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GFDA Top Ten for 2/26/17


GFDA Top 10
Here's the GFDA Top 10 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.

1) JobsEQ, the online economic system we use to track and assess our region's economic performance, this week released its findings for the 4th quarter of 2016 and updated data for the 3rd quarter. In 2016, the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) added 662 net jobs. Average wages increased 2.6% and total wages grew by $61 million. Updated 3rd quarter data eased concerns I had with City job performance from 2015Q3 to 2016Q3. It's nice to see positive data that confirms what we're seeing across the county, especially fighting the head winds of lower commodity prices and Canadian exchange rate. Business openings and construction starts scheduled for 2017 should continue these positive trends. Let's keep Great Falls moving Forward!

2) Jolene and I invested the week in Oregon and Washington, meeting with leaders of FCR, Columbia Grain, Provident Health & Services, D.A. Davidson Companies, and others. We discussed great opportunities for Great Falls!

3) The Great Falls City Commission approved the Big Sky Trust Fund contract for FCR's new downtown call center.

4) Worked on business development plans for the spring that will include trips to meet with targeted companies and site selection consultants in Chicago and the Midwest, and networking at the Site Selectors Guild annual conference, the RECON commercial real estate/retail annual event, the SelectUSA foreign direct investment summit, IFT's annual agri-processing Food Expo, and the international Pulses 2017 to pursue pulse crop processing and food production opportunities.

5) The Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art began renovations of its attic level to open it up for performances and other museum activities. See more info inTribune.

6) We've been approached by clients who are interested in having more options for receiving their raw materials and shipping out their finished products. To meet their needs we are convening a Transload Facility Task Force. Our first meeting will be this Monday, 2/27, at 4 PM. Contact Jolene Schalper at to learn more. 

7) Testified before the Montana Legislature in support of increased investment in infrastructure along with other members of the Montana Infrastructure Coalition.

8) Agricultural processing wages average $10,000+ more than average wages in our region. We submitted two grant requests to the Montana Department of Ag this week to help grow that industry. The first is to identify the regional supply chain and specific companies to target for processing growth. The second is to help fund business development travel to go meet with targeted companies and network at industry events to meet with decision makers. Want to know more? Contact Jolene, 406-750-4481. 

9) We're beginning a comprehensive look at our economic development priorities as part of GFDA's continual strategic planning process. Forward Great Falls investors will soon be giving input into what we should focus on achieving over the next 2-3 years. We're constantly assessing progress and looking inward and outward for how to use our resources and team to generate the greatest possible short and long-term impact. One of the sources we've been tapping is economic development research being published by the Brookings Institute. Check out this thought-provoking Brookings report: "Remaking economic development: The markets and civics of continuous growth and prosperity."

10) Join us at Loenbro this Friday, March 3, at 7 AM for our monthly Forward Great Falls Investor Development Coffee! If you are interested in hosting future Development Coffees, give Jolene a call or email, 406-750-4481 or

Celebrate Women Entrepreneurs!
Embark FCU and GFDA are pleased to announce registration is open for bothFire It Up! and The Fire WithinFire It Up, a speed networking evening of professional development, is on March 23 at Electric City Coffee; click here to register. The Fire Within, a celebration of outstanding women entrepreneurs, is March 30 at the Meadowlark Country Club; click here to register.

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.

"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."
Ellen Parr

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
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
Economic Growth, Diversification and High Wage Jobs
Montana's first Accredited Economic Development Organization.
We provide SBA 504 Real Advantage loans statewide.
GFDA and High Plains Financial are Equal Opportunity Lenders.
Untame Your Entrepreneurial Spirit!
For more info, click to our website.


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Physical Address
300 Central Ave. Suite 406
Great Falls, MT 59401
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PO Box 949
Great Falls, MT 59403