastewater project in Denton, a water project in Shelby, a water project in Stanford, and the Cascade wastewater project. Dutton's water project is the first alternate hoping for a $500,000 award.Montana Infrastructure Funding Workshop coming to Great Falls on February 22nd.

6) Eleven business managers and entrepreneurs attended our first Profit Mastery workshop. Michael Vetere, owner of 2J's Fresh Market, said the workshop was "The best $125 and two days of my life that I have spent in years." Hosted our monthly Development Coffee -- next coffee is Friday, March 3, 7:00 AM at Loenbro.

7) GTF Airport released a hotel feasibility study it commissioned.

8) We put together a new marketing flyer for the Great Falls AgriTech Park and a new GFDA Menu of Services.

9) Downtown Great Falls was boosted during the 4th quarter of 2016 with 11 building permits issued for renovations totaling $761,310, two new businesses opening, and volunteers giving 5,980 hours of their valuable time.

10) We received excellent nominations for the 2017 The Fire Within awards celebrating female entrepreneurs. Time to register for the seventh annual Fire Within presented by Embark FCU! Click here for details and registration.

11) The MT Department of Commerce awarded tourism infrastructure grants to three projects in the Great Falls trade area. Teton County received $14,000 for visitor-related website upgrades in Choteau. The City of Cut Bank received $99,687 to add a roof to its city park pavilion. Great Falls Tourism received $20,000 for installation of new digital displays and facility improvements in the visitor information center.

12) MSU has hired an expert in pulse crop breeding to develop a new research program supporting Montana's growing pulse industry. Pulse crops, such as dry pea, chickpea and lentils, are known for their agronomic and economic benefits because of their ability to add nitrogen to the soil, store water and break up the disease and pest cycles often found in wheat acres. Welcome Professor Kevin McPhee!

13) Assisted a local business to navigate the government contracting process to be able to accept payment from a federal agency. Reviewed government regulations for a client looking to bid on a contract for several solicitations. If you would like more information on how we can help introduce you to government contracting or with one-on-one training, contact Lillian Sunwall at (406)750-1253 or 

14) Kyso Corp. reinvested as a $10,000 Advance Division investor in our Forward Great Falls effort. Thank you to the Huestis family for supporting our economic development work!

15) We commissioned a study to assess the potential economic impact of growing the population in Cascade County back to what it was before the smelter closed in 1980. The study will detail the economic impact on each sector of our economy. 70% of the U.S. economy is driven by consumer spending AND our growing employers need skilled workers.

16) Shane Etzwiler joined GFDA's Board representing the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. Thank you to Brad Livingston who served on our Board as Chamber President and welcome Shane!

17) In 2015, exports comprised 5.4% of the Cascade County GDP and supported 1,149 local jobs, according to the Brookings Institute.

18) Participated in the annual Leadership Summit of the International Economic Development Council. I was asked to chair a task force to oversee a new research report, Reinventing Business Retention and Expansion, that will be published by IEDC late in 2017.

19) Montana was ranked the 8th healthiest state in the nation according to a Gallup poll.

20) Buyer registration opened for the Made in Montana trade show that will be held in Helena on March 10. Wholesale buyers can register here.

Untame Your Entrepreneurial Spirit in Great Falls, Montana!


Brett Doney
President and CEO
Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
Winston Churchill

Business Events of Note
The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a number of excellent training opportunities including ExportTech, SME Lean, Food safety and much more. Visit
LaunchPoint, our pre-business workshop is free to attend on February 16th from 4-5 PM at GFDA.

The Native American Development Corporation will be hosting a monthly webinar series on various topics ranging from Business Planning to Government Contracting. The series will be held on the Third Thursdays of the Month at 3pm. This Month's Webinar will be on Business Planning Basics February 16th at 3pm. For more information or to inquire about future topics please call Tim Guardipee at NADC 406-259-3804
Back To Basics Coop Summit, annual conference of the Montana Cooperative Development center, 2/27-3/1 at Fairmont Hot Springs. More info at
Join us at the Montana International Trade & Manufacturing Day in the State Capitol Rotunda on March 1st. Info at
Safety, Leadership & HR Conference, March 8-9 in Billings. Visit
2017 Governor's Conference on Tourism & Recreation, March 12-14 in Helena.
Cost-Effective Industrial Sites Available
If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, 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


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